Thursday, June 30, 2011

Question for the moms & pregnant ladies

I am wondering whether anyone else has been in a similar situation to mine and how they handled it.

As you know, we recently found out I am pregnant.  I am only 5 weeks along, and though we have had two good, rising betas, pregnancy won't be confirmed via ultrasound until July 11.  We all know that, even when the pregnancy is a result of using eggs from a young donor, many things can still go wrong at this stage.

My dilemma is my husband.  I love him, and he is a great guy.  He is doing something that is starting to drive me nuts, though.

He quizzes me multiple times a day about whether I am having "symptoms," whether I am drinking my water (I regularly drank 2-3 liters a day before I was pregnant and continue to do so), what I'm eating, and whether I am overexerting myself.  While I think it's sweet that he is concerned about my well-being, I think he is getting a little ridiculous.

I am a mature, 40-year-old woman who generally takes pretty good care of herself.  I don't usually eat a lot of processed foods, even when not pregnant, and I am not an exercise fanatic who regularly pushes herself and works out for long periods.  In short, I don't think his monitoring of my behavior is necessary. 

I am as aware as MM of the potential effects of my actions on our embryos, and I want just as much for this pregnancy to progress and bring us a healthy baby at the end.  I understand that his behavior stems from his anxiety and feelings of lack of control, but I am getting a bit tired of being grilled and being reminded five times a day that I have "precious cargo on board."

Any suggestions on how to handle this from those who've been there, done that?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Should I stay or should I go?

Over the time I've been reading infertility-related blogs, many, many of the women whose blogs I've read have gotten pregnant, some more than once.  (Happily, many of them are parenting now and no longer TTC.)

When someone whose blog I had been reading for a while got pregnant, oddly enough, it never made me feel bad.  It didn't give me hope--because, although I know some people feel this way, that just isn't the way my mind works--but if I'd been reading the blog for a while, I'd form a sort of attachment to its writer and was happy for her.  Plus, by definition, she wasn't a "fertile who doesn't get it," so I had less difficulty digesting news of her pregnancy.

Many of these bloggers continued blogging throughout their pregnancies, and I enjoyed keeping up with their progress.  If I wasn't in a mental space on a given day to read about pregnancy, I would just skip that blog for a day or two until the mood passed.  Only on rare occasion did I stop reading an infertility blog entirely when it turned into a pregnancy-after-infertility blog.

I will say, though, that there have been times I have visited a blog for the first time, or visited a blog that I only visited sporadically, and when I found out that the writer was pregnant, I felt gut-punched.  Many is the time I followed a link from Stirrup Queens, or ICLW, or another blog's blog roll, only to find out that the blog was now all about pregnancy. 

When this happened, I wasn't looking for blogs about pregnancy-after-infertility; I was looking for blogs about infertility.  The last thing I wanted was another pregnant person in my life, even my online life.

Now that I am pregnant myself, I have mixed feelings about continuing to write here.  I don't plan to delete this blog.  It contains a lot of my very true and honest experiences from the past 2+ years, and in addition to wanting to preserve many of those for myself, I think my experiences might, in some way, be of some help to someone else going through the sh1tstorm of infertility.

At the same time, I started this blog to write about my infertility.  We had already been TTC for nearly a year when I started writing it, and it had become clear by then that getting pregnant wasn't going to happen easily for me, and maybe not at all.  While I was not entirely without hope that I might someday get pregnant when I started writing here, I did feel that the odds were against me.

So I never gave much thought to the question of "What will I do with my blog when I get pregnant?"  But I am thinking about it now.

I will, of course, at least update you all on the outcome of our ultrasound on July 11.  I mean, in my mind, despite two great betas, my pregnancy won't really be "confirmed" until then.  But after that, well. . . .

I put the question to you, my readers.  Should I continue to write about my pregnancy here?  Should I start another blog about the pregnancy and just come and write here when/if my infertility angst rears its head?  (If I do that, anyone who wants to read the new pregnancy blog would be welcome to, and I would totally understand anyone who didn't want to.) 

Does it bother you when you discover an "infertility" blog only to find out that its writer is already pregnant?  Do you think that the blogger should make it clear to first-time readers somehow?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Second beta

Just got the call from St. Mungo's a little while ago. . . . my second beta is 3649. 

Because my two betas were four days apart, I had to use an online calculator to figure out the doubling time.  It's just over 35 hours, which is good.

My P4 level was fine, too (31.8), so we're doing well.

Now just waiting for our first u/s on July 11 to see whether one or two of our embryos decided to stick around.

P.S.  MM is getting brave.  He actually suggested we buy something for "Future Baby M__" at the 70% sale this weekend.  (We got a very cute outfit with lions and monkeys.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Leap Day

I've calculated our potential due date on several different online calculators.  With our egg retrieval on June 8, according to all but one of these calculators, our due date for this pregnancy would be February 29.

Kinda cool, huh?

Also, neither of us have anyone in our families with a birthday in February.  (MM, his parents and my nephew are all in the fall, October & November, and my nuclear family are all in the spring, March/April/May.)  So our baby(ies?) will be the first one(s?) in the family with a February birthday.

Second beta is tomorrow.

Friday, June 24, 2011


That's my beta hCG level: 546, 11dp5dt.  My P4 level was also good.  It was 34.2, and St. Mungo's wants it to be >20.

I'm kind-of in shock.  I never expected such a high first beta!

Is anyone else thinking twins?


I woke up at 2:30 this morning to use the bathroom (rare occurrence) and tossed and turned until 5:30 (also rare).  When I got up at 5:30, I did two HPTs--one digital, one FRER--with the pee I'd saved from 2:30.  (I know, EEEWWW!)  Both tests were very obviously positive.

I was at the lab a little after it opened at 7 to have my blood drawn for my beta hCG and progesterone tests.  (On a side note, there is certainly an interesting assortment of people at the lab first thing in the morning.)  I waited less than half an hour, had a nearly-painless stick, and was at my office by 8.

As I sit here beginning my work day, despite seeing two more BFPs this morning, I am disproportionately worried about today's beta.  I don't think this is rational, as I have no reason to believe that I will get anything but good news later today.  I don't feel any different this morning than I did yesterday, so I have no reason to think that anything has gone wrong.  Yet the feeling persists.

For the first time this week, I feel like I can kind-of relate to MM's feelings of anxiety about how this will turn out.  Maybe, in a perverse way, that's a good thing.

If past experience with St. Mungo's is any indicator of when I can expect a call with my results, then I doubt I will hear anything until the end of the day.  I will, of course, post my numbers when I have them.

Until then, if you could spare some positive energy, thoughts or prayers for me, I'd appreciate them.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

And so it begins

I had my first bout of nausea last night.  A new Culver's recently opened just minutes from our house, and a friend of mine had been raving about their "cheese curds."  Thinking about how much I love cheese, I decided I would get them and see what all the fuss was about.

As it turned out, Culver's cheese curds are breaded and deep-fried.  (I guess I thought they'd just be giving me some lumps of cheese.)  Normally I have no problem eating fried cheese, but after a few cheese curds, I was feeling decidedly nauseated and had to throw the rest away.

This feeling continued as I fed our dogs.  Normally the smell of their food doesn't affect me at all--it's dry food, so it's not very strong-smelling--but last night it struck me as really gross and sent another wave of nausea through me as I was scooping it out.  Ick.

Apart from the usual times one might get nauseated--stomach virus, food poisoning, hangovers, migraines--I normally don't get nausea.  (I worked in hospitals as a nurse for seven years, and if that won't get you past having your stomach turned by nasty smells, nothing will.)  So this was unusual for me.

I felt a little nauseous this morning, too, but after I ate an energy bar, it subsided.  I feel fine right now.

I am only 4 weeks, 1 day pregnant today.  Isn't that a little early for morning sickness?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday's POAS update

At MM's request, I took another HPT this morning. The ClearBlue Easy digital tests were on sale at Walgreens, making two of them $3+ less than the First Response Early Result tests I usually buy, so that's what I got. (I also figured MM couldn't quibble over the faintness of a line when the test would just say "Pregnant" or "Not Pregnant".)

Due to technical difficulties, I can't get the photo to load here. So you'll have to trust me when I tell you it says I'm still "Pregnant." ;-)


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thank you, revisited

Thank you all so much for your comments on my last post!  We are cautiously optimistic now about the outcome of our cycle.  Unfortunately, having had a past chemical pregnancy myself and spending way too much time reading blogs in this community over the past three years make me acutely aware of all the things that could still go wrong.  But for today, I am pregnant, and that is a wonderful thing.


You may recall my posting about our intention to give our donor a nice bouquet of flowers the day of egg retrieval, along with a card containing the message I posted here.  We carried out our plan, and although I didn't get to see the flowers--they hadn't arrived yet by the time we left St. Mungo's on retrieval day--I was content with our gesture and glad I'd made the effort.  (After initially thinking we should do nothing, MM then thought the flowers and card were not enough and that we should have bought her something nicer.  Go figure.)

About a week later, I had an email from our nurse to let me know that she had seen the donor for a follow-up appointment (she is doing well, by the way) and that she was "blown away" by our flowers and actually sent us a thank you card for them!  St. Mungo's forwarded her card on to us, and here's what it says:

MM & S--

Thank you so much for the thoughtful card and the beautiful flowers.  I have no doubt that you will both make amazing parents.  I wish you the very best and hope with all my being that your dream of a family comes true.  I feel honored that you chose me as a donor and allowed me to help you make your dream come true.

All the best,

The card itself has a picture of a baby elephant nestled up against the leg of a much larger elephant (probably its mother).  It is very cute, and it's from Tra.der Joe's, which is one of my favorite stores.  (Glad to know she shops there, too.)

I've posted before about how much it meant to hear the nurse and the third-party coordinator's personal impressions of our donor.  Although the information provided by St. Mungo's in its donor profiles is as comprehensive as any recipient could hope to see without actually knowing the donor, there are so many intangibles about a person that cannot easily be captured in a written profile or in photographs.  I would use the analogy of online dating.  It's one thing to read someone's profile, view their pictures and think that you're well-suited; it may be another thing entirely when you actually meet face-to-face.  Been there, done that.

So knowing that our donor is the type of person who would take the time to send us a thank you card--after the irreplaceable gift she has given us!--and being able to read her words in her own handwriting means a lot.  I will be putting this card away for safekeeping in case our future child wants to see it someday.

Monday, June 20, 2011

POAS redux

You may recall that I wrote here about how I was considering testing early at home on Father's Day.  I never posted a follow-up because, even after all your terrific and helpful comments, I was still on the fence about what I would do.

MM knows me so well.  He started asking me on Saturday when I was planning to POAS.  Even though I usually don't POAS, he knew that, with the stakes being this high and with there being a good likelihood that a test might actually be positive, I would be tempted.  (Neither of us are known for our patience.)

When I explained to him that I had considered testing on Sunday morning and why ("Wouldn't be cool to find out I'm pregnant on Father's Day?"), his initial reaction was to adamantly ask me not to POAS.  But as the evening wore on, he asked me more and more questions about the likelihood of seeing a "real" BFP early on. . . . and eventually, by around 9:00 p.m., he was *asking* me to POAS.

I explained to him that POAS at that time was not ideal circumstances--end of the day and I'd had lots of water to drink; only 10 dpo (days past ovulation), 5dp5dt--but he insisted.  So I obliged, and it was, naturally, a BFN.  Stark white window next to the single test line.

I hadn't been sure how I'd feel seeing an early BFN.  Historically it has bummed me out.  But Saturday night, I felt nothing.  I was just sure that I had tested way too early.

I spent the rest of the night reassuring MM over and over that this BFN didn't mean that our cycle had failed, that it was just too early to test.  I even resorted to quoting a study from fer.tilit.yfr.iend which talks about when you might expect a positive test if you *are* pregnant.  By bedtime, I think I had convinced him that there was no cause for concern, but he was still bummed.  He asked me not to test again in the morning, and I agreed.

Yesterday morning, Sunday, I woke up around 5:00 a.m. with a migraine.  (Thank goodness, it was a mild one--only moderate pain, dizziness, and light sensitivity, not severe pain and nausea--but crappy nonetheless when I can't take any of my medications for it.)  Clearly POAS was the furthest thing from my mind at that point, and besides, I had promised MM.  I spent most of yesterday napping or lying around with an icepack on my head.  I still had some pain until an hour or so before bedtime last night.

I should also mention that, unrelated to my migraine, I was also having some mild, off-and-on cramping in my lower abdomen most of yesterday, as well as an occasional feeling of heaviness.  I attributed this to my uterus, but who knows.

This morning I woke up feeling refreshed and headache-free.  After feeling completely neutral upon seeing Saturday night's BFN, I felt like I'd be OK to POAS this morning.  I told myself I'd just bury the test in the trash if it was negative, and MM wouldn't have to worry.  We are now 7dp5dt (12dpo), so I thought there was a chance of a BFP if I am pregnant.

Here's a photo of this morning's test:

Not sure if it comes through in the photo--I had a devil of a time getting a good shot of the HPT--but there is the faintest of second lines.  I thought my mind was playing tricks on me at first, but when I compare it to Saturday night's obvious BFN, it's clear there is a second line.

So I'm feeling cautiously optimistic this morning that this cycle did indeed work and I am pregnant!  I realize there are many things which may go wrong, even between now and Friday's beta, but for today, I am happy.

(Oh, and I'm leaving the HPT on the kitchen table for MM to see when he gets up.)

EDITED TO ADD:  MM saw the HPT, and as I thought, was more skeptical than excited.  He expressed concern about how faint the line is and wasn't too reassured by my telling him "a line is a line."  He wanted to know "Shouldn't it be darker if you are really pregnant?"
Of course, he is cautiously optimistic, but I don't think he'll really believe it until Friday's beta.  Maybe not even then, LOL.
He also said "I don't think we should be telling anyone until we know for sure.  You haven't been emailing your friends, have you?"
Um, no.  I emailed my sister, I called my college friend KK and I posted here. . . . but I haven't emailed any friends.  ;-)
(So if you know us in real life, keep this on the down-low until further notice.)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Magic 8 Ball

I forgot that when I want to know the answer to something, there's no need to wait for something like a blood test.  I can just ask the Magic 8 ball!

I asked it whether our cycle would work, and here is the answer.

So see, no more need to obsess.  ;-)

(By the way, I asked the Magic 8 ball last October if I would ever have a baby, and posted about it here.  I love the Magic 8 ball!)

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Today's post doesn't really have a theme or a coherent line of thought.  Just a few thoughts which have been pinging around in my brain.

First, I need your help.  I would really like to donate my pen to someone who can use it.  Not the drug itself; just the pen used to administer the drug.  (You can see a photo of one which looks exactly like mine here.  It comes in a handy dandy little case.)

I tried to donate the pen to St. Mungo's for someone to use, but the nurse told me they get them for free from the manufacturer to provide to patients/donors.  (My local clinic didn't offer that to me; I had to buy mine, and I think it cost close to $200!)  I actually saw a stack of them near the procedure room before my embryo transfer.

Anyway, I know most of the people who read this blog--at least the ones who comment regularly--probably don't need this pen, but maybe you know someone who does.  If we get far enough for me to need an u/s at our local clinic, and no one asks me for the pen by then, maybe I will see about donating it to my clinic.  (Though I will be *really* annoyed if they tell me they give them to patients for free now, too, after I had to buy mine.)  I would just like to get it out of my house, and it has value, so I can't bear to throw it away.

When I titled yesterday's post "Symptom Watch," I wasn't really referring to *my* being on symptom watch. . . . more that the family and friends who know about our procedure are on the lookout for symptoms in me.  MM asks me a few times a day how I'm feeling, and I think my MIL is asking him, too.  It's a natural thing, I suppose.

I think that the mild off-and-on cramping I noticed yesterday could well be a side effect of the PIO (though interestingly, I don't see uterine cramping listed anywhere as a side effect of this particular type of progesterone; I know it was listed as a side effect when I had to use that).  That's why progesterone is the Devil: its side effects mimic any and all "symptoms" of early pregnancy.  Still, I am "PUPO" (pregnant until proven otherwise), so I'm choosing to go with my explanation for now.  It may not be true, but it makes me feel good.  ;-)

No cramping today, just a mild feeling of heaviness in my lower abdomen which just started in the past hour.  My breasts are still a little sore, but much less tender than they were.  I think my body is adjusting to the dose of progesterone I'm on, since it's been constant now for a week.

Overall, I am just trying to stay positive and calm and keep my mind off what may or may not be going on in my uterus.  You would think that working full-time in an intellectually challenging job would be enough to keep me from obsessing. . . . but you would be wrong.  Although I am taking a deposition this afternoon, and that will help a lot; I find that when I'm the one asking the questions at a deposition, that requires my full attention, so I don't think about anything but the task at hand.

I think the waiting is one of the hardest parts of infertility.  And there is just no way around it.

[At one time, I probably would've said the loss of control, but after over three years of TTC, I came to terms with that one a long time ago.  And realized that, really, it was only the illusion of control I ever had before anyway.  I was never really "in control" of whether and when I would conceive.]

MM has been dead set on my "taking it easy" these past few days.  He hasn't even let me walk the dogs with him in the evenings, as he has deemed it "too hot" for me to be outside, even after dark.  (To be fair, my post-transfer instructions did include avoiding any activities that raise body temperature, especially for the first 72 hours, and it has been over 105 degrees for the high here the past few days.)  He also hounds me about whether I am drinking enough water because we were told I should avoid dehydration.  (I normally drink 2-3 liters of water a day and have continued to do so.)

I don't intend to do anything more strenuous than a moderately-paced walk or some basic yoga until at least after my first u/s (if we get that far), but not being allowed to do anything has been a little much.  Still, I understand his concern, and it's kind-of sweet in a way.  I imagine he will continue to be "up in my business" for sometime to come if our cycle works.  ;-)

OK, going to try and get some work done.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Symptom watch

A friend of mine IRL asked me yesterday whether I had any "symptoms" yet.  Not that she truly thought I'd be having pregnancy symptoms one day after my embryo transfer; she just knows firsthand how our minds like to play tricks on us during the 2WW.

When I think about this question logically, I wouldn't expect to have any symptoms of pregnancy prior to a positive test.  My mother never had any early symptoms with her pregnancies.  (Reportedly she didn't even know she was pregnant with me until she was about 4 months along; she's said her periods had been irregular due to stress following her father's death, so she didn't notice the missed periods.)  My sister told me that she didn't have any pregnancy symptoms until 6 weeks, two weeks after she'd already seen a positive pregnancy test.

I've thought I "felt pregnant" in many, many past (failed) cycles.  Ironically enough, during the one cycle when I actually *was* pregnant, I didn't *feel* pregnant at all.  I was actually in the midst of starting a treatment cycle when I got the BFP.

I seem to always have sore breasts on progesterone, so that's definitely not a symptom of anything.  (Plus I had sore breasts days before the transfer.)  And the lengthy list of potential side effects of PIO pretty much encompasses everything which might be interpreted to be a result of early pregnancy.

I have perceived some very mild cramping in my lower abdomen today.  (Actually, I noticed it yesterday evening, too, but--TMI--I was constipated and figured it was due to that.)  It could be all in my head, but I think I'm feeling it.

I like to think that this is the feeling of one or both of our embryos settling in for a nine-month stay.  Who knows.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Final Embryo Update

I got our last call from the St. Mungo's lab this morning regarding the outcome of the rest of our embryos.  One blastocyst was frozen yesterday (in addition to the two we transferred), and three additional blastocysts are being frozen today.  Of the other seven embryos, a few made it to the blastocyst stage but are not of sufficient quality to be frozen.  The rest did not make it to the blastocyst stage and are dying off.

So we will have four frozen blastocysts in case we need future tries, either if this cycle doesn't take or if we want another child.  (Discussion about the latter possibility has been tabled not only until we know the outcome of this cycle but also until any child born of this cycle is at least a year old.  Although obviously if we have twins this go-around, we will be done.)

Not yet knowing the outcome of our fresh cycle, it's nice to know that we have these frozen embryos waiting for us, just in case.  The expense of doing another fresh DE cycle would be too much for us to bear, but we could eventually afford a FET or two if necessary.  And should we decide not to use them in the future, MM is adamant that we should donate them to another couple.

Thank you all for your kind and supportive comments yesterday and throughout this process.  We are optimistic and doing our best to stay calm and think positive thoughts.  June 24 (beta day) can't get here soon enough!  :-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Transfer Day

We are traveling home from St. Mungo's right now. Much as I don't care for typing on my iPhone, I wanted to update on today's transfer, and I know I won't have time to get online once we get home.

We had five "beautiful" blastocysts today, and we transferred the two best. The head embryologist thought it likely that we'd have at least 3, maybe 4 blasts to freeze. Good news! The rest of the embryos have either stopped dividing or were showing signs of degradation. We got photos of our embryos for our "baby book".

The transfer itself went very smoothly. Dr. Dumbledore is well known for his transfer technique, and he lived up to my (high) expectations. He deemed the transfer "perfect". For my part, I'll say that I've had Pap smears that were more painful.

St. Mungo's set-up is really cool. First, the embryologist talked with us and gave us photos of our embryos. Then Dr. Dumbledore came in and prepared me. We were able to see a close-up of the two chosen blastocysts under the microscope on a TV screen and then actually see the embryogist "suck" them up in the catheter. Finally, we were able to watch on u/s while they were placed in my uterus.

It was a great experience for me and for MM. Now we're just hoping that our success so far will lead us to the ultimate success: a baby (or two). Great looking blastocysts and uterine lining don't count for much unless they mean a BFP at the end of the cycle.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 3 Embryo Update

Today we have 13 dividing embryos; the one that was lagging yesterday divided after all!  (I was surprised, as I had pretty much given up on it.)

According to the information St. Mungo's gave us, on Day 3 they expect embryos to have between 4 and 8 cells.  Of the 13 embryos we have growing, seven are 8-cell, three are 6-cell, one is a 5-cell, and two are 4-cells.

Of the 8-cell embryos, two are already on the verge of compacting into morulae.  (The embryologist referred to them as the "front runners.")  Two of the remaining 8-cell embryos are graded good, three are graded fair.

The 6-cell embryos are all good except one which is fair.  The 5-cell and 4-cell embryos are all graded good.  All of the embryos have less than 10% fragmentation, which I'm told is very good for this stage.

All in all, the embryologist said they are doing "great."  We continue to be on track for a 5-day blastocyst transfer Monday morning.

My MIL was saying today how it's really neat to be getting these daily updates from the lab, and I agree.  We're hearing about the progress of our future children (grandchildren, in MIL's case) at a time when most women wouldn't even know they were pregnant yet!  I thought once again how fortunate we are that the technology which allows us to do this exists.

Last update before transfer day is tomorrow.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 2 Embryo Update

(If I had realized St. Mungo's would be calling this morning, rather than this afternoon, I would have waited to publish my previous post.  Guess they wanted to make up for yesterday's late call. . . or maybe they just want to go home early on a Friday.  Anyway. . . . )

I just got a call from the St. Mungo's embryology lab with our Day 2 update on our embryos.  At this stage, according to the information they provided us, the embryos should be dividing and have between 2 and 4 cells.  They also grade the embryos good, fair or poor.  They also look at whether the embryos have fragmentation and hope to see minimal to no fragmentation.

Of the 13 embryos we had yesterday, 8 currently have 4 cells, 4 currently have 2 cells, and 1 is still at the one-cell stage (but she said it is possible for it to still divide).  Of the 12 embryos which are where they should be, 7 are graded good, and 5 are graded fair, and only one of the 2-cell embryos has minimal fragmentation; the rest of the embryos have no fragmentation.

So all good news!  We are now confirmed for a 5-day blastocyst transfer on Monday!

Credit where credit is due

OK, I have to give MM credit.  He did my PIO shot last night, and it actually hurt less than when I gave it to myself the night before.  (I barely felt the needle going in and didn't feel it coming out at all.)  Plus I have a painful lump on the right side from *my* injection and so far no discernable lump on the left where he gave his (though it is a little sore).

I'll confess, I had my doubts about whether he would be able to do this.  Not that I think he is incompetent to perform such a routine task, more that I didn't think he could do it psychologically.  Apparently I underestimated him.  ;-)

Things have been pretty quiet around the blogosphere this week.  I hope it just means that people are enjoying the early days of summer.  Or maybe it's related to the glitches with blogger I've been reading about; who knows.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fertilization report

I finally talked with one of the embryologists at St. Mungo's.  Of the 17 eggs retrieved yesterday, 13 of those were mature.  All 13 of them fertilized normally with ICSI. 

So we currently have a "baker's dozen" of embryos!  Here's hoping that they continue to develop normally.

I had my first PIO injection last night.  I decided I would give myself the first injection, first because I wanted to show MM the proper technique for an intramuscular injection (I never did get fruit for him to practice on, as I'd planned), and second because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.  I will probably let MM do most of the rest, especially the ones on the left side, but I think it went fine.

Piercing my skin and muscle with the needle hardly hurt at all.  I warmed the PIO to body temperature before I injected, and I still had to depress the plunger SLOOOOOOOOWLY because it is so thick.  I had only a little pain during the injection.  I applied a warm pad to the area after injecting and also walked around (including a 15-minute walk with the dogs) to help the medication absorb into the muscle.

Today there is no visible sign that I had a shot there, but there is some soreness deep down in the muscle.  Ouch!  I will have to stay on these until 12 weeks of pregnancy if our cycle works, so I'm looking at about 70 more PIO injections.  I can only imagine how my a$$ will feel by the time I'm done with them. . . .

I'm proud of myself.  Before IF, I couldn't even stand to prick my own finger.  Now I can give myself injections!  Ah, the personal growth, LOL.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The numbers

17 eggs were retrieved from our donor this morning.

My lining was a "perfect" 8 mm, triple-stripe pattern.

We are planning a 5-day blastocyst transfer on Monday and will be getting daily updates from the embryology lab until then.

Off to a good start!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Does anyone else. . . .

find it odd that I am on a higher dose of estrogen than someone who is in the process of a gender reassignment from male to female?  I am taking 10 mg a day of Es.tra.ce, 4 mg in the morning and 6 mg at night.

No wonder I feel. . . . not-quite-myself.

Update on N and Baby W

You may recall my post about my friend N and her baby a few weeks ago.  I haven't provided an update, so I wanted to today.

N's cerclage was placed, and she got through the critical first 48 hours without pre-term labor and was released to home bedrest.  N had her two week post-cerclage appointment with her MFM Monday.  Baby W appears to be doing very well; she was 24 weeks 3 days at the appointment and was measuring two days ahead per usual. Everything else looked fine according to the doctor, and he was very optimistic that N would make it to term.

The MFM was prepared to release N from bed rest to light activity, but she is waiting to see what the regular OB has to say later this week. Once she gets past 28 weeks without issues, she should be able to return to her office as long as the OB agrees.

Thanks again for your prayers, which have helped to get them this far.  Please continue to keep N and Baby W in your thoughts and prayers.  Every day Baby W can remain in utero improves her chances once she is born.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Retrieval Wednesday

I should have updated the blog yesterday but got busy with other stuff.

The weekend nurse saw our donor again yesterday for a follow up ultrasound. She had approximately 35 follicles with her leading follicles measuring 16-25mm. Dr Dumbledore recommended she come back in today for another ultrasound and trigger tonight, with egg retrieval on Wednesday.  (I actually don't know whether she is taking additional stims or just "coasting" until tomorrow night's trigger; the nurse's original email didn't say, and by the time I got it hours later--I was in a movie when it arrived--it was too late to ask.)

I will receive another update today after her appointment .  I have been mildly concerned that things have been pushed out one day later than I expected, but I realize stimulating ovaries is not an exact science, and I have to trust Dr. Dumbledore.  I mean, if I don't think he knows what he's doing, why are we doing our cycle with him?  Lord knows I did enough research before picking St. Mungo's.  And they don't have an 85% success rate on fresh cycles for nothing.  So I am going with the flow and trusting that he knows the best thing.

So MM and I will be traveling tomorrow evening for our appointment at St. Mungo's Wednesday morning.  It's going to be an exciting week

Saturday, June 4, 2011

To POAS or not to POAS

[For those not in the know, POAS = pee on a stick, i.e., take a home pregnancy test (HPT).]

I have never really been one who is fond of early POAS.  From my days on a popular fertility charting website and from reading numerous infertility blogs, I know that many women like to test "early and often."  But after a few early disappointments in the halcyon days of early TTC, before we knew we would have problems, I was turned off POAS.  I hated that sinking feeling in my stomach when I checked the HPT only to see a stark white space where the second line should be.  As a consequence, the only times I've taken HPTs in the past two-and-a-half years have been when I have been directed to do so by a doctor.  (And our RE required a HPT at the end of every treatment cycle and would only draw blood for a beta hCG test if the HPT was positive.)

From others who have cycled there, I have learned that St. Mungo's does your first beta hCG test 11 days after a 5-day blastocyst transfer.  Assuming egg retrieval on June 7 and transfer on June 12, that would make my blood test June 23, which is a Thursday.

I realized recently that our embryo transfer is the week before Father's Day.  That means, in theory, that I could take a HPT on Fathers Day and have some chance of its being positive if our cycle worked.

On the other hand, even if our cycle worked, testing 7dp5dt *could* be a little too early to get a positive.  It would be a bummer to get a negative any day, but particularly on Father's Day.  (And obviously we could get a negative because the cycle was a failure, too.)

In addition to the fact that it would be GREAT to get a BFP on Father's Day, if I am going to test at home before beta, I would want to do it on a weekend morning.  Testing on a workday morning is no good, whether it's a positive or negative.  If it's a negative, I'll be bummed and preoccupied.  If it's a positive, I'll be THRILLED and preoccupied.

So I guess my options are to test on Father's Day or not test at all until beta.  What would you do?

I think if I do POAS on Father's Day, I will keep it to myself unless I get a positive.  No point in bumming MM out, too.  Also, I know he is opposed to early testing and thinks I should just what for the blood test.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Our donor was seen at St. Mungo's today, and she had 35+ follicles, with the largest measuring 14-21mm in size.  (Obviously not all of these follicles will have eggs/mature eggs in them, but our nurse said "this is a great number to have prior to egg retrieval.")  Her estrogen level was "solid" (1509--anyone know if that's good?), and Dr. Dumbledore asked her to return on Sunday for another visit. 

There is a good chance she will be triggered for egg retrieval on Sunday.  If so, the retrieval would be on Tuesday, which is what we have been anticipating.  I will have my final passing ultrasound at St. Mungo's the same morning, and MM will produce his "fresh sample."  (We already have a sample cryopreserved, too, just in case.)

If the donor is not triggered Sunday, then she will return Monday for a visit, and her retrieval would be Wednesday.  That will mean moving my appointment.  The weekend nurse will update us after the donor's appointment on Sunday.

Either way, we will (we hope) have embryos growing in the St. Mungo's lab by next week!  :-)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First follicle check

Our donor had her appointment at St. Mungo's this morning, and I found out the results from our nurse this afternoon.  She has approximately 30 follicles growing, with the largest of those at 14-16 mm.  She will be starting Ce.trot.ide tonight to help prevent ovulation and continuing her stims.  She will have her next monitoring appointment on Friday, and we will see where she's at then.

Our nurse said the donor is "pretty much exactly" on pace with where she has been at this point in her previous cycles, so that's good news.  In that case, it sounds like we are still on track for her triggering on Sunday and having the eggs retrieved this coming Tuesday.

Wow.  Less than a week from now.

[You are all probably getting sick of hearing me say "wow" and marvel at how close this is getting!  LOL]

So glad things are on target!