Sunday, October 30, 2011

Don't Wake Me, Please!

I keep going back to my last two blog posts and re-reading them, thinking I am in some sort of dream. If I am, please please, don't wake me. I beg of you.

I am still in utter disbelief that this is possibly happening to Tidy and me. My brain is full of many things, hormone riddled I'm assuming, but sometimes I find myself dreaming of all of the things I want to do and start, now that we have entered into a new phase of our fertility journey. But the years of disappointments and road blocks have my brain trained to say, "NO, TIPPY, don't get ahead of yourself. You know about ALL the bad that can happen."(Slap on the wrist)

So, while I am cautiously optimistic and I do feel grateful to be in a place where we have had two very strong betas to keep our hopes up, I am still trying desperately hard to live in the moment, the present moment, and take each day at a time.

After Monday's beta, some of the symptoms that I had started to fade. And once again, my disappointment-trained brain started to go down the path of doom. Tuesday, less hunger... Wednesday, boobs seemed smaller....Fail, yet another cruel joke.

My mind started to swirl at work and when I came home on Wednesday, Tidy and I were supposed to go up north to my parent's cabin in the woods for some fun fall frolicking,  (I love alliteration.. could you guess?). But I was kind of a mess so I clued him in to how I was feeling. He suggested we just stay home, and go to the clinic on Thursday for another beta. I cried, curled up in his lap and just sat there for a bit, waiting for my brain to tell me the right thing to do.

And eventually it did. It said, NO! You will NOT succumb to this fear. YOU WILL NOT! We are packing our bags and heading straight up to the cabin to do what we set out to do, fear and all.  (Sometimes I can't decide if I'm supposed to kick my fear to the curb or if I am supposed to acknowledge it and let it be my companion, one that does not rule me... but that's another post for another time).

And so what we set out to do what we set out to do.

We hiked in the woods, we ate soup, we drank cider, we napped, we read books, I discovered pumpkin butter, and we listened to the last game of the world series on the radio (TV reception up in those parts sucks), while playing scrabble (Can you say 80 years old?) But it was beautiful, as you can see. And it gave me back some of that peace I am always striving to find along the way.

And sure enough, as all of the google searching, and chat board friends have told me, symptoms come and go... and they went... and now some are back (Yay!),  so I am feeling a bit reassured that something is still happening in there. What, I have no clue, as I'm too nervous to start looking at pregnancy websites and embracing that whole other world of people who are pregnant... cuz certainly that's not me, right?... But for now, I am somewhat calm and hopeful that we are still in business, at least enough to get me to our ultrasound this coming Friday with some sanity in tact.

Oh, and MOVE OVER blackberry jam. I've found a new love... PUMPKIN BUTTER!!!

And P.S. - Thank you every so kindly to all of the happiness you have commented on my blog lately. I am soaking it in, and reveling in this moment, as I may never get to do this again. Thank you dearly.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Almond Butter & Blackberry Jam

I woke up this morning at 3:30 am, ravenous, you know, like that empty pit of hunger at the bottom of your belly, feeling like if I don't stick something in there, and fast, my body will implode. I laid there for a bit thinking it might go away, but it didn't.

So I quietly got up, and snuck out of the bedroom to the kitchen to put a piece of toast in the toaster. I was hoping Pog wasn't going to start whining and wake Tidy up because she's a total toast-slut! (Not my fault... Tidy's). Anyways, I put some butter and almond butter on my toast and then the blackberry jam in the fridge caught my eye. For some strange reason, it sounded amazing. (I HATE jelly! Anything of the cooked fruit form and I usually dont' get along)

Almond butter & jellie'd toast in hand, I got back into bed and proceeded to munch as quietly as I could. I could feel the Pog, sitting next to my side of the bed, giving me that stare of "GIVE ME TOAST, GIVE ME TOAST", even in the pitch dark. Apparently it wasn't quite enough since Tidy startled awake and said, "What the hell are you doing?" (I'm normally the one to be dead asleep all night long and he's the one who gets up in the middle of the night to pee or toss and turn.)

So I looked at him and said, while laughing and crying at the same time, "I'm HUNGRY!!!"

He just kind of stared at me in awe and said, "Oooooh boy"

We laughed this morning about it, joyfully.

And I should have let that clue me in to what our second beta would be. I was pretty worried these past few days, shed a few tears on and off about hoping that this is FINALLY our time. But last night's episode gave me some reassurance that it might be going up. And it did. From 203.5 at 15dpo, to a whopping 965.7 at 18dpo


And yes, for those of you who are avid users,  I do know that that number is more in line with the twins data than the singleton. But it's anyone's guess at this point.

Next hoop will be our 6 week ultrasound on Nov 4th.

I can NOT believe that I'm writing these words right now... simply can not.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Wasn't Going to Answer the Phone...

...but they called so soon after I gave my blood and I was caught off guard.

So I answered.

I answered the phone and blurted out before the person on the line could say anything, "I'm not sure why I am answering this, so you'd better have some good news for me..."

And the nurse practitioner (thank GOD it was the NP and not the Dr... cuz the Dr's give bad news and the rest of the staff gives good news) said, "You are answering the phone because you are pregnant!!!!!!"

Our beta today, at 15dpo is 203.5

Today, we are still pregnant.


I'm really in utter shock and amazement. I'm at work and I have meetings all day long, so I need to stay composed. I also know that a positive beta does not equal a take home baby. But for now, we are one GIANT step closer than we've been before. I will go back in on Monday for my second beta. They weren't going to have me get one, but I, of course, need that reassurance. And then we'll go from there.

Next up, refocus on work and obsess about symptoms. It's a great day.

ICLW AND Beta Day!!!

Happy ICLW and welcome to my little corner of the web and of the ALI community!

Today is a big day for Tidy and me. It's beta day of our very first Anonymous Donor Egg IVF cycle.  We are 10dp5dt  (10 days past 5 day transfer) of 2 beautiful blasts. And, we are blessed enough to have 6 more blasts in the freezer (which takes just a little pressure off this cycle... kind of). It was truly a perfect cycle on the embryo front and I am so very very thankful for that. Dotty 2.0 (the name we have for our SECOND anonymous donor ... you can read more about that saga here) did amazing. I can't thank this woman enough (and I literally can't because she's anonymous). I hope that she feels the gratitude that we have for her taking the time out of our her life to give us this opportunity.

Before you read further, I will say that this post does NOT contain results of my beta. I will post late tonight or early tomorrow with those results... So please keep reading further and later today!!!

Here's the quick play by play: In the last almost 5 years, Tidy and I have been through 5 IUIs, 6 embryo transfers (4 fresh IVF, 2 FETs) with my own eggs, 1 laparoscopy and countless natural cycles with acupuncture, herbs, diet changes and yoga. It's been a long unexplained road...

I never imagined we would be here, not in my wildest dreams, but here we are and for the first time in quite a few years, I feel more hopeful that ever. Hopeful, but of course preparing for a negative, because, hey, that's what we've been accustomed to. Or a chemical... I've had about 3 of those.. FUN!

SO, for any new readers, please follow me and leave a comment and tell me more about you! I love new followers and I'm usually pretty good about commenting back.

Stay tuned for our beta results....

OH! and one more thing. Recently I posted about Tidy's Wisdom... and I have one more of our random evening conversations to share. This happened last night:

Tidy: "Should I have a beer or tea?"
Me: "Have a beer. We've got 6 frosties in the freezer, so ya know. I don't need your swimmers again for quite a while." (Cuz clearly I'm a total paranoid freak and would give him the evil eye for every beer that he had while we were going through this cycle).
Tidy:" Yeah, you're done with my junk. So now I'm on a slow train to toxic town!"

He's a funny one alright... a funny one indeed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

4 Days until Beta

I'm a big walking contradiction during the two week wait.

I know, logically, that even at 6dp5dt (the analogy of 11 days past ovulation in the IVF world) it's highly unlikely that I should "feel" pregnant. In fact, when supporting my friends going through this in THEIR two week waits, I always coach them into not peeing on sticks and not worrying if they don't feel anything.

But when it comes to myself, all logic goes out the window. I feel like I should just feel something by now, right? RIGHT? Because I KNOW my body and I KNOW that when I finally get pregnant I KNOW that it will tell me, right away.... right? RIGHT?

Come on body, give me a sign!!!!!!!!!

And no, I'm not going to pee on a stick.

Ah the two week wait... I know you well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Emotional Rollercoaster Status: Back on a High.

After all of my worries yesterday, freaking out because  we only had one grade "A" egg, feeling like, here we go again, high expectations dwindling..., we are definitely in new ground, ladies and gentlemen. New ground, indeed.

We had 9 embryos yesterday, and we transferred 2, so that leaves... (one sec, let me get out my excel spreadsheet to calculate that.. .inside joke for you actuaries, cpas, general number's geeks in the crowd)... 7 (1 grade C, 6 grade B)

Today, I got a call from my nurse practitioner. Instead of letting it go to voice mail, which was my initial plan, because I didn't want to get bad news that we had no embryos to freeze, I got brave, and decided to leave my meeting to answer it.

And I'm so frigging glad that I did. She said, "Are you sitting down for this?...We were able to freeze SIX embryos today... Six, grade A, expanded blasts..."

There was more to the conversation, but I don't quite remember other than my heart was beating fast and I was shaking and almost crying that we had such good news.  SIX FROSTIES!!!!!! HOLY SHIT!!!!! This could really work? This may finally be our end game. One of these 8 have got to work, right???

So, needless to say, I'm back up on a pretty high high today. Hopefully I can find some mellow over the next few days and just stay sane as we go through the coming week till beta day. 

Thank you dear Dotty 2.0 for making such a beautiful crop of eggs, and also, thank you dear Tidy for getting some beautiful healthy sperms to make these embryos. Now, it's my turn to do the work. Come on embryos... let's make a take-home baby!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Re-entry into the 2 week (actually 10 day) wait.

These last few days have seemed like a year. We have been so busy and so emotionally on high that maybe this could finally work, I feel like I have been walking on air. Right now, I'm trying to regain that walking on air feeling, but the entry into the 2ww brings back a TON of negative feelings and fear that I haven't had to deal with since the last time we were in the 2ww, back in ... APRIL!! It's been a while, for sure.

Let me recap.

Last Thursday, Dotty 2.0 had her retrieval. You can read about my thoughts here. (day 0)

Friday, we found out about our great fertilization report: 18 mature, 16 fertilized. (day1)

Then, this weekend, we were out of town while Tidy ran a marathon. It was such a fun time to put away the worries of what was happening to our embryos. And, I must say, he kicked some major ass! It was a bit hot for the marathon and he still made the time he wanted, under 4 hours. Can you stay, STUD?!?  I was impressed, for sure. My sister and I actually put on our running clothes and ran between some of the mile on the course to get to certain points to see him. The course was all over the place, so the spectators could get from, say, mile 17 to mile 20 by walking a mile. It was fun to get a little work out in while all of those incredibly awesome people were running. I always feel a bit jealous of people doing those things when I'm not. I've put that part of myself aside these past few years in order to work on getting pregnant, and while I don't regret it, I hope some day I can really get back into triathlons and such.

Anyways, the rest of the embryo updates go something like this: 
day 2 - 18 growing (?!), 13 grade A
day 3 - 20 growing (?!?!?), 12 grade A (see our excitement???)
day 4 - 11 growing, 8 grade A
day 5 (today) - 9 growing, 1 grade A.... ONE. GRADE. A.... ugh.

How do things change so fast? I don't understand. I do know that many clinics grade the embryos differently. And our clinic graded the one at A because it was an "expanded" blastocyst, vs the other B's which were still just "full" blastocysts. I also know that they don't mention anything about fragmentation within their grading... so I'm really not sure what to make of this.

Mostly, after the last few blissful days, of feeling like this truly could be our chance, I am not back to feeling skeptical and worried, a bit.

This whole time I've been saying I would be happy with having  2 to transfer and a few to freeze, preferably about 4. But after that high of so many great embryos, I feel let down.

Tidy surely did too. I felt so bad to see his reaction to our doctor's news that we only had 1 grade A embryo today. She said she was disappointed that it wasn't clear to her if we should transfer 2 or 3. Ie, she was hoping for at least 2 big fat A's.

The next big test will be tomorrow's update. Hoping that some of the 7 that we have left growing will make it to the freezer. Please, please send good strong thoughts to those 7 still in their little petri dish home in hopes that they want to continue to grow and become part of our family.

Well, and of course that goes without saying for the two that are in my body now.

We are officially "pregnant" today with 2 beautiful embryos... and I hope they decide to say.

Also, thank you dearly to my followers and friends who have been so excited for us these past few days and given us support. It means so much to know that so many of you are pulling for us out there. Big big hugs.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fertilization Report

Just a quick update today: Of the 24 eggs retrieved, 18 were mature and of those 18, 16 fertilized.

So, today, Tidy and I have 16 embryos... OUR embryos... No longer Dotty 2.0's eggs.

Thank you dear Dotty 2.0. I hope you are recovering well and know that we are so grateful to you for taking time out of your daily life to help our cause.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bittersweet Eggs and Wise Friends

Life, and the way I navigate through it, certainly takes me by surprise sometimes.

Today should be a happy and hopeful day for me. Dotty 2.0, our "rock star" egg donor, underwent her egg retrieval. And before I get into all of my thoughts on this, I will tell you the end of the story first...

...She did great. Fantastic actually. They retrieved 24 eggs...2 dozen...2 of those grey-ish cardboard cartons full of fabulous eggs. Pretty amazing, huh?

While I know this is a big hoop that we jumped through today, I'm sad too. The reminder that they are not "my" eggs creeps back in and I grieve a little bit again. A friend from one of my chat boards did warn me that I might feel this way, however, so I was prepared at least. She has been through this before and shared with me on the day of her donor's egg retrieval, she too felt sad. It was supposed to feel great, right? But because she literally had no part in that day, it was another reminder of the loss of her own eggs.

And that's exactly how I feel today. Bittersweet.

I definitely can find some of the sweet in here. 24 eggs is fantastic. This should give us a good shot, pending our fertilization report tomorrow. But the bitter lingers too. My husband's dna is mixing with some other woman's dna as we speak! (Cheater!!!) Oh, and I think my competitive nature is also getting to me. I couldn't produce 24 eggs myself. My ovaries feel defeated. My goal, however is to not let this linger too long. I want to wake up tomorrow and start to focus on "our" embryos, rather than "her" eggs.

I am lucky to have very wise friends, however. They are giving me the strength and cushion I need. One friend said she wished I lived closer to her. She would make a flower lei for me and we would take a walk out to the ocean and put my sadness and loss into the lei and let it float out to the sea... I love this visual.

Another friend commented on how truly amazing the human experience is. She said: The beauty of the human heart is that it can hold so many emotions at once. So hold, in your mind's eye, the baby picture of your donor and see it as a projection of your own baby to smother with kisses....and fill your life with memories.
And finally, another friend sent me a quote from her calendar for this months which said, "Open your arms to beautiful moments, and they will come to you"

Like I said, they are wise friends.
So with that, I will honor my sadness today because it is a valid and honest, but I'm also heading out the door to spend 3 hours at my yoga studio to clear my mood and focus on the beautiful moments that are here and yet to come.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trigger Time

I am struggling lately to come up with words to share with you all while Dotty 2.0 is stimming. I don't have a lot to say because a) I'm not going through the stims myself (and so therefore I don't really feel  LIKE I'm doing an IVF cycle at all, save for the little pricks in my belly each day from Lupron), and b) my RE is not giving me detailed updates, and I'm not asking for them. I suppose she would if I asked, but I honestly haven't wanted to know. I don't see the point. And in fact, it kind of makes me feel like I wish I would have let all the details go, oh so long ago.

But that's not my way. When I'm new into something, I usually feel the need to gather tons of info to understand it before I feel comfortable enough to then let the details go. I'm not sure this makes sense, or that this is an efficient way to operate my life, but...

The only update I have right now is that Dotty 2.0's ovaries are ready to go. She will trigger tonight for a retrieval on Thursday.

Tidy will go into the clinic on Thursday morning for his "donation" and then I'm assuming we will get a call on Thursday later in the day with the number of eggs retrieved. We'll also get a call on on Friday with the number of fertilized eggs and then on Saturday with the number of embryos still growing... so on and so forth....

And assuming there are enough healthy ones growing, we will do a day-5 transfer a week from today.

Yes, I am, somewhere, internally, excited to be here, at this point...finally. But I definitely don't have the same zest I did oh so many years ago (almost 3) when I did my first very first IVF cycle, that same excitement, that same giddy hope. That's not to say that I'm not hopeful, not happy to be at this point, but it's just coming through me in a different, more calm, more zen like way...

So... without further ado, cheers to you, Dotty 2.0. I'm very thankful that you took the egg growing burden off of my plate for this cycle. Best wishes in your retrieval on Thursday. Your job is nearly done. I know the doctors will take care of you well and I hope you have a peaceful rest in propofol-land while they take your hard grown eggs out and give them to our family building cause. Sending you a big hug, or a hand to hold on Thursday.