Many improvements

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My brother is getting much better.  He is young and strong and recovering quickly.  He has been able in the last few days to get up and walk around the pulmonary ward.  We are waiting for his blood work to come up to the levels that the doctors would prefer before being released, so he is still in the hospital.  He was able to shower and shave today and was taken off of supplementary oxygen all day long.  We hope he will be released on Tuesday and we will try to fly back some time on Friday, taking things in short 2-3 hour trips with a 2 hour layover in between.

I’m glad to be here supporting my brother, but I would really love to be home, where it is fall and the leaves are orange and red and yellow.   I asked my brother today, “Why couldn’t you get sick in late November or February when I am fed up with all of the rain and the short days?  Why did you have to do it during my favorite part of fall?  I insist that you don’t do this again.”  He agreed.  We’ve been having fun playing cards and watching TV and movies.

I got the seasonal flu vaccine on Sunday and have arranged to get the H1N1 some time on Tuesday.  The local health department was very understanding of my situation.

I miss MrBeep very much.  He checks on me and the monsters, he sends me texts and emails and photos.  Today I got this one with the message “lovely clouds for a lovely girl”. 

MBeepCloudsr 

The water is Puget Sound.  How I miss the smell of wet mossy earth, I miss my MrBeep. 

Family & flights & Florida & flushots and…Fluck

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Things with me and the monsters are so far so good from what I can tell.  No spotting, no major symptoms other than very sore breasts and nipples and sometimes feeling a tugging or tightness or “muscle pull” from mah ladybizness when I turn over in bed in a weird way or twist my body around in an unusual manner.  Today is 5w1d.  1 week and three days until the official first-look ultrasound, but oh wait…didn’t I tell you about my insane horrible week?

The week was going along relatively fine, the film production was crazy but pretty stable.  Some fires being put out on a daily basis, but no majorly “out of control, evacuate the area” scenarios.  We achieved a pretty nice balance between me and the Associate Producer to make things easier on this “newly pregnant woman” when I got a phone message first thing Thursday morning from my SIL.  My brother had complained of shortness of breath while on a business trip in Florida, he was being rushed to the local emergency room.  By the time I picked up the message and talked to my mom, dad and sister-in-law the doctors diagnosed what happened.  He had a pulmonary embolism.  Due to a very long time sitting at the airport and on the plane, a blood clot formed in his leg.  A couple of days later, while he was out on a business trip in Florida, the clots dislodged and traveled through his heart and into both lungs.  It has bruised his heart and caused so much obstruction in his lungs he can barely breathe.  I found out the details of his condition at 11:15 am. 

My brother is married and has 4 kids ranging in age from 8 to 15.  His wife, while she wanted to come out to be with him, needs to be home and take care of the kids.  My mom is on kidney dialysis and can't travel, my dad just had an operation on his elbow and also has to take care of my mom.  It's just me and my brother.  We don’t have any other siblings.

I discussed options with MrBeep, who is very nervous about me travelling across the country, going through airports, hanging out in hospitals, etc. while being pregnant during flu season.  We weighed the pros and cons and discussed how my brother would require an escort to return to LA.  In the end we decided that I would go and try to be as careful as I possible.  I was on the plane from Seattle to Miami at 1:15 pm.  I arrived that evening 10:00 pm EST, grabbed a rental car and drove another couple of hours out her where I currently type.  Naples, FL. 

My brother is awake and mentally perfect.  My brother (MrBeep calls him “The Bro-ham”) is typically very healthy and as strong as a horse, now he can barely walk from his hospital bed to the bathroom and back without almost passing out due to lack of oxygen.  He is really scared and before I got here was totally alone in a place where we have no friends or family.  I am so glad that I was able to come out and give him some companionship and comfort.  The doctors are doing everything they can, but it is very frightening that you could be fine one minute and in a dire situation the next.

While I am here I am checking into getting both the seasonal and the H1N1 flu shots, but can’t find the H1N1 in the county so far.  The  local “help” line isn’t very helpful at all, the operator bordered on moronic.  I explained I was from far away, didn’t have a doctor or clinic and asked how I would find out who had the vaccine. She suggest that I visit a website that I explained I had already read and it gave no locations.  She suggested that I listen to the radio, but had no idea what station, etc., then she gave me a number for the county health department that was so old, it had a number change recording.  I will try to talk to my brother’s doctor tomorrow, but from what one of the floor nurses said, it sounds like even the staff at the hospital has not yet received vaccination for H1N1.  In another week I’m going to have to travel through 3 additional airports before heading back to Seattle.  I would really prefer to be vaccinated well before I have to travel again.

I have so much more to say, but I am so very tired…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. *snort* WHA? Eh fluck, I’m off to sleep.  More on H1N1 and pregnancy tomorrow.  G’night.

2nd beta – may I have a drumroll please

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bbbrrrbbbbrrrrbbbbrrrrrbbrrrrbbbrrrr (this is my written version of the sound a drumroll makes, pretty good eh?  Can you hear it in your head?  You’re welcome.)

Nurse Sarah called a little while ago and was being a smidge teasingly evasive, I said “Hey, girlfriend pony up the number” and then she said, “well, we are typically looking a beta number to double, your previous was 565 and your number today is…

2014.9 – Yay Monsters!

and that, dear Traci is what we call ‘Robust’.  You should have been here at the office when we got your results on Saturday. There was a huge WOOP in the reception area that went all around the office.  Those who weren’t in on Saturday immediately logged in on Monday asking, if Traci was pregnant.”  She asked me if MrBeep told me the story of how she told him of the positive on Saturday.

“No, he didn’t, but he is a guy.”

“True enough” said Sarah “when I called on Saturday afternoon I asked for you and he said, ‘I’m sorry but she’s taking a nap right now.’  I said, we’ll that makes sense because that’s what pregnant women do. Then there was a beat and he said, ‘Really?’ and I told him the good news of the 1st beta number.”  She also asked me if I wanted to know what the number meant and I said, “Twins?” and she said it’s very likely.  Whew.  We’ll find out when I have my first ultrasound.  It is scheduled for the afternoon of Nov. 2nd. That day will officially be considered 6w3d.

I told MrBeep who was grinning over the phone and so very happy about the news.  I’m over the moon and relieved and hopeful and how many days away is Nov. 2nd?  Oh yeah, it’s a 2WW.  Why does that seem so familiar?

Monsters a go-go

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It’s official.

Monster 1, or 2 or 3 or some combo snuggled in.

Purple Yellow  Pink

Beta #1 today (10dp5dt) was…

565!

 

The RE office says that they usually look for that number to be in the above a hundred range.  This is so far very good news.  It could mean that they snuggled in right away.  That is a good thing too.  I can’t believe the first thing on my checklist to have a family, after 5 long years, is finally done.

Step 1:  Get Pregnant.  CHECK.

I know it’s just the beginning and there are a million things that can go wrong or cause worry, but today I am just going to be happy.  Love love love to all monsters out there both great and small.

Magic and miracles

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From the bottom of my heart, and the top of my head, and the deepest reaches of my soul…

Thank you

Thank you so much for the good thoughts and prayers from yesterday.  I think they worked magic and miracles.  No matter what happens today, your comments and support helped set my mind at ease, my panicked self was calmed.

I woke up at 8:15 a.m. checked the *ahem* and no more pink.  I only got a little bit after a couple of checks last night after The Freakout that turned from a hint of pink to a hint of brown.  Maybe the prometrium tablet irritated my insides?  I was just heading off to the set and found the pink and I lost it.  It was just a little too perfect for the timing, y’know?  Yesterday was the first day AF was due to arrive and I am NEVER late.  I was getting those strange crampy symptoms right before the bitch comes for her visit.  All the tenderness in my breasts had suddenly disappeared.  It was all too much a coincidence, hence the freakout. I knew it wasn’t implantation bleeding since that can happen roughly 2-5 days after transfer.  Friday was 9dp5dt.

I had my awesome assistant Mike take over production/location management yesterday (he knows what is going on with me and gave me a big hug and told me to go home and take care of myself).  It was a very good idea because the gaffer and grip team showed up 2 hours late (just as I was leaving).  I had gotten into a minor argument with the Director of Photography and the 1st AD the day before about their scheduling.

Me: Why is the lighting team scheduled on the call sheets at the same time as everyone else?  They are often late and take the longest to set up.  I understand that they are pros and set up in a very reasonable amount of time given the complexity of what they do, but dangit.  Many times we are waiting on them and don’t start shooting ‘til 3-4 hours after call time.  Why aren’t they scheduled an hour earlier?  The actors who are getting here on time are pissed (justifiably so).

Their answer:  No they aren’t late and never hold up production.  You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Me in my brain yesterday: (2.5 hours after call time while the grip team is barely unloading) HA!  Suck it gentlemen!  Enjoy your late night, a-holes. I’m audi 5000.

I dropped off some legal paperwork, got a little footage for the behind the scenes the documentary, and was on my way. 

I came home and relaxed with MrBeep who calmed me and reassured me and made me feel a ton better.  He told me “don’t give up” and “stay positive for the monsters” and “you don’t know just yet” combined with his smile and his eyes and my heart was soothed.  How do they do that?  Love is so many things and I am lucky to know it…and MrBeep.

Today is a very very rainy day (even for Seattle).  I hydroplaned drove to the RE’s office this morning and gave my blood.  In that tiny vial it is my Answer.  Our Answer. 

Dammit

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I just got pink on the tissue after my bathroom break.  AF is technically due any day.  Tomorrow is the blood test to be sure, but this can’t be good.  I have to go to the set and I really don’t want to be around any of these people.  I’m talking to someone and bailing for tonight, I’m sick of babysitting these idiots.  I just want to be in a dark room.  I just want to be alone with MrBeep.  Fuck. 

Feeling nervous and vulnerable

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I’m going crazy.  I finally got a morning off from the madness of the film shooting and production problem solving and I lost it.  I woke up this morning so nervous about the results.  My symptoms are few.  Breasts are only slightly tender, with the feeling of heavyness and pressure – but that may be the prometrium.  Nipples are alternately completely normal and then sticking out like gumdrops, sensitive like crazy. 

What. The. Hell.

After you have had a couple of uterine surgeries your mind can hone in on the feeling of your uterus inside your body and mine seems different, weighty, achy, more crampy on 2dp5dt and 3dp5dt and a little wiggly and crampy afterward…but hell that could be the prometrium, PMS, bad craft services food chowed down at 2am while you wait the next camera/lighting setup.  Whothehellknows.

Filming is exciting, frustrating, chaotic, maddening.  In addition to being the producer, I am also the assistant editor, so I have been capturing the daily footage onto my quad-core mac.  It looks great.  The direction is awesome, the lighting and camera superb, the actors sublime.  You can get updates and become a fan on face.book.  Send me an email ifoptimist-at-gmail and I can give you the link.  I think you’ll be able to figure out which one of the fans is me.  There are other aspects of being a first-time producer that are too stressful and these creative types along some flakiness and poor communication skills are driving me crazy.  These people are not like IT computer geeks.  There is too much that feels like herding cats.  Am I complaining?  Are you ready to bitch-slap me?  I should shut the hell up.

I have had some good questions on comments I’d like to address here. 

How old are you? 
I am 40.  I will be 41 in December.  It is a shitty and scary place to be for IF’ers.  Kind of the last chance saloon before the statistics really beat you emotionally into a bloody pulp.

When is beta day? 
It was going to be Friday, but I pushed it to Saturday.  We have no filming that day and I want to be alone with MrBeep no matter what the news.

Are you going to POAS? 
I was going to do it today and then dug around my cupboards and had no peesticks.  I thought about buying one to know early for sure, but we decided to just wait for the bloodtest.  It is more sensitive and I can’t play that hope/no hope game.

Did any others make it to freeze?
I actually don’t know this.  I have been playing phone tag with the RE nurse for days (my fault).  I suspect it is bad news since they didn’t just leave a message with the number, but who knows what their standard operating procedure is for these things.

While I have every reason to be hopeful, I still think I am due for a long road of heartache.  I just can’t believe I will be one of the lucky ones.  I don’t know if it is a coping mechanism or what.  The Ache and The Empty overpowered me today and I had to talk to MrBeep.  I am so nervous and vulnerable.  I don’t want to give up on hope.  I want to have a happy ending.  I want my share of magic too.  I’ve got 3 more days to go.  I need to calm down.  I can make it.  Thanks for your support.  I love you all.  BIG BREATH.  **Whew**

It all started with a snuggle…

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Wednesday was scheduled for my day 5 embryo transfer.  I made it and was soooooo happy that morning.  I started in my favorite way…with a snuggle.  This time I decided this time to skip the pre-transfer acupuncture session and traded that time for extra hugs and calm assurances.  MrBeep is a snugglebug and this makes me a very very happy girl indeed.

I brought all the magic juju I could think of.  Naturally I had on my wedding ring, but on my other hand I wore my great-grandmother’s ruby cluster ring.  On my neck I wore my grandmother’s locket she gave me to wear on my wedding day.  My grandpa gave it to her when they were dating, over sixty years ago.  I also wore a jade and gold necklace my mom gave me.  I picked it out for her on a visit to San Francisco when I was about 7 years old.  I always loved that necklace and she gave it to me as a wedding gift.  I wore her mother’s earring in one ear and JJ’s earring in the other ear.  Counting my wedding ring, it was 4 generations of luck on one side of the family and three generations on the other.  I even wore my favorite nifty socks.  ;-)  After morning prep, ensuring full bladder uncomfortability stage and popping a happy pill, I was whisked off headed to the RE’s office. 

We arrived and were greeted by the staff with many wishes of good luck   I slipped into a sexy hospital gown number and was covered with warm blankets.  I love the warm blankets.  MrBeep got to wear pretty blue scrubs.  FYI - Many aspects were similar to last time in terms of how an embryo transfer is performed, the prep and procedure.  If you are curious, you can read about it in my prior post, “Showin’ and Tellin’ about my little monsters.”

We relaxed in the room a while when DrKAwesome stopped by to give us the embryologist’s report.  All six embryos were still alive at day 5 and they had 3 who were in the best shape and a little farther along in development.  They had successfully reached the early blastocyst stage.  As a review, we got 18 eggs, out of those 14 were mature and 10 fertilized normally using ICSI.  At day 3 6 looked pretty good, so they decided to go for a day 5 transfer, my RE office generally only does this if 5 or more are looking good. You may ask, why is keeping track of how embryos are doing is important?  There have been very specific studies at Stanford University that look the likelyhood of getting pregnant on an IVF cycle.

The researchers found that four factors—total number of embryos, number of eight-cell embryos, percentage of embryos that stopped dividing and would die, and the woman’s follicle-stimulating hormone level, a measurement that estimates ovarian function—were most important in determining a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant. The four together were 70 percent accurate in predicting whether the current IVF cycle would result in a pregnancy.

The researchers also found that these four factors were more predictive than any single measure of the actual transferred embryo(s). An individual embryo could meet all the criteria for a transfer, but if the IVF cycle produced a small number of embryos, few eight-cell embryos and a high percentage of embryos that stopped dividing, the woman’s chance of getting pregnant could actually be quite low.

“If you talk with IVF patients or doctors, they wouldn’t be surprised” to hear that the quality of all embryos in a cycle—not just the transferred one—matters, Yao said. “But it’s important to go beyond intuition and to prove it scientifically, in order to move the field forward.”

You can find the full article here.  http://med.stanford.edu/news_releases/2008/july/IVF.html.  I know this is not 100% sure, but it does a lot to put my mind and heart at ease during the 2WW.  Many of my ladies already know this, but after 40 this becomes an even scarier notion.  It is a big indicator of whether you will be refused/discouraged to use your own eggs and move on to donor.  I have no problem with donor.  I think the idea is fabulous and I am so happy it is an option for my friends and maybe some day for me down the road, but I wanted at least one good cycle.  At least one good try before giving up on my own DNA. I would have made me very sad to have lost the race the minute after I stepped out of the gate.  It also made me feel a lot better to know that even if this doesn’t work, we have a protocol that works well for my body.  I didn’t want to be out of options there either. 

We discussed a few issues with DrKAwesome and then decided (due to my age) to transfer….

.

.

(wait for it)

.

.

(can you feel the tension?)

.

.

♥♥♥ 3 ♥♥♥

 

That’s right my wonderful bloggidy friends.  I’ve got 3 lil’ blasty monsters baking away in here.  After the transfer, we went home.  I rested in bed and got more happy warm snuggles.  Later in the evening MrBeep treated me to one of my favorite restaurants.  I had, as a tribute to my day with soo many people being up in my ladybusiness, spaghetti alla puttanesca. “How is the whore’s crotch?” MrBeep would ask me.  “Simply Divine” I would answer and we laughed and laughed. 

So c’mon my little monsters.  I know your journey has been long and hard. 

Snuggle in.

Said by the girl who was running past at 90 mph

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Things are VERY GREAT…much to tell…happy happy happy…indie feature filming started two days ago…producing movies is crazy but fun…life is crazy but fun…behind the scenes documentary is fun…will update you all tonight…love + hugs + magic to you all.  OXXO

-- IF Optimist

Excuse me while I pick my jaw up from the floor

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I got the call this morning at 9:30 a.m.  The wonderful RE nurse Katie told me that the embryologist looked today and we have 6 grade 3 or higher embryos still going strong in the lab and they are pushing us to a Day 5 transfer on Wednesday. 

I’m so happy I can’t really express it in words.  This means the drug protocol worked this time.  It means that maybe we’ve got a chance.  It means that hope is beautiful and bakes cookies and says you are its best friend.   I’ll get an update later today on when we we are scheduled for Wednesday. 

Houston, we are go for blast.

The story of “MrBeep” – **Fert update

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A few folks have asked from time to time about how MrBeep got his name.  I wanted to save this story for a special day.  Since my egg retrieval was today at 9:30 am and we got…

18 eggs!!!

**FERTILIZATION REPORT UPDATE
I got an update on the eggs.  We indeed retrieved 18 eggs, of those 14 (WOW!) were mature.  10 fertilized normally with ICSI (we have to do ICSI due to our male factor).  I am scheduled for a egg transfer on Monday at 11:00 am.  We’ll find out if that gets pushed to a 5 day transfer on Monday.**

I think it is due time to warrant a very special story. It all started after I began to read many of my bloggidy friend’s posts.  There were stories of their husband, significant other, special somebody, etc. and many have some really excellent and clever names for their dear heart loves.  Here’s a short list (in no particular order)

The Life of Liv has “Marvy”
mekate has “My darlin’”
MrsGamgee has “Beloved”
Sprogblogger has “The Boy”
Beautiful Mess has “Dirty”
Phoebe has “Magic”
JJ has “Mook”

Now maybe my friends do have counterparts whose actual Christian names are indeed “Dirty” and “Mook” and “Boy” and “Magic”.  Heck “Prince” is his real name.  But my guess was that these are names beautifully invented by highly amusing and intelligent women.  I am a poseur and wanted to have a nifty name for my husband too.  I wracked my feeble brain for a while until I remembered an amusing tidbit that made me think…I’ve got it!  MrBeep!

OK. Let me explain.  Our house has 3 stories (a walk-out basement, main level and 2nd floor).  Sometimes when you are looking for a person, they are sort of hard to find.  You call out, “Hello?” and they say something like “I’m here” and you still can’t quite pinpoint the location/floor due to the foyer causing a bit of an echo.  So one day I called out “Where are you…Beeeeeeep?” when looking for my husband and he replied “BEEP!”  We kept beeping at each other every few seconds like sonar pings until I found him.  Now we just call out in sonar beeping, even when we just want to get the other person’s attention to come into our current room for a smootch.  When I told him I named him MrBeep he absolutely loved it.  He also pointed out his initials are in the name.  Every now and then he’ll look at me and smile and say, “You named me MrBeep” and bust out laughing.

There ends the tale of how he was named MrBeep. 

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On other fronts, I enjoyed a delicious cup of morrocan mint tea with a delightful sesame snack over at Clare’s for the Mad IFers Tea Party.  Here was her kind quote: “let me pour you a glass of Moroccan mint tea to go with that. And here's one for you too, IF Optimist oh and a sweet sesame snack. IF Optimist is very happy to be here drinking tea with us all. Did you know she and her husband just celebrated their 2 year wedding anniversary? Congratulations!”

MrBeep and I wanted to say a big “Thank You!” to all of my bloggidgy friends who wished us well for (as Wiseguy perfectly put it) Anniversary Release date 2.0.  Way to go on the geekspeak Wiseguy!

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I’ll find out more tomorrow on how many of those 18 eggs are mature and fertilized.  I must say that I am very happy with the results so far.  Man, do my ovaries feel achy (but that is another story for another day.)

 

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