Friday, July 30, 2010

So Very Thankful

Every time I read a blog about a long-standing struggle with infertility, I think to myself, "Man, I HAVE to stop reading this stuff.  It's making me nuts!"  But I can't bring myself to stop.  Not only do I want to cheer on and support those who continue to struggle without success, but I want to rejoice and celebrate those BFPs!  Lately, I haven't run across too many blogs with BFPs and it's disheartening.  On top of that, I seem to be reading too many blogs where women have suffered one or more miscarriages or lost their babies because of pregnancy-related complications like pre-eclampsia.  These blogs are a constant reminder that I should be eternally thankful for what I have.  I have a wonderfully kind and supportive husband.  I live in Massachusetts, which has mandatory insurance coverage for infertility treatments.  I  have been blessed to get pregnant with, carry to full-term and deliver an amazing and healthy son.  I am incredibly grateful for these things every single day of my life.  It's easy to get caught up in my quest for baby #2.  Will the frozen embryo survive thaw?  Will I have to do a fresh IVF cycle?  Will it work again for us?  I need to always remember to take a step back and breathe and remember exactly what I have already.  My heart and prayers go out to those women who have not been as fortunate as I have been.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our WTF appointment

My husband and I had our WTF appointment today to discuss the failure of FET #1.  Our doctor reminded us that infertility treatments are just as much art as science and she doesn't ever really know why some embryos make it and some don't.  They just don't have that insight.  But she reassured us that it was still worth it to give our remaining two 6-celled frozen embryos a chance.   The embryos wouldn't have been frozen if they didn't meet a certain quality criteria.  And she said that they were from a good "cryo batch" because the 8-celler that we used for FET #1 thawed perfectly, without any cells dying.

We went back and forth on whether to do assisted hatching on the embryo.  Part of me really wanted to do it because we did that with Ian's embryo and it worked (and we didn't do it for FET #1 and we failed).  But part of me was really resistant to do it because it increases the chances of monozygotic twinning by 2% and the doctor said that there was no evidence that it increases success rates.  The only reason they did assisted hatching 2 years ago with our IVF was because "way back then" they always did assisted hatching when they did ICSI.  But they've changed the practice so that ICSI doesn't always mean assisted hatching.  In the end, we decided not to do assisted hatching.  The idea of having multiples scares us a lot more than having no children other than Ian and that's how we made our decision.  We are also sticking to our guns and only putting one embryo back for FET #2.  The doctor thinks this is the right call, especially given our strong feelings against having multiples.

The doctor told us many stories of how people just get emotionally worn down from constant failures and by the end decide to put back multiple embryos.  One poor couple, who had twins from a prior IVF, were strongly against more multiples.  But they were so worn out from failures that they decided to put back two embryos instead of one.  And they ended up pregnant with triplets because one of the embryos split.  So they made the extremely hard decision to selectively reduce and they eliminated the identical twins.  The doctor said that the decision almost ruined this couples marriage and it was an extremely difficult process.

The doctor also told us a story of a couple who had 10 embryos frozen at a very early stage (so that quality was unknown).  The couple decided to do a series of single frozen embryo transfers in order to avoid having multiples, but all of them failed.  By the end, the couple had 2 embryos left and they decided to put both back.  What did they get?  Twins.  Yep.

I also asked why some women are on lupron for a FET protocol.  She said that it is to ensure that a woman doesn't ovulate through the estrogen.  If a woman ovulates, then her naturally produced progesterone will cause the timing of the lining to be off and by the time the doctors are ready to do the transfer, the lining will have already started the sloughing process.  If a woman ovulates, then the FET cycle will have to be canceled.  But most women do not ovulate through the estrogen and our doctor thinks it's much better not to use lupron because it actually has the counterproductive effect of thinning the lining and then more drugs are needed to thicken it back up.  I also asked why some women are on bed rest after their transfers and she said that it just isn't necessary.  She said that if "activity were a contraceptive, then no teenagers would get pregnant."  She said that uterine cramping should be avoided for the first 3 days after transfer, so that I shouldn't do any activity that could increase uterine cramping.  But she didn't think that me mowing the lawn and chasing after Ian all weekend after the transfer caused FET #1 to fail.  Either way, I'm happy that my husband hasn't planned any weekend getaways that would happen immediately after the transfer for FET #2.  We had such poor timing for FET #1.

And so we continue...I'll be starting the protocol for FET #2 sometime in mid-August when I receive mother nature's monthly gift.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Night Night!

Ian, who is now 16 months old, hopes everyone has a great night.  Night night!

video

Monday, July 19, 2010

Crucified Foot

Roughly two weeks ago, I was heading to the bathroom and didn't bother to turn on any lights.  I smashed the top of my right foot directly into our metal baby gate (which my husband left open when he went out to visit his grandmother for her birthday).  It hurt so much that I was actually moaning out loud for about 3 minutes.  I haven't had that type of pain since I was in labor.  The top of my foot got pretty bruised and swollen and it was finally feeling 100% better recently.

Yesterday, after mowing the lawn (in sneakers), I decided that I would weed our mulch bed and spread some new mulch around the hydrangeas we recently planted.  I was hot and changed into my flip flops after lunch.  I was finishing up one section of the bed and got up to take a look at what I'd done.  I stepped back to get a better view and whammo, PAIN, in my right foot.  I looked down and saw that I had stepped on our 3-pronged garden tool, which went right through my flip flop and into the ball of my foot.  I sat down and pulled the tool out of my foot (which had punctured through about 1 inch of my foot) and the blood immediately started running out.  I yelled to my husband (who was inside) multiple times before he finally heard me and came out to help.  We cleaned it out with hydrogen peroxide and then I put antibiotic cream on it with a band aid.  The actual wound doesn't look that bad at all, but my god, it hurts to walk.  So now I'm hobbling around like a total idiot.

My husband looked at my foot which has the remnant of a hole on top (because of the baby gate) and a hole on the bottom (because of the puncture wound) and said that it looked like my foot had been crucified.  Yep.  I really need to be more careful!  My poor foot can't take anymore!

I've got a call into my doctor now to see if I need to get a tetanus shot.  I'm sure I will need one.

*Update* Tetanus shot scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

My parents visited over the long Fourth of July weekend and my mom taught Ian how to sing along to Old MacDonald Had a Farm!  I had a hard time capturing Ian's singing on camera, but I finally got it after my parents left.  And here, in his singing debut, is Ian (15.5 months)!

video

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

BFN Confirmed

As I suspected, the beta HCG bloodwork confirmed that I am not pregnant. Thankfully, I can stop taking the meds and maybe all these cramps I feel will quickly turn into a period. We have a follow-up meeting with the RE on the 22nd to discuss next steps, but I already know that she thinks we should do another FET with one of our two remaining embryos. The embryos are from eggs that are two years younger than I am now and there is no reason to think they aren't high quality. I'm game if it means avoiding IVF. I will discuss again with the RE whether or not we should do assisted hatching. We did it when we had success with Ian and we didn't do it for this failed FET. We'll probably end up deciding not to do it again (to avoid increasing our chances of having multiples), but I want to talk about it again with the doctor. Overall, it's a bummer, but as the nurse told me on the phone today, the success rate is only 40% in general and so the odds are stacked against us. We just got very lucky the first time around.

The silver linings of the BFN: (1) I won't have to bring needles and drugs with me on the plane to Baltimore this weekend; (2) I can drink lots of beer with my brother this weekend; (3) I can drink alcohol at an upcoming party and avoid all questions as to why I'm not drinking (something I wasn't able to successfully navigate 2 years ago when I was pregnant with Ian); (4) I can get back on my exercise schedule without worrying about getting my heart rate too high; and (5) I will have been at my new job for over 1 year by the time I deliver.

As an aside, when I went to get my blood drawn this morning, I told the technician that I thought it was stupid that I had to get poked to confirm what I already knew - that I wasn't pregnant. He then launched into a story about a friend who was going through all sorts of infertility treatments and failing and how she got pregnant naturally the first month after stopping the infertility treatments. Sigh. Why would anyone ever assume that these stories bring comfort to someone suffering from infertility?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Disappointment

It is 12 dpo or 9 days post 3-day transfer and my pregnancy sticks are all negative. There isn't even a shadow where the + line should be. When I was pregnant with Ian, I got my first positive stick at 11 dpo. I have a little glimmer of hope because I've heard that FETs are a bit slower to take and I still have some uterine cramping, but I'm guessing that I'm not pregnant (especially since my boobs aren't sore at all). I'm having a hard time focusing on anything else and I haven't been sleeping well at all. Every single time I wake up, I think, "Dammit, it's only 1 am. Can't POAS yet." I'm trying to stay positive knowing that I already have a child (who is totally awesome) and that we'll eventually be successful in having a second child. But this is definitely disappointing. It was our best frozen embryo and the remaining two aren't as promising. The question then becomes whether to do another FET or do a fresh cycle. I'm so bummed that this first FET didn't work, but I know I've been extraordinarily lucky until now.

Friday, July 2, 2010

10 dpo

I'm an idiot. Despite all of my good intentions, I POAS this morning at 5:45 am. And, of course, it was negative. I wish I hadn't done that because now I'm convinced that I'm not pregnant even though it really was too early to test at 10 dpo. I didn't get my extremely faint positive with Ian until 11 dpo. Sigh. Stoopid stoopid stoopid. My beta is on July 7 and I imagine I will be POAS every day until then.

I just read that Jen Epper is having identical twins after a FET transfer. I'm happy for her success, but it also makes me think "Thank God we chose not to do the assisted hatching procedure!"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Waiting Game

I am currently 6 days post 3-day transfer or 9 dpo. I'm not going to bother POAS until Saturday for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that I didn't get my first positive pregnancy stick with my first pregnancy until 11 dpo and even then the line was so faint, I wasn't sure the test was positive. The second reason is whether or not the news is good or bad, I won't want to go into work right afterwards. So I'm waiting until Saturday to POAS.

I go back and forth in thinking I'm pregnant. At first, I was sure it worked because I was having a lot of uterine cramps and that's how it felt like when I was pregnant with Ian. But then my symptoms starting decreasing and my boobs don't hurt at all, which I think is a bad sign. My boobs were KILLING me when I was pregnant with Ian. But I can't remember exactly when they started hurting and so maybe it's too early still? Either way, I'm trying hard not to drive myself nuts, but it's hard to keep my mind off every single thing I feel. I will say, however, that this 2 week wait is unbelievably easier than the 2 week wait with Ian.

My parents came into town yesterday for a visit. My dad really wanted to finish the work that he started in our den (and my mom really wanted to escape the Florida heat and see Ian). Dad will be ripping off the rest of the wood paneling so that we can just have normal sheetrocked walls. It should look great when he is finished and I think the room will look a lot bigger without all of the dark wood on the walls. And I'm looking forward to putting in some more plants around our deck.