Thursday, July 31, 2008

IVF Meds Have Arrived

This is a picture of my medication for our third IVF procedure. I had a little bit leftover from the last round, but most of it arrived today. The plastic bags and paper bags contain needles and syringes. The two bigger plastic bags contain 60 needles and syringes. Ouch! I just realized the Lupron is not in the picture. So picture two more bottles added to this collection!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Protocol

I'm hoping things go better this cycle. This is what we're doing differently:

I had an endometrial biopsy done.
They put me on Folgard because I tested + for MTHFR.
They put me on baby aspirin earlier in the cycle.
DH and I are both doing a round of antibiotics (Azithromycin) just in case there are any underlying infections.
We are doing 2 estrogen tablets a day from the day of ER.
We're doing Assisted Hatching (along with the ICSI that we were already doing.)

I'll be doing the Microdose Lupron protocol.

Friday, August 1st - take last birth control pill.
Monday, August 4th - Ultrasound, bloodwork, and start Lupron (twice a day)
Wednesday, August 6th - Start Bravelle (300 units) and Menopur (75 units) twice a day

ER would be sometime mid-August.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Talking About IF

How much do other people know about your infertility?

We never told anyone when we decided to start ttc. Why would we? "Hey, we're going to make a baby!" It just isn't something most people do, right? But we had been married for almost 7 years when we started ttc. I'm guessing most people don't wait that long. For us, we waited because of different reasons. I guess at first, we just wanted to be married and enjoy it just being the two of us. Then it was we'll wait until after we finish our degrees. Then it was let's wait until we have a house. (Well, I was ready much earlier than Steve, but since it takes two to make the decision...we waited.)

We tried for about 8 months and talked with our family doctor and my obgyn about some things we thought might be issues. We started the process of having an SA done. Then my family doctor and the obgyn suggested we see an RE, a reproductive endocrinologist. That's when we decided to talk to our immediate families about us having some issues. I guess we mainly did it for the support. It's hard enough going through all of this. It's even harder when people make comments or ask when you are going to start to have babies. I guess I figure if people know, they will be more sensitive.

Most people have been supportive. I have had a couple of instances where someone has said things to me that have hurt my feelings, and it has caused me to shy away from them with any IF news. I guess it's just a self-protective kind of thing. I don't want to feel hurt by anyone else's opinions or comments.

I guess I was wondering if it would have been easier had we not said a thing about what we've been going through. I don't think it really would be easier. In fact, I would probably feel so much more isolated and upset. I guess right now I feel like I have to censor myself with certain people and that's tough enough.

Do you talk about your IF issues with anyone? Are you glad that you do?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Biopsy and MTHFR

I asked my doctor about the MTHFR diagnosis. She said I have the C677T version; I'll just have to take Folgard and baby aspirin. Not Lovenox or Heparin since I don't have the clotting version.

I had the biopsy done, and it went okay. It didn't take too long - maybe 10 minutes or so. My doctor had a hard time getting the catheter in, but finally she was able to get it where it needed to be. I had a lot of cramping when she did the biopsy itself. I've also had some bleeding since then, but it's not too bad.

If all goes well, we'll be starting Lupron soon for IVF #3.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Endometrial Biopsy

I'm going in to have a biopsy done tomorrow. Some studies show that women who have failed IVFs sometimes have success after having a biopsy done. I guess the biopsy process "changes" the lining of your uterus.

I'm just anticipating pain. My HSG was very painful. I realize that it's not the same, but it still seems painful.

Why else do they do an endometrial biopsy?
They might find abnormal cells.
You may have problems with your lining.
Your hormone levels might be off.
You might have an infection you didn't know about.
Your RE might suspetct endohyperplasia (related to low estrogen and low progesterone.)

Basically - if you have a problem with any of these things, you might have a problem supporting a pregnancy.

Oh, I also tested + for MTHFR - Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. It's a gene mutation which can in some cases lead to problems getting or staying pregnant. In my case, I'm not absorbing/processing folic acid and they are putting me on Folgard. I'm not sure which mutation I have - I guess there's two. One of them can lead to blood clotting issues.

Monday, July 14, 2008

More Blood

I had to have more blood taken this morning. The nurse from my RE's office said the lab did something wrong with the vials of blood she sent over. I had an autoimmune workup done last weekend. Normally it's given to patients after recurrent miscarriages, but since I've had two failed IVFs, my RE wanted me to have it done. Last Saturday they took A LOT of blood - over 10 vials. Maybe closer to 12. Well, today she took at least 4 more. I was hoping to have my results back by the end of the week, but I'm not sure if that will happen now. I'm also waiting on karyotyping results. Those take 4-6 weeks. I keep hoping they will miraculously turn up early.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm having a hard time this weekend. I'm just struggling with my feelings about why this won't work for us.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My latest painting

This is the painting that I decided to make. It's 3 feet across by 4 feet high. I have a thing for trees - they tend to show up in a lot of my paintings. Not sure of the significance - maybe I just like the almost-permanence of the huge tree we have in our backyard and the one by our old condo. The strength and grace of them. Or maybe it's the whole family-tree connection and symbolism that I like.

The counselor at my RE's clinic had suggested I think of a way to honor the embryos we had during our IVF cycles. I decided to paint something that would be a memory and a way for me to start moving on to whatever we decide to do next. I painted the background and tree last night. I made little bird templates and used them to creat a collage bird to represent the four embryos we had during IVf #1 and #2. Each of those little birds is looking to the left (I was thinking of it as the past.) My bird on the right is the only one that's flying. It's moving on from what's happened in our past and toward whatever is going to happen in our future.

I am happy with how it turned out.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Our FollowUp Appointment with RE and then some

We had our followup meeting with our RE, and it went okay. We're not sure what we're going to do. She thinks my main issues are/may be egg quality/quantity and implantation (maybe.) Dr. K. thought that I would have had more eggs and better quality eggs this time. She said she still thinks I have a good chance at having more eggs/good quality if we try again because we had 3 grade A blasts with the first cycle. She thinks part of it may be my age and that my eggs are starting to change as I get older. But it's not necessarily one month you have some and the next month you have none. It goes kind of up and down like a wave.

She suggests that if we try again we try the Microdose Lupron but with higher doses of Bravelle (or Gonal F instead of Bravelle) 2x/day and she even said she could start me on 2 estrogen pills/day (even though she didn't think that was part of the issue.) She also said she would run bloodwork for blood clots and for immunity issues - that may be related to implantation issues. She also mentioned doing assisted hatching on our embryos, too.

If we go through a 3rd cycle, I would want to do the August cycle, so it would be before school starts. That's right around the corner...

Our other option is to skip the 3rd IVF and head straight into adoption. We are both willing to move forward with that if that's what we decide we should do. We like the agency we already spoke with - we feel comfortable with them.

It's such a hard decision. There are so many things to consider - the timing of everything, the emotional stress of everything, the financial aspect of it all, and did I mention the emotional stress of everything?????

It's so hard. I don't know what we're going to do.

I had the autoimmune bloodwork done on Saturday. I also had cycle day 3 bloodwork and ultrasound done in case with go through with cycle #3. We should get our bloodwork results back in a week, except for the karyotype results. That may take up to 6 weeks.

After our followup on Wednesday, I met with the counselor at the RE's office on Thursday. We talked about the stress of all this and how dealing with the negatives has been so hard. The counselor has been through 3 IVFs, so she really understands the emotional toll that it takes on a couple.

We talked about grief and she let me know that it's okay to be sad - to be mad - to be angry. She talked about how when an IVF fails, it's like you are dealing with a death - a death of children you'll never know. What we're dealing with feels so "heavy" - I feel like there is this weight on me all the time. She asked me how I'm taking care of myself and I told her, "I don't know." Isn't that sad? I am not even sure how to take care of myself at this point anymore.

She suggested I do something positive to remember our IVFs and our embryos - much like you would do to honor someone that passed away. I'm working on a painting - I told the counselor how much I love to paint and how much I've missed it over the last few months. I already had something in mind for the picture - I just had to start it.

So, I've been trying really hard to work through being sad, being depressed. I am not sure how to do it but I'm going day by day - I went for a walk and looked out at the lake nearby, I worked in our yard and took my aggressions out on the weeds, I started my painting, I've been reading, I've been talking to family and friends. I guess it just takes time.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

2 and a 1/2 years ago...

I'm not sure why I'm posting this picture. This weekend was one of hardest times in our lives. I think I just want to remember a time when we were both really happy and not worrying as much about all of this.

About the picture -- We were visiting our friends in New Jersey. They happened to mention this house where the owners went all out with their holiday decorations. I decided I had to see it, and they were very happy to take us to it.

Picture the Griswold's house. But picture it x 10! I was practically giddy.

There were a ton of people, and we were even allowed to walk through the backyard. They had little scenes set up with moving elves and santas. We got to walk around and look at everything. Their front yard was also decorated to the hilt. That's where we took the picture above.

I love this picture because we were so happy that night. Okay, I was ridiculously happy for some reason - I love all those crazy Christmas lights. I guess it makes me feel like I'm little again. And Steve - well, I think he was just happy because he saw how happy it made me.

I know that we're going to get through this, and one way or another we will be parents. I know that in time, we won't hurt quite so much as we did this past weekend. I know that we're going to have some more major decisions to make over the next few months. And hopefully those decisions will lead us to our child.

I wanted to say that I really appreciate everyone who took the time to comment on my blog or to email me. I really appreciate my friends from FF, the Nest, and LP who encouraged me through this round of IVF, too. Having people understand what you're going through means a lot.

Thank you so much for taking the time to think of us.