Saturday, February 28, 2009

First Ultrasound

I went into my first ultrasound with a sense of anticipation - what was going on down there? The first and second day that I started the stim shots, I felt a fullness in my ovaries that I typically don't feel until later on in the cycle, usually towards the end. However, I did have this feeling early on but it disappeared yesterday. Anyway, things are where they usually are and she measured off about 8 follies although they ranged in size from 9mm to 3mm. Here is the info with comparatives to my prior cycles:

This cycle: Left ovary - 9mm, 6mm, 4mm, 3mm; Right ovary - 8mm, 7mm, 6mm, 6mm, 5mm
Last cycle (cancelled): Left ovary - 12.4mm, 3.7mm, 3mm; Right ovary - 8.5mm, 7.3mm, 7mm, 5mm
Last cycle in Canada: Left Ovary - 8mm, 3mm; Right ovary - 9mm, 8mm, 8mm, 7 mm, 6mm, 5mm

So, I'm tracking about the same as my last cycle in Canada. I was hoping that the Estrogen priming that we did was going to make a big difference but it doesn't look that way. Also, it is interesting to note that my last cycle in Canada had me on 600 units a day of stim meds whereas my daily dose here has been 450 units with no noticeable difference. I am hoping that things will continue to grow in a more even fashion and that more will come along. The u/s tech did say that there were a bunch of small ones that she could see that she didn't bother measuring because they were <1mm. Maybe we can get some of those to come along too. We'll see!

Side note - for those of you who don't speak IVF, a mature follicle is usually around 20mm in size so there is a little ways to go for me yet.



The nurse just called me and my hormones are as follows for today (day 3 of stims)

My estrogen was waaay higher in my last two cycles at this point (350-450) so this is indicating to me that things are progressing along slower than they did in the past, which is not necessarily a bad thing since I always have quite a few immature eggs. I'm on the same max dosage until Monday when I go in for my next check. We'll see how things are coming along then. I keep repeating to myself that it doesn't matter how many, we want better quality ones than before but it's hard not to play the numbers game. Thank you to everyone with your well wishes. Your comments made me smile today :) so thank you for that!

P.S. L - I have copies of all of my medical records and I asked the nurse this morning if I could write down all of the sizes. On Monday, I will actually see my own nurse for the first time and I will ask her if I can get a photocopy of the actual monitoring sheet so I will fill it out myself as we go along. I would never be able to remember all of those details in this poor, hormonal brain of mine!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

10 Honest Things About Myself

I've been tagged for the first time by MamaSoon to list 10 honest things about myself . Before I start, the rules are:

1) Choose at least 7 blogs you find brilliant in content or design.

2) Link to these blogs and leave them a comment that they were tagged! The image in this post is your official award!

3) List at least 10 honest things about yourself.

So, I'm tagging the following people:

1. Kris

2. Linda

3. Jill M.

4. Sky

5. Molly

6. Momsoon

7. JJ

I know some of you have already been tagged by others in our little blog circle but I can't come up with any more so you it again! And now, onto the fun stuff - the 10 honest things about myself...

1. My parents don't know we're doing IVF and they certainly don't know that I'm in Denver right now. It has been a very hard decision not to tell them but I fear the judgement that will come along with it. I know they love me and they want the best for me but my Mom has very strong views on natural remedies and natural healing and believes that everything can be done through diet and exercise. Through the stress of all the IF stuff, I don't want to be on pins and needles, wondering what she will say next, kind of like the potato comment from before. We've covered both our absences by telling them we're in Denver for a "series of meetings" for my DH's work and we do have friends that live north of Denver who we are visiting with but I hate the lying.

2. I am an accountant but I have always felt like it's something I pretend to know how to do. Yes, I do have three accounting degrees (a bachelors, a masters as well as the official Chartered Accountant's designation) but I always feel like I don't know enough. I know now why I like the Shopaholic book so much because the way she feels (in the book, not the movie) is exactly the way I feel, like someone is going to find out one day that I'm a lousy accountant and that it's all just make believe. I actually like bookkeeping more and I really shouldn't have gone on to get three degrees in Accounting...a little overkill eh? It's kind of like killing a fly with a giant anvil. You really only needed a fly swatter :)

3. I really want to make a career change to become a pastry chef and even have the school all picked out. However, I wonder if I will still love baking as much as I do if it becomes my job every day? Can you really love doing something so much that it is fun to do, 365 days a year?

4. I would love to host or work on a cooking show on Food Network. How much fun would that be?

5. I hate exercising but I will do it because I recognize the health benefits to keeping fit. I have the attention span of a gnat though and need to keep changing things up to keep myself motivated. Sometimes I run, sometimes I work out at the gym with a trainer, I swim, I love hot yoga (although the yoga studios around me cost a fortune -not a cheap way to exercise), I power walk the dog and sometimes, it's as easy as just giving the house a good old cleaning.

6. I worry about having enough to do CGH. We have never, ever, ever, gone to day 5 blast because I have never had more than three embies at day 3 so they just transfer everything back in. I wonder what the threshold will be, the magic number that we want so that we feel comfortable doing CGH. Say we get only three embies again - do we test the three? What if we end up with only one? The attrition rates are quite high to get to day 5 blast so I'm worried we won't make it that far.

7. I would continue to do IVF until we got a child if we had unlimited money but sadly, the money has run out and I don't want to be on hold any more.

8. I have really awful digestion sometimes and things as simple as too much fiber will set me off. Also, when I get nervous, I get the typical "fight or flight" response and for me, that translates into a run to an urgent run to the bathroom. I would never be able to participate in those reality shows like Amazing Race - Phil would yell the word go and instead of running to my car, I would run for the nearest bathroom!!

9. I have a weakness for reading historical romances. I love reading about Earls and Dukes, Duchesses and Ladies and yes, the plotlines are very simple and you know the two main characters are going to get together in the end but I just love the happy endings.

10. I love travelling but for the most part, my DH and I remember destinations more by what we ate and what food we saw. When we cruised a few years ago on Celebrity's Millenium, we deliberately chose the ship for the food (it is ranked #3 by Conde Naste and the rest of the Celebrity ships are in the top 10) and everything else pales in comparison. We will spend so much time pouring over travel books and visiting websites like Chow Hound to see where people have eaten and what is good local cuisine. We are real foodies :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Green Light!

It's official - I passed the suppression check and this time, I know it was done properly!! I have no cysts and my E2 was 39 (they like it <50) and my P4 was 0.2 (they like it <1). I arrived in good time this morning as my United flight was a half hour early (and there were only 16 people on board - first time EVER that my luggage actually made it out before I did!) and it was blue skies and bright sunshine in Denver. I checked into my hotel with lots of time to spare, settled in a bit and then headed over to CCRM for my appts at 11:30. Got the all clear at around 4:30 so I start shots tomorrow!

I don't have to go back to CCRM until Saturday for my first stim check but I've scheduled two acupuncture sessions this week on Wednesday and Friday. Other than that, just doing my shots, growing some good follies and enjoying the wonderful weather.


(Sorry - have to keep this short since there is only 1 computer in the business center at the hotel and I don't want to hog)

Monday, February 23, 2009

High Five! AF is ON TIME!

So sad - my DH and I gave each other a high five this morning when AF arrived right on schedule today. What a relief! I think this is what they mean when they say to "find joy along the way". You know you have no secrets from your DH when even he recognizes the signs of AF coming better than you do and you both celebrate when she does arrive. What a twisted reality we live in!

I'm making final preparations to go - packing, last minute errands, confirming with CCRM, making sure there are some meals in the freezer for DH (not that he can't cook - he can but I am not partial to his specialty, which we have lovingly named "hodge podge") and preparing my pooch for a stay at my parents' house.

It's for real this time - I'm really going and this time, we're going to finish the cycle, come what may. AHHHHHHhhhh!!!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I've started to spot. This is a good thing (so my DH was quick to reassure me) because I usually spot right before I get AF. I noticed the spotting first thing this morning with my hyper sensory abilities (haha) and immediately freaked out, thinking that AF was going to arrive right then and there. I was all set to call the airlines and change my ticket etc. but then DH reminded me that I usually spot for at least a day before AF actually arrives. Let's hope this is the case and that AF will arrive tomorrow right on schedule. Just in case, I had my DH massage the acupoint right on top of my head which is supposed to delay AF. I don't know if it did anything but it made me feel better and made my headache go away a little.

I'm a nervous mess today. I don't know why - maybe it's because this cycle is it as I discussed in my previous post. I'm being so clingy to my DH...kind of like a barnacle to the side of a boat. Every time the poor guy turns around, I'm asking for a hug and he is always quick to squeeze me tight and rub my back. I also started baking to ease my nerves so at least, the house smells nice and I'll be leaving DH with a pile of treats to remember me by (gingerbread biscotti and almond biscotti along with oatmeal molasses bread - YUM gluten!).

Thank goodness for the Oscars tonight - something to distract me in the evening so I don't sit and brood. Last shot of Cetrotide was last night and I have continued taking the Estrace twice a day. I think once I get to Denver and get in for my suppression check (and pass) I'll be okay but until then, timing is tight and I'm watching everything like a hawk!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

We're on our way...

Last night before I started officially doing anything drug related to this upcoming cycle, my DH and I were talking about it and I got really nervous all of a sudden. This is our LAST CYCLE. This is IT. Whatever happens, no matter how many eggs are retrieved, no matter how many are mature, no matter how many fertilize, we're done. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this year I want to move on with my life, whatever that means but you know what? Now that "whatever it means" is staring me right in the face, I find myself faltering a bit. I'm not as confident as I thought I was and I find myself doing ridiculous things like hoarding meds just in case we decide to cycle again locally (I know - somebody call the looney bin). There is no way we could afford another IVF at CCRM and if we did cycle again, we would still be stuck and that is not where I want to be in 2009. This is the year we become un-stuck.

After much thought, I came to the conclusion that somehow in my crazy mind, I equate giving up cycling with giving up hope. I'm afraid to do it and this makes me no better than the people you see on TV who are addicted to plastic surgery. It's invasive, it's painful, it involves lots of drugs and money yet they still return, time and time again. Sounds like someone I know - me. How does one give up a dream? Maybe I need to think about how the dream will change instead of thinking that I have to give it up entirely. Any thoughts guys?

I'm trying to adopt a more Zen-like attitude about this cycle and I have already sworn to myself that I will not be a control freak about all of the details (yeah right!). I closed my eyes this morning and popped my first Estrace pill and we are officially underway!

Cycle question for those of you who have done the Estrogen Priming Protocol before - did your AF arrive early, on time or late because of the Ganirelix/Cetrotide shots you took pre-cycle?

Monday, February 16, 2009

If I had a million dollars

I was watching Rachael Ray's show last week on The Brides of Harris County and I found myself welling up many times throughout the one hour show. In short, this show was about couples who live in Harris County and whose wedding plans were destroyed when Hurricane Ike swept through the area. Many reception halls were destroyed or were forced to close in the aftermath and many of these couples lost some if not all of their money.

I kept on thinking how wonderful it was that Rachael used her time and influence to make the dreams of so many of these brides come true and for no material gain on her part. I thought that was mighty fine of her.

My thoughts started to wander down the path of what I would do if I were blessed with those kinds of resources. Thankfully, my life has not been touched by the devestation of a hurricane so I cannot relate to that specifically, but what I have can related to is IF. Unfortunately, I know that ugly face. IF has consumed my life and has dominated my 30's. When I look back, my 20's were all about graduating, meeting and falling in love with my DH, the wedding of my dreams and creating our home. My 30's were all about the pain of IF, countless shots, treatments and appointments, loneliness and despair and a heck of a lot of soul searching.

Wouldn't it be great if all IVF treatments were free and you could do all of the cycles you ever wanted to do? How about if our medication was fully covered forever? Imagine if others were simply educated about the huge financial and emotional toll that IVF has on us?

Well, turns out that I did not win the jackpot for our local lottery but I was thinking about how I could still contribute and not use the lack of funds as an excuse not to. Use what you have right? I don't have much to offer right now but what I try very hard to do is to be supportive of others. I try very hard to find the right comforting words to say to my IF sisters when those in their own lives do not understand. I try to empathize and sympathize when my IF sisters are trampled on with ignorant and hurtful words. I am a shoulder to cry on and any information I know that I have come across in my IF travels, my IF sisters are more than welcome to share in. It's not much but it's something and I know that when I've been down and out, more and more it is my IF sisters that pick me up and get me moving again. I am so very grateful and hope that I too can pay that kindness forward.

Have a good day everyone and remember, if you need me, I'm here for ya!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Life is So Unfair

And you know what? I'm not talking about my life for once.

My BF's mother was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Yes, this is the same type of cancer that Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, was diagnosed with. My BF's mother is to undergo surgery to remove the tumour in a few weeks and the doctor gives her a 30-50% chance that she will still be here in 5 years if the tumour doesn't return. My BF is a numbers person, just like me, and it is hard when the majority isn't on your side.

Again, I ask the question "why"? Why her Mom and at such a young age? Her Mom is just in her mid sixties and leads a very active life. She is an incredibly giving person, always travelling to visit family and friends and the first person to lend a hand should the need arise. She sits on the board of a large charity and has done so much volunteer work it puts the rest of us to shame. She has so much gentle wisdom and has sacrificed so much for those she loves.

I know that I am very guilty of putting blinders on and thinking that only MY life is unfair and that everyone else exists in a fairness vacuum where the good receive all the blessings and the bad receive nothing but curses. This is not so. Again, another example of how there is no rhyme or reason to life and maybe the more pertinent question is not "why?" but rather "how?"

How should we live our lives given the challenges we face?
How do we make the most of the time we have been given?
How do we make good choices while remaining true to ourselves?
How can we grow through our experiences?
How do we cope?

I suppose that in asking "how?" rather than "why?" we are encouraged into action when we contemplate the answers, rather than wallowing in the inevitable (and sometimes necessary) self-pity that accompanies the answers to "why?". Believe me, I have spent my fair share of time in why-land. Maybe the only pathway is to go through "why" to get to "how" and it is in figuring out the "how" that we find a way to move forward.

Please, if you have a few moments today, say a little prayer for my friend and her mother. Thanks.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Lucky Charms

I used to point and laugh at people who carried around lucky charms, always whipping them out like talismans to ward off bad karma but you know what? I realized that I too have lucky charms. I'd like to think that mine are more subtle but you be the judge...

The first one is a necklace I wear around my neck. It's a Chantecler bell and legend has it that each time you hear it ring, it is your guardian angel asking you to make a wish. The funny thing is that most of the time, I don't hear it. It's very tiny, about 1cm in diameter and the ringing is a high little tinkling sound. My DH hears it all the time though and once, I was shaking the bell upstairs and he heard it all the way downstairs in the kitchen and he had to come all the way upstairs to tell me to stop shaking the thing :). Even when I do hear the bell, I get silly about my wishes and it usually goes something like this: "I wish that I get pregnant!" and then "No wait! I wish that I not only get pregnant but then I carry the baby to term" which then changes to "What I really wish for is to be pregnant with a HEALTHY baby that I carry to term" and so on.

The second thing that we do is both my DH and I sleep with two newborn sleepers under our pillows; we each have one pink one and one blue one. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night, I like to reach under my pillow and touch them, hoping that somehow, it will attract the right baby karma to us. One girl that I know of who did this ended up having twins after multiple IVF failures. The other girl that I knew who also did this got pregnant with a singleton, defying all the odds as she is 40 and a very poor responder (i.e. 1-2 eggs per IVF cycle).

The crazy things we find ourselves doing in the name of IF...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Goodness in the World, Nerves & Saizen

I wanted to start this post off on a very positive note. Someone that I "met" through IVFC has very generously donated her meds to me! There are still some very kind people left in this world and I am so very grateful to her. The timing of this couldn't be better since I am completely OOP and this second attempt at our last cycle in the US has stretched our finances to the absolute maximum. Cash flow is tight and everything counts and she is saving me a bundle of $$ with these meds. Grateful hardly describes how I feel and this really restores my belief in the good of people. A very heartfelt "thank you".

There was also a flurry of activity today getting ready for my upcoming cycle. I booked flights using our reward points for myself and my DH. My flight was not a problem since I was just redeeming points for a new ticket. My DH's ticket was another story since I was trying to use an unused ticket from October '08 when were supposed to go out there the first time. Those of us Canadians who have ever dealt with Air Canada and their Aeroplan reward program know what I mean (roll eyes here). I won't bore you with the details but suffice to say, it wasn't easy but we managed to accomplish this small feat this morning. We're both booked now - I'm flying in on Feb 24th and he will be joining me on Mar 5th. We're both flying out on March 11th.

I'm nervous about whether the timing will work out or not. It's always a delicate balancing act. AF better be on time (and she usually is) but I'm nervous given than I'm going to be playing with my hormones again this month and taking 3 shots of Cetrotide right before she is scheduled to arrive. IF all things go as planned, I will fly in on CD 2 (Feb 24th) and be in for a suppression check that morning right from the airport. If all goes well, I will be starting stims the next day (Feb 25th) with an estimated ER on Mar 8 after 10 days of stims. Things were going pretty slowly last time so we can go as far out as Mar 10th for ER and then I would fly out the very next day.

Of course, I have to watch the weather to make sure that there are no storms brewing either up here or down in Colorado. I don't want to screw up my cycle because I don't fly in on time. I'm also nervous AF will either be early or late which will throw off the timing. I ever run out of things to worry about?? Last cycle it was a little easier to predict my schedule as we locked and loaded my calendar when I started the BCP. This time I'm relying on the arrival of AF. I know things will figure themselves out but that doesn't stop the worry in the meantime. Maybe I need to go meditate (or is it medicate??) and get rid of some of that stress...

So the Saizen debate...I think I am finally ready to let it go as in I am not going to request that it be added to my cycle. For those of you who are on it, I will be watcing your cycles with great interest and I am by no means saying that it is a bad thing to have. For me, I keep coming back to the point that Dr. Sch did not recommend that it be added for me and I am paying so much money for his advice. Also, last time we had the best response ever with the antagonist cycle but the poorest quality so I'm hoping that with the estrogen priming he added to my cycle, that will be enough to coax some better eggs out. Someone else with Saizen added to her cycle told me that Dr. Sch's objective in doing so was to get maybe 1-2 more eggs out. For me, my body clearly does not like all the meds since I respond so poorly to them. I figure that adding yet another medication would probably not be received well by my body so I'm going to leave it. I just want better quality eggs than the last time I did an antagonist cycle (10 eggs retrieved but only 2 lousy looking embies to transfer 3 days post retrieval). Let's hope that is the right answer for me and my body for now, this is what feels right and I have debated this endlessly for the past few weeks. So, here ends the Saizen debate.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Odds & Sods

I've been kind of quiet of late - just trying to get over this blasted cough I managed to catch. I think I'm finally getting over it but kicking the last of it always seems to be the hardest part with coughs. Thankfully, there was no fever or nasal congestion or any flu with this cold - just a deep chest cough.

I've been back to see the TCM doctor 3 times now and she is doing different acupuncture points. She is also really quick putting the needles in which is really good since that part always stresses me out. When I'm done there, I always feel like a wet noodle and really, really relaxed. Hopefully my blood stagnation is being resolved but who really knows?

I haven't been successful at restarting my daily meditations or my Qi Gong. I associate both of those with IF and trying to get pregnant and I haven't felt motivated to get back to doing this yet. Every time I look at the counter on the sidebar I start getting antsy about going back. Have I done enough? Should I even bother starting the meditations again?

As for the Saizen/no Saizen debate, that is still raging but I think I am siding more and more with just leaving it. Dr. Sch didn't recommend it for me (and I KNOW he has recommended it for others) so I should have some measure of trust in his opinion. Besides, Saizen is supposed to improve response not quality and with the estrogen priming added to the antagonist protocol he has me on, hopefully that will be enough to get better results.

On a tangent, one of my favourite shows is How I Met Your Mother and this past Monday night, I found out that BOTH of the women who star on it are PG. For crying out loud! Now every time I see the show and see them, my eyes will automatically be drawn down to their bellies to see if they're showing. Thankfully, neither pregnancy has been written into the storylines...yet. Then today I see the cover of OK magazine that is speculating that Katie Holmes is expecting again...can Hollywood just give it a rest?? Geez.

Okay - rant over. And that is what's going on in my world.