Honestly, I don’t deserve you all

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honesitled

Just to follow up on my TMI post…I slept better last night than I have in a month.  <sigh>  Love me that MrBeep.

I was nominated over a week ago by the totally awesome Clare at
The Pitter-Patter for the Honest Scrap award.  I kept it in my virtual pocket for a future time where my brain was too scrambled to think of a topic.  Now here I am.  Brain very happy, but extra scramble-y.

So wow.  A blogidy award.  When I started writing about this journey, I wasn’t sure anyone would ever read it, much less be kind enough to comment.  A wonderful thing has happened, I have found a community of extraordinary people with whom I share a common goal - to have a family.  It’s a shame that any of us have to go to such extreme measures to achieve what comes easily to others.  But so many of you do so with humor, grace and good spirit, I learn so much from reading about your days, both good and bad.  It helps me more than I can express.  Thank you.

On to the Honest Scrap.  Here are the rules, once nominated, you get to put the totally cool emblem on your blog (see totally cool picture above – SWEET!).  The first thing I must do for the award is list 10 honest things about myself.  <<insert sound of drumroll>>

10 Honest and very uniquely random things about IF Optimist:

1.  I love to cook.  It is one of my favorite hobbies.  I love everything about it.  The smell of spices toasting in oil, the rhythmic sound of knife tapping on cutting board, eyeing the pan for the perfect shade of amber to indicate doneness, the feel of dough pressing through my hands, toughening little by little until the magic of gluten is revealed by its resilience, and finally the little tastes of the food as it is coming together and finally complete.  Does it need more salt or oil or spice?  Is the vinegar too strong?  Will a dash of sugar create the perfect balance?  What the hell is Umami anyway? :-)

2.  I love to shop at farmers markets and little ethnic supermarkets to find awesome and authentic ingredients.  I am always on the look for the best tea or spices or meat or veggies.  The best and freshest ingredients make a superior meal.  I have 1-2 dinner parties per week where I feed between 6-10 people.  I’m telling ya.  I do this a lot.  I write about food on my other blog. I keep it out of this one, lest it overwhelm.

3.  I am sometimes scared about being “an old mother” but then I remember how naturally silly I am, how I love to get involved, play along and be happy.  I know I have more patience than when I was young. I hope that will make up for my creaky bones.

4.  I grew up in a gang-infested shithole neighborhood in LA when I was a tween-teen. My apartment neighbor sold drugs, including heroin. Sometimes my mom worked the night shift, so I had to be alone in the apartment.  When I heard yelling and arguments next door, I would hide in the bathtub.  Same when the police helicopter went over our neighborhood warning everyone to stay inside. Gunshots from the area often woke me at night.  I fucking hated that place.  I vowed to live somewhere else when I grew up.

5.  When I was 18, my boyfriend graduated college and I moved the hell out of LA and up to beautiful San Francisco.  San Francisco (quick tip: never call it “Frisco” or the natives will hate your guts) is a beautiful place and everyone should visit once in their life.  If it’s summer, bring a sweater. The fog is cold and wet and comes every night!  If you plan to go there send me an email.  ROAD TRIP!

6.  I am currently sitting outside in my garden.  The dragonflies are swirling around, I can smell lavender, the sun is on my hair and a gentle breeze is at my back. My little chipmunk friend is sniffing around about 20 feet from me, stealing my garden strawberries and stuffing his cheeks.  This makes me extremely happy.  I wish I had a bigger garden.

7.  My favorite ice cream is 31 Flavors mint-chip, it has been since I was a little kid.  Loves me that bizarrely waxy chocolate.

8. I was laid off over a year ago (I volunteered to be selected instead of the guy who had a wife and kid to support).  MrBeep and I decided it would be good if I didn’t work during this time.  It allowed me to relax and recover while I went through the 2 uterine surgeries, recovery, IUIs and and now IVFs.  I am grateful I have been able to relax and take it easy during this time, but it is hard for a professional woman to set aside that part of her identity.  I have tried to compensate by working on digital video and web design stuff.  I have filmed, edited and produced two seasons of a local TV show.  Designed and coded two web sites, and shot one short film during my time off.  Not too shabby, but sometimes I still feel like a total slacker.  I still have a ton of video editing to do in my work queue.

9.  I would love to do a documentary about “TTC the hard way”.  IUIs, IVFs, acupuncture, PCOS, loss, adoption.  I completed the documentary program at University of Washington, so I know the pre-production work necessary to do this type of thing the right way.  It is so complex and so utterly personal a subject, yet these stories would help so many others.  I am thinking through if it is possible to accomplish this. 

10.  I want so very much to have all the blogs I follow go from infertility to pregnancy to mommy-blogs.  It is a secret wish of mine to have the same thing for myself.  I can be hopeful, I can be optimistic, but I am also scared that this is just a dream.  I think I will feel so much better, so much more in control when the next IVF cycle starts.

Now I must then choose 7 blogs I find brilliant in content or design, name them on this post, then place a comment on the recipient’s blog informing them of their nomination.  Easy enough?  Well…there are a ton that I would nominate, but most of the blogs I follow have already won the award.  I was happy to open this up to more blogs that are really awesome, I have on my reading list, and who have not posted the Honest Scrap award (as far as I was able to search). 

Here are the blogs I award with Honest Scrap. I chose these blogs because of their honest and courageous posts.  You awesome ladies shouldn’t feel obligated to play in this “pass it game” but I want you to know how much I have appreciated your words and thoughts.  Thank you.

I can’t whistle
Danana Wants a Baby 
FET Accompli
Babyquest
The Sassy Infertile Lady
Hobbit-ish Thoughts and Ramblings
Impatiently waiting

Taxicab confessions…aka TMI

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This may hit somewhere in the realm of TMI -- you have been warned.

This crappy IVF stuff with all of its protocols, shots, side-effects, pills, who-ha invading, and tenderness of normally very happy places has definitely put a damper on my love life…but I am now fully recovered and I’m…um…really…how you say in English?

Anxious.  Edgy.   Revving my engines for full throttle.  Up, up and AWAY!!!

I have managed to make matters worse.  You see it started innocently enough.  I needed to get some chores done, so I went looking for an audio book on audible.com.  First, I eyed some Chick Lit options but eventually my meandering slid into an area I have never before stumbled.  Erotica. 

“Hmmmmmm” I thought, “this could be very interesting.”  I read some reviews of different choices and finally chose this book called “Broken”.  This. Book. Is. Totally. Smutty.  It is not “romance” don’t let the publisher fool you, and erotica is a bit tame for the category.  I think it is raunchy and trashy and very much more like p0rN.  As they say, the mind is the most powerful sex organ.  I am loving it. Talk about revving your engines. 

To top things off, I made an appointment at the spa.  3:15 with the waxing woman.  We’re talking a trip to South America ladies. Someone turn on the bow-chica-wow-wow music. Oh, yeah.

MrBeep will not know what hit him when we arrives home. :-) <<insert giddy laughter>>

Sifting through the data, developing a plan

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I have finally had enough naps to get my brain working again.  MrBeep and I went in today for our cycle review appointment with DocO.  I had my spreadsheet with all of my lab values printed out and a few questions ready, along with a pen to take notes.  DocO greeted us in the lobby and walked us to his office.  He was really nice and started out by asking us how we were doing.  We said we were doing fine and were glad to be there to find out more.  He said that the cycle review is an appointment that they never want to make because they really want to get their patients the ultimate goal, a healthy baby.  I appreciated that.  He didn’t have to say it. 

We got down to business.  The biggest problem, he explained, was the fact that I had an LH surge early in my cycle. The Centrotide, just didn’t work on my body to suppress a natural LH surge.  Unfortunately, the drug isn’t effective on a small percentage of people. (Why can’t I instead be in the small percentage that wins the lottery, or finds change in the couch cushions?)  So as a review dear internets, I was put on the antagonist protocol due to developing cysts when taking clomid.  I was beginning stimulation Day 7 of my gonal-f/menopure medication when my morning blood work showed the LH jump.  DocO explained that something happens when LH surges that affects the eggs.  You can’t delay once it happens because the eggs start to go to the next phase of their development.  In the antagonist protocol, patients generally take stimulation medication from 10 to 13 days.  Now if they have to trigger one day early, it’s no big deal.  Two days early can have some problems, but you generally get good eggs, but three days early is a big problem.  You want the eggs to get to a certain level of maturity before the LH surge happens.  I was 3 days early.  They didn’t really get enough time “to cook”.  He said the fact that we got 10 eggs with 6 (relatively) mature and all 6 fertilizing was a really good sign.  He also explained the fact that I got pregnant was also a very good indicator of future success.  He said that the embryo that implanted was just not a good one (DNA wise) and that if it was, I would probably been able to stay pregnant and have a normal healthy baby.  Next time we will hopefully have more fully mature eggs to start with that have had time to properly develop all the necessary bits to have better success.  He said if we had been able to stim for a couple of days more, the outcome would have been much better, including maybe having some make it to Day 5 for better selection, or even have some left for freezing.  I hope he is right.

So now on to THE PLAN.  DocO suggested that we do a lupron based protocol next time.  This is normally their preferred protocol and they have good success with it.  There is no centrotide used in this protocol.  He was very positive on the outlook and gave me a good prognosis.  He isn’t sure if it will be long lupron or micro-dose.  He said that they always talk through these things in a group meeting with all of the professionals present to get as much brain power on the cycle plan as possible.  So we won’t know until we get closer to the date at hand.  We are taking this month off at his recommendation (Yay! I get to visit my family in So. Cal.) and will start stimming in late July for an estimated August retrieval/transfer.

After the meeting, DocO walked us to the waiting room and we chatted about the books we are reading/listening to via Audible.  He and MrBeep started to talk about their favorites and some military history books (DocO is a Navy Veteran), those two also should go on a playdate some time.  DocO didn’t have to be his awesome nice self.  I can tell he really cares.  He could have just been matter-of-fact/doctor like, but everyone in that office is just wonderful.  MrBeep and I knew this may take more than one try, we are still quite aware that we may never be successful, but all signs are pointing in a positive direction for now.  I have read that many folks have problems trying to get their protocol nailed down with IVF #1 and later ones work out the wrinkles. 

I left the meeting feeling SOOOOOOOO relieved. I didn’t do anything wrong (in terms of med dosage, monitoring, etc), my little monsters achieved so much despite the odds against them.  I know they are hanging out for better raw material next time.  My heart was light and fluffy.  I am filled again with hope.

Happy Mushy Brain

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I just wanted to report in.  I am very happy, very exhausted and very addle-brained right now.  The filming for the 48-hour film project is now done and I have had a total of 4 and a half hours of sleep since Friday morning.  I don’t know if my post will make much sense, but I have made about 84 typos just in this tiny paragraph…so we’ll see.

I’ll do a full post about the filming, but I wanted to say that I HAD A BLAST (ok, I just typo’d blash, see?).  I managed to Director of Photography’d myself silly.  My lighting was awesome pants, the cameras were deft and swift in their shots.  I even managed a really good follow of an actor downstairs and through a bar with my poor man’s steadycam.  We turned in our movie a few hours ago, then celebrated with cerveza and shrimp.  I have also nodded of seven times before coming to the end of this paragraph.

I look forward to relaxing in the morning with a cup of coffee and reading up on your blogs.  I have my “Cycle Review” appointment with DocO tomorrow morning at 9:30 am, so I best get to snoozing.  I need a few extra minutes in the morning to compose my questions when I am relatively coherent.  AF managed to get going on Saturday (it figures) but wasn’t too much problem.

z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z

I nodded off again. Nighty night everyone.

Fabulous Fotography Friday

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Well the weather has finally slipped in to a very Seattle flat overcast. I am not pleased with my progress on photography this week since the light has been so flat, so I am pulling a best of 2009 photo for your pleasure. This photo was taken in February. I really like how it turned out and hope that you like it too.  

KirklandInFebruary

The location is a pier in Kirkland, WA with a gorgeous carved bench. I sat there and enjoyed my lunch, then snapped this picture when it was time to go.   You can see the skyscrapers of Seattle far off in the distance.

AF is due to arrive at any moment, the pink has hit the tissue. I am glad, for it marks the beginning of the next step in my journey. Although, she has managed to arrive just in time to be quite inconvenient for my weekend plans.

I have managed to find a way to distract me from any level of self pity for the weekend. I have organized all my gear and will start the 48-hour Film Project tonight at 7pm with one of my film buddies. We get to write, film, edit and deliver a 4-7 minute short film in 48 hours.

http://www.48hourfilm.com/seattle/

I was going to provide my gear and let someone else do the main camera work and then I'd be camera B (camera B-eotch was the running joke) but the Director of Photography dropped out at the last minute and now I get to do 1st camera and Director of Photography. I'm gonna be hella tired on Sunday.

Nope.

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The first and most important thing to tell everyone today is how much I appreciate all of your kind words, good thoughts, prayers and wishes.  I was a little shy about documenting this journey and opening my wounds to the world, but ultimately I hoped it would help others as well as me.  I can’t express how much finding my new bloggidy friends who are experiencing the same roller coaster of frustrations and hopes and joys means to me.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I woke up this morning at the godawful early hour of 6:40 am (I went to sleep at 1:40 am), grabbed a pregnancy test and used it.  After counting the required seconds in the stream, I placed it on a washcloth on the bathroom counter, covered it with tissue so I couldn’t read it, then left the room to get dressed.   Next I headed to the RE office for my 2nd beta/blood test.  I took along a container of strawberries freshly picked from my garden the evening before.  I wanted to give a little thanks to everyone at the office who have been so absolutely kind to me, they all kept telling us how much they were rooting for a positive and I know that they are all sincere and really care.  That also means so much during these delicate times.

One of the RE nurses, Katie stopped me as I came out of phlebotomy.  We talked in a room and I let her know that I didn’t think it worked since my pee test was negative the day before, but I wanted to make her aware of a few pains in my left side (near ovary/tubes area).  She told me that they would keep an eye on these beta numbers, and to not give up hope yet.  She did mention to call them any time day or night, even the emergency line if I had questions, but if I found I was in extreme pain, to head straight to the emergency room.  We talked a little about this IVF cycle, I mentioned I was ready to do another one if the doctors said it was OK.  She said that things overall looked pretty good.  I did stimulate well, we got to both egg retrieval and transfer, so the outlook was still overall pretty good.

I drove home and as soon as I got into the house went to check the results of the pee stick.  NOT PREGNANT was blazing up at me.  I wasn’t surprised.  I was back early enough to enjoy a snuggle with MrBeep.  I climbed in bed and told him the POAS results.  He held me tight, gave me lots of kisses and we talked. I started to cry and told him “I just didn’t do good enough for our monsters. They needed a better home with the best material possible, but I didn’t have it this time.  They are picky little monsters and I don’t blame them.”  MrBeep reminded me that this was something we had to work on and we knew it may take some rounds to hopefully reach success.  He said we’d work to find the best way to keep a monster or two.  I really hope he is right. 

I miss my monsters already.

MrBeep offered to stay home from work today, but I told him I had a ton of preparation for our short film shoot this weekend.  I told him I would call him with the news from the RE’s office and I asked him to try to come home early if the news was negative.  The call came around 2:15 p.m.  The nurse said she had spoke with Katie about our chat and she knew that I was perhaps expecting this news…”I’m sorry but the number has gone down today, it’s now at 10.4” she said.  I told her that I had checked the pee stick from this morning and knew.  The nurse was really sweet and supportive.  She told me to stop my meds.  She explained that they usually require a cycle off to let your hormones get back to normal, but that she would talk with my doctor and we may use this next cycle for the prep (some take birth control pills, my protocol is estrace/antagonist the couple of weeks before stimming).  We scheduled a cycle review meeting with DocO on Monday morning at 9:30 a.m.  So I will get my WTF meeting early next week.  I called MrBeep and gave him all of the news and plans.  He made me feel better and will be coming home early.  I love and appreciate him so much, it makes my heart ache.

I know this may sound trite or hokey, but I still feel really lucky.  I did not have some of the unbearable stress that many folks have had to endure due to the assvice of others, doctors who could give a shit, clinics that treat them as a number instead of a person, problems at work trying to juggle a challenging IVF schedule, or even medical complications along the way that would indicate really dire problems during a future IVF try.  The truth is, we all want to be that miracle IVFer, to be the “it worked on the first try girl” but given my age, the chances were in a room of 3 people, 2 wouldn’t come out with baby in their arms.  I was one of those two who didn’t and perhaps that’s OK.  I can afford another round, my spirit is not broken, time is ticking…but it has not run out.  In the end I will get the monster of my dreams.  In the end, I am still IF Optimist.

And the answer is...YES! No. Maybe? WTF??

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I don't really know what to say today. I'm not sure what to report. Here's what I've got. I went in this morning for my blood test. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I am 11dp3dt. They took my blood sample at 9:30 a.m. We had a dinner/movie outing planned out with the in-laws that turned out needing to start at 2:15 pm. They picked us up at 1:45. MrBeep and I decided at 1:15 since we had not yet heard from the RE's office, that we would just turn all of the phones/cells to silent and not answer anything until we returned home. I just didn't want any bad news to cloud the day and a few hours wouldn't change the results.

We went out to see the movie UP. As always, Pixar has done an outstanding job with another awesome feature movie. It's sweet, warm, heartbreaking and hilarious. An extraordinary accomplishment. I saw Pete Doctor's first short at Mike and Spike's Festival of Animation when I lived in San Francisco. Pete Doctor has always been aces in my book. There have been some very kind posts that warn of a scene that can be very hard to watch for those of us still in the midst of battling infertility. When it came up, I held MrBeep tight and squeezed and kissed his shoulder. I did cry in many places during the movie that explored undying love and devotion. I'm a big softy. Most of the time, I was laughing and cheering the protagonists along. It is a really funny movie. I laughed far more than anything else, but be sure to see it on a good day and not a day where your heart is a little vulnerable. :-)

So on to the results. MrBeep went and listed to the message. I was curled up in bed waiting for him to snuggle close and give me the news. He squeezed me tight and said we have a positive beta, but the number is a little low.

17.2

Not awful, but not good either. I think the blood test was really early, only 11 days past the transfer, but what the hell do I know. Can anyone tell me what day your beta test was performed? Any good stories of low betas on day 11? I am scheduled to return on Wednesday for another blood test. The doctors are looking for the numbers to at least double. So here I am again..waiting. We are still optimistic that things may work out. I am most definitely pregnant until proven otherwise, and that gives me some hope, my heart is a little lighter than yesterday. I will keep my heart light until I have definitive news. There will be plenty of time for tears later.

Before we went off to the movies, we did a silly dance for our little monsters. Today we picked the most appropriate of them all...The Monster Mash.

10dp3dt - Too chicken to POAS

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OK.  I’ll admit it.  My beta is tomorrow morning, it seems awfully early.  My RE’s office says they do it two weeks after egg retrieval, so Sunday it is.  I don’t know when I’ll get the results.  I suppose it will be some time in the afternoon after they run their lab tests.  I had considered using one of my pregnancy tests, left over as freebies packaged in my OV tests.

But…internets, I’m gonna admit that I’m too scared to POAS.

I was over at Sprogblogger’s house the other day (she has some great news on her FET, go visit if you can) and she used the term PUPO.  I had no idea what that was, so I looked it up.  It means “Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise.”  I love that.  I wish I knew that term for the last week and a half.  I don’t want to be proven otherwise yet.  I like being in happy PUPO land. I could list for you all of the “symptoms” I’ve been experiencing, but I’ve been fooled before…so I won’t.  I refuse to believe anything until I have proven results.  A few more hours won’t hurt anything and it just seems so early, I’m not sure I’d believe a pee stick.  So instead I will stay in my optimistic place, sending positive energy and happy endorphins to my monsters.  I can stay positive because it is still farther than we have ever been before.  That has to count for something. Right?

So I’ve decided to not POAS tomorrow morning before heading out to give blood.  I’m going to have a good and positive time until the very last moment.  I’m giving all telephones to MrBeep.  He will get the news from the RE’s office.  No matter what it is (good or bad) I want to hear it from the one I love the most.  The one who protects my soul.

Fabulous Fotography Friday

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I wanted to first take a moment to thank everyone who has visited and given me so many kind words and positive thoughts in comments over the last couple of months.  I even got a couple of new followers too.  Wowzer.  I’ll have to admit, having Lollipop Goldstein say I had a good post is like an amateur painter getting a thumbs up from Georgia O’Keefe.  After I read it, I was all red faced and thinking, “Shucks, Ma’am.  Twernt nuthin’ but some words what came outta my head.” Especially since I have been reading her awesome book this week (I’m on Chapter 4) while I’ve been sitting at the waterfront park.

Now let’s get to that Fotography, eh Photography.  As I mentioned in my prior post “Guess my number, win a prize” I was going to grab the ole Nikon and spend some of my less than 2 week wait taking and editing pictures.  I want folks to be able to use them for their computer desktop images or screensavers or whatever suits them.  So without further eloquence, I give you my first prize for guessing the correct number (click on the photo for full size).  To save this photo for your very own, just click on the picture.  A new window will open and show you the larger (higher-resolution) version, then right-click on the big image and choose “Save Picture As…” in Internet Explorer (“Save Image As…” in Firefox).

BeeTitle

Earlier this week, I headed out into my back yard to sit in the sun and read. I noticed the bees were going crazy in my boysenberry bush.  It has hundreds of blossoms right now and there were dozens of busy bees, gathering nectar and helping pollinate my boysenberries. (Thanks ladies!)  There were at least 3 or 4 different types of honey and northwest native wild bees going at it with abandon.  I remembered my promised photo prize and was really excited.  I hopped inside and grabbed my Nikon.  I replaced my standard lens with a special macro lens that allows really REALLY good close-ups.  I sat on a chair, picked a blossom, twisted myself into a macro-photography/yoga position, set my exposure, f-stop and focused “the zone”.  Then I waited.  Those bees move really fast, but after about 20 shots, I went inside and browsed through my pics.  This one had the best angle for my little native bee.  She is is fuzzier than a honey bee and a tad bigger.  I think she’s gorgeous. 

I did a smidge of color sweetening/correction on the photograph, but it is otherwise untouched.  Her wings are really that iridescent, her little bottom a brighter shade of yellow.  The macro lens and a small f-stop creates a very small depth of field (that fuzzy background) and that Nikon macro lens has excellent bokeh.  I’m so excited. I’m off with my camera today to spend more of my 2WW.

Showin’ and tellin’ ‘bout my little monsters

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As promised, I’m writing about my wonderful day last Wednedsay.  I wanted to take some extra time to write in detail how my day went, any science-y or technical stuff and finally how I felt when it was all done.  I started off the day with my morning snuggle with MrBeep.  Then I enjoyed my morning google reader/blog fix, commented on a few posts, then wrote a transfer day checklist. Then it was off for a bath and getting ready.  I wore my fabulous flowery brown and pink pants, a pink shirt, my Gramma’s locket, my wedding ring, engagement ring and finally my tangerine dream earrings from The Awesome JJ.  Fully loaded with as much positive juju as possible, I stepped out the door and wizzed off to pick up Looooo. 

LunchSeatingShe and I headed out to PCC Natural Market, picked up a light lunch from the deli area, then we headed out to a waterfront park to enjoy lunch and relax.

I gobbled a yummy veggie wrap, a cup of soup and finished with an awesome peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie.  Looooo gave me a piece of her vegan gingerbread cookie and WOWZER it was even better than mine.  I relaxed and munched away, she told me about her crazy week doggy sitting 3 Jack Russell terriers for a friend.  Mayhem and adventure was a major theme.  It was great.  No talk about what was going down in a few hours, no infertility drama, etc.  It was so calming.  I needed it.

ViewWaterI kicked off my sandals and let my toes wriggle in the cool grass.  The sun warmed my face, the wind cooled my skin.  A glorious day. The high was 85 degrees, it was the warmest day of the year so far.  Closing my eyes, I decided I wouldn’t allow my mind to obsess or think in circles.  Calm mind, warm heart.  Breathe.  It took a lot of years to arrive at this day.  Just IN.  And OUT.

After my toes were cool, my hunger sated, and my skin warm, Looooo drove me to the RE clinic and gave me a hug.  I decided to try the pre and post transfer acupuncture, I really appreciate the advice from folks here on my blog and on the forums at Resolve.org.  I met with a really nice acupuncture professional who asked if my bladder was full.  It was QUITE FULL actually, and I was in a bit of discomfort.  She said it was OK to use the bathroom.  Despite all of my water guzzling during lunch, I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to get back up to my full potential within an hour, so I just went to the point where I was no longer in pain, but not empty either.  Yes, I stopped mid-stream…I discovered my totally lame Heroes power. 

She brought me into a procedure room and I lay flat on a cushioned exam table.  She asked if I had any questions or concerns (I couldn’t think of any) so we began.  She placed needles in my wrists, belly, knees, feet, ears, and on the top of my head.  She put an herbal eyemask on my face, turned on some lilting, ethereal music and dimmed the lights.  She told me to just relax and breathe and then left me to be at peace.  I settled my mind and stayed in the moment, just breathing deeply, letting all of my muscles relax.  I steadied my nerves, my breathing and (hopefully) my blood pressure.  After the procedure was over, MrBeep came into the room and gave me a kiss.  The acupuncturist gently removed the needles, helped me up from the table and walked us both back to the patient recovery room near the procedure/IVF transfer room.

Prep and Embryo Selection

I was given a warm gown, booties and a very fashionable hair cap (well…OK.  not really very fashionable at all) and asked to change into them.  MrBeep was given scrubs, booties and a cap too.  He was very cute in his blue scrubs!  I wanted to take a photo, but I forgot the chip in my camera (don’t you hate that?)  Grrrrrrrr.  After a few minutes, an RE nurse came in and checked my name and birth date. 

“And what procedure are you here for today?” she asked. 
“My Day 3 Embryo transfer” I replied, smiling. I like that they check to make sure every little thing, even the stuff that would seem obvious, ‘cause you never know.
“Excellent.  DrL will be right with you to go over the procedure and tell you about your embryos.”

I was very nervous.  I knew we had enough to be there, but had no idea of the quantity or quality.  DrL stopped by a few minutes later, smiling.  He shook hands with my husband and they did a little required guy talk “So what line of work are you in?” asked DrL.  “Biotechnology” replied MrBeep.  Then they discussed the use of DNA microarrays for pre and post-natal genetic screening (this is one division of MrBeep’s company, others include cancer screening, and biowarfare agent detection).  DrL warmed up to MrBeep right away.  He has that effect on people.  Then we got down to talking about the embryos.  DrL told us there was good news. We had 3 or 4 embryos available to transfer.  He explained that there was no way to tell by sight which one was most likely to implant (if any at all).  He said it was up to us whether to do 3 or 4.  We discussed a few different options and got his advice.  Finally, due to my age (40), our MF and the quality of the embryos, we decided to transfer all 4.  All were at least 8 cells.  #1 looked great, 2 and 3 looked good and 4 was looking a tad fragmented, but not out of the running.  We decided to give the li’l guy/gal a chance and included #4 too.  DrL said we made a great decision and told me to sit tight for another few minutes while the embryologist got the embies ready.

The Procedure

When everything was ready, MrBeep and I were escorted across the hall to the procedure room.  Did I mention how cute he was in his blue scrubs?  I got on the table, the nurse helped me into the industrial strength procedure stirrups (your legs are fully supported and your knees are held apart by these cushioned pads), and set a pillow behind my head.  MrBeep was seated in a chair next to me, and had a good view of the procedure monitor.  I was so glad he was near by.  I could squeeze his hand and get a smile if I were nervous. 

The embryologist (DrW) introduced himself and let us know that we should watch the wall monitor (TV) above our heads.  He said he was going to show us our embryos.  I was very interested in seeing this, I looked at MrBeep who gave me a smile.  DrW called out from the embryology lab and asked if we could see anything yet on the screen. 

What appeared were letters.  You see, the petri dish (via some fancy microscope/TV hookup) was shown on the monitor.  We could see that my name (DrW took us through each letter of my last, then first name) PLUS my birthdate were written on the petri dish itself. Then he zoomed in on the letter “R” and there were 4 tiny little embryos, all ready and waiting to be picked up by mommy and daddy.  I LOVED THIS.  No matter what my outcome for this cycle, I was able to see them on that day.  For that I am truly thankful. It made the whole experience so much more REAL, you know?  This was something that we could see with our own two eyes, not just drugs and injections and lab results on a spreadsheet, but real beings.  Our own 4 little monsters (see video).  He asked if everything looked right, we told him it all seemed great. 

Next DrL came in, washed up, set up the speculum and clamp (that one pinched like a muther this time).  He called to DrW we were ready to go.  The RE nurse squeezed some goo on my belly for the ultrasound image.  I was given an “atta girl” for my nicely full bladder.  The TV was switched from the  lab/microscope to the ultrasound monitor channel so we could watch the whole thing.  DrW came in with the embryo tube and gave them to DrL who got them into the transfer catheter.  He described what he was doing and said stuff like “see that little dot on the monitor that I am moving”  MrBeep said, “Yeah, I see it” and was watching intently.  I squeezed his hand.  I watched the TV and tried to see what DrL was describing, but flat on my back isn’t the best viewing angle and I couldn’t figure out a danged thing.  After a moment he said they all seemed to go in without a hitch and that we needed to stay still while DrW took the catheter back to the embryology lab to make sure that it was truly empty.

So I lay there, with all this pinchy stuff still up in mah bizzness, trying not to piddle on the floor at any moment.  After about a minute of awkward silence, I asked DrL about his profile on the clinic’s website.  It said that he is both a writer of non-fiction (over 125 scientific papers on infertility, this book) and fiction.  Now the RE books were expected, but fiction?  MrBeep said, “Really, you write fiction too?”  DrL grinned and thanked me for reading his profile and told us a little about the teen fiction he was currently writing.  The protagonist is a skateboarding girl, he wanted her to be a strong-willed and independent character, etc.  We all then relaxed and chatted about a few of our favorite fiction books.  What. A. Cool. Dude.

Finally DrW called out that no embies were left in the catheter and all seemed fine.  All equipment was removed from me (sweet Jebus I was sooooo done with that pinchy stuff).  We hung out in the procedure room for another 10 minutes or so, discussing books and military history and local museums.  MrBeep and DrL were standing next to me chatting (I thought they should totally go on a play date together) while I lay flat on the table.  Finally I was asked to scoot over to a rolling bed and taken back to my curtained patient recovery room.  I was told to remain laying still for another 30 minutes while I had my post-transfer acupuncture, which was similar to the first minus a few needles and locations.  After the half hour, I was assisted in sitting up and was allowed to FINALLY go to the bathroom.  “No pressure” said MrBeep “just relax and go with the flow.”  I did my best not to do the pee pee dance down the hall to the bathroom.  I returned to the room and changed into my normal clothes. 

The RE nurse stopped by and gave us a picture of the four embies now tucked away safe inside.  She went over my instructions and we were released to go home. As I was leaving, I saw DocO in the hallway and he let me give him a hug.  He told us that we had really great attitudes about this whole thing, which was so important for our mental well being.  Down the hallway, we saw DrL in his office.  MrBeep had a few  questions about the embryos in the picture.  I told MrBeep that he would have to come up with nicknames.  He pointed to one on the picture and said, “Look it has your smile” everyone laughed and wished us well.  I scheduled my blood test and yowzee the time flies.  The test will be this Sunday morning (6/14). 

Hey, it’s called SHOW and tell

So that’s my incredibly long-winded story.  It was very heavy on the TELL of show and tell, but thanks for making it through.  Here is the SHOW.

MyMonstersOK my little monsters.  Get your rock-paper-scissors battle going.  I want some of you to win a chance to stay with mommy.  Pretty please?  I’ll bake cookies.

Show and Tell

Now go check out what the rest of the class is showing this week.  It is always great to find out what all of the other wonderful folks have been up to.
Thanks to Mel for changing the day and the opportunity to share!

Guess my number, win a prize

10 comments

Did you guess yet?  Have you figured it out?  No cheating.  Give up?

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♥♥♥♥ 4 ♥♥♥♥

Yes!  We had a successful transfer of four embryos yesterday at the RE’s office.  Just as a reminder, after my LH surge problem, I had to take my HCG shot early.  Out of 18 follies, we got 10 eggs (I was bummed).  The good news on Day 1 was 6 were mature and all 6 fertilized using ICSI (Yay!).  On Day 3 we discussed with DrL whether to transfer 3 or 4.  Due to my age (40), our MF and the quality of the embryos, we decided to transfer all 4.  All were at least 8 cells.  One looked great, two and three looked good and 4 was looking a tad fragmented, but not out of the running.  We decided to give the li’l guy a chance and included him too.  The transfer went off without a hitch.  I will write in a future entry of the whole day to document the process and my perspective.

So what prize did you win?  First of all, my gratitude for stopping by.  It means so much to me.  Not enough? If you email me “ifoptimist-at-gmail-dot-com” I will grab my Nikon and take a photo from somewhere beautiful or something special.  Then I’ll email it to you for a desktop or screensaver picture (if you know the dimensions of your computer desktop I can customize it to fit perfectly).  I’ll include the GPS coordinates and a little information about the photo.  I thought this would be a good way to pass some of my time during the dreaded two week wait.  I love photography.

I’m so excited.  I know that I’m not out of the woods and the odds are still a bit against us but this is just another step in our journey to having a family.  I’m not Pollyanna.  I know the possible let downs, but I have decided to be upbeat and stay optimistic.  If things don’t work, there will be plenty of time and tears to spend on the necessary sorrow and grief. 

Today, I choose to celebrate.  The potential is there.  It’s ginormous.  I feel lucky to have gotten this far.  I see this whole thing as walking a path.  I take one step after another.  Sometimes I traverse a great distance in a day’s journey and other times I can only seem to walk a few feet.  Yesterday, I feel I walked 40 miles.

Embryo transfer checklist

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1.  Take morning meds. Get shot in a$$.  <Check>

2.  Schedule a pre and post transfer acupuncture appointment.  (After researching it all day yesterday I decided having the extra time at the clinic to relax could have a positive benefit.) <Check>

3.  Received a wonderful email from my RE office friend who will be thinking and praying for me.  I love and respect positive energy in all forms. <Check>

4.  Drink glass of water for full bladder. <Check>

5.  Pick up my girl Loooo in 10 minutes.  Go  get lunch and sit under a big tree on the waterfront.  Today, I’m all about seeing the beauty of this earth, the quiet relaxation in the shade, and a friend to keep me company and prevent my mind from doing back flips. <Check>

6.  Triple-check my phone, voicemail, email and RE patient website to make sure that we are still on and no hiccups have so far occurred. <Check>

7.  Visit my favorite blogs that have been updated while I snoozed.  Leave comments as needed. <Check>

8.  Drink glass of water for full bladder. <Check>

9.  Do a silly dance this morning with MrBeep.  He selected today’s music “Pick up the Pieces” by Average White Band.  Yes.  AWB.  A funk band from Scotland.  Get down, get funky laddie. <Check>

10.  Write in my bloggidy blog.  Writing has really helped me stay a tiny bit more sane.  Thanks to everyone who have been kind enough to visit and give me such awesome words of encouragement. You ladies are the best.  <Check>

It’s on like Donkey Kong.

Tagged with a purpose

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OK. I was going to write a Techie Tuesday article, but with my impending embryo transfer scheduled tomorrow, my brain is too mushy to make it.  So instead I will finally do my 8 Things MEM.  I was tagged by JJ and maybe someone else?  MUSHY BRAIN!  I’ll feel a lot better when I get my call tomorrow morning to find out if the embies are doing OK and we are go for transfer.  So in the meantime, 8 things…I think it may help pass a little time before nighty night. 

8 Things I Am Looking Forward To:

1. Tomorrow’s egg transfer (we’re in the big leagues now Ma!)
2. A trip to SoCal to see my family.
3. Playing D&D with my peeps this weekend.  I TOLD YOU I AM A DORK!
4. Bar-B-Que season.
5. Getting pregnant, staying pregnant, having a baby, being a family (I bundled this into 1 item like a total regular fertile person.  Take dat BEOTCHES!).
6. No more PIO shots in the a$$.
7. Series night with friends.
8. Finishing my video editing projects of 3 weddings, my honeymoon and my grandparents talking about photos from the family album.

8 Things I Did Yesterday:

1. Prayed and meditated in the forest for a friend doing her first IUI.
2. Started my last episode of video editing a local quiz show.
3. Made and enjoyed a de-freaking-licious banana cinnamon smoothie per Clare’s instructions.
4. Went for a stroll in the moonlight with MrBeep.
5. Lost 3 lbs due to egg retrieval bloating finally going away (in one day! Peed like a racehorse the next morning.  I know…TMI).
6. Cleaned the house.
7. Worked in my garden, I have sooooo many strawberries growing.  Yay!
8. Danced in a very silly manner with MrBeep to send positive energy out to our embies cooking away down the road at the RE’s lab.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:

1. Not procrastinate so much
2. Play the piano
3. Be a good artist/painter
4. Visit Paris, see lots of art museums
5. Make my mom all better (she has renal failure and must be on dialysis)
6. Get a magic fertility wand. I would use it on all of my bloggidy friends (cost: 125,000 gp)
7. Ski really, really well.
8. Eat less, exercise more.

8 Shows I (currently) Watch:

1. The Venture Brothers
2. Family Guy
3. Rome (on DVD)
4. Frontline
5. Nova
6. Nature
7. Modern Marvels
8. All creatures great and small (Netflix watch instantly)

8 Favorite Fruits:

1. Pears
2. Boysenberries
3. Apples
4. Pink Grapefruits
5. Strawberries
6. Peaches
7. Pineapples
8. Tomatoes (HEY!  It’s a fruit, not a vegetable!)

8 Places I'd Like to Travel:

1. New Zealand
2. Japan
3. Scotland
4. France
5. Norway
6. Grand Tetons
7. New England (during fall)
8. Patagonia

8 Places I've Lived

<<skipping this one>>

8 People I've tagged: 

I think that everyone who can be tagged has already got this one, but if you want to do it, then put a link in the comment section pointing to your blog. 

I got 6

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Traci6

I finally got the call from the RE’s office at like 3pm.  I didn’t get a damned thing done all day because I was preoccupied and worried. 

The nurse reminded me that 10 eggs were retrieved, that 6 were mature and ALL 6 FERTILIZED!  Woot!

I know that 6 isn’t incredible, but after finding out how many follicles had no eggs, I was terrified they would only find 2 mature and have none that fertilized or some other really difficult news along those lines.  The nurse gave me the rest of my instructions for the day and when to show up for day 3 transfer (Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.).  They would call me at 10:30 a.m. that same day and let me know if there were any problems or if things were looking like a day 5 transfer.  She also asked me if I wanted to do acupuncture before and after the transfer.  I really don’t know whether I should try the acupuncture.  Any opinions? 

I called MrBeep at work and gave him the good news 6 outta 6.  He was very happy and said, “See, you didn’t need to get so upset, it’s working along.  These are good numbers.”  I agreed, but told him the why I had some of my worries and he understood.  He did keep me down to earth and reminded me that it still may not work out, but that we continuing to work on our goal and that we’ll try again if necessary.  I love that MrBeep.

I wish our eggies (now embies) are cooking happily away a few miles from home.  We’ll be back to pick you up soon.  Oh, and JJ -  I wore my tangerine dream earrings, but didn’t get a picture.  I also wore my heart shaped locket my Gramma gave me on my wedding day.  It has a picture of her and Grampa.  He gave it to her when they were dating, over 60 years ago. I’ll wear them both again on Wednesday.

So I today I am very happy with the number 6.  As a tribute, I give you this little tidbit:

Retrieval aka “Fetch me some of dem eggs”

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Forgive me but this post is a bit long.  I didn’t have the stomach after the egg retrieval to write what happened.  I needed an extra day to reflect and see where my heart was once I got the Day 1 update (which I will give in a separate post tonight as I am still waiting for the results call).

My retrieval was on 5/31.  It was my father-in-law’s birthday.  We had to call him up and put off our Bar-B-Que until next week. I did tell him to make an extra special wish if he had a candle to blow out.  He said, “I already did.”  Awwww shucks. 

By the time I went in for the retrieval I was feeling very full in the abdomen from the size of my huge ovaries. At last check I had 18 follicles over 10mm in size with 5 or 6 more that were smaller and tucked in for good measure.  I wasn’t in pain per se, but I was very uncomfortable.  It felt like when you have to pee to the point that your bladder aches.  Exactly like that, but on both sides rather than just in the middle.

MrBeep and I arrived at the clinic at 8:30 a.m. and were admitted to the back procedure room area.  A very nice nurse went over what was going to happen for the retrieval, answered all of our questions, and got me my warm blanket after I was gowned up.  MrBeep headed off to the “special room” to hit one out of the park.  Then Dr.C (the anesthesiologist) arrived, set up an IV in my hand (today I have no bruises or anything.  What a pro!)  He asked me about my previous response to anesthesia and I mentioned I’ve never had any problems or side effects in the past.  A nice lady in a face mask (the embryologist) came into my room to verify my name and birthdate.  She had really nice eyes and a great personality.  I felt very happy that she’d be taking care of my eggies.  MrBeep arrived back in my room and I gave him a big kiss for a job well done.  Finally, DocO came in to my room, grinning up a storm and ready to get things started.  He had a positive outlook despite my LH surge and said, “We’ll see what we can get in there.”  He wished me good luck and said he’d see me in the room. 

A few minutes later, I was in the procedure room and got a little nighty-night juice.  I don’t remember anything of the procedure at all.  I woke up back in my prep room, a little groggy but no different than if someone had woken me up in the middle of the night.  I was given some water and crackers, checked to make sure I felt fine and then the RE nurse instructed MrBeep on administering the Progesterone in Oil (PIO) shot.  It is an intramuscular shot in the buttocks.  It mostly just pinched a bit, but I was glad I couldn’t see it from my angle.  Then I was given the go ahead to get dressed.  DocO showed up a few minutes later, a lot less cheerful and said, “Well, we got 10 eggs.  We found that many of the follicles had no eggs in them.  This could have been due to the earlier surge, but we’re not sure.  We’ll call you tomorrow to let you know how many were mature and and how many fertilized.”

10.
Out of over 18 follicles.
Shit. Shit. Shit.

10 isn’t bad unless most are immature.  That is my big fear.  I’m so afraid they will call me on Monday and say that only 2 are mature or something that indicates I have some huge problem they couldn’t test or didn’t foresee.

I was really devastated. Did I ovulate a few of the eggs?  Was my dosage too high and I developed empty follicles?  My E2 level seemed plenty high.  What the fuck happened?  No one knows.  I was upset, I cried, but MrBeep got me calmed down.  He reminded me that we don’t know much just yet, that 10 isn’t a bad number and that it is likely that we’ll have to try IVF more than once.  I agreed.  I know all of this stuff, but I’m not a robot and I still have hopes and emotions and he isn’t the one who has a weeks worth of extra hormones raging through his system.  Arrrrggghhhhh. Feh.  I did slip a bit and started crying again, but my sweetie reminded me that those ten need all of the positive energy we can send their way.  We agreed to do a silly dance for them.  He had the perfect one picked out - “Cantaloop”. 

I did calm down.  I took many deep breaths.  I realized that I was very lucky compared to some.  So I pulled it together.  I made him take me out to breakfast and I had the best blueberry pancake I have ever eaten in my entire life.  We relaxed, we laughed.  By the time I got home again, I felt much better.  My ovaries were sore and I waddled around a bit, but I managed to make it through the rest of the day. I read, watched a movie and eventually made it through the night.

 

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