Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's the End of the Year and I'm Annoyed

Oh, I know you're supposed to be thinking about all the things that you're grateful for and tis the season to be happy and all of that, but I've also got my list of annoyances (probably should get ready for that lump of coal) that I'm going to put them down in writing. Why? Because I feel like it. Yeah, so take that, universe! But, to save you from reading miles of rants, I'm going to narrow it down to my top 3. That's my present to you -- I know, very generous.

1) I HATE vanity sizing (this is why this post is being written). I bought a pair of jeans at Costco (yes, sometimes I buy my clothes at Costco -- this is a post for another time). A pair of Levi's jeans that looked nice and so seeing as I couldn't try them on, I bought them in my typical size 8. Now, I've worn a size 8 for as long as I can remember, however, I've noticed in the past 3 years or so that the size 8s in the stores are loose. But hey, a size 8 is a size 8, right? So, I get them home, try them on and they're freaking huge...like clown pants and now I have to go back to Costco, during the holiday season, and return these bozo-sized pants so I can get a size 6. I go back, return them, fight the crowds and come home with my size 6 and low and behold these are big, too! The ass sags like I need more junk in my trunk and trust me, no more junk is needed. So, here I am having to make yet another Costco run to get a SIZE 4?! Who are these people trying to fool -- I am NO size 4. I haven't been a size 4 since freshman year in high school. If I'm a size 4, how do people that are skinnier than I am ever find clothes?! Where do all the size 0s go? What is going on in this world? I hate shopping and now I hate it even more (fist shakes in air for emphasis)!

2) I HATE my gym. Ok, that's a pretty broad statement...so let me explain. I used to go to a gym that I loved, but it was costing me $96 per month. When we began doing IF treatments, I realized I wouldn't be going as much, so I left that gym and went to stank-ass-cheap-crappy gym which now costs me less than $10 per month (with my 3 year contract). This gym sucks. I always have to wait for equipment and no one wipes their sweat. But, the two most annoying aspects of the gym: no one freakin' RACKS their weights. Fuckers, please, rack your weights! I don't want to throw out my back because I have to rack your 2000lbs off the leg press. I'm a 130lb female...You're a 300lb male. If you put them on, you can put them back. The second most annoying thing is the music. For the love of god, please, please turn down the gym music. Almost everyone brings their own music and I DO NOT want to listen to 50 cent rap about bitches and hos while trying to run to Eye of the Tiger...They do not mix. There was no 50 cent in Rocky.

3) I HATE crappy drivers. I know everyone hates crappy drivers, particularly the reckless ones that drive like their in some kind of NASCAR race, but even more than that I hate the slow, clueless drivers. The ones that drive in the left lane at 50 miles per hour with their blinkers on and I hate to say it because these are my peeps, but man, Asians are bad drivers, particularly old Asians. They will drive 40 miles per hour on the freeway in the left lane chatting with their compadre completely oblivious to the fact that there are 60 cars behind them tailing their ass. And then out of the blue, they'll cross over 4 lanes of freeway traffic, cutting off the entire world, to make their exit because they've been chatting with their fellow Asian passengers. Sadly, I believe my mother is one of these people....*sigh*

Oh, and the list could go on and on, but I won't inundate you with any more of my nonsensical rants. The holidays are here and we're supposed to be happy and stuff, so now that I've gotten all this off my chest, I can put on my happy face and go out into the world to spread cheer and all that other crap. Buh-bye!

Friday, December 17, 2010

So Many What Ifs

I know that we haven't even started the stims yet, but I'm always already thinking about the "what ifs." So, in my infinite need for information I've been reading/lurking adoption blogs.

See, we've decided (or at least almost decided) that this time will be the last IVF. If it doesn't work, I'm not willing to go through this again. Although the travel hasn't been too bad for me, it's been a logistical nightmare for Doc because of his schedule, patients, etc.. In addition, CC.RM is not cheap by any means and the more we spend on this, the less money we have for any alternatives and for the house that we'd eventually like to purchase (once we sell our current home).

Enter into the picture: International Adoption. I think I mentioned in prior posts that we've been attending adoption seminars and we've decided on an agency to go with if IVF #3 doesn't have a happy ending. We'll definitely be adopting from Korea. Currently, the time from when you submit your paperwork (i.e., dossier) to referral is approximately 6-9 months and then from there it seems like another 6-9 months for the travel call.

When we initially began to talk about the possibility of adoption, I was incredibly depressed and wasn't sure if I'd be fully able to accept an adopted child. Would I be able to love that child as much as I would a biologicial child? Would I continue to mourn my inability to have a baby? Would I cling to some hope that maybe I'd get pregnant and would that overshadow my ability to love? Would everyone see adopting as a red flag announcing my infertility to the world?

But, as I thought about it more and talked with Doc (who, by the way, seems to have no issues with adopting) I realized that my ability and desire to love surpasses any biological bond. To be truthful, I may still be a bit sad that we never had the opportunity to have a child together, but being a parent and creating a family is far more important to me. And, at this point, I've come to realize that I really don't give a crap who knows about our IF.

I am so thankful that Doc is so supportive and I know that however we create our family, we are blessed and hopefully, next Christmas we'll have one additional member added (or soon to be added) to our party of two.

Happy Holidays from Perito Moreno Glacier (Patagonia, Argentina)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Signed, Sealed and Delivered

Relief...CC.RM got our blood work and all is ok in the world. We finally got it right and just in time for the results to be in for our call with Dr. S tomorrow.

Now, all I have to deal with is Doc and his complaining about why CC.RM has to do all the testing at their labs. Just for his own personal validation, Doc ordered the same tests through the Big K lab, so we'll see how they compare to CC.RM's results. If they're similar, I'll never hear the end of it...

As for other things going on in my life, I've got a brunch date with my girlfriends this Sunday which I'm dreading because I haven't seen one of them since her wedding in July and I have a strong hunch that she might announce her pregnancy. Then I've got to put on my happy face while I try to hide behind my pancakes and hash browns.

On the happy side, my cold is finally getting better. After four long weeks, I can say that I am no longer hacking up a lung! Got to find the small joys in life if you're going to get through the day.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Let the Games Begin!

FINALLY! The ball is starting to roll...We have our tentative calendar and we've already started our first round of meds.

The master plan as of today is to begin checking for ovulation. Ten days after my surge I start taking estradiol and add in cetrotide -- this is the estrogen priming part of the protocol. Then (hopefully), I'll get my period within a few days of that and I'll do my baseline ultrasound here, at home, on CD 3 and then my first monitoring ultrasound will also be done here. After that, on January 12th, I'll be in Denver for the rest of my cycle!

I'm so excited, but yet so stressed!! I have a million questions that I've been piling up to ask Dr. S and luckily, we have a follow-up with him on Wed, so I'll get to ask him all my questions and hopefully, get some answers. In the meantime, I've been emailing my nurse everyday. I'm sure she loves me...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Grabbing At Straws?

Maybe I'm going a bit nuts and just pulling at anything for an explanation, but I'm beginning to consider the possibility that I might have endo. I don't have any of the typical symptoms. My periods are light. I've never had experienced any substational cramping with my cycles. So, one would not think that I have endo. However, I've read that many unexplained IF cases are caused by endo that has no symptoms AND asians are more prone to have endo.

I was actually dissuaded by both Doc and all of my REs from doing a laparoscopy to diagnose endo because 1) I had no symptoms, 2) since I had no symptoms, if I did have endo it would be very mild and probably not the cause of IF, and 3) lap is surgery. Actually #3 is Doc's main argument against doing a lap. He is a strong proponent of not doing surgery if it's not absolutely necessary. Bad things can come of doing surgery -- like adhesions, infections, etc. and if it's not necessary, why open yourself up to those things.

So, I have a question for y'all...did you have a laparoscopy as part of your diagonistics even if you showed no signs of endo? If so, did you find any endo? If not, why didn't you have a lap?

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Dream of Colorado

Now that we're back, I've had to face reality again which includes all the joys of infertility and IVF. Since we screwed up the Day 3 blood work sample back in October, we have to get it right this time around so that we can start the cycle in January, but as you know nothing is as easy or as straight forward as you anticipate.

We had a tentative plan scheduled based on my cycle starting next week, but I "think" due to the travels and my cold, my cycle was way shorter than I expected. I've started spotting already and that usually leads to AF showing up within the next couple of days. I'm a little worried about how this will affect our tentative schedule and whether they'll be able to fit me in for January. See...this would not be much of an issue IF we had our Day 3 blood work submitted. I would have already finalized our protocol with Dr. S and everything would be ready to go, but because we screwed up, things are still in limbo!

The only thing that has been finalized (we still need to book hotel, flights, etc.) is that I'll be reducing my work hours beginning January. I'll be completely honest with you and say that my work is not stressful by any means, but I think that having some more time to myself will really be beneficial to me. I just want some time to rest, relax and recup. So, I've worked it out with my boss and I'll be working only 3 days a week.

With all the IVF stuff finally ramping up, I can honestly say that I'm really excited, but at the same time I'm petrified. Part of me doesn't even want to start down the IVF #3 road...This is probably our final attempt with IVF which means that if this doesn't work, we'll have to seriously consider other options, which would also mean coming clean to everyone about our IF. Just the thought of going down that road exhausts me.

Vacation Redux

I had an awesome time in South America although I'm still recovering from a cold...We experienced it all in a matter of two weeks: ice, sleet, snow, winds, humidity, sun, and sand. And, although I'm sad that our vacation is over, at the same time, I'm relieved to be back at home, in my own bed with all the comforts of home.

So, we started out in by flying from SFO to Miami and then from there to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Supposedly the "Paris of South America," but the only similarity that I could find was the plethora of dog poop on the streets. I had such high expectations and I was a bit disappointed with the city.

We spent two days there and then hightailed it to El Calafate (Southern Patagonia). This is where we went glacier hiking (picture below of the glacier). It was an amazing experience and the scenery was straight out of a National Geographic mag.


From here, we took a three-hour bus ride to El Chaltan to hike the Andes Mountains. We spent three days hiking and unfortunately, the weather is known to be very, very inhospitable. So, those three days were spent trekking in the sleet, snow and gale-force winds. Between the cold and the travel, I ended up catching a pretty bad cold which I'm still recovering from.

Our next stop was Iguazu Falls in both Argentina and Brazil. What can I say...it was beautiful, amazing, and very humid. Talk about a change in weather

 
And our final stop, what I feel was the highlight of our vacay was Rio. I had heard so many rumors about how dangerous the city was and how it was unsafe to roam the streets after dark, but we experienced none of that. The city is gorgeous. It has the white beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema and is surrounded by green mountains on which you can see the Christ the Redeemer statue. We had a couple of days to unwind here, before heading back home.


Note: All pics were taken by moi! I guess some of the photography classes are actually paying off. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back To Reality

I've returned! I'm back from South America...tired, jet-lagged and recovering from a cold.

In my state of post-vacation-zombie mode, I've only had a chance to catch up on a few blogs, and I can't believe the fantastic news!!! Low Fat Lady is knocked up and so is Venting Vagina! I'm so happy for them. It's so great to come back to such great news!

I will post more about my vacation and my adventures in glacier-hiking, mountain trekking and beach combing, but I first need to catch up on some much needed sleep.

I hope everyone had a thoroughly awesome Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Room With A View

I've been doing mucho research on IVF and things that may be able to help me in the upcoming cycle, but I also wanted to acknowledge all that Doc has done for our cycles, so in honor of his hard work, I give you Doc's ratings.

Every time we do an IVF or IUI cycle, I ask Doc what "materials" they had on-site to help him in his manly endeavors. It's our (or my) way of getting some laughs out of the otherwise fairly stressful event. He's has been to five separate clinics and tested out five different sets of materials and here is his summary:
  • Clinic #1: This was his first clinic and he wasn't sure what to expect. But he came back with a thorough report...Room was a closet with very thin walls where he could hear all the conversations being held in the main office area. So, although there was a TV and DVD player with a fairly good selection of material, he didn't want to turn on the TV, lest someone here the "noises" coming from his closet. It took him longer than he expected because of the distracting conversations outside from the nurses discussing what they were going to eat for lunch, made it difficult to concentrate on his manly duties. Overall Rating: Thumbs Down.
  • Clinic #2: Same clinic. Different office. This one was a little bit better and he was a bit more prepared for what to expect. He proudly relayed that he did his duties in record time and was out the door before the morning traffic started to back up. Overall Rating: Thumbs Up.
  • Clinic #3: This was for our first IVF cycle. Again, similar materials...DVDs and magazines. He gave me a more detailed account of the materials at this clinic. Seeing as we live in the Bay Area and we have a diverse community, the DVD selection reflected the "equal opportunity" sentiment and thus included everything from "Asian Babes" to "Hispanic Hotties." Doc liked the fact that they were so nondiscriminatory and catered to the broad tastes of their clients, so he gave this clinic a Thumbs Up!
  • Clinic #4: This one made Doc go "huh?". And, once he relayed his report back to me, I was a bit puzzled, too. They seemed to cater to the Asian Persuasion. As in everything, all materials, were Asian-centric and the room was actually named....The Zebra Room with name plate and matching zebra decor. Now, I know that our area of the country has it's fair share of Asians, but I'm not sure that having only Asian materials really does it for every man. But, then I started to think, perhaps, they have themed rooms because they have specific materials for each room. Zebra Room -- Asians; Tiger Room -- Caucasian; Gazelle Room -- Hispanics...you get the picture. But, then how do they know which room the man would prefer? Do they go by the race of the wife? The race of the man? Or just the vibes that the man gives? All in all, very strange and a bit too overboard...Just give the man a room, a porno mag, and a cup. MY rating: Thumbs Down.
  • Clinic #5: Well, this one was also a bit weird. Doc compared it to a scene from Mission Impossible. He was told to go downstairs to the basement, using the elevator and then to pick up the phone from the wall. The person on the phone would then meet him and direct him to "the room," where he would complete his mission. He was then told to call again to confirm the completion of the mission. As for the materials, Doc was a bit disappointed about the selection. Their commitment to diversity was sorely missing (obviously, not the Bay Area) and he was not very impressed with their magazine selection. Overall Rating: Thumbs Down.
Hopefully, this next round will be his final tour of duty and he'll be able to retire. He's been a trouper and I appreciate his willingness to sacrifice for the cause. :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

11 Days and Counting

Less than 2 weeks until we leave for our South America vacay. I'm pretty excited about visiting SA, but Doc is beyond excited. This will be my first time to South America and Doc's second time (he's been to Peru and Venezuela).

We'll be leaving on Saturday the 13th and staying until December 1st. We fly from SFO to Miami, where we have a overnight stay (we did this to break up the long ass flight) and then from there we fly non-stop to Buenos Aires. Even with the layover, the travel time will be long and painful, but to make myself feel better, I always compare my flight times to when we went to South Africa...Hands down, the most painful 48 hours.

Doc loves to plan vacations, so we rarely ever do the typical "canned" tourist itinerary. He books all our plane flights, hotels, activities, everything...He even packs my passport for me so all I need to do is pack my clothes! This time we're starting out in Buenos Aires, Argentina and then flying down to the southern part of Argentina, to Patagonia where we'll spend several days hiking.

Since Patagonia is very close to Antarctica, we'll be hiking on glaciers and the weather will be pretty chilly. One of the highlights of our trip will be going to El Calafate. Supposedly, it's one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Argentinian Patagonia.


Our next stop after Patagonia will be Uruguay to visit Iguazu Falls, one of biggest waterfalls in the world. I'm not sure if I'm going to do this, but supposedly, you can take a raft/boat very close to the base of the waterfall and experience it up close, in person. I'm not sure if I'm brave enough for that.


And then, lastly, we'll spend the final days of our vacation in Brazil. Lying on the beach, relaxing until it's time to come home and get back to reality.

Hopefully, this will give me the break I need from all the TTC stress and leave me refreshed to start IVF #3 in January!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Flip Side Of Life

My life revolves around IF 90% of the time, but the other 10% of the time is spent thinking about other things, most notably, selling our current house and moving. This has been a major goal for both Doc and I since we got married. At first it was because we wanted to move into a better neighborhood with better schools for our soon-to-be children (insert mock laughter here), but now, it's just to get our of our 'hood.

Not that our 'hood is all that bad. It's a tract house in a relatively new development, but like a lot of new housing developments, the quality of the residents have gone downhill since Doc bought the place back in 2002. Many of the homes have foreclosed and the new neighbors are not all that friendly nor are they very considerate of their fellow residents. Add that to the fact that although the house is a comfortable 1700 sq ft most of that space is in the 4 bedrooms, of which, we only use 2 and the remainder of the house (i.e., kitchen, living room, dining room) is pretty small and can fit a max of about 10 adults comfortably. And then lastly, there is NO backyard. This was a plus when Doc was living by himself, a lazy bachelor with better things to do on the weekends than prune a yard, but now, we'd like to spend a nice evening BBQ with friends and family, but have no where to do it!

But, wait that's not all! We also have a condo that is currently underwater...My condo, the one that I proudly owned when I was living single. The one that I now regret even thinking about buying. *sigh*

So, with that, we have two properties with mortgages totaling over $800K that are both underwater. We'd like to move into a neighborhood further in the 'burbs that has nice, wide tree-lined streets and friendly neighbors. We've saved quite a bit of money, but not enough to put down 20-30% on a new house AND also pay off whatever mortgage (the amount currently underwater) we'd have remaining on our house and our condo after selling them because God knows we wouldn't get what we paid.

I know I shouldn't complain, but sometimes you just have to. I keep telling Doc that maybe we should consider leaving the Bay Area and move to Nebraska or Illinois or anywhere else besides the Bay because everywhere else (with the exception of NYC) is probably cheaper. But, then I think about the weather (I HATE humidity) and I think about leaving family and I think about living where you can't find a good taco truck to save your life and forget about eating Ethopian food or dim sum or never getting a good bowl of pho and I realize that I should just shut up because I'm never leaving.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Those Genes Look Great On You!

One of the fancy services that CC.RM offers is PGS, otherwise known as Preimplantation Genetic Screening. This type of screening counts chromosomes and tests for certain genetic conditions, thereby confirming whether or not your embryos are chromosomally normal.

So, under this umbrella term of PGS, there are more specific types of testing, like FISH, CCS, and microarray. FISH typically screens for 9 chromosomes and is done on Day 1 after the retrieval (some clinics do this test on Day 3). A small sample of the embryo is taken, tested, and then if the results are normal, the embryos are transferred during that cycle.

CCS, the other testing that CC.RM does, is much more comprehensive. The testing is done on all 23 chromosomes, with the sample taken from the embryo on Day 5 after the retrieval (the embryos must make it to blastocysts for the test to occur). The embryos are then frozen and you wait anywhere from 2-4 weeks for the test results. The transfer is done as a frozen embryo transfer typically about 8 weeks after the retrieval.

Genetic testing is usually recommended for those couples who are either older than 37, have had multiple failed IVFs or who have had multiple miscarriages. Although Dr. S did not recommend this for us, Doc and I are almost positive that we'll go through with it. Our reasons are:

1) We'll be able to determine if this is an egg quality issue. If we get no normal embryos, this will probably be our last IVF cycle.
2) Success with CCS testing is above 70% (considering the group that typically uses CCS testing, this is awesome).
3) Many times your best looking embryos are not your chromosomally normal embryos, so if we have more than two embryos that survive, we want to know which ones will win the Darwinian race.

Alright, so enough of the science lesson for today.

I'm anxious to get this show on the road! Hopefully, with our South American vacay and the holidays coming up, the days will fly by until January.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Year of the Rabbit

I know this is going to sound like a whole lot of hocus-pocus and I wasn't going to write this because, ya know, who wants to sound like an old superstitious Asian lady, but what the hell...I'm already half-way there.

About 6 months into our TTC ordeal, I started seeing a Korean acupuncturist. At one of my sessions, he asked me questions about when I was born, when Doc was born, what time we were born, etc.. At the end of the questioning, he told me that we'd most likely have a baby in the year of the rabbit. Now, at that time, it was July 2009 and the year of the rabbit is 2011. I nearly flipped my lid! He was telling me that I had to wait 2 years for a baby.

Well, low and behold, 2011 is right around the corner and I can't help, but think if that prediction is true. Now he didn't say whether we'd conceive or birth in 2011, but our IVF is scheduled to start in mid-late January 2011, so retrieval would be early-mid February and transfer could be anytime after that depending on whether we do the chromosome testing or not. Lunar New Year is February 3, 2011.

I hate to think I've become *gasp* my mother, by believing in this stuff, but who knows? I've got to have some kind of hope to hold on to. At the very least, it's sort of interesting that I've come full circle and here I am facing 2011 and still no baby.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Welcome ICLW!

It's been awhile since I've joined ICLW. I confess that I needed a break from the blogs and the comments, but I'm back!

I'll start with an introduction to my journey and where I'll be headed in the next few months. Doc, my dear husband, and I have been married for three years and we've been TTC for almost 2 years. We spent our first year, just enjoying our newlywed status and traveling to Europe and Africa. In February of 2009, we decided to ditch the BCPs and start trying for our family. Like most people, we assumed that I'd be knocked up in a matter of a few months, but as the days roll by I notice something strange...my periods are very, very light and my luteal phase is only 8-9 days.

I report this to Doc and he says to just wait, sometimes it just takes awhile and most doctors won't even see you until you've been trying for at least 1 year. This is not a good answer. So, I take matters into my own hands, email my Ob/Gyn and tell a little white lie about how long we've been trying. She's very responsive, orders a few tests and then gets me an appointment with the RE at the Big-K HMO. I pass the tests with no real concerns and begin clomid.

Our plan is to do three rounds of IUI. So we do our first cycle of clomid with a nice big follicle, but very, very thin lining and no IUI because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Second round is letrazole with IUI. Again, one good follie, lining is still thin, so we supplement with estrogen which doesn't help much. Result: BFN. Third round is also a letrazole cycle with IUI. This time around, it takes me a long time to respond to the meds and thin lining again. Result: BFN.

Doc and I discuss matters and decided that we should go directly to IVF. According to the RE, she thinks we'll get knocked up on the first try. So, off we go. Based on our reaction to the meds, the new RE puts me on a BCP with an antagonist cycle. Unfortunately, the BCPs oversuppress me and I take almost 18 days to stim. From there, we retrieve 10 eggs with only 3 mature and 2 that fertilize. We decide to do a 2-day transfer of those 2 embryos which results in a BFN. The doc says that this ratio of mature: immature eggs is really rare and thinks our lack of mature eggs is due to the oversuppression, so he suggests we ditch the BCPs and try again.

For IVF #2, we head to another RE and he places us on a EPP (estrogen priming protocol) with a MDL cycle. We get almost identical results. 10 eggs retrieved, 2 are mature, 1 fertilized and 1 transferred at day 3. The result is a BFN. This time the RE suggests that it's an egg quality issue and that we should look into donor eggs.

So, for our last ditch effort, Doc and I are taking out the big guns. We're headed to CCRM and hoping that they can work their magic on us. We had our consultation with Dr. S and we've done our one day work up, so now it's just a waiting game until Jan 2011 to begin our cycle. We're most likely doing an EPP-antagonist cycle with CCS (comprehensive chromosome screening). Also, based on his recommendation, I've been taking DHEA prior to my cycle to help with egg quality. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Back In the Saddle

Thank you to everyone for all your comments. I made it through the weekend without any more meltdowns and I'm back in the saddle again.

I spent most of this weekend reading about everything and anything associated with CC.RM. I don't think I mentioned this, but my RE at the Big K, told me the secret to CC.RM is their lab and more specifically, their embryologist, David Gard.ner. I guess, Scho.olcraf.t was able to lure DG all the way from Australia to work come and work for him. Prior to CC.RM, he did extensive research on animal embryos and used some of his knowledge and research from that on humans. He's also the one that first successfully did a blastocyst transfer and I guess all the embryo cultures that they now use in IVFs are all called Gard.ner something-or-other.

Anyway, I'm hoping that they'll be able to work they're magic on me.

The other part of my weekend was spent thinking about all the "what-ifs." What if we had gone directly to CC.RM after our failed IVF #1? What if we had started TTC immediately after we got married instead of waiting a year? What if this cycle doesn't work? What if an alien snatched my body and then was able to get pregnant?

So, now, after all that thinking and over use of my brain, I can barely function on this glorious Monday and I'm counting the minutes until I can get out of here. Oh, and AF is now here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

This Is My Life

I had to write again because I'm beyond frustrated and I'm mad. No, wait a minute...I'm FUCKING mad! I just don't get it. I want to go around screaming, "WHAT THE FUCK?! WHY IS THIS MY LIFE?"

At least give me a freaking answer...Endometriosis? Bad eggs? Too old? PCOS? But, this shit...Giving me a "great" cycle (four fucking mature eggs, a sperm count that according to the RE was "donor" material, an awesomely thick lining and a stellar ovulation) all to end in another BFN is almost more than I can take.

I'm so sick of it! I want a diagnosis. I want a fucking explanation. I just want out of this vicious circle of hope and pain.

I feel like I'm losing my mind.

Another BFN

Yes, I caved in and tested this morning even though I was supposed to wait until Sunday. I'm not surprised, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit disappointed. I think even though I knew that the likelihood of this IUI working was pretty low based on my other tries, there was a small part of me that thought, maybe, just maybe there would be a miracle.

Well, I guess the good news in all of this is that we don't have to cancel our trip to South America. We're leaving in one month and we'll be gone for a little over two weeks. We also have a cabin booked in Tahoe for the time between Christmas and New Years, so I'll be able to get in some last minute snowboarding before the our final IVF.

Between the IUI and prepping for the IVF, we've also been busily attending adoption seminars. Although there have been "threats" by the Korean government to halt all international adoptions by 2012, there hasn't been any real follow through, so most of the agencies I've talked to say that they're not worried. I guess the Korean government does this every few years, but never really follows through.

The unfortunate thing about adoption is that the entire process, even if it's done quickly still takes close to 1.5-2 years and anywhere from $20-$25K. The home study takes approximately 6 months. The wait for a match takes another 4-6 months (it may be a little bit shorter for us because we are of "Korean Heritage"). And then the longest and most painful part is the wait to travel and pick up your child, that takes 10-12 months, primarily because of all the logistics around immigration and visas.

I'm just hoping and praying that our IVF in Jan/Feb will work. I'm not sure how much more IF I can take.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Uber-Emo

Mondays are so difficult. It's just so hard to wake up and get going. Also, I think the progesterone is making things worse. I'm that much more groggy and just not feeling pleasant in general.

At this moment, I'm also super emotional. Typically, I'm the exact opposite. I'm the type of person that never cries in movies. I detest chick flicks. I scoff at others when they weep over a sad story and tell them to grow some cojones. But, last night I was watching 60 Minutes and they did a story on Nelson Mandela with excerpts of letters that he wrote while in prison. The letters were so strong and wise and sad...And before I knew it, I was tearing up.

I'm 7dpiui, so I have another week to go. I have another appointment scheduled with my RE today. I don't quite know what she's looking for, but she told me to come in 7dpiui, so I'm going in. Anyone have any clue as to why she'd want to do another ultrasound on me 7dpiui?

As for testing, I'm not all that excited by it. Actually, I'm dreading it. I really don't want to see another single lined test. It such a crappy feeling and I'd like to avoid it at all costs. So, I'm hoping that AF will just show her head and I can avoid having to take "the test."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dawn of the Dead

I feel like a zombie today -- straight out of a George Romero movie. Have I ever mentioned that I love zombie movies? Anyway, that's another story for another time. Today's topic is my ovaries.

Why do I feel like a zombie, you ask? Well, because I got very little sleep last night due to my ovaries cramping like a mofo. I have no makeup on and right now, I'm trying to figure out what my purpose is for the day (other than venting to you good folks).

The reason for the cramping? I had four nice, big juicy follicles which I think ovulated all at once. I did my trigger on Sunday morning and the IUI on Monday morning. At the time of the IUI, the right side was 21mm and the left side had three at 19.2, 20.6, and 22. With a lining of (drum roll, please): 9.1 without any estrogen supplements.

By far this has been my best cycle. I've never had a lining that thick without additional help and I've never reacted so well to the meds (even during my IVF cycles). Doc and I have been trying to figure out why, and we think it might be the combination of me eating more (I'm finally up to 1,800 calories/day) and the DHEA and maybe the herbs prescribed by my acu.

Whatever it is, I'm glad that something is happening in the right direction. Both Doc and I don't have high hopes for this cycle, but we are happy that we went for it because now we know that something I'm doing is working, so we just keep doing like we're doing.

Now, if I could just get through these cramps, I'd be a happy camper.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Crap...

I'm so pissed! Where do I even start?!

Ok, so the story goes like this. CCRM requires that we do a CD 3 blood draw and send them the frozen sample (overnight, packaged in dry ice) so that they can do the tests in their labs. Which is fine with me. However, Doc insisted that (to save a bit of money) we not use their package, which came with the shipping paid for and the dry ice, but create our own package.

So, I agreed and we spent several hours calling all over town to find out no one, no where sells dry ice. We end up giving in and purchasing a dry ice shipping package online from a separate retailer. So far, so good.

CCRM provides us with detailed instructions on how to do the blood draw and how to separate the SERUM from WHOLE BLOOD. Mind you, I think that serum and whole blood are the same thing.

Doc and I go through the painstaking process of making sure the dry ice is ok and that the packaging is secure and everything will stay frozen because CCRM will not accept the sample if it has melted. We rearrange our freezer to make room for the blood. Doc talks to the Big-K phlebotomists to make sure they can do the draw for us and centrifuge the blood (as directed).

Alright, so on CD 3, I make my way down to the lab. I get the blood drawn, centrifuged in red-capped tubes (just like the instructions say). I carry the precious cargo in a cooler back home, freeze it and then we package it up the next day to ship overnight to CCRM.

The next morning I call CCRM and find out that we f***ing did it wrong. They want the serum only, separated in its own separate tube with the rest of the crap thrown away. Not knowing the difference between serum and whole blood, Doc and I thought separating and keeping them in the same tube was all that was needed.

Now, we have to do this all over again. M****f*$&er.

Monday, September 27, 2010

15!

First, I want to give a huge hug and a happy dance to Sienna from It's Baby Time. I'm so happy for her and she's given me hope!!

Ok, on to my second piece of news...I have 15 follicles! I'm doing an IUI cycle right now as we wait to do our third round of IVF in January. So, I go in this morning for my CD 7 ultrasound after having taken letra.zole from CD 3 - CD 7 and I find out that I have 15 follicles growing with the largest at 14, 12, and 11. I have never (in any of my cycles) responded so well and so early. It took me completely by surprise. Unfortunately, my lining is pretty thin at 4.1, but they can always put me on estrodial and I respond ok to that.

So, something must be working! Right now, I'm on 75mg of DH.EA and chinese herbs, and I've increased my caloric/fat intake. So, I'm thinking that one or all of the above must have contributed to my better response.

Now, I'm not getting my hopes up by any means, but I am happy that things are going in the right direction and I hope they stay that way, so when IVF #3 comes around I'll also be lucky enough to get 15 nice follies.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Q&A

Sienna from It's Baby Time has bestowed me with the honor of a Q&A chain letter. Since I always think it's fun to find out about bloggers, I thought I'd torture you with some facts about moi.

(1) what is your dream occupation?

Without a doubt, I have two dream occupations and they're sort of related. I would be a professional snowboarder. Travel all over the world to different places, shoot Warren Miller films, and spend my days snowboarding in fresh powder. Which leads me to my second dream job, to work for a travel company or travel magazine which pays me go anywhere in the world. That would be the life!

(2) what is the best dish that you can cook?

Well, I enjoy baking more than I enjoy cooking, so I'd say that the best thing that I make is a stawberry cream cake...sort of like the ones that you buy in the Asian bakeries. It's like a sponge cake with very light, fluffy frosting and lots of fruit. I also make a mean pumpkin cheesecake.

(3) have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper? what for?

Once. At the age of 4, I was in a local parade and had my picture taken for the local newspaper.

(4) what's the worst and/or most memorable job you've ever had?

OMG...where to start? I've had so many jobs, but probably the most memorable was my summer job before my senior year in high school. I worked at a marine theme park in the guest services booth. We handled everything from customer complaints to lost children. I got paid $4.25/hour and discovered that my strengths did not lie in customer service.

(5) when you were a teenager, at what age did you envision yourself getting married? how old were you in reality when you got married?

I really had no "visions" regarding marriage nor did I have a personal timeline. I guess I just sort of assumed that I'd be married by 27 (that's when my mom got married) and I'd have children sometime after that. In reality, I got married at 32, and now, here I am at 35.

(6) what's your most hated household chore? what's your favorite?

I hate cleaning the bathtub/shower because it's such a pain in the ass. It's unwieldy, my backaches after bending over and I always, always end up soaked. Luckily, early on in our marriage, Doc and I agreed we'd have someone come every couple of weeks to clean our house. Saves our sanity, time and marriage.

(7) what's your earliest memory?

I have a terrible memory, so probably my earliest memory is when I was about 4 years old and visiting relatives in Korea. I remember my grandparents' house, my cousins, and vaguely remember eating lots of chocoloate.

I'm not sure how many blogs I'm supposed to pass this along, too, but I hereby bequeath Geo Chick at Adventures of a Dam Engineer with this Q&A chain letter.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Other Option

Can you believe it?! This is post 101. I never realized that I had that much to say about any topic and yet, somehow I managed to write one hundred and one posts.

Well, this calls for a celebration, so the topic of this post is not about IVF, but about "the other option." For Doc and I, that is adoption. I'm not sure if a year ago I would have given this another thought, but now that I'm going on IVF #3, this option is a very real reality.

We've attended a couple of sessions hosted by homestudy agencies in our area that specialize in international adoption. During these sessions, we learned a lot about the adoption process and all the details involved. The basic details are that it'll cost anywhere from $20K - $30K and can take anywhere from 12-36 months. There are several parties involved in an international adoption: the homestudy agency, the placing agency, the government, and us. Since we're looking only at Korea, we would also have to pass all the country specific restrictions.

So, how did we get here? I think both Doc and I realized that we needed to have a back-up plan in case this IVF #3 did not work. Although both of us would love to have a biological baby, we both agree that even more than that we want a family and we want to enjoy that family while we're still relatively young.

The other factor is both the emotional and economic tolls that IVF takes on you. I'm not sure if we're willing to go through it again if this IVF cycle doesn't work. We're not ruling out #4, but it's definitely not a given.

So all this being said, knowing that we have a "back up" plan, gives me a partial peace of mind and gives me hope that maybe in 2011, we'll have a +1 one way or another.

Another CD 1

So, where should I start? Lots of things have been going on. Some that are ok, others that are not so ok. But, let's start with the ok news.

It's CD 1 and I'm ok with that because I knew that this cycle would be a no-go. I had my hysteroscopy on CD 10 of my last cycle and since I wasn't allowed to have any type of babymaking for one week after, I knew there was very, very little chance that I'd be knocked up. So, along with this CD 1 comes a fresh cycle to try, yet again, and this time we're doing an IUI cycle with letra.zole and meno.pur. I know the chances of this working are slim (if that), but there's still a bit of hope.

In addition to the IUI blood work that I have to do, I'm also doing some CD 3 blood work for CCRM and since they require that they do the testing, I've got to freeze my blood in my freezer (right next to the ice cream and frozen pizza) and then ship it off to them with dry ice. I don't know how I feel about having my blood in my freezer, seems sort of...well, unhygenic and biohazardous and just plain gross, but what can you do. I'll just add it to the evergrowing list of shit I had to do to get pregnant.

Ok, so on to the not-so-ok stuff...My SIL is pregnant with baby #2, she has officially lapped me twice and she got pregnant while she was still breastfeeding. This is my SIL, who is married to Doc's younger brother and although I'm happy that I'll have another nephew/niece to spoil, it still glaringly emphasizes the fact that I am INFERTILE. I know everyone in Doc's family is wondering why we're not pregnant (only his older bro knows about our IF treatment) so the fact that my SIL is pregnant just brings this question up to the forefront. Sucks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Another Day, Another Test

After having 2 IVFs, you would think that I would have had every possible test done related to sex hormones, but no, there are still more and more!

Any of you ladies ever have a mammogram? I had my first one day last week since CC.RM requires all patients, ages 35+, to have a mammogram. It's terrible. Not really painful, but very awkward and just all around, a pain in the ass. And then to top it off, all the techs were confused as to why a 35 year old was getting a mammogram, so they had to confirm with a few supervisors on whether it was ok to go ahead with the x-rays. Good news was that everything was a-ok.

Second test was to check my AMH levels. Suprisingly, out of all the tests that I've had done, I haven't had this done yet. So, blood was drawn and my levels were tested and I came back with a 0.8. According to a few sites, average starts at 1 and 0.8 is low-average which corresponds with all my other tests and my AFC. So, no big surprise there. Basically, the number is supposed to tell you how fertile you are, similar to FSH.

So far, things have been going pretty smoothly. Doc and I have been pretty happy with Dr. S and CC.RM, in general. However, (there's always a however) I'm not too thrilled with our nurse. She's very friendly and responsive, but I don't think she really thinks thoroughly before responding to us and she doesn't seem to know anything beyond what's "in-the-manual." In the couple of times we've talked to her, she's provided us with the wrong info and we've had to follow-up and ask if she could double-check. Doc has suggested that we request a different nurse, but I'm willing to work with her for a couple more months and if the mistakes still occur.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Updates!

My apologies, again, for my long hiatus. There really hasn't been much going on with ART for the past couple of months, so I've been trying to place the focus on other areas of my life.

Well, anyway, you're not here to read my excuses for being a delinquent blogger and I am here to provide details! Over the Labor Day weekend, Doc and I headed out for four fun-filled days in Denver. Our trip to CCRM was turned into a mini-vacay, so we spent one day going to the Taste of Colorado festival and touring downtown Denver. Then on Sunday, we went to Mt. Evans and drove the highest paved rode in North America. And, on Monday, we hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park. By far, the highlight of those three days was the hike in RMNP. It's beautiful! Anyone going to CCRM, should really take the two-hour drive from Lone Tree and visit.

I have to say, the elevation in Denver kicked my butt! I was constantly dehydrated and hiking the short 4 mile trail had me weezing and panting. Not to mention, no matter how much lotion I slathered on my body, I still ended up with alligator skin. And to think, I thought the Bay Area was arid!

Anyway, for our last day in Denver, we did our one-day workup at CCRM. To say the clinic is big is an understatement. It's huge and they have their processes down! Our schedule was waiting for us as soon as we walked in and we started the day.

It was really impressive how smoothly everything went. The appointments were all on time and everyone was very helpful, friendly and professional. Our schedule was packed from 9am - 2:30pm with a 30 minute break for lunch. All the tests were run and everything came back clear! They even did a doppler to check the blood flow through each ovary.

We spoke with Dr. S at the very end of our day and he basically told us that we should think of this IVF as our "first" real IVF because the last two were like trial runs. He will be placing me on an antagonist estrogen priming protocol, starting the estrogen one full cycle before my IVF cycle. He's also looking at having me take DHEA to improve egg quality. Based on my issue with egg maturity, he'll also have me stim for an additional day or two AND give me a combo lupron-HCG trigger rather than just an HCG trigger.

CCRM also provides the ability to do genetic screening on your embryos. Doc and I will probably do this if we have more than 4 blastocysts, but that's getting way ahead of ourselves since we've never had more than 2 fertilized embryos.

After our trip, I have a wee bit of hope starting to grow. Between now and January, when we plan to do the IVF, I'll continue to go to acupuncture, take herbs and just prepare my body for our cycle. Keeping my fingers crossed that this is it!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Long Time No See

Yes, it's been a long time and I've been neglectful. My humblest apologies, but you see, there hasn't been much to write about. Since Doc and I are on a break and not doing any type of ART until probably the beginning of 2011, we've been on a slow boat to nowhere.

Unfortunately, this doesn't mean I haven't had any doctors appointments. On the contrary, I've actually been inundated with therapy appointments, acupuncture appointments, and blood tests. And IF has still been weighing heavily on our minds.

We have our 1-day workup with CCRM on Tuesday, Sept 7th, so we'll be flying out to Denver over the Labor Day weekend and checking out the town. At that time, I'll meet with Dr. S, do my bloodwork and get a hysteroscopy. Wow! Come to think of it, that's less than 2 weeks away! Where does the time go.

So, that's the latest...not much to see and not much to write about. I'll keep y'all posted on what comes out to the one-day!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Fear

Do you ever get that feeling where you're so scared that you don't even want to take the next step? You'd rather just stay in your current state of "unknown" than move on to what may be success, but also may be failure. That's about where I am right now.

This IF sh** has got me in such a state of anxiety that I'm not even sure if I want to move on to CCRM and IVF #3. I know we will end up doing the IVF #3, but a small part of me doesn't want to. That small part wants to live in a state of ignorant bliss.

Crazy talk, right? Just about as crazy as paying some random man $15K to snatch my eggs, sperminate them, and then shove them right back in, while I pray to every god from Jehovah to Vishnu that I'm knocked up. Sucks.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

CCRM

We talked to the big guns yesterday and had our first consultation with CCRM. Dr. Surrey was great! He was the first doctor that we've talked to that actually offered some concrete recommendations to our last two protocols. All the rest of the docs have had some "wishy-washy" recs that they said were worth a try, but really weren't anything different from what we had done during our last two IVF cycles. Dr. S had a sense of humor and was very friendly. He was upfront and honest with us, but at the same time provided a glimmer of hope.

So, to get down to the nitty-gritty of what he recommended:

- Antagonist cycle with estrogen priming
- Longer stim, an additional day or two past the typical 18mm lead follicle
- HCG trigger + lupron (so I guess some women do not respond well to HCG as a means of maturing the egg. Dr. S. has had some success in these situations by giving a dose of lupron in addition to the HCG)
- Possible addition of human growth hormone (I'm thinking this is saizen)

I'll be flying out to Colorado in the next month or two to do a one-day work up and also meet with Dr. Surrey. After that, we'll probably schedule IVF #3 for sometime in the beginning of 2011.

And more good news! I did another round of bloodwork this cycle and just got my results back...My FSH is 7.9, down from 23 last month and my estradiol is at 34. I really think that last month was a random fluke and/or a bad test or maybe my FSH was still high from the IVF meds. Whatever it was, I now know to wait one month after an IVF to test my hormone levels.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another Milestone

Man! Has it really been over a week since I last posted? My humblest apologies for being so delinqent. You see, there really hasn't been much to write about. Since we're going au naturale this time around I haven't had any doctor drama or office visits to complain about. My biggest challenge has been to increase my caloric intake and not offset that by (literally) exercising my ass off.

Although I've been steadily increasing my food, I still am not consuming the 2000+ calories that the nutritioninst is recommending. Yes, you read that correctly...2000+. How the hell am I supposed to consume that much?! I really don't know. I've already gained 5 lbs since we started doing IVF and am now up to 130lbs at 5'6" and have stayed pretty much the same for the past few weeks. I'm scared to death of what may happen if I increase my calorie consumption to 2000. I will say I do love one side effect of gaining weight -- I'm not cold!! I don't have to wear sweaters in the middle of summer. Hallelujah!

I guess I could count the birthday cake that I'll be having tomorrow to my 2000 calories. Yep, I'm turning the big 3-5. I sincerely thought I'd be a mother by now. I even had the gall to think that we might be trying for number 2 around this time. Everytime I think of that, I think of this quote by Woody Allen: "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans." Well, I've learned my lesson and I'm not planning for anything, but I am hoping that this year will be better than last.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And Life Goes On

Wow! Has it really been almost a week since I last posted? Sorry about the delay, but there really hasn't been that much going on in my life. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

I am excited to report, though, that I had my first meeting with the eating disorder therapist and things went well. I think the most enlightening thing she told me was that 85% of anorexics don't meet the weight criteria of the current anorexia diagnosis. That is, 85% are in the "normal" BMI range, but have all of the other symptoms (psychological and physiologcial) that are associated with anorexia. I guess based on what doctors know now, they are planning on changing the criteria for anorexia and removing the weight criteria.

And for the first time since I've gone off of BCPs, my little ovulation monitor shows that I am ovulating on CD 15!! I've always been a late ovulator, typically on CD18 or later. I'm not sure if it's a fluke or the herbs I've been taking or the fact that I'm eating more, but I have to think that it's a good thing.

So, where do I go from here? Well, I'm meeting with a nutritionist and then with the therapist again. I'm slowly, but surely making progress and I'm hoping that this will help in some way with my IF. I'm not going to hold my breath and assume that this is going to cure everything, but I know it can't hurt.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Back To Square One

I've come full circle and I'm back where I was almost one year ago. Back at my original RE who did my IUIs and my HSG and the one who told me that Doc and I had a 99% chance of getting pregnant through IVF. HA! Yeah right!

I have this love/hate relationship with this doctor (I'll call her Dr. Curt). Love because I think she's very smart and knows her stuff. Hate because she's always in a rush and this makes her curt (hence her name) and I think her nurses/staff are a bunch of dimwits. She works at the same HMO as Doc and I sort of understand her predicament. She's the only RE on staff and so she does everything for everyone who has an infertility issue.

Let me give you some perspective on how overworked these doctors are. Currently, Doc sees 13 patients in the morning and then 13 patients in the afternoon. That's 26 patients in a day -- 20 minutes per patient. That doesn't include having to do all the paperwork, telephone calls and emails. And God forbid if there's a late patient or someone who may require more than 20 minutes. So, I try to give Dr. Curt a break.

Anyway, I met up with Dr. Curt yesterday and she asked me how things were going and I told her I've done 2 IVFs and no pregnancies. Not even a chemical. Her reaction: complete and utter surprise. She insisted that we should have gotten pregnant by now, particularly with the success rates of the 1st IVF center we went to (their success rates are above 50%), and with the fact that I had decent embryos transferred back.

Her thought is that there's something going on with implantation. Maybe my uterus or lining? So, she's scheduled me for a hysteroscopy for next cycle. At that time, I'm also doing a freakin' slew of blood tests...again. She's determined to get me pregnant. Has anyone ever had a hysteroscopy? From what I've read, it sounds very unpleasant to put it mildly.

As for other things going on in my life, I've changed acupuncturists. I'm now going to a Chinese woman who seems very nice and has a wall full of baby pictures and thank yous. She's given me some herbal pills which I googled and seem to be consistent with what's ailing me. I'm also taking the metformin which initially did a number on my stomach, but now seems to be ok.

And, finally, next week is my first appointment with the eating therapist. I'm actually dreading this. I've had therapist appointments in the past and they didn't go so well because I'm absolutely terrible at talking about feelings and emotions. This has sometimes been an issue of contention between Doc and I because when I get upset, he wants to talk about it immediately and address the issue. I just want to get control of my emotions, mull over them, and then once I feel like I can handle a discussion, then I'll discuss. I just hate being emotionally poked and prodded. Ugh...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Trials and Tribulations

I'm not sure if this is national news or if it's just been a local preoccupation, but in the Bay Area we're on high alert because of the Johannes Mehserle trial.

Doc was on-call until 11pm last night at the ER and he'll be on-call for most of the weekend. Our office sent out an email yesterday telling everyone to go home early and avoid Oakland. Everyone has been avoiding downtown Oakland and a lot of people who usually take BART (which is the "subway" system for the Bay Area) have opted to either not go to work or to take an alternative mode of transport.

It'll be a tense weekend and I'll probably skip my usual jaunt down to the Oakland Farmer's Market. I feel bad for the store owners and other businesses that will suffer due to the unnecessary violence.

On another note, I met with SI.RM yesterday and had a long discussion with Dr. G. He had a different perspective on my situation. He's of the opinion that my issue is a hormonal problem and not necessarily a protocol problem and that I need to address/treat the underlying hormonal problem. He basically said that with a good lab and maybe some changes in protocol, I could possibly get a few more mature eggs, however it wouldn't address the uterine issue (i.e., thin lining) which is also probably related to the underlying hormonal issue and probably causing implantation problems.

When I asked about donor eggs, his opinion was that it was far too soon to do donor eggs and even if I did do donor eggs, seeing as I may have a uterine problem, there's no guarantee that they would implant. He really thinks I should take some time to do additionally testing and find out if/what my underlying hormonal issues are.

So, that being said, I did a bit more research and it appears that a lot of my symptoms are related to eating disorders and nutrition. Adding to that list, I'm now including low DHEA. I just got my tests back and I'm on the borderline/low end of normal. Low DHEA, low estrogen, low libido, fatigue, insulin resistance, bloating, constipation, light/no periods, low heart rate (my resting heart rate is below 50), very low blood pressure, always cold...It's all there.

Amazingly and strangely enough, I've actually LOST weight since I've stopped exercising and eating more. It's seems so counterintuitive, but the scale shows a loss of 4 lbs! It's really hard to believe. I've been making a conscious effort to eat when my body says it's hungry and not ignore the hunger pains. Prior to this, I would just drink a ton of water or go exercise and typically that would suppress the hunger.

Unfortunately, I think there's still a lot of work to be done because I still have this mindset of what/how much I can eat. It's just so hard to overcome and even though I've increased my food intake, I'm still not sure if it is enough. Am I full or am I just "mentally" full? I know that may sound strange, but I'm really having difficulties with it. I've led a certain lifestyle for so long, I think it's going to take a long time to undo the damage.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Tests Results

Sorry, I couldn't think of a more interesting post title, although I was going to put "Going Insane." That about sums up what I'm feeling...

So I requested a bunch of tests from my ob/gyn and because I'm so impatient, I requested them done now instead of waiting a month and waiting for my hormones to normalize after this IVF cycle. What news did I get?

LH: 5.7
Estradiol: 36
Testosterone: still waiting

But the kicker...My FSH came out to be 23!! WTF! I have to imagine (hope) that this is because my hormones still haven't calmed down after all the injections. I've done the FSH test twice and the results have been 7 and 6. I can't believe that out of the blue it could skyrocket to 23!

And now for the encore kicker...my oral glucose tolerance testing level: 147! It should be below 120. My fasting glucose levels are normal, this shows diabetic levels. WTF?!

Sometimes it's just better off not knowing anything.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Something To Chew On

I just finished talking to NO.VA in Palo Alto. They're a very small IVF shop, but people had pretty good things to say about the docs and about the level of service and personal attention.

I have to say that the doctor was very nice and I heard a few very interesting things. First off, he thinks that I can get pregnant with my own eggs. And second, he's seen this immature egg issue before several times and interestingly enough it's only been in asian women. He even said that as soon as he saw my paperwork and my IVF results, he assumed that I was of asian decent.

His protocol change recommendations were to switch to microdose HCG, regular lupron protocol, no menopur until the very end of the stims, and lastly stim for an additional 1-2 days past the typical day that they would do the HCG shot. He said that some women just have eggs that need to be stimmed a little longer.

Now, I'm not sure that I would end up going to this clinic, but talking to the doctor really put my mind at ease. As of now, I have 2 docs saying that there's still hope and only 1 doc saying it's time for DE. I have two more appointments to go, one with SIRM and another with CCRM, so I'm hoping that I'll hear good things back from them.

As for my other issue...I definitely ate more this weekend! For example, yesterday I ate a bowl of cereal for breakfast and then for lunch/dinner I ate 5 ribs, some grilled veggies, half a cup of macaroni salad, some cherries, and a few cheese and crackers. That's a lot of food! :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thank you!

I'm doing ok...Well, as good as can be considering the results. But as with all bad things, I realize that I can't dwell on this and I have to move on.

And I will move on, thanks to all of you and your kind words. When I started this blog, I had no idea what a huge part of my life it would become and all the wonderful, fabulous women I would meet. Sometimes I'm amazed how we even make it through each day. If I could, I'd go visit each and everyone of you and give you a huge, gigantic hug.

My next step will be to address my eating disorder (it feels so weird to write/say that). I've lived this way for so long, I don't know any other way to live. Every media outlet tells you, eat more veggies and fruit, eat less carbs and fat and exercise more. That's what I did. I just don't understand how they can say that and then tell me what I'm doing is wrong. I guess this is where the nutritionist and counselor come in to play.

I'll also be doing acupuncture and taking herbs. I'm meeting with a new TCM(traditional chinese medicine) doctor next week and I'm sure she'll have a lot to tell me.

And then lastly, I'll have to deal with my mother. She's coming back from Korea next week and I'll have an earful to deal with. Not only will I get to hear her opinion, but I'll also get to hear the opinion of all my Korean relatives (which she will tell me in detail) and all the anecdotal stories about so-and-so's daughter and how she got pregnant by obeying her Korean mom and eating tons of miyuk gook (seaweed soup). Patience is a virtue...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

BFFN

There's not much more I can say...

Food for Thought

I'm still waiting on the results of my beta, but I'm 99.9% sure that it's going to come back negative.

In the meantime, I've been doing a lot of research and a whole lot of soul-searching. I've mentioned in my previous posts that I think I have an eating disorder. It's always been in the back of my mind, but I never addressed it because I didn't fit the "typical" profile of being bulimic or anorexic.

For the past 8+ years, I have restricted my daily calorie intake to be between 1,000-1,200 calories. If I knew I was going to be having dinner with friends, I'd skip lunch so that I could eat "normally" at dinner or do an extra few miles on the treadmill. I would go to bed hungry, sometimes 4-5 nights/week. Up until about 8 months ago, my daily meals would be: one small bowl of fiber cereal (150 calories); salad with only veggies and no dressing (300 calories); small dinner usually chicken, veggies, brown rice (500-600 calories). In addition, I would exercise for a minimum of 1-2 hours 5 days/week.

After doing research on the internet, I realized that you don't have to be 5'5" and 100lbs to have an eating disorder AND that I had many of the symptoms associated with it. I have incredibly scant periods, low estrogen, bloating, brittle nails (for awhile my toe nails were falling off), thinning hair/hair loss, dark undereye circles, joint pain and chronic fatigue.

What's amazing is that no one has ever noticed...After eight years and two years of being married to a doctor, you would think that someone might take notice, but I guess I was pretty good at hiding it. Most of my meals are eaten at work and no one ever questioned my eating habits.

After the results of my last IVF retrieval and information from the internet, I finally decided to talk to Doc about it. It completely caught him by surprise and it was incredibly difficult for us. I'm such a terrible communicator and all I wanted to do was curl-up and disappear, but I made it through. Doc asked a lot of questions and we had a long, in-depth talk. He told me that there are many fully-functioning women with eating disorders. He also recommended that I talk to a nutritionist and a counselor.

The counselor is actually a good friend of Docs and when he spoke to her about me, she said that 25% of unexplained infertility cases are related to eating disorders and most of these women never disclose this to their REs! There are several studies that show the exact same thing.

The reason I'm writing all of this is because if there are other women out there with similar issues, please get help. Your RE will probably never ask if you have an eating disorder, so it's up to you to be your own advocate and make things happen for you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pathetic

I'm really embarrassed to admit this, but since I've written about all sorts of things here, I might as well go the full 9 yards and confess...I POAS when I knew the HCG shot was still in my system just so I could see what a positive stick looked like.

Is that seriously pathetic or what? I just wanted to see if I could really make a stick turn positive and see those two little lines even when I knew that those two little lines were false. I'm seriously losing it, right? This is what IF has turned me into.

I go in for my beta on Thursday and I don't think I'm going to test before then. I'm 99.9% sure it'll be negative. I don't have any symptoms, nothing, nada, not even a twinge of boob soreness, bloating, headaches, or nausea.

Doc and I have talked a bit about our next steps if this doesn't work. I've scheduled consultations with SI.RM, CC.RM, NO.VA (another clinic in our area), and I recently emailed our old RE (Dr. P) who actually thinks that we can get pregnant with my eggs and says not to give up. With all these consultations, I hope we'll get some answers that will help us decide where to go.

Most likely our next cycle will be in early 2011. I'll spend the next 6 months doing acupuncture and herbs (hopefully to improve egg quality), taking metformin and possibly doing one or two IUI cycles. I've also talked with Doc about reducing my hours here at work and taking some time to decompress. Although, my job isn't stressful, I think I might benefit from reducing the workload.

But, in the meantime, I'm still counting the minutes until doomsday...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Throw Me A Bone

I'm back at work and all I've been doing is surfing the web for anything that I can find on improving egg quality. It seems that each doctor and each clinic has their own opinions. Even my mom (who is in Korea right now) has chimed in with her two cents worth.

My mother is trying to convince me that I need to leave Doc for three months, live in Korea, take herbs and then do IVF at a clinic there. My cousin is a big-wig ob/gyn at one of the hospitals in Seoul and so knows some other big-wig RE at Maria IVF (the first clinic in Korea to do IVF), and supposedly, my cousin has guaranteed my mother that I will get pregnant if I do IVF in Korea.

Now, although I'd love to buy into this guarantee I have a hard time swallowing this gigantic, cockamaymie, crap-filled pill. Not only does this does this not make me feel any better right now, but it bugs the living crap out of me. I need reasonable, honest, helpful advice, not more shit-based rhetoric on how advanced Korea is and how things are just better if I do it out there. For god's sakes, what the hell would I do out there for 3 months?! I barely speak the language, I don't have any friends (other than my relatives who will all be in my business), and I'll be away from Doc! I have a hard enough time talking to the doctors here with all the medical jargon, let alone having to do it in Korean...Freakin' a.

On another note, I feel absolutely no symptoms. My nipples o' fire are now only smoldering because the HCG is almost out of my system and other than a few period like cramps, I'm feeling pretty much the same. I don't have very high hopes for next week's beta.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

On the Slow Boat To Insane...

That's what I'm riding right now. I feel like I'm one step away from full blown breakdown.

I'm supposed to be relaxing and thinking positive thoughts, but all I can do is think about Dr. Zed and his f***ing donor egg comment. I'm pissed, sad, hopeless, frustrated, and so, so confused. I understand that he was being completely honest with me and not getting my hopes up, but damn, is this really it? Am I at the end of the line? Both times I tested my FSH, it was 6.8 and 7.6. Granted, not super awesome, but not bad either. The same goes for my antral follicle count. So, then what the hell? How can I be expected to throw in the towel with stats like that?

I mean, doesn't the fact that my periods are super light and I have very low estrogen levels change anything? Can't there be something done to adjust for the low hormones? He hasn't even made an attempt to even look at that. No one's tested my testosterone levels or my LH levels. Couldn't those provide some insight as to why my eggs are immature and then maybe we could find some sort of solution?

I've already spent hours upon hours searching the internet for information. I'm almost positive that I have oligomenorrhea, the term used to describe infrequent or very light menstruation in a woman with previously normal periods. It usually occurs in women with PCOS and may be caused by an eating disorder and/or excessive exercise. Could it be that this has been/is my problem? But, if this is why I'm not getting pregnant, why didn't anyone see this before? Have I spent the last 2 years doing useless procedures?

I know some of this is my fault...actually, maybe a lot of it is my fault. See, I've never openly told anyone about my "food/exercise issues." I'm not even sure if that's what it is. How do you get diagnosed with an eating/exercise disorder? When do you know you have one? I always thought that you only had it if you were 105lbs and 5'7" (like the women you see coming out in special Oprah segments).

It seems so hard to discern what is "healthy" living and what is a disorder? I always assumed the more you exercise, the better, right? I mean, that's what the government says: eat lots of vegetables and very little fats and carbs and exercise every day. That's what I did. And, the only people I know that have eating disorders are either stick skinny or throw up after every meal (neither of which I am/do). Is this why the doctors didn't see it either?

I'm sorry this is just a slow ramble. I'm just so confused right now. And the cherry on top: Doc wants this to be the last IVF cycle. So, this will be it. It's all or nothing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Dreaded 2WW

I went in for my transfer yesterday and I got some really bad news and a little good news.

The bad news first. Dr. Zed reviewed the results of this cycle and last cycle and the fact that both resulted in a high percentage of immature eggs leads him to believe that there's something inherently wrong with the quality of my eggs. His recommendation was to look into using donor eggs and although I respect his opinion, this is a really hard pill for me to swallow. I'm going to get another opinion at SI.RM in Sacramento and also probably do a phone consult with CC.RM.

There are a few things that I know after doing hours of research over the last few days. 1) I have very low estrogen levels throughout my cycle, hence, my thin lining, very light periods, and low estradiol value of 32 on CD 3, and 2) low estrogen can cause immature eggs. Scouring through the different message boards, I've found a few women in the same situation as me have their doctors prescribe them metformin even though they do not have PCOS.

Actually, I toyed with this idea in the very beginning of my IF journey, but a lot of the literature I read said that you had to be overweight and have cysts (hence, the "C" in PCOS). However, I didn't realize until now that lean PCOS can manifest itself in different ways and can be caused by other things. You don't necessarily need to have cysts or be overweight, the main factor is the hormonal imbalance of excess testosterone and reduced estrogen and possibly some insulin sensitivity.

Way back in 2001, I went on this highly restricted calorie diet and started to exercise excessively. I monitored my calorie intake and made sure it was always between 1100-1300 calories/day plus I exercised anywhere from 2-3 hours/day (once in the morning and once in the evening). I wanted to be skinny, really skinny. And it worked for awhile, but then I noticed that I started to gain weight and around my stomach and my periods started to get really, really light. Since then, my body has changed dramatically. I gain weight around my stomach (which I never did before) and my periods have always been really light (think: pantyliners for 2 days).

Up until I got married, I sort of maintained this diet/lifestyle, albeit a bit less extreme, but still calorie restricted and lots of exercise. I really think that my lifestyle has caused a hormonal imbalance. I haven't had my testosterone tested, so I'm not sure what that is, but I have some of the symptoms that have been listed for lean PCOS including hair loss/thinning, difficulty in losing weight, oily skin/acne, and irregular periods.

Ok, sorry this is getting so long, but what this led me to believe was that maybe the addition of metformin will help. All of the women on that board said that they had better egg quality with metformin. So, if this cycle doesn't work, I've already discussed with Dr. Zed about putting me on metformin.

Alright, so on to the somewhat good news...our 7-cell embryo, the only one that made it, had turned into a morula by the time we had a transfer. So, we had one 3-day morula to transfer. Typically, embryos are morulas by day 4 or 5, so the fact that this little guy had already grown to a morula is a good sign. We're hanging on for dear life to the one hope that our little bean makes it. PLEASE!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Again!

FML! I should've posted this yesterday, but it took me awhile to digest and process the news...again.

I got the fert report Saturday morning and we got the exact same results as last time. Ten eggs retrieved of which 3 are mature of which 1 fertilized and 1 possibly fertilized. How the fuck does this happen twice in a row?! Completely different protocol, completely different doctor/clinic, exact same results? Even if we wanted to duplicate the results, there's no way it would've been this close.

I don't know what to do now. We're going in for our 3 day transfer tomorrow morning. At least we have one embryo, although I'm not sure what the quality is and we may have a second one. We get a chance to talk with Dr. Zed tomorrow before the transfer to discuss the results. I guess we'll ask him the WTF happened.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ugh!

Just wanted to give a quick update on the retrieval now that I'm back up. The good news is that Dr. Zed harvested 10 eggs (7 on the right, 3 on the left). The bad news is that the recovery from the retrieval hasn't gone so well.

I'm finally up and running, but it's been a tough battle back. I had severe nausea and much more cramping than my last retrieval. I threw up several times during the recovery and had to stay at the clinic for an additional 1.5-2 hours for monitoring. After leaving the clinic, Doc and I had lunch and unfortunately, I lost most of it on the drive back home (luckily, we had taken a plastic bag from the office for just that reason!).

Now, we're just waiting for tomorrow's call to hear how many of those eggs matured and fertilized. I'm praying that we have better results than last time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Countdown to Harvest Time

After waiting at Dr. Zed's for over an hour, I finally had my last ultrasound and E2 draw today. The numbers looked good. I have 4 follicles on my left side and 7 (possibly 8) on my right side. Of those 11 follicles (maybe 12), at least 4 of them are at 18-19mm. My E2 is at 1,747, which they told me matches up nicely with my follicles.

I'm scheduled for the retrieval at 9am on Friday morning and for the time-being I've stopped all meds. After the retrieval, I'll start up again on the heparin, baby aspirin, and progesterone. Interestingly enough, I'm not taking any estrogen after the retrieval or transfer. Last time, Dr. P had me on both the progesterone and 6mg of estradiol.

I've also ramped up my acupuncture sessions to twice a week and per Dr. Zed's orders, we've focused on suppressing the immune system.

I can't help but compare this cycle to my last and overall, things seem to be going a lot smoother (even Doc has mentioned this). Last time around I struggled immediately out of the starting gate with almost no follicle growth and no rise in E2 for the first 4-5 days of stims. Also, my lining was a bit on the low side, maxing out at 7.9-8mm. Let's hope that this is a good sign and everything will be better this cycle.

On a different note, talk about bruises! Holy cow! The heparin is really starting to kick-in and it's not a pretty sight. I guess no bikinis for me this summer. I'll have to post a belly pic for you. Such beautiful shades of blue and purple....

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bloated and Blah

That's how I feel right now. Very, very bloated. Yesterday night, though, was the worst. I seriously felt like I was retaining 10 gallons of water in my stomach and on top of that I had a headache and nausea. The freaking heatwave that we had yesterday definitely didn't help. I made Doc go out and buy me some Gatorade because I read it helps OHSS. I definitely know I don't have OHSS, but last night, I was so unhappy, I was willing to try anything.

Fortunately, something worked, whether it was the cool night temp or the Gatorade, but I went pee three times during the night and felt like a new woman when I woke up. Unfortunately, the bloating is starting up again and although I've drank 6 cups of water already today, I've only gone pee once. This is just miserable. I definitely wasn't this bad last time around. And let's not talk about the weight gain...I'm praying that it's all water.

On the positive side of things, I had another ultrsound with Dr. Zed this morning and all looks good. My lining has increased even further to a whopping 9mm!! I've never made it past 8 before, so I'm ecstatic! Right now, there are 7 follicles on the right and 4 follicles on the left with the largest being 15 and the smallest being 8.

Things are looking pretty good and the retrieval is scheduled for this Friday. I'll also being doing the intralipid transfusion at that time. Wish me luck!!

Oh, and have I mentioned how much I like Dr. Zed and his staff! They've been fantastic so far.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Progress!

Sorry if I've been MIA for the past few days, but there really wasn't much going on. I could've written some tirade about how stupid my boss is (that could've taken up several blogs) or how the government keeps its employees working in sweat-shop conditions (another full-time blog), but those are matters for another time.

Today I had my second ultrasound and E2 blood draw. So far, so good. I'm right on schedule and have 6 follicles on my right side and 4-5 on my left side (about the same count as last time). The biggest is an 10.7 on my left and the rest are ranging anywhere from 9-6mm. But, the best news...my lining is at an all-time high of 8.1 and trilaminar to boot! I don't think I've ever had such a beefy lining this early in my cycle. The estrogen seems to have worked!

So, I'm going back in on Monday for another ultrasound and if all looks well, the retrieval will be set for Thurs or Friday of next week. Med amounts have remained the same with the addition of hepa.rin beginning Monday which means that I'll have to prepare for some major bruising.

I have a bit more faith this cycle mainly because I'm right on track in terms of my progress. Last cycle, I stimmed for 14 days and lining was barely 8 on the very last day. So, we're making progress and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is all going to work out!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Just Along For The Ride

The fear is starting to kick in. What if this IVF doesn't work? Do we have it in us to do IVF #3...and #4...and #5? When do we stop? How long do we have to sneak around our families and friends? What do I do next?

I know I should be optomistic and think positive thoughts, but having one failure after another really doesn't allow for those thoughts. I am scared enough this time around that I've actually thought that maybe we should postpone this IVF. If this IVF doesn't work, particularly with Dr. Zed, what hope do I have left?

Last time around, Doc and I had discussed what we would do if IVF #1 didn't work and we both agreed that we would do IVF #2, but this time around we haven't discussed a back-up plan. I think it's a sign that both of us don't really know what to do if IVF #2 doesn't work. This scares the living bejeezus out of me because both Doc and I are super-planners and we hate not having back-up plans. To not have one means that: 1) we can't think of one, or 2) we don't want to think about our inital plan not working. Unfortunately, I think the reason is all of the above.

Since we haven't talked about a contigency plan, I don't know where Doc's head is at. I'm not sure if he's leaning towards another IVF or towards adoption, donor eggs, or living as DINKS, and to top it off, I'm not even sure what I'm leaning towards. I just hope that we're both leaning in the same direction. So far, our marriage has remained strong. Yes, we've had a few hormone-induced spats, but nothing that's done any major damage. But, I'm so scared about what would happen if he was dead-set on living as a DINK and I wanted to do IVF #3. Would we be able to work through that?

Also, our insurance coverage for IVF maxes out at $30K and we'll probably use it all by the end of this IVF, which means we won't have anything left for a possible IVF #3. While we're fortunate enough to have the additional money to be able to fund IVF #3 out-of-pocket, if necessary, I don't know if Doc would agree to this.

There just seems to be so many unknowns that have the potential of affecting our lives on such a significant level and yet, we have absolutely no control over anything. Sometimes I feel we're just along for the ride.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

At The Starting Line

Well, I am back from Puerto Rico and overall, it was a good trip. I wouldn't say great, but it was nice to get away from the office and relax.

Flights were on time and we had no real issues (we even got upgraded to first class). The resort was OK. Although it was ranked as a 5-star, I would say it was more of a 3-4 star resort. The lobby and restaurants were all very nice, however the rooms could've used an update.

But, I guess the main reason why the vacation was just OK, was the island itself. There's really not much to do. There aren't a whole lot of nice beaches, no real places to sight-see (other than old San Juan and the rain forest), diving was mediocre at best, and the food was just so-so. I wouldn't say it was a bad vacation, but I probably wouldn't make the effort to go again since it takes close to 10 hours to get to PR from CA. Both Doc and I decided if we want an easy U.S. beach vacation, we'll go to Hawaii.

One really cool thing that we did do was swim in a bioluminescent bay. In Puerto Rico, they have a couple of protected bays where bioluminescent plankton live. The plankton glow when they're disturbed, so as you swim, the water around you starts to glow and if you hold up the water in your hands, you can see the individual plankton glowing and it looks like flecks of glitter. Very, very cool.

Alright, now that I've finished my vacation summary, time to start writing about IVF #2. I had my baseline ultrasound and E2 levels taken yesterday. Everything looks good. No cysts, polyps or any other issues. I'm already starting to develop a trilaminar lining. I think the estrace that I'm taking has helped...thank goodness, since my lining has always been on the thin side). My E2 level was at 152, but they said that's to be expected since I'm doing the estrogen priming protocol.

I started the microdose lupron today and will be starting the stims on Saturday. I'm just hoping that I react better to the stims this time around. According to Dr. Zed, the estrace priming will help my lining and it'll make me more sensitive to the stims so that I should react better and faster.

I'm still taking the fol.gard and also the low-dose aspirin, which is making me bruise like I got into some UFC fight. One little bump and I have the biggest, nastiest looking bruise ever and I haven't even started the hepa.rin yet. Doc says that he's going to make me wear my snowboarding helmet 24-7 when I start injecting the hepa.rin.

The other bad part in all of this is that I feel bloated like a freaking whale. I think the estrace is making me retain boatloads of water and I'm a very unhappy camper. Ah, but it's a small price to pay for the end result, right?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Home Again

Hola! I'm back from Puerto Rico and ready to roll!

We got back in late last night and I'm still catching up on work and settling back into the swing of things. My baseline ultrasound and bloodwork was today and I just received the thumbs-up on starting the micro.dose lu.pron tomorrow and the stims on Saturday.

I'll post more soon and I still need to catch up on all my lovely lady blogs! Glad to be back!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

ICLW - Getting To Know Me

Welcome ICLWers! I can't believe it's already been a month and we're back again. I just want to thank you visiting my humble blog.

To help you get to know me a bit better and for a quick introduction, I've listed a few interesting facts about myself below. Good luck to each and every one of you, wherever you are in your journey!

- I'm starting IVF #2 because IVF #1 was unsuccessful. I have a different doctor this time around so I'm hoping for better results.

- Doc (my better half) and I love to travel. We're leaving for Puerto Rico on Tuesday. So far, we've been to: France, Italy, England, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Mongolia, China, Korea, Indonesia, Russia, Malaysia, India, Japan, South Africa, Mauritius, Reunion, Tanzania, Mozambique, Barbados, Dominica, Canada, Mexico and a slew of U.S. states.

- I'm growing my own vegetables for the first time and have planted some herbs and zucchini (I read that zucchinis are the easiest veggies and good for first time growers)

- I live in the SF Bay Area and I love it. I was born in NY, but was raised in the Bay Area from about 1 until I went off to college. I went to college in NY and spent some time in LA, but San Francisco is where my heart is (please don't call it Frisco).

- I work for the Department of Energy as a Compensation Consultant. I used to work for a large HR consulting firm where I worked as an Executive Compensation Consultant, but it got a bit too stressful. Working with Boards of Directors and Execs in determining their comp can be very, very demanding (talk about prima donnas). So, I decided to take a break and work for the government.

- And lastly, I love peanut butter. YUM!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Five Thousand

That was the price of my meds this time around. It's like some Mastercard commercial.

Pre-cycle tests: $2,500
Infertility meds: $5,000
IVF: $11,000
Having a little mini-me: Priceless

I was telling Doc that instead of selling vico.din on the street, people should start selling folli.stim. Ounce for ounce, I think foll.istim is way more expensive than any narcotic. Freakin' liquid gold and that's all I've got to say about that.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

8

I can't believe it. I tested heterozygous for the a1298c mutation (MTHFR), so Dr. Zed has me taking prescription strength Folgard AND heparin (2x/day).

This means I'll be doing EIGHT shots everyday. EIGHT!! In ten days of stimulation, that will be EIGHTY shots. God...the things we go through.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Doc vs Dr

Two posts in one day! Yeah, well, just as I finished post #1, I noticed an email from Dr. Zed's office and it appears that I've tested positive for one of the antiphospholipid antibodies. Well, actually, she said I was borderline and as a result, I'll not only be on low-dose aspirin but also on heparin.

I emailed the info to Doc and he's none too happy about placing me on heparin based of one borderline blood test. He thinks that Dr. Zed's recommendation is overkill and unnecessary. Now, I'm not too sure about the side effects of heparin other than it's a blood thinner, but if it helps me to get pregnant then I'm willing to go with it.

However, that's not how Doc feels and I have a really bad feeling he's going to go head-to-head with Dr. Zed. I guess there's a "rule" amongst doctors that you don't question other doctors' protocols or recommendations, particularly if it's not in your speciality, but I have a feeling that Doc is going to break this rule. Crap...I may have to do some intervention before the "fight" breaks.

Hola!

Nothing new to report on the IVF end. Today we have a conference call with a genetics counselor. Basically, $350 spent to tell us we have no known genetic issues. I'm really not sure why we have to do this, but it's required by Dr. Zed. And, I'm waiting on my MTHFR test which is taking a very long time.

But, on a happier note, we're leaving for Puerto Rico in less than two weeks! Doc loves planning vacations, so he's planned some scuba diving, hiking in the rain forest, horseback riding, and a zipline/canopy tour. It'll be a packed six days in PR with not a lot of downtime, but that's how we like to roll.

As soon as we get back, assuming that AF shows up before June 1st, I'll be back in the IVF saddle getting cozy with the vagiwand with my first in-cycle ultrasound. There won't be a lot to do until then except start taking estrace on CD20.

I've been reading up about estrogen priming and I guess a lot of docs do this protocol differently. Dr. Zed has me on 4mg of estrace taken orally (2mg in the AM; 2 mg in the PM) from CD 20 all the way to my HCG shot. Other docs have shorter protocols incorporated with ganirelix, but I'm assuming that Dr. Zed knows what he's doing, so I'm going to go with it.

For all you wondering IVF minds out there, I got my dosage information for my stims. So as you know, Dr. Zed is a big proponent of starting out strong and then curbing back, if necessary. He says it's much easier to do that than the other way around. So, he's got me on 225IU of foll.istim twice a day (total: 450IU) and 75IU of meno.pur twice a day (total: 150IU). It's the same dosage of meno.pur I was on in my last cycle, but 150IU more of the foll.istim and since I'm taking each of these meds twice a day, I'll be doing at least 4 shots plus the shots for micro.dose lu.pron. Let the bruises begin!

I'm so glad that we're getting this vacation in before starting IVF #2. I already feel more relaxed, but that may just be that I know what to expect.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Whole Lot of Hocus Pocus?

At least that's Doc's opinion on the whole thing. Our new doctor, Dr. Zed, comes with rave reviews and accolades from many women, including those who have been unsuccessful with IVF elsewhere, but I guess some of his methods are slightly unconventional. He tends to test for a whole lot of stuff that Doc and other fertility clinics think are way over the top.

For example, he tested me for MTHFR (which is not uncommon) but he also tested me for NK assay, TH1/TH2 Intracellular Cytokines, Anti-phospholipid Antibodies, Anti-thyrobglobulin Antibodies, and Anti-microsomal Antibodies. So far, I've tested negative for most of them and we're waiting for the results on the rest. All of these tests are immunology related and I guess (based on what Doc has told me) it's very rare for people to have these issues. Hence, his doubt on the necessity of these tests and his skepticism regarding Dr. Zed's medical philosophy. In other words, he thinks that Dr. Zed is using a machine gun to hunt a rabbit.

Now, my thought is that obviously something is going right with Dr. Zed's practice because a lot of women who have been unsuccessful have gotten pregnant with Dr. Zed. And if it's because of his hocus-pocus medical practices, then fine, I'm all up for a bit of magic if that's what it takes. The downside of all of this though is that his hocus-pocus is not for free nor is it included in the price of the IVF. It's all extra and it starts to add up.

Dr. Zed is recommending that I do an intralipid infusion even though I tested negative for NK cells. I think it's mainly because he believes something is going on with implantation and that an intralipid infusion may be able to help and at the very least it won't do any damage. But, that costs an additional $700. Seven hundred bucks is a lot of money to spend on something that may help but probably won't.

So, right now, I'm putting all my money on Dr. Zed and hoping that he'll work his magic and all his hocus-pocus will pay off in the end.