Thursday, April 30, 2009

The numbers - 5w

Just got the email from my nurse, and these are my numbers:

HCG Level: 7122
P4 Level: 21.5

They are EXACTLY where I was hoping they would be. I'm a math and computers major - I really like when numbers are good!

I also found out that I'm rh positive, which is a good thing - no potential conflict with the fetus. (If the mother is negative and the father is positive, there's a chance that the fetus could be positive. A positive fetus with a negative mother could cause some issues. But if the mother is positive, it doesn't matter what the fetus is, you will be compatible no matter what).

And then my nurse said she'd get the results of the TSH on Friday or Monday and let me know. What's the TSH you ask? Or, at least I asked Dr. Google (I had never heard of it before). It has to do with the thyroid. I don't know much, just that these are the normal ranges:

First Trimester: 0.24 - 2.99
Second Trimester: .46-2.95
Third Trimester: .43 - 2.78

So, one more thing to hope for! I seem to be doing pretty good in the numbers department so far, so I'm hoping it will be another positive reinforcement.

New topic - fetal doppler. Has anyone used one? I recently read about them, and was really excited about the idea of renting or buying one. Hey - I have to spend my saved IVF money on something, right? All of a sudden, a few hundred dollars feels like peanuts compared to fertility costs!

I was excited until I came home and told DH about it. He was not as thrilled. See, he knows me really well - he said I'll be using it every day, and the minute I can't find a heartbeat, I'll panic, cause him to panic, and go nuts trying to get in to see the doc. And you know what, I think he's right! I was thinking it would be reassuring, but I think it has the potential to cause more stress, not less. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this?

First ultrasound - 5w


The ultrasound went well, he said everything looked right where it should be. We saw one gestational sac measuring 9mm, and there's a tiny yolk sac present. And he said it's too early to hear a heartbeat or see a fetal pole yet.

The doc confirmed I'm at 5 weeks, but after googling about measurements and pregnancy dating, my guess is that I ovulated a few days early, so maybe I'm 5w and 2-3d. They'll see me next week for another ultra, hopefully to hear the heartbeat then.

I'll get my bloodwork results this afternoon, so I'm expecting an HCG of around 7000-7500, and prog in low 20's.

It was pretty cool to see the sac, DH shed a few tears. Then we went to a nearby diner for breakfast and started talking names and nursery colors. Way ahead of ourselves for sure, but I want to try to enjoy this pregnancy, and not worry the entire time. So easy to have a rosy outlook when coming from a promising doctor's appt - we'll see how I'm doing in a few days!!!

And while seeing twins would have been thrilling, I'm actually kind of glad we have a singleton. The stress of twins with a demanding, full time job could be a big stretch... Not to mention carrying twins would put me at a higher risk at my age. I'm happy to be right in the "norm" here!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The DH (and pre-ultrasound jitters)

I haven't written much about my DH on this blog yet, so let me tell you a little about him...

He's the calm one in our relationship. I'll ramble on a mile a minute, get myself worked up about things, and he keeps me grounded. He's the one who fixes and makes things. He's got a garage full of tools and has made so many improvements to the house we bought just last year. Me, I like to buy things online. I have the book smarts, he's got the mechanical smarts. He can do electrical, plumbing, carpentry, and all that handyman stuff, while I make sure we both max out our 401(k)'s and pay our bills - through Quicken, of course (although, oddly, it's me who always hooks up all the home theater and computer equipment - I love doing that. Strange). He works in a family business during the day, and is a personal trainer who travels to his clients' homes in the mornings and evenings. And I've done several marathons and love to run, so we've helped each other improve our workouts.

We compliment each other well. He jokes that we have a role reversal - I bring in the big bucks, manage our finances, and am obsessed with electronic gadgets; and he contributes to our family in other ways closer to home. The last time we had dinner with another couple, me and the husband were going on and on about DVRs, FIOS, wireless routers and IR repeaters. DH and the wife looked at us like we were nuts and called us geeks all night!

So many of the blogs I've read (and people I know personally) talk about husbands who are not supportive during the infertility process. Maybe they don't want to have babies using a petri dish, or are opposed to egg donor, or won't consider adoption, or put their foot down financially. I am so lucky to have a husband who is supportive of whatever I want to do. He tells me that he completely recognizes that it's me doing 90% of everything - going to the docs, getting injections, having my body go through changes, scheduling conflicts with work, dealing with the financial aspect - and he has told me so many times how much he appreciates and loves me for it. He is willing to do whatever I am comfortable with, however many times I want to do it (or not do it), he just wants to have a child with me in whatever form that takes (natural, IVF, DE, adoption).

I'm very lucky to have his unconditional support - it's one less thing to stress me out in the very stressful journey.

PS: I woke up this morning feeling scared about the u/s tomorrow. All of a sudden, I'm terrified they will find it's not viable. It will all be a cruel joke and I'll be right back where I started, feeling foolish I ever thought this would really work for us. I don't have any real strong signs of pregnancy yet - breasts are a little sore (not much), and I have to pee a lot, but that's normal (I drink a ton of water). That's about it. I know it's still very early - about 5 weeks - but I would like to feel something more. I'm trying to think good thoughts and stay positive, but I'm definitely apprehensive.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Can't sleep

So, it seems I'm waking up at around 4am every day....

Partially because I have to pee (but this is nothing new, I used to get up at least 1-2 times a night to pee anyway), but partially because my mind is racing. It's starting to sink in - I'm pregnant! I told my mom and dad yesterday, and a few close friends who have been following my IVF journey. Everyone is so excited, but I'm still very cautious and nervous.

I'm a little worried, now, about the high HCG. Google tells me it could be an indicator of Downs, which, of course, is a real worry for me at 40 (turning 41 in July). So I'm glad my ultrasound is Thursday, not much time to wait, and then maybe they'll tell me it's twins, or that I'm a week further along than I thought. Either would put my mind at ease a little.

That's the nervous side of me. The happy side of me spent some time on Quicken this morning, and it looks like my final tally (assuming all goes well and we truly get our baby) is about $25k out of pocket when all is said and done. Not bad, not bad at all. On the one hand, it's absolutely crazy, but compared to what I thought we'd have to spend, this is fabulous. I have great insurance coverage for pregnancy, it's just infertility that was lacking.

And the other very cool thing I'm trying to focus on is that my very good friend is also pregnant, and we're within 2 weeks of each other. She just had her 6 week u/s and the doc gave her a due date of Dec 18. I'm calculating mine to be the end of Dec, but it could be sooner. She's also struggled with 2 miscarriages, and 2 injectable IUIs, so she's being very cautious with her excitement with this one. But if we're both good, how fun would that be!!

So I'll try to focus on the good and hopeful thoughts and keep a good attitude. Maybe all my bad luck was used up in the "getting pregnant" process with all the BFNs, and so I'll I'll be lucky in the "staying pregnant" area!

Monday, April 27, 2009


OK, this has been a whirlwind weekend....

We were having friends over for dinner on Sat, and about an hour before they were coming over, I decided to POAS. No reason really - I was on day 32, pretty normal for me. Feeling all the signs of AF - mild cramps, tender breasts. I remember that after my first IVF, the following cycle was 35 days, so I really didn't think anything of being on day 32... plus, I didn't count days or figure out when I was ovulating - no timed sex this month, I gave us a break!!

Well, wouldn't you know it - BFP!!! I expected that when I saw finally that on a pee stick, I would go crazy - laugh, cry, scream.... but I guess I really didn't believe it. I showed DH, and he was also very calm. It was weird. Certainly not the overjoyed, ecstatic moment I always imagined we would have when we found this out. It's amazing what the infertility "journey" does to you.

So we had our friends over, cooked dinner, etc. Then I proceeded to POAS about 5 more times over the weekend, all bright positives, no question about it. I have a collection lined up in my bathroom - different brands, different colors, all positive.

This morning I went for the blood test, feeling pretty confident it would be positive, just wondering what the beta would be. I calculated that I was 18dpo, so I was hoping for a 400 or more. I also had the urge to start the progesterone suppositories, just in case, but the nurse I spoke to on Sun told me to wait for the levels. I was hoping for at least a 9 on the progesterone...

Well, funny thing (and kind of appropriate, too), the first call I received from the clinic was the financial coordinator asking how I'd like to receive my refund, as she understood I wouldn't be cycling this month!! Kind of clued me in to what the nurse was going to tell me!

Then the nurse called and gave me my levels:

E2 Level: 631
HCG Level: 3023
P4 Level: 19.8

Whoa! Over three thousand on the HCG??? I was praying for over 400! The nurse said I probably ovulated early and was further along than we both calculated. But still.... I'm wondering if it could be twins, but it was natural this month - that just doesn't make sense to me. Is it common to produce more eggs after a cycle, do the ovaries continue to run on overdrive even if the meds have stopped?

She also didn't want me to take prog since the level was great (yippee - no suppositories 4 times a day!). The estrogen is elevated because I was taking Estrace to get ready for the next cycle, so she said just continue that until they tell me to get off it. And they want me in for an ultrasound on Thursday, which is slightly under 5 weeks. But they really think I'm further along than the days would suggest.

So, wow!!! I'm still a little (lot) in shock, and trying to hold back on the excitement. Ok, I read about 3 pregnancy books yesterday, and I'm googling everything, but for me, that's calm! I feel like I've passed the chemical pregnancy milestone, but I can't help being worried about ectopic, or regular miscarriage, or genetic disorder of some sort. Lots of hurdles ahead, still.

But hopefully one big hurdle behind me!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Picked up my meds

Well, still no AF, but I decided to pick up my drugs last night anyway.

I'll need to start injections on Day 2, so if I get my period this weekend, I could end up not having the meds when I need them. I only ordered two days worth - $780. And who knows, maybe I won't even need them? Highly unlikely, but I can hope, right??

Speaking of hope, I'm thinking I might start the process for egg donor, in case this third round doesn't work. I know there's usually a wait to get a donor, so it would probably be a good idea to start the process now rather than wait until after? Or does that mean that I'm not giving this chance "my all"? Or maybe it will help distract me and keep me sane, especially during the 2ww?

I had a consult with my first clinic regarding their egg donor program after the first failed IVF. I liked the coordinator, kind of (DH couldn't stand her!). She was annoying, and talked waaaayyyyy too much about her experience and her thoughts and her beliefs, but on the other hand, you can tell she loves what she does and I want someone who really wants to do this well.

What I mainly liked about the first clinic is the high success rate. For live births with DE, their success rate in is in the mid 60's. The clinic I'm at now is in the low 50's (which is also the national average). That's a 15% difference! I'm not sure what makes up that difference (they say it's their stringent screening process), but I like those odds!

The DE process will end up costing about $35k. That's an insane amount. The donor gets 8k, the drugs for both of us will be about 6k, and then the doc fees are about 20k. Maybe I will start by writing a letter to them and see if I can get approved for insurance contract rates, rather than paying "retail". I wonder, in this economy, is there a decrease in patients using DE? Would they have an incentive to give me a reduced rate? heck, even if I can get a few thousand shaved off, that would be something.

But again... maybe I won't even need it!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

We don't count

So, my colleague comes into my office last night and closes the door. He has been told he needs to get a list together of 12 people in his group to be laid off at some point this year. (Luckily my business area is growing, even in this economy, so I've been hiring, not laying off. One thing to be thankful for!)

What a horrible thing to have to do. I've had to lay people off in the past, he's had to, too. It stinks. It really stinks.

So he's bouncing names off me and we're debating who should be on/off the list. At one point he says to me:

"When I give the list to [our boss], I'm going to tell him how many kids each of the people have."


Now, first of all, our boss does not care about things like that, he's all business and would probably get annoyed at my colleague for doing that. But more importantly, WHAT!?!?!? He knows I don't have any children . Although he has no idea I'm trying - probably thinks I'm a "career" woman who has no desire for kids. (I do have a great career, and I also want children - how hard is that to imagine??).

I told him that I didn't think he should do that. I asked him if he thought it was any better to lay off someone without children, and I reminded him that I don't have any children. Is it OK to fire me just because I don't have kids? ha ha ha. I don't think he really got it, but he did agree that [our boss] probably wouldn't take well to that bit of information.

I wasn't nearly as aggressive as I should have been. I don't think he was embarrassed at all for saying that. And of course, he has no idea how it made me feel.

I (and people like me) don't count because I don't have kids. I'm expendable. Lovely.

Last one standing

Let's see... since I started this journey through infertility, I discovered many friends / acquaintances were having struggles, too. It sort of bonds you, even though the reasons and experiences might be different, you share in the pain of not having a child.

Here's a list of my reproductively challenged friends:

A: BFP-mc, BFP-baby boy
B: IVF#1-BFP, twin girls
C: IUIs, IVF#1&2- BFN, IVFwDE#1-mc, IVFwDE#2-BFP, twin girls
D: BFP, mc, BFP, mc, IUI#1-BFN, IUI#2-BPF, pregnant now
E: IUIs, IVF#1&2-BFN, IVF#3-BFP, pregnant now

They're all pregnant or have babies. And I'm so happy for them, really I am, but I feel lonely. I feel scared that I'll be the only one who ultimately can't conceive a child.

OK, today is day 30 and still no AF. But I felt twinges and cramps last night that definitely feel like the signs of AF. I don't think there will be a miracle conception this month. But I still haven't ordered my drugs....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The tiniest little hope

OK, I always do this to myself.

My cycle is usually 31-32 days. I'm now on day 29. Still taking estrace and waiting for AF. But what if I'm pregnant?? We did do it somewhere close to ovulation, I think. (I stopped counting and peeing, and scheduling - remember - my "whatever" cycle...). So it is possible. Wouldn't that be great??? Should I POAS?? Should I wait another day? Or two?

No, silly, you're not pregnant. Get real. Go ahead and buy the drugs, it won't be a waste of money. Luckily for me, the pharmacy is a few blocks away from my office. I wait for AF before I buy anything "just in case" and I only buy half of the stims up front. Then I pick up one more day's worth each day after I get the afternoon call to stim another day. Just to be sure I don't buy too much and waste any money.

But I still have the tiniest little bit of hope that maybe, just maybe, we've done it the natural way...

This is my "whatever" IVF

First there was the angry IVF, then the perfectionist IVF. This is going to be my "whatever" IVF.

I stopped the acupuncture (real expensive at $70/week, plus stressful to leave work and go have it done). I've had a glass of wine or two in the last month. Nothing serious, but I'm not going to worry. I'm pretty much going into it with a little hope, and a lot of casualness. I'm not as angry (but still a little), and I'm not running around trying to be perfect (but I'm still trying).

Now, I can't help that I'll be keeping charts each day to show the follicle and lining measurements and comparing to the previous tries. I can't help that I be googling up a storm.

But I guess I'm going into this one with a lot less expectation. Just another $14k out of the bank account. We've already decided that we will go to DE after this. And I will go back to the first clinic because it has a higher success rate by about 15%. I like to have a backup plan (even though I've always changed the plan, I like to have it).

What I can expect with this protocol

The microdose lupron protocol....

I've been on estrace (estrogen) since day 21 to quiet the ovaries. Once I get my period, I'll go in on day 2 for blood and u/s (any day now).

My meds are as follows:

AM - 20 units of microdose lupron (which is extremely diluted, nothing like the regular lupron protocol)

PM - 20 units of microdose lupon
- 15 units of microdose HCG (also extremely diluted)
- 6 vials of Bravelle.

Yes, my friends, FOUR shots a day! And I asked, but I can't mix them the way you can mix follistim and menopur. I have to do individual shots. Yikes! I think I will have a very sore belly!

So, I'm excited (and nervous) because the meds are completely different than both previous tries. That should shake things up, right? What's that saying - Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Well, I'm trying to save my sanity by doing something different this time.

The consult

So, what did the doc say? He said he thought it was a good cycle, that it very well could have resulted in a BFP, but it didn't. He still believes I can succeed with my own eggs. I'm hooked. I want to believe, too.

Should I try again or move to DE? He thinks YES, try again. Well why not, it's not his money, right? After IVF#2, I've spent a little over $20k so far. My insurance will now not pay for anything at all. Every blood draw, every test - not covered. I've been going to the lab directly if they need just blood without the ultrasound to save the $100 office visit fee (but I still have to pay for the lab work). I wrote a letter to the financial counselor and begged for the insurance contact rates, rather than the full rate. They approved it, saving me $2.5k (do you realize that they ask the insurance companies for LESS money than they charge people with no insurance coverage??? Why should it cost more for me paying individually, than for an insurance company paying? It's a double whammy - "oh, you have no coverage? great, we'll charge you more!"). I put $7k (the max) into my company's Flexible Spending Account so I could spend pre-tax dollars for the procedure, saving me about $2k. It's really a shame to have to worry so much about the money, especially in this economy!

We spoke about 3 different protocols to try, and settled on the microdose lupron protocol. I've read good things and bad things about it, but I'm willing to try. Will I end up with more than 3 embryos to transfer? Would I have been better off sticking with the antagonist protocol and being able to reasonably count on 3 decent quality embryos?

I always second guess myself....

IVF #2, the short version

If number 1 was my angry IVF, then number two was going to be my "perfection" IVF.

I was not angry, I was hopeful. I was on board. I had just gone from accepting donor eggs as my only hope, to having renewed hope. I liked my new doc, I liked my new clinic, I liked having a nurse coordinator I could bug every day with email questions. I felt more prepared, more in the loop. I was going to do everything I could to do everything perfectly!

I stopped drinking alcohol and caffeine months before the stims (believe it or not, during the first IVF, no one mentioned to stop having my nightly glass of wine before the stims started. I figured as long as I stopped before the embryos were transfered back in I'd be fine. go figure!). I started weekly acupuncture. I put a two week vacation on my boss's calendar to block out the time I couldn't travel. I would be using progesterone suppositories instead of injections, no more crippling pain. I was reducing stress, I was educated, I was increasing chances, I was really on board. No more nervousness, I was a pro this time.

We did the antagonist protocol again, but the doc made some slight modifications. They all made sense to me. And he actually reduced the level of meds, making the drug costs a little less. Every little bit was helpful!

As the monitoring moved along, it seemed not to be progressing as well, but in the end, we had exactly the same number of embryos to transfer back - three. Only one was 8-cell this time, but there was MUCH less fragmentation this time. Overall, they seemed to be better quality. All ranked 3 on a scale of 1-5.

But the signs were there to make this the time that worked:

The romantic sign - our beta test was scheduled on the exact day of our two year anniversary, that was a good sign, right?

The sign I would rather have not had - my 31 year-old sister in law tragically and completely unexpectedly died a few days before my retrieval, leaving behind my 30 year-old brother and their 3 year-old son. This was the worse tragedy I had experienced in my life. And I couldn't even go to her funeral because that was the day of my retrieval (and you know there's no flexibility with that). But I realized that on the day of her funeral, my eggs would be getting fertilized, and perhaps a new life would begin. It seemed to me that maybe there was a sign in there somewhere, the circle of life?

Well, as you know by reading the sidebar... BFN. Sigh. Somehow, though, I think DH and I have gotten jaded, because it didn't crush us like the first time. A part of us was prepared. We were still devastated, but I guess we kind of expected this....

2nd IVF Details:
Antagonist protocol, slightly modified (new clinic)
Estrace – day 21 through period,
Stimmed for 9 days – 300 follistim + 2 menopur vials each night (upped to 3 vials menopur on last 2 nights),
Ganirilex last 2 nights,
7 follicles size 14+,
Triggered with Ovidril,
5 eggs retrieved,
4 eggs mature,
3 eggs fert (no ICSI),
3 left on day three, one 8 cell with 5% frag, grade 3 on scale of 1-5, two 6 cell with 5-10% frag, both also grade 3
3 transferred,

On to DE, or not?.

So we did the donor egg program consult. I filled out the charts of what I wanted in a donor. I like charts. I put our criteria in order, and agonized how to prioritize it. We spent hours at the clinic meeting with the doctor, the program coordinator, our nurse coordinator (ooo - we'd have a nurse I could specifically call with questions??? i liked this!! No more feeling lost in the system with no one specific to call), and of course, the financial coordinator.

I wasn't feeling great about everything. On the one hand, I wanted to achieve my goal of having a baby, but on the other hand, I was giving something up that was pretty substantial. And had I really tried everything I could to use my eggs? As the weeks past after our heartbreak, I felt much stronger emotionally, and was willing to put my emotions at risk again. Was it worth the money? What if I tried IVF again and failed, and was at this same spot a month later, but $14k poorer.

A lot was going through my head so I decided to get a second opinion. Heck, I shop around for everything I buy... why shouldn't I do the same here?

So we had a consult at another local clinic where others I know have had success with. The doc there said he thought I was crazy to go to donor eggs. He felt strongly that I was reacting well enough to the drugs to give me a good chance with my eggs. He had cases where there was only one embryo, where none grew enough to be retrieved - I was nowhere near the worse end of the scale. And this clinic offered an assigned nurse coordinator, the ability to communicate via email (how incredibly convenient for me!), and the satellite office for monitoring was right across the street from my office (to be fair, the other clinic was only 10 minutes away, but still).

We went home to talk about it and both decided we wanted to go for it!!! We realized that we hadn't given up our dream of a baby that was genetically both of ours. And this just felt right.

OK, what next?

After we started to recover and think about what to do next, I whipped my attitude into shape. I was one of them, deal with it. Stop trying to control everything, stop planning for a summer baby, stop being naive, stop getting overwhelmed by the complexity of the science. Do my research. Stop being angry, and get on board with everything. Stop feeling like this can't be happening to me because it was. This was not going to be easy, but I'm a smart, resourceful person. I've bought and sold houses on my own, done major renovations, rental properties. I figured all that out, I can figure this out.

So I did lots of research on drug protocols, clinics, stats, you name it, I read about it. And we decided we would move right to egg donor. We couldn't go through that kind of pain again. And we wanted a baby. And I wanted to be pregnant, and give birth and breast feed. Our minds were made up.

We did the post-IVF consult with the doc, and he said he did not think we should move to egg donor yet. He felt it was a good cycle, and we should just change up the drugs to see if I would respond better. He recommended going to the microflare protocol, which I knew all about. But I explained that we couldn't go through that disappointment again. The chances of success with my eggs was about 17%, and the chances with DE was over 60%. That's a huge difference.

Not to mention the money. The cost of IVF plus the meds I need to take comes to about $14k a cycle. The cost of a donor cycle plus meds would be about $34k. I'm a math major - it was way more cost-effective to go right to DE rather than to keep trying at such a low chance of success. I was not going to be one of those people that sunk all their money into IVF and ruins themselves financially. If I had a guarantee, I would spend it and be done with it, but there was no guarantee. I knew I was lucky to be secure enough financially to consider these options, but couldn't see spending this kind of crazy money with such a low chance of success. Not to mention the emotional exhaustion. This had really kicked our butts!

IVF#1, the short version

So we were doing it.

OK, google, here I come. I became obsessed with finding out as much as I could, and the information was overwhelming. It made me more confused. But I was able to figure out that I was on an aggressive Antagonist protocol (details at the end of this post).

We had our 2 hour counseling session to learn how to do the meds. OMG!!!! How was I going to remember all the mixing, measuring, swiping with alcohol, getting out the air bubbles, yikes! They had DH actually inject me in the butt with a real needle to practice the PIO shots. I decided I would do my own sub-q shots.

The stim shots were easier than I thought, although I was still nervous each time about the mixing. But DH and I developed a routine, I would pull out the meds, he would open the syringes, I would inject the water, he would swirl, I would draw back, inject in the next vial, he would swirl, etc., etc. It was almost like a kinship, a kind of bonding - pause the TIVO, time to do the shots.

Looking back I was soooo careful to do everything right. Nervous, yet angry, yet relieved that this would finally be over. A little $$, a little hassle, a lot of uncomfortableness, but obviously that was the price we needed to pay. I went to the clinic every morning at 7, got to work on time, stressed incredibly about having to postpone and cancel a few meetings, and did my injections every night.

I learned to beg the nurses for donated drugs every morning at the clinic. Sometimes I got them, sometime I didn't. You see, I was on a very high dose of stims, and the cost was about $500 per day (not including the trigger shot, antagonist shots, plus the other misc drugs). I had to stim for 9 days before triggering, so you can see how the $$ builds up quickly when it's all out-of-pocket. Don't let them fool you with the 3-4k estimate on the cost of drugs. If you've got old eggs like me that take a lot to respond, you'll be spending closer to 5-6k.

And then the retrieval. I had 9 follicles that they were measuring (larger than 10), and for some reason, I thought that would mean I would get 9 eggs. And that wasn't really too bad for a 40-year old gal, right? (let's see, that should mean a 5 day transfer, and extras to freeze, nice!) I knew they might not all fertilize and survive, but no one explained that they might not retrieve them all, or that they might not all be mature. So when the doc stopped by the recovery room and told me they got 5 eggs, I was devastated, I started crying. This was not looking good.

But luckily, all were mature and all fertilized, and 3 of them made it to day 3 with 8 cells. So much for freezing any (silly, silly girl!!), but I had 3 to put back, I guess it could be worse.

Then the 2ww. Well, it wasn't a typical 2ww for me. We were doing the PIO shots, and I was in more and more pain each day. But I thought - if all those other girls can handle it, well so can I, being so tough and all. But then after about 5 shots, the pain was so bad I could hardly stand, sit or lie down. I couldn't go to work. So, feeling like a wimpy little whiner, I went to see a nurse who promptly told me to stop taking the shots, I was having an allergic reaction and could be causing permanent tissue damage. Yikes! As if my butt wasn't getting lumpy enough with my recent weight gain...

So they put me on progesterone suppositories 3 times a day. Lovely. But the other options were much too expensive, so I endured. Again, DH and I got into a routine. He would actually do them for me morning and night, and I would do it at work. Sadly for him, that's as close to sex as it got at this point!!

And then we got the call. The BFN call. And I tell you, we were crushed. It was like we got the wind knocked out of us. We really both believed that would work. Really believed. We couldn't stop crying for days. It finally hit me... I might never get pregnant! I was one of "them".

The stats:
1st IVF (oct 08): Antagonist protocol
BCP – 2 weeks,
Stimmed for 9 days – 450 follistim + 2 menopur vials each night,
Cetrotide last 3 nights,
9 follicles size 14+,
Triggered with HCG,
5 eggs retrieved (POOR quality noted by embryologist),
5 eggs mature,
5 eggs fert (no ICSI),
3 left on day three - all 8 cell, heavy frag (25%+), 2=poor, 1=medium,
3 embryos transferred on day 3,

Moving along

Well, if you've read my history along the side, you'll see that my view of having a baby through rose-colored glasses did not go as planned.

After the chlomid didn't work, we did a few IUIs, that didn't work. We hit a cyst along the way, which stalled us for a month, and also discovered I had a 3 cm fibroid. Luckily it was not protruding into the uterus, and the RE thought it would have not impact on anything, but we had to keep an eye on it in case it grows or changes.

So there we were in Aug 2008, 3 failed IUI's later, optimism turning to cynicism, facing IVF. The last chance for us. OK, I guess I would figure out how to do this and not tell my boss (not a very understanding guy) or anyone at work for that matter. The hardest thing would be managing my travel, as I had several clients that were a plane ride away, plus a few internal meetings I needed to attend. So we put it off til Sep, and got started.

But I was angry. Angry that I had to go through the hassle of doing this. Angry that I didn't have insurance coverage. Angry that I had gained 15 pounds on the chlomid, Angry that the clinic was so cold and impersonal, and I basically had to manage the cycle myself. There had been some confusions in the beginning about the drug protocol, the use of BPCs, and when I was going to start. I had rearranged my client meetings based on what they told me, and then they made it seem like I had misunderstood. But we got it figured out and I was on my way.

IVF here we come. I'd be pregnant in a month! Yipee! (see, I still managed to muster some positivity and see the bright side)

What's $$ got to do with it? Plenty!

Oh, and my planning didn't stop with timing. I had the money thing all worked out, too. Unfortunately, we weren't in the best situation with infertility coverage, but I had that solved, too.

You see, NJ is a great state for being infertile - they mandate that companies cover 4 rounds of IVF, plus some number of IUIs, plus medications, plus testing. Great! Well, there are two exceptions for companies that don't need to follow the mandate - companies with less than 50 people (my husband's company), and those who are self insured (my company). So DH's insurance covered testing, and mine has a $10k lifetime maximum, including all testing, and no coverage for drugs.

Damn, that's bad luck for us. Well, that's OK, because when we sat down with the financial counselor and told her our plan after we were done with the testing, she said that if we did 3 IUI's, and then an IVF, my $10k would almost cover it. Maybe I'd have to pay a few thousand for the IVF. Plus the drugs. We had money in the bank, but hey, I really didn't think we would get to the point of IVF anyway. Problem solved. Next!

The naivete continues

So we did just that - I peed on a stick a lot, we had a lot of scheduled sex (NOT fun, believe me), and I took a lot of chlomid pills. And nothing. But not to worry, I had faith.

Actually, I had a schedule. See, I really wanted a baby to be born in the summer. I knew I would need to go back to work in 6-8 weeks once disability ended (how sad, I terribly wish I could take a year off like my mom did...), and I wanted those weeks to be in the warm weather so I could take walks with the baby and enjoy the outdoors. A June or July birth would be perfect, so I really wanted to get pregnant in September.

So here was my plan.... chlomid and timing until April, three IUIs in May, June and July, then finally IVF in the Aug/Sep timeframe if I REALLY HAD TO. In my head, it was a win-win. If I get pregnant before Sep, great, but if not, and it took an IVF to knock me up, then I would get my June baby. I was always able to find the bright side of each possibility. I was so clever and had it all planned out

Getting ready for babies

Silly optimists we were, we still used protection after we got married. Well, I didn't want to have a bump for our wedding reception 3 months later, right?? Because of course, I was sure that the very first time we had unprotected sex, I would become pregnant (heck, it happened to me when I was 18, what could be different at 38, right?).

In fact, I had just started a new job, with a very high salary and responsibilities, so I couldn't go and get pregnant right away, now could I? I am the breadwinner in our family by a significant amount, so it was critical I not risk my new job by going on maternity leave right away. I was with my previous firm for 13 years and had developed a great reputation and security there. But I couldn't stand the commute to NYC and the 3+ hours it stole from my day, on top of putting in 10+ hours at work. So I carefully looked for another job and landed a better position 15 minutes from home. But I needed time to develop my reputation and prove myself. Then we traded in the townhouse for a 4 bedroom home that was even closer to the office. With both of us having a 10 minute commute to work, living in a family-friendly development, everything was falling into place.

And being the planner I am, I figured - hey, let's go get tested "just in case", so that when we're ready to start a family, we'll know what we're up against. Well, as mentioned in my previous posts, the results weren't good. In fact, the clinic suggested we try IVF right away. Whoa, hold on there! We're not even trying yet. IVF??? uh-uh, not a chance. How can I do IVF with my demanding job with lots of travel? No, no, no... we'll just try some ovulation kits and a little chlomid for a while, thank you very much. IVF, yeah, right! That's for other people, not me. They don't understand - I work hard, I plan, and I get things done. That's all I needed to do here. Besides, they're just telling me to do IVF right away because they make more money like that, right?

Ha ha ha... how smart I was back then, I knew it all

Hello out there!

This is my first blog. I'm not sure why I'm starting it, except that I've really found comfort and hope by reading other people's blogs who are in a similar situation.

So a little bit of background about me. I'm at that dreaded reproductive age of 40, with a looming birthday in July. After numerous tests (all the usual, Chlomid challenge, HSG, lots and lots of blood, etc.) I discovered that I have one blocked tube, DOR (diminished ovarian reserve), and a high Day 3 Estrogen level (which masks a would-be high day 3 FSH, so is really just as bad).

My husband is 38, and his little guys are good by all measures - count, motility, morphology (borderline morphology, but so far no ICSI needed). So really, it's just me and my old eggs holding things up!

This is a second marriage for both of us, no prior children, and we were both extremely excited about the days and years ahead of us when we eloped in March of 2007. And this wasn't any ordinary eloping.... we were married in Hawaii - on the beach at sunset, with a harpist, ring of flowers, photographer, video, red velvet cake, champagne, wedding coordinator, you name it. I even sent my husband out to play golf while the hair and makeup girl came to our room (he says he is the luckiest groom alive - getting to play golf on his wedding day without getting in trouble!). It was just the two of us, and we each wrote our own vows. Even the minister had a tear in his eye. And this was followed by the most incredible honeymoon ever: 2 weeks in Hawaii and a week in Bora Bora. And then a wedding reception 3 months later at a winery for our friends and family. We were loving life.

Who knew that with the money we spent on our honeymoon and reception, we could have paid for a lot of IVF cycles...