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 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


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


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.