Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hello, visitor

Aunt Flo just arrived.  I did a little happy dance.  I've never been so happy to start my period, and am SO ready to move forward!

My husband has been away on a business trip for a week, and is home for 30 hours before departing for another week on business.  I was so happy to see him home, but will really miss him again.  On the other hand, he's earning mucho overtime.  We are dreaming of a nice vacation before starting my next IVF cycle in February-ish.  Where should we go???

Friday, October 30, 2009

Aunt Flo, where are you?

It has been 7 weeks since I had my miscarriage.  I was only pregnant for 7w3d.  I can't believe how fast the time had gone.  I'm in such a better place mentally than I was even a few weeks ago, and am moving forward.  One thing that is stopping me from moving forward is that I haven't gotten my period yet since the miscarriage.    Dr. B. said that I'd likely get my period 4 to 6 weeks after the miscarriage.  However, I bled for about 5 weeks after the miscarriage.  Is this normal?  Anyone who has been there before have any ideas?  I don't chart, so I'm not sure where things are, but I'm pretty sure I ovulated.  And, I've been having massive mood swings the past 2 days.  But, I've also been working my butt off all week painting my house, and have been without my husband (he's been on a business trip) so I'm tired in general.  That could lend to the crankiness.

I am not waiting to start an IVF cycle, so I'm not really in a rush, I just want to close the door on the medical aspects of the miscarriage and move forward.  Plus, I want to schedule my hysteroscopy, and I can't do that until I get my period.  UGH  So frustrated.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A post about pizza

I used to eat pizza.  A lot.  Like 3 times a week sometimes.  It was a problem, really and truly.  Maybe an addiction (please don't mind the crazies I'm sharing here!) The last time I had pizza was September 10th, the day before my miscarriage.  Somehow in my mind these two things - pizza and being pregnant / losing my baby - are linked.  I can't even bear the thought of eating pizza right now because I remember that the last time I ate it I was pregnant, and the next day I miscarried.  I have never gone this long without eating pizza.  It's so weird because I don't even want it any more.  The thought of eating it sounds good for a minute but then I remember.

I used to eat pizza for celebrations or when I was too tired to cook.  It's weird to have my favorite food tied in my mind with something that was so heartbreaking.  I think that at this point, I'd like to hold off on eating it until I have a true reason to celebrate - when I bring home a baby.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


At my WTF appointment, Dr. B. kindly suggested that if I lost some weight I might have better results with my next IVF cycle.  I've jumped all over this and am funneling all my energies into losing weight.  In my magical thinking world, this is a guarantee of success.  Whatever works.  

  • I've joined Weight Watchers Online and have been obsessively counting points
  • I've started exercising 6 days a week.  Monday through Friday I wake up most days (unless I have to be at work at a weird time) at 4 a.m. and am on my treadmill doing a couch to 5 k program or lifting weights at 4:15 a.m.  It's a bit crazy.  I'm still half asleep for the first 10 minutes of my workouts.
  • I've done 3 1/2 hours of cardio this past week and 1 1/2 hours of lifting weights.  
  • I also walk my dog about 3 to 5 hours a week.  I don't "count" that as working out since he usually operated in "slow" mode.
  • I've read The Fertility Diet, and am incorporating these suggestions into my plan, although the milk thing still has me confused.
I've never been more motivated to be successful.  Truthfully, I'm a bit obsessive about it.  Since I joined Weight Watchers one week after my miscarriage, I've lost 15 pounds.  I've lost 10 pound since I last met with Dr. B and he gave me this suggestion. 

I think it is generally a positive thing to be so focused.  It makes me feel like I am doing something to give myself some chance at success.  It makes me feel a bit more in control, although I know I'm not in control.  On the other hand, the very first thing I think of every single day is the baby I lost.  I'm not sure if I would think about that anyway, or if it is more in the forefront of my mind because the alarm is going off at 4 a.m. so I can workout to help improve my chances of a take home baby. Also, I might need to work on resetting expectations once I start my IVF cycle in January / February.  Right now it is helpful to think that all this work is making a huge difference and will guarantee success.  When I start cycling, I'll need to get a dose of reality.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Classic Infertile Experience

I had the classic infertile experience today.  Somehow I ended up talking to this girl at work about my infertility.  She hadn't heard any of my story before, so I ended up telling her a bit about the infertility experiences and the miscarriage as well as our thoughts that we might consider adoption if our next two IVF cycles aren't successful. 

She responded with a bunch of God stuff and then she said it.  She said we'd be good parents no matter if our child was natural or adopted.  Then she said, "If you adopt, you'll probably get pregnant right away, just like Charlotte in Sex and the City!"

Ok, really, there are a few things wrong with this.  First of all, I object to the word "natural."  Natural or adopted is just a bit offensive.  Then, she really had to go with the once you adopt you'll get pregnant line.  How is it that people think this statement is helpful or supportive?  It's just offensive to me and minimizes all the pain of IVF and infertility and reduces getting pregnant to "magic" (which it kind of is.  But wishing it hard enough, unfortunately, doesn't make it happen).  And, it minimizes the decision to adopt.  If I do decide to adopt, I hope I am at a point where I've put my dreams of getting pregnant and delivering a baby to rest.  I hope that I'm not adopting so that I'll get pregnant.

I replied to her that the adopt to get pregnant is an urban legend and that in my world things are a bit more complicated.  She didn't say anything back.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What could have been

My RE's office is part of a larger group practice.  The clinic itself is to the right of the elevator banks and has it's own waiting room.  However, to the left of the elevators is the OB/GYN and MFM clinic, the laboratory, and the large waiting room for ultrasounds.  The procedure for monitoring appointments is to check in with RE, and then go to the large waiting room to wait for your blood test and ultrasound.

They open at 7am for monitoring appointments.  At that hour of the day, it's easy to avoid the fertiles.  But, it gets pretty busy.

I work across the street from the clinic, which makes it really convenient.  On Monday, I had to get a blood test, and I decided to go at my lunch break to avoid the early morning crowds.  So, I checked in and found a spot in the waiting room.  It was pretty crowded.  I sat there for a few minutes and tuned in to the conversation around me.  Someone was asking how big their baby was.  Someone asked how far along the pregnant lady next to me was.  She said she was 13 weeks.  I glanced over at her, and saw her looking at a ream of ultrasound pictures.

She was 13 weeks and had a stack of ultrasound pictures - great quality ultrasound pictures - of her 13 week fetus.

I would have been 13 weeks the next day, and the lady sitting next to me was looking at her ultrasound pictures.

That could have been me, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I almost cried right there in the crowded waiting room full of fertiles. 

I thought, "I don't want to be here."  And, then I thought, "You don't need to be."  So, I got up and relocated myself to the side of the waiting room by the rheumatology clinic.  Self preservation at its finest. 

It might be silly, but I was proud of myself for taking care of myself and knowing what I needed to do in a situation to feel better. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Welcome - ICLW

Welcome from ICLW!  I am looking forward to meeting new people going in the ALI community, and getting to know your stories.  I thought I'd start off ICLW with an intro post.

I was a bit ambivalent about wanting to have a child until I hit 30.  I think that once my father-in-law died, I realized that I wanted a baby above anything else.  We started trying shortly thereafter.  Being a "Type A" personality, I immeditely bought a OPK, and started having se.x on a schedule.  As you can imagine, we hated the scheduled aspect of things, so we decided to "just relax" and "let it happen."  It didn't.

I wasn't too concerned at this time as I thought we were just not hitting the timing right.  I made excuses.  Meanwhile, last November, my husband headed to his GP for a regular check-up and was diagnosed with varicocelle.  He pushed them to ask what that meant for having a family, and the next thing he knew he was in the andrology lab finding out that he had a MFI diagnosis. 

I met with my RE, Dr. B for the first time in February.  We were sent right to the top of the fertility treatment chain - IVF with ICSI.  Way to go overachiever!

Our first cycle started in April, and ended up with a retrieval on May 31st.  The cycle was threatened to be cancelled a few times.  I wish they would have done so, since the retrieval netted 0 embryos.  Did I mention that May 31st was my birthday?

IVF # 2 started in July and ended with a retrieval in August.  Things went better this time.  We ended up with 2 embryos and a BFP!

Unfortunately, I miscarried my baby on September 11th at 7w3d.  Throughout my short pregnancy, I had several occasions of severe bleeding.  At the D&C, they weren't able to get any tissue, so there is no way to know for certain what went wrong.  Dr. B is theorizing that it was chromosomal. He has plans for a new protocol (antagonist without estrogen priming) for my next cycle.  It would be nice if that would give me better results.

I am currently grieving my loss and coping with my new reality.  It's harder than I thought sometimes.  I am working on losing weight and getting in shape now before starting my next IVF cycle in January / February.  I am hoping that the time away will help me get my head together to tackle another IVF cycle.  I'm hoping that losing weight will improve my fertilization results, and will give me a better chance of getting a take home baby. 

So, that's where I am now.  I have the best husband in the world.  And, the best family. And the best pets. They help me get by and make me feel whole. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

What are you hiding???

"Dear Employee -
    I'm not sure what you think you're hiding with your over sized sweaters, slouchy posture, and strategic arm placement, but I'm on to you.  The Canada Dry Ginger Ale I saw you swigging in August was a clue.  So was the change in eating habits, clothing, and multiple doctor's appointments.  However, the biggest clue is the GIANT BABY BUMP that you're sporting.  Do you think I'm blind?
   I'm hoping you fess up soon.  It's kind of killing me.

Your Manager"

Seriously, I suspected back in early August that my employee was pregnant.  She is now obviously visibly pregnant, and hasn't said a word.  By my counting she is at least 12 weeks.  This is her second child.  I don't get it.  I can't believe she really thinks I don't know.  She sits right outside my office and I have to look at her every single day.  My husband wants to know why it bothers me so much, and I think it is because I am so afraid that she is due at the same time I am.  She is a daily reminder of what I lost and it kills me.  It really does. 

Every day I brace myself for how I'll react when she tells me the news.  I hope I don't flinch.  I hope I can come up with some nice words to say.  I think I might even go with something along the lines of "I was wondering when you were going to tell me."  I hope she's due in March or May and not April.  I don't know if I am strong enough to watch that every day.  I'm not jealous of her baby - I just want my own.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Insurance Resolution

A bit ago I posted about a potential opportunity to switch to my husband's insurance and have 4 more IVF cycles covered.  I inquired with his insurance company, and learned the following:

"Under Illinois Law, we cover 4 oocyte retrievals in a lifetime.  This means that when a patient comes to us, we will hold the first claim and ask the provider for additional information - how many prior retrievals has she had in her lifetime.  We count those towards her 4 total, regardless of how they were paid for."

So, the dream is over.  Two more IVF cycles for me before we have to make some really hard decisions and open our wallets for our baby making adventures.  I hope it doesn't come to that.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A bevy of blog awards

All the cool kids are showing their blog awards lately.  I've had 2 awards bestowed on me recently, so here goes!

Thank you to Jenny for the blog award!  Rules
1. You can only use one word!
2. Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers.
3. Alert them that you have given them this award!
4. Have Fun!

The Survey

1. Where is your cell phone? Charging
2. Your hair? brown
3. Your mother? wonderful
4. Your father? protector
5. Your favorite food? steak
6. Your dream last night? none
7. Your favorite drink? pinot
8. Your dream/goal? mommy
9. What room are you in? living
10. Your hobby? knitting
11. Your fear? failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? suburbs
13. Where were you last night? home
14. Something that you aren’t? pregnant
15. Muffins? cranberry-orange
16. Wish list item? baby
17. Where did you grow up? next-door
18. Last thing you did? secret
19. What are you wearing? sweats
20. Your TV? sony
21. Your pets? many
22. Friends? Family
23. Your life? waiting
24. Your mood? unstable
25. Missing someone? Allan
26. Vehicle? Nissan
27. Something you’re not wearing? shoes
28. Your favorite store? Target
29. Your favorite color? Pink
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Today
32. Your best friend? Sarah
33. One place that I go to over and over? mom's
34. One person who e-mails me regularly? Sarah
35. Favorite place to eat? Houlihan's

I am awarding this blog award to: (I hope I don't duplicate anyone, but I can't remember who posted what award.  Like I said, everyone is doing it!)

Jason and Amber
Just me, Dawn
Little Bit O Seoul
Unconventional Journey

Blog awards are fun and a cool way to get to know a bit more about each other.  I'm not used to them though, and feel a wee bit like I'm forwarding a chain e-mail!

Next time - a new blog award!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thoughts on time

It's been 4 weeks since we lost our baby.  I've been un-pregnant longer than I knew I was pregnant.  I feel better than I did 4 weeks ago.  The first few days were terrible, but I'm doing much better now.  I still cry every day, only now its just a little bit rather than huge racking sobs like the first week or so.  I still listen to my wallowing music all the time.  For some reason it makes me feel better to reconnect with what I had and what I lost by listening to that music.

I'm caught in a space between hope and fear.  I am working really hard to get in shape and lose weight.  I've lost all my pregnancy weight and IVF weight, and I'm working on the regular old food weight now. I think that the ability to focus on this project is distracting me from the fear of IVF failure and the sadness at losing the baby.  I'll take what I can get.  I'm starting to feel more like myself, and that is making me happy.  At the same time, I would give anything to have been able to keep my pregnancy.

I feel like a different person since the pregnancy.  It feels like it changed me so much.  Which must seem silly since it was here and gone so fast.

In other news, I am fortunate to have IVF coverage through my insurance.  I have 2 more cycles on my insurance.  Well, I just found out today that my husband's insurance covers 6 IVF cycles in a life time.  They even would cover the costs of a donor cycle (which is insane!).  I have to go through the details, but there is a good chance that I'd be able to get 4 more IVF cycles.  Including a potential donor egg cycle if it turns out that my eggs are truly crap.  I have until Thursday to figure the whole thing out.  This potential gives me so much relief, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thank you

I dropped off a note to my RE today to say thank you.  Here's what it said:

I wanted to write to you to thank you for the care that you specifically, as well as the other physicians and staff in the clinic, have provided to me. My journey to try and have a baby has been bumpy, and I truly hate the fact that it involves a whole team of physicians and nurses. However, I do appreciate that you are straightforward and honest, while also being considerate of the toll this whole process takes on your patients (I imagine a bunch of hormonal women make for an emotionally fragile patient population). I appreciate that you treat me like a person, take the time to answer all my questions, explain things to me countless times, and that you acknowledge that I have choices in my path toward motherhood.

As I find myself on a break in my IVF journey, I wanted to stop and thank you for the kindness and compassion that has been shown to me so far. Infertility sucks, and I hate that I have to go through all of this, but I feel better knowing that I have a great team of physicians and nurses to help me navigate this path.

I had hoped to be writing him a note to thank him for my beautiful baby, and maybe one day I will have that opportunity.  But, I just felt compelled to stop now and thank him now so that he knows that even if I don't get my "take home baby" after all this crap, what he does is important and helps people.  And gives me some hope.  I want him to know that.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ups and Downs

I had a pretty good weekend.  Last night, M and I were watching Law and Order: SVU, and I made a joke about something and we both started laughing out loud.  Then, I stopped.  I remembered that I lost my baby, and I stopped.  I feel guilty almost for being happy, even though I feel I am forever changed from having been pregnant and miscarried.  I had a hard time sleeping last night.

Sundays are hard.  I don't have many obligations typically on Sundays other than to get my shit together for the next week, clean my house, and do errands and chores.  I'm usually busy, but there is a fair amount of unstructured activity.  It's hard. 

It's been 3 weeks and 2 days since I miscarried.  I miscarried at 7w3d, which means I only knew I was pregnant for 3w3d before I lost the baby.  This week we'll tip towards having been not pregnant longer than I was pregnant.  It was such a short time, but I still feel the loss so acutely.

I am going to take some time today to plan some goals for myself for this week.  I've thrown myself into diet and exercise, so that should help.  But, I need a project to do after work.  I find myself drawn to the internet to (1) read blogs about people who have experienced pregnancy loss and are now pregnant, (2) to enter search terms into Pubmed to try and do my own research on my future IVF protocol, (3) Googling my doctor's name with the hope of finding stories about how he created miracles from crap.  I'm trying to research this to death as if something I find will make all the difference.  This isn't a normal problem.  I can't fix it by knowing the facts.  I can do everything right; my doctor can do everything right; and we can still not end up with a baby out of all this heart ache.  So, I need a project.  Maybe a few of them. I need something to dive into and lose myself in.  I'm open to suggestions. 

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Infertility - the Musical

As I was playing with my new iPhone (a gift from M after the miscarriage) and trying to download material from iTunes, I ran accross the soundtrack for Infertility Musical: the musical that's hard to conceive, and I downloaded it.  It is funny in a completely inappropriate way, while also getting the whole infertility thing.  I listened to half of it this morning during my treadmill workout.  From Googling it, it appears that it was Off Broadway back in 2004-2005.  I'd recommend it if you're looking to find the light-hearted side of all this

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Follow-up to the Follow-up

I had my WTF appointment with Dr. B today.  M and I took the day off of work.  Our plan was to go to the appointment at 11:30, have lunch, then see a movie.  We arrived for our appointment and were told that it wasn't on his schedule and had been canceled.  I freaked out.  However, the receptionist told us that it was ok as he did have time to see us.

We waited about 15 minutes, then Dr. B came to take us back to the consultation room.  I like him.  He is kind and compassionate but also straight-forward.  He isn't going to cheer you on by saying he "has a good feeling" but he will say, honestly, that you shouldn't give up hope.  He will also say, if appropriate, that he doesn't think this will work. I think that M. would like it if he did more cheer leading, but I appreciate the candor and honesty.  Here's the rundown on the WTF meeting:

  • There was no tissue from the D&C, therefore he is only speculating that my miscarriage, and all the freaking bleeding, was a symptom of poor embryo quality.
  • We talked about future risk.  He said that he doesn't really know.  That in a "normal" pregnancy, risk of recurrence is about 15%.  However, in my situation, since I've had such crappy egg quality and fertilization, it could be as high as 50%.  That sucks, thank you very much.
  • Prior HSGs have show evidence of a uterine polyp.  Apparently, some of my ultrasounds have shown that as well (who knew).  Therefore, he wanted to schedule me for a hysteroscopy to check it out and remove anything that is there.  I'll do that after I start my period.
  • He recommended antiphospholipid antibody testing, and another blood test as well.  I appreciated that I didn't have to push for these tests.
  • I asked Dr. B if there was anything I could do to improve my chances of success.  He said that there is some evidence that losing weight could help with both IVF success rates as well as incidence of miscarriage.  He recommended trying to lose 10% of my current weight.  I have been reading this as well, and I do think he was sugar coating a bit on this one.  We agreed that I would take some time off before my next cycle to try and focus on losing weight.  I think this is also good as it will give me an opportunity to get my head together a bit more.
  • We talked about what we could do differently from a medication perspective to increase my chance in my next cycle.  He wants to try an Antagonist protocol with the hope that that will increase my eggs retrieved and # of mature eggs.  I've read mixed reviews so far on Ganirelix protocols, but some of the literature does seem to suggest that it might be helpful, and will certainly be easier to manage.  If anyone has experience with this, I'd love to know.

M is feeling a bit down after this appointment, but I'm feeling a bit more positive.  I have a plan now.  I don't need to second guess things.  I have some things that I can do to proactively move forward, as well as a new protocol lined up for when we start.

I've done my homework, and I know that the chance of miscarriage is still pretty high for us.  That are odds aren't great that we'll get a "take home baby".  I never want to go through a miscarriage again.  Ever.  But, I'm not willing to not try for a baby just to prevent miscarriage.

In other news, I'm still bleeding.  It stopped for a few days, then started up again.  I've been bleeding for almost 3 weeks since the m/c.  And, really, off and on for 9 weeks since the pregnancy.  I'm ready for it to stop.

We didn't end up going to the movie.  Our heads were exploding, so we came home.  M. is sleeping on the couch with the big puppy as we speak.  They're spooning, so it's pretty cute.