It’s Still the Best Month

So it’s been a week since everything went to shit. I wrote a post a few days ago recounting the events of the day that I got the phone call and it was utterly depressing. I had to stop half way because it was dinner time and, frankly, it was bumming me out.

The 10th of August was a bad day. A “horrible, terrible, no good, very bad day”. I cried and raged and talked and slept…. And then it was over.

The truth is, I could have crumbled. I could have. I would have if I hadn’t reached out and and if everyone hadn’t rallied around us. But my village (yourselves included) went a long way to lift me up and made it very difficult to break down.

So honestly, by the 11th all was good. And this month has still been fantastic. On Friday we went on a booze cruise in Boston to see the band Bad Fish (who I knew nothing about). The entire night was a comedy of errors and so much fun. We took the T in and realized it was an 18 minute walk to the boat and we had 20 minutes before it left and I was in heels. I ended up taking my shoes off and we made it with minutes to spare. The cruise itself was fun. 3 hours on the water and it was too hot near the band so we all just stayed on top. I don’t even know what the band looked like. The best part was at the end they were playing my favourite song (Don’t stop believing by Journey) and as the guitar riff was going at the end an airplane flew really low and slow over the boat and everyone lost their minds. You couldn’t plan that perfect timing. Going back we had to walk as well and by this time my feet were screaming. Eventually N had to give me his socks and we hopped onto the last train. The drunkest guy in the world was sitting/passed out across from me and another young lady and we both watched in terrified anticipation while he rocked back and forth almost puking all over himself and just spitting everywhere. What a lovely first time on the midnight train it was.

The drive home was supposed to be without incident but as we pulled up to the house there was a sneaky cop behind us. Apparently N’s licence was expired and he had no idea. Luckily he just got a warning.

Finally, we walked in the house at 2am and I had to wash my feet. Being the smart lady I am I filled up the bathroom sink and dunked my foot in it. The sink, however, said “Oh heeell no!” and my foot went right though, dumping water everywhere. What fun we had, unpacking the vanity and wiping up water together at 2:30 in the morning.

We spent the rest of the weekend doing nothing on Saturday to doing everything on Sunday. Deep cleaning the house and replacing the sink.

So the week has been going pretty well too and it got a little better yesterday when I pierced my nose again for the 4th time in my life.

I was a serial piercer and during the course of last year I removed most of my piercings. Two of which were specifically related to TTC. My acupuncturist said that they were messing with my chi. Now, I’ve grown used to not having anymore piercings but I’ve always been sad about the nose ring so it was kismet that N’s cousin’s new boyfriend, who we met on the cruise, did piercings! So yesterday I bit the bullet and I’m so so happy. My  nose was definitely meant to have a ring of some sort in it:). And it was kind of like my little “fuck you” to infertility and TTC and claiming back a bit of my life that this journey has invariably taken from me.

So you see, my friends, I have not had time to feel sorry for myself. I will admit, though, that part of me is a little untrusting of how okay I am. Is there a meltdown lurking in the corners? Will N get no help at this urologist appointment tomorrow? Will we get truly bad news at our follow-up appointment next week? Only time will tell.

Until then, I have 3 more days as a 34 year old and I am going to do tear it apart.

Here’s to me! Here’s to my village! Here’s to us!

And here’s a picture of the sink I broke.

20160814_1350292

Well That Didn’t Last Long

We’re back where we were 2 cycles ago.

14 eggs were mature (what I expected) and 9 fertilized normally. And then today I got the call that 5 were still growing on day 3.

We’re still not out by any means but I was am crushed.

I hate this. One minuter you’re on cloud 9, the next you’re standing in the greeting card aisle in Walgreens choking back tears wondering if you’ll ever receive one of these baby cards.

There’s, of course, always hope but fuuuuck this suuuucks!!

Next update on Wednesday or Thursday.

IVF Season 4: Finale

I didn’t want to write this until we got the fertilization report. To be honest I actually wanted to disappear until this is all over. It still feels a bit too good to be true.

The day went pretty well. Both of us were in great spirits, even at 5:30am. We got there with time to spare and went through the same spiel and everything was blissfully boring. There was a new doctor doing the retrieval. The Dr L. I’d seen pictures of around the office. I told N that she was Forbes 40 under 40 a few years ago and that she is one of the doctors I was thinking of going to for a second opinion because she takes appointments closer to us. So I was glad to have met her in person and even more glad that she was so warm and friendly when she came to introduce herself to us. We also got a nice surprise visit from our nurse too. I’m so embarrassed, I didn’t recognise her at first. I met her twice since we started this journey and our exchanges have been strictly telephonic since then. But she’s been like my ivf mom and I am beyond grateful that she popped in to say hi and wish us luck.

The retrieval itself was as it always is. Over really quickly. The pain, however, was unbearable when I woke up and I was promptly given some Fentanyl. As I lay with my eyes closed, wincing, I overheard one of the nurses say “It’s probably because they got a lot of eggs” and I smiled to myself.

N came back once the nurses had stopped fussing over me and we shared some nervous glances while we quietly shared a bag of graham crackers and ginger ale.

It wasn’t long when Dr. L came in and told me, with a big smile on her face, that she’d retrieved 21 eggs. I’m tearing up as I’m writing this, still in a little disbelief. I don’t remember what I said to her but it was there were a lot of “OMG’s” and “Wow’s”.

The pain was gone almost instantly after getting the news. The graham crackers tasted sweeter, the ginger ale crisper. For the first time in a long time I felt hope. Sweet, sweet hope.

Back home, N had to go back to work and I spent the rest of the day resting and sharing the good news with friends and family. Unfortunately, as the day has wore on I’ve been battling with the fear of how high I am right now and how far of a fall it will be if bad news comes.

I’m working very hard on not letting the fear creep in. I know how lucky I am to have 21 eggs. I am trying to enjoy it. It’s amazing. My body did something really amazing today. I really need to give myself a break.

Today really was a good day.

IVF Season 4: Episode 12-13

Date: 8.1 – 8.3

Starring: 10 units microdose lupron twice a day, 0.5mg tablet dexamethasone, 200iu Gonal-F twice a day, 5000iu HCG Trigger.

Produced by: 14 follicles (12 on left, 2 on right): Left – 20, 18, 16, 15.5 x2, 15 x5 ,13.5 ,12.5 and a few <11; Right – 14, 13 and a few <11. Estrogen at 3912 on day 13 and 4552 on day 14 (Yikes!).

Directed by: Oh so much nausea and crazy period cramps.

Synopsis: So things have been rough since I last updated. Rough but good, if that’s even possible. It all started when I woke up rudely yesterday morning at 5:45am! I missed my alarm!! My appointment was at 6:30 an hour’s drive away! I was in stupor trying to gather my thoughts and scramble to get dressed and come to terms with being late for everything. I had to lay my head down for a second because I extremely frazzled and just had to wrap my mind around having overslept. I looked at my phone again and blinked a few times and then realized that I was looking at the South African time, 6 hours ahead. The mixture of anger and relief I felt messed me up for the rest of the day. I even gave myself some serious heartburn and couldn’t fall back to sleep for at least an hour. (Side note: This is not the first time that this has happened btw. I should probably change that clock)

Thankfully, I made the appointment with time to spare. I got the funny chatty super quick tech. She went really quickly, as usual, and I couldn’t keep up with her measurements. She lost me at 8 on the left so I really thought that I’d lost follicles so I was pretty down all day. I’m still in shock that she managed to measure those 12 on the left at that lightning speed. She’s the best.

I got the call in the evening that I was to not do any Gonal-F and just the 10units of microdose lupron that night. Then this morning I had to take the 10 units of microdose lupron, 200iu of Gonal-F and 1 Dexamethasone tablet before my blood draw. My estrogen was at 3912 which is the highest it’s ever been. The dizziness and nausea are still ever present and I’ve also been having bad period cramps but according to Instagram it’s all normal.

Aside from being very sick my spirits have been better since my last post. Not even bleeding all over myself after this morning’s blood draw could get me down (I guess she missed the mark with the gauze). That was a lot of blood.

So today I was prescribed another tablet, Cabergoline. This is supposed to help prevent OHSS. I’m supposed to take it tonight at bed time. My estrogen today is at 4552 so I have to take all the necessary precautions. I also bought all the electrolyte drinks and protein bars and shakes.

We did the trigger shot at 7pm and retrieval is set for 8am on Friday. Whenever I’m at the end of a cycle I think that it’s really flown by but I know that just a day or 2 ago I was crying for it to be over.

I’m not going to lie, I’m nervous as hell. I want a good number of eggs but I want to be realistic too. I keep repeating “quality over quantity” to myself just to center myself and be realistic.

It’s been a good cycle, I think, but the best part was having N do the trigger shot and the moment we shared at the end of it. I love him so much. I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else.

e8927d54f0eed5b2f14569f7390622c7

Please don’t fuck me over

 

Charts and Things

I finally got the time to put all the data from all my cycles into one good looking Excel spreadsheet and draw up a few charts that I thought I’d share with you. Now I just need to find time to figure out how to do a “TTC Timeline” tab on my blog then all the pieces of my life will fall into place:).

Here is some background info on my 4 cycles:

Cycle 1
Protocol: Antagonist
Medication: Menopur 75iu, Gonal-F 150iu, Ganirelix (doses adjusted accordingly)
Trigger: HCG
Cycle Length (stims to retrieval): 13 days
Stim start date: 26-Oct-14
Retrieval Date: 7-Nov-14
Follicle Count at Retrieval: 19
Eggs Retrieved: 14
Eggs Mature: 13
Eggs Fertilized: 7
Day 1 count: 7
Day 2 count: 5
Day 3 count: 3
Day 5 count (biopsied): 2
PGS Normal: 1
Embryo Grade: 2bb

Cycle 2
Protocol: Antagonist
Medication: Menopur 150iu, Gonal-F 300iu, Ganirelix (doses adjusted accordingly)
Trigger: HCG
Cycle Length (stims to retrieval): 12 days
Stim start date: 30-Nov-15
Retrieval Date: 11-Dec-15
Follicle Count at Retrieval: 10
Eggs Retrieved: 12
Eggs Mature: 7
Eggs Fertilized: 7
Day 1 count: 7
Day 2 count: 5
Day 3 count: 5
Day 5 count: 4
Day 6 count (biopsied): 3
PGS Normal: 1
Embryo Grade: 2bb

Cycle 3
Protocol: Antagonist
Medication: Menopur 75iu, Gonal-F 300iu, Ganirelix (doses adjusted accordingly)
Trigger: Lupron
Cycle Length (stims to retrieval): 14
Stim start date: 16-Apr-16
Retrieval Date: 29-Apr-16
Follicle Count at Retrieval: 11
Eggs Retrieved: 11
Eggs Mature: 8
Eggs Fertilized: 7
Day 1 count: 5
Day 2 count: 4
Day 3 count: 3
Day 5 count (biopsied): 1
PGS Normal: Zero😦
Embryo Grade:

Cycle 4
Protocol: Microdose Lupron Flare
Medication: 10 units Microdose Lupron twice a day, Gonal-F 225iu twice a day, 0.5mg Dexamethasone
Trigger: HCG
Cycle Length (stims to retrieval):
Stim start date: 21-Jul-16
Retrieval Date:
Follicle Count at Retrieval:
Eggs Retrieved:
Eggs Mature:
Eggs Fertilized:
Day 1 count:
Day 2 count:
Day 3 count:
Day 5/6 count (biopsied):
PGS Normal:
Embryo Grade:

Here are my estrogen levels on every monitoring day:estrogen

And here are my total follicle counts on every monitoring day:
follicle count

If you look at these charts you would say that so far cycle 4 is looking like a winner right? But what I’ve found a little dismaying is the day in the cycle that monitoring took place. In our current cycle, my first monitoring appointment was on day 8 which was around the third monitoring appointment for the 3 previous cycles. If you go by this information then the data shows that cycle 4 isn’t showing vastly better results as of yet. See below.

estrogen 2follicle count 2

We still have a few more days to go to get some more accurate data. I just thought I would share what’s been going on in my crazy mind these past few days and of course I’ll update this as more data becomes available.

If anything, I’m glad to have this all in one spot instead of having to read through all my blogs every time I want to remember a bit of information.

Cheers to Excel!

4614968215

IVF Season 4: Episode 9-11

Date: 7.29 – 7.31

Starring: 10 units microdose lupron twice a day, 0.5mg tablet dexamethasone, 225iu Gonal-F twice a day

Produced by: 12 follicles (10 on L, 2 on R) ranging from 11 – 15 mm. Estrogen at 2100 on day 11.

Directed by: Oh so much nausea.

Synopsis: I can’t tell if these counts are good or not. My retrieval is supposedly set for Thursday which means only 2 more days of stimming and I don’t think that’s enough time to get more follicles to grow. And he wants me to drop the Gonal-F to 200 now as well. Don’t know if that’s good or not. I’ve definitely hit the mid-cycle bump. Not feeling very confident right now as I’m writing this. It’s because I’m comparing cycles (comparison truly is the thief of joy).

I go back on Tuesday. There’s really nothing else I can do except wait and chat to my eggs. Especially my right ovary. She’s making it so hard. *sigh*

At least birthday month starts tomorrow! I have plans for almost every weekend which is fantastic and I have 2 vaca days that I have to use before the end of the month. Groupon Getaways here I come! Just have to get through this week.

I’ll leave you with a pic of my left ovary. I think it’s cute that it looks like a fist. I can’t almost hear is shouting “follicle power!”. I’m proud of you lefty, thanks for carrying the team.

IMG_20160731_135553

Best enjoyed with: Bacon, egg, avocado and a mushroom for breakfast and we’ll be having salmon and

Outtakes:
PSA

689850334b9511381b9612e6a85dca3e.jpg