Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Beta #2 - The Human Pin Cushion

One simple blood draw was all I needed today. I've been plenty hydrated as I've been drinking nothing but water or milk for the past four days (OK, maybe one coffee).  I get to my appointment five minutes early as I know I need the hot pack for my hand to get my lovely recessed veins to pop. I get called back and two tries on my right hand have proven unsucessful. We know my arms are crap but we take a look anyway. Nope, nothing going there. They decide to try my left hand which is the hand I've never had blood drawn from for the specific reason of needing my beta done eventually. The first girl cannot get a drop of blood to come up through the vein.  The next girl tries and she strikes out also.  Finally, the receptionist (she used to draw blood at her old job) was successful after 40 minutes of me being there getting poked, prodded and jabbed with needles to get enough blood to fill a tiny bit of the vial. Here's to hoping it's a much easier time than the ordeal I went through today.

Now for the good news: I just received the call and the results are in. My beta went up to 212 from 86 which is a doubling rate of 36.88 hours. This is right in line for how far along I am today (4w 1d or 15 dpo).  While those numbers are great, the better news is that my P4 went from 9 up to 19 and once again, I am right where it should be.  I cannot even begin to describe the agony I have been going through waiting for these results. I honestly can say that it has not sunk in that I am pregnant and I am going to become a mother. So many years of tears, heartache and disappointment that I still can't get a grasp of my new reality. There are no more what if's...there is only when.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My New Favorite Day: 08.13.13

It is with great pride that I'm writing this post to officially announce that I have kicked infertility's ass! We are obivously approaching this with caution but I can say that as of today I AM PREGNANT!


I started testing out the trigger and the line never went away. At 10 DPO I knew I was on to something. It was one of those if you held it up to the light at the perfect angle, you could see the start of something pink. By 11 DPO, it was faint but definitely visible to the naked eye and by 12 DPO, I saw that wonderful, magical word "Pregnant". 

I had my first beta yesterday at 3w6d (13 dpo) and it came back at 86.2 which is right in range for this early in a pregnancy (average is 50-100). While this is great news, my progesterone level is what alarmed me, especially after having such a high number at 7 DPO. My P4 dropped drastically to 9.26. The minimum they want to see if 10 but like it closer to 20.  However, this number is a little deceiving as I have been on Crinone since 2 dpo.  Crinone is a vaginal gel that gets absorbed directly by the uterus  and therefore does not enter the blood stream (which is why the number was so low). I won't lie and tell you I haven't been consulting the evil Dr. Google the past 24 hours because I have. My RE's office sounded concerned but not totally alarmed just yet. She decided to switch me to Promtetrium 400 mg once a day to see if that helps increase the levels. I was inititally just going to pick it up tomorrow when I go back for my next beta, but I couldn't wait that long and just ran to the office at lunch to get my 10 pack of oil slicks. I can say this; I will not miss managing the dairy farm one bit.  

I will update once I get the results of my beta back tomorrow. I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for being such a tremendous support system whether through this blog or on any online support group. You all mean the world to me and without you, I would probably be in a hug-me jacket in a nice padded room as a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by now.  Hugs and most of all...BELIEVE!!!! It will happen one day for all of you!

DISCLAIMER: To those who know me in real life, the above information is privileged & confidential for only those who read my blog. I would TRULY appreciate if you do NOT say anything about this to ANYONE. Bryan and I will make our announcement once we feel that this pregnancy is viable and we have reached what we feel is our "safe" zone. I hope you understand why I did not approach you personally to relay the above information.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Phenomenal P4 & Its Consequences

How do you know your progesterone level is phenomenal? Your body decides to mutate a ginormous zit smack dab in between your eye brows. We're not talking a little white head. No, we're talking one of those giant, red hard bumps under the surface that wants to hibernate. This thing is so big I feel like it deserves a name. Me and Cyrus the cyclops have formed a tight bond however I'm really hoping he decides to disappear soon. So instead of just dealing with the cramps, sore boobs, and managing a dairy farm, you now have another life form living on your face that you have to tend to. Ah, the joys of progesterone.  

I kind of expected my number to be high with all the side effects I was feeling, but never have I had a number this high. My RE's office called and I asked her to repeat the number a couple of times before it actually sunk in that my level was at 55.8! The highest I've had so far was 27 and now it's more than doubled my previous best. There is no way that your P4 level can predict pregnancy but it definitely gives me a good chance at having released more than one egg. Now let's just hope that one of those boys was able to find it and I'll have even better news to report in a couple of days.

Being the trigger queen that I am, I have been testing out the trigger. I tested again yesterday at 8 DPO (or 10 days past trigger) and the line is there but super faint. Fought off the urge this morning and will be testing again tomorrow. Here's to hoping that the line is getting darker by tomorrow! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

More Free Shots

It looks like Femara is deciding to play difficult again. Ended up spotting and bleeding up until CD10. Finally stopped just in time to have my follow-up appointment yesterday on CD11. My left decided to take a break this month and the right decided to step it up.  The right had one at 17, one at 15, two at 14 and two more smalls. My lining was only at 7 so we decided to add some more shots to the mix. I already finished my five days on 5mg of Femara and three days of 100 iu of Follistim each day so she gave me a junkie's dream bag of meds, needles and the dreaded pink solution again. I waited for my phone call yesterday afternoon after the blood work came back to get the final regimen before my IUI on Tuesday. 

Now before I begin to explain what I'm doing, I'd like to add that all of this was given to me for free again! Not only were the meds free but when I went to pay my co-pay I was told I had a credit so I walked out the door without paying a dime.  Again, I was one happy, happy woman.

Here's the breakdown of what I will have done for my cycle:
  • Friday (CD4) - 5 mg Femara
  • Saturday (CD5) - 5 mg Femara
  • Sunday (CD6) - 5 mg Femara
  • Monday (CD7) - 5 mg Femara
  • Tuesday (CD8) - 5 mg Femara & 100 iu of Follistim
  • Wednesday (CD9) - 100 iu of Follistim
  • Thursday (CD10) - 100 iu of Follistim
  • Friday (CD11) - 75 iu of Bravelle, 50 iu of Low Dose HCG & BD
  • Saturday (CD12 - today) - 75 iu of Bravelle & 50 iu of Low Dose HCG
  • Sunday (CD13) - Trigger around 4 pm & BD again
  • Monday (CD14) - Needle & drug free :)
  • Tuesday (CD15) - IUI at 7:30 am & BD at night
Now I know I said I would never use the pink stuff again but sadly there's a good chance we'll have to this month. My FIL fell off the roof after Sandy ripped a bunch of flashing off of it. He was up there trying to fix it when he accidentally tumbled down & onto the ground (luckily just missing his car and  the paved driveway landing on the grass). Fortunately he's OK, just a broken ankle and a few bumps & bruises. The only problem is he can't drive so DH has to leave super early to take him to his brother's who also works with my FIL. DH then goes to work since it's on his way. Even though DH promised he would give me a live sample this time, I think I'll let him slide. He says there may be a chance that his dad won't need a ride so I'm hoping that's the case but if it's not, I have the pink stuff with me. If we do end up using it, I'll wake up at the butt-crack of dawn to get pink stuff out of fridge & bring to room temp. Once it's to temp, molest DH and get the sample (hopefully fart-free this time), add the pink stuff, shove it down the shirt & hope once again that I don't kill the spermies.

I would also like to add that me + chemistry + needles = one hot mess! After mixing the Bravelle last night, I went to take the cap off the needle and it was totally jammed on. I finally was able to remove the cap but in the meantime managed to ram the needle into my finger, bending it. Since I didn't have any other back-up needles, I did the only thing I could think of. Wipe off the bent needle with an alcohol swab, do a quick test to make sure it still worked and then proceeded to ram it in my stomach. Didn't hurt at all and managed to empty the syringe so I'm guessing I didn't break the needle completely. Must've done a number on my finger though as it bled like a mo-fo and bruised up pretty quick. I definitely felt like Elf as my finger had a heartbeat for the rest of the night.  Here's to hoping it's smoother sailing this evening.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Shots, Shots, Shots

Had my baseline appointment yesterday on CD4. Once again, my ovaries are a rockin'. My antral follicle count this month is twelve (six from each side). I really feel blessed for my age. I know of so many women who are younger than I am that aren't fortunate enough to have even half of what I am given each month to work from.  My FSH came back at 5.28 (up .07 from last month).  For 35, I truly am amazed at how much my body is on my side. I just saw a report published showing the correlation between the mother's menopausal age and the daughter's egg reserve.  I have to give a major shout out to my dear mother. Thanks mommy for blessing me with the egg reserve that I have. Even though I inherited your gray hair and thyroid problems, I'll let them slide for this.  Love ya mommy-dearest :)

Now that I know we have a good base to work from, we decided to kick it up a notch and add Follistim to the mix. I have now done two rounds of Clomid, four rounds of Femara with nothing to show for it. I brought up the idea last cycle but was planning on starting in December to give us time to save up for the added cost since they are not covered by my insurance. My RE kindly pointed out Einstein's theory "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Sadly, that's exactly where we were at. She knew I couldn't afford doing straight injections this month so we decided to go with a combo cycle. I have had an excellent response to Femara so we decided to stick with my 5mg regimen (CD4-8) and then add 100iu of Follistim on CD8-10. I have to admit that I was really worried about over stimming since my response has been tremendous but she reassured me that with the low dose the odds are not in my favor for that happening.
Now, I know that I have two other things I can thank my mother for; my love for all things medical and spaving (yes, spending and saving at the same time).  Most people are intimidated or scared for administering shots to themselves. Me? Hell no! I find it empowering. I relish the idea that I can do this without any help. It makes me feel more involved in the process.  Not that I wasn't ecstatic enough about being able to administer three more shots, she tells me that she has some leftover donated meds and my 300iu of Follistim is FREE!!! It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I am couponing freak and will do whatever it takes to save money on anything, but this just blew me away. When I got home, I checked online to get an estimate on how much money I saved and I saw prices ranging from $300 (overseas) to $600 and more.  This makes me a happy, happy woman!

I cannot thank my RE's office, Pennsylvania Reproductive Specialists, enough for how willing they are to help us. They have never been pushy and have worked with us through every step of this grueling process. They provided me samples when DH was unemployed for six months, they know IVF is not an option and told me I can do unlimited IUI's, and mostly, they are sincere in their work. You are NOT just a patient with them. It's a small office of only five women but they understand and you never have to wait to see them. Even though they are small, they are affiliated with Main Line Fertility and Bryn Mawr Hospital. You know you're getting the most advanced treatment with the most trusted doctors in the Philadelphia area. If anybody is from the Philly burbs and looking for a specialist, I recommend them with all my heart!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Dream That You Wish...

I know I've been MIA but you can't blame this one on me. All the blame goes to Sandy. I must say I was fortunate to not have any wind or flood damage and my house and family remain unscathed. My electric however was not so fortunate. I lost power on Monday and it was finally restored last night. You think the crazy infertility ride tests a marriage & your relationship? Try going 6 days without power! I am proud to report that we are still happily married and both alive. I lost tons of food but fortunately, not my marriage :)

Now for the bad news. I firmly believed that this cycle was my time. I know we all tell ourselves that each month will be OUR month but this past cycle I truly felt as though it was finally OUR time.  I started testing at 10 DPO and each day I had nothing but one stark, single, pink line staring back at me. I sit here now at 14 DPO with cramps and spotting and once again, a cycle has failed.  Somehow I am always the cheerleader and reassure everyone that the next time it will work. I wish I could be that confident when it comes to my own journey. I have now become a statistic. The odds show that most IUI's work within the first three tries. My first was a success even if it was only for a day or two before the chemical pregnancy happened. Is that it for me? I want to believe with all my heart that I am going to defy the statistics, and even at 35, I will succeed with an IUI. The reality though soon sinks in that IUI is the end for us. I don't have coverage for IVF and financially that is way beyond our means.  I know my RE is determined that IUI will get us to parenthood and I want with all my soul to believe them. It's just so hard after getting nothing but failures month after month. I did contact my insurance company and found out I have unlimited IUI coverage. I know how fortunate I am to even have this but part of me just wishes I could find my fairy godmother to grant me my one wish. I don't need a fancy carriage, a glass slipper or even a ballgown. I just need my dream of motherhood. I just need my rainbow to come smiling through...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Serendipity?

I had my first "serendipaciousness" moment on my rainy, dreary drive home today. Stuck in traffic at the same spot it always backs up I realized I made it half way home without checking out any license plates. I look in front of me and I had my moment of fate or shall we say serendipity.

This one hit me like a ton of bricks. Here was my sign. Was it my dad in heaven, crying tears for me, telling me to stay strong? Of all the plates, and all the phrases, what happened in our magical universe that put this plate in front of my eyes?

What makes this plate so special to me? Let me explain...

My favorite movie is Serendipity. I know a little chick-flicky but I love everything about it. When we went to NYC this past winter, my DH surprised me with a stop at Wollman Ice Skating Rink (the one in the movie where he drops the glove) because he knew how much that would mean to me. In that movie there is a line that grabs me every time: "I think we make our own decisions. I just think that fate sends us little signs, and its how we read the signs that determines whether we are happy or not."  Now was this my sign that I've been longing to see?

My favorite Christmas movie is The Miracle on 34th Street. No, not the remake, the original from 1947 with a young Natalie Wood.  Here again, what is my favorite line of the movie? It's when little Susan is in the car with her mother and Fred Gailey. She's peering out the window and says to herself "I believe...I believe... It's silly, but I believe."

My favorite quote comes from none other than the late, beautiful Audrey Hepburn. "I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.

Now what does this sign mean? I would like to think a bunch of things:

I believe that this journey has made me a stronger person.
I believe that this journey has made my marriage stronger.
I believe that even if I can help one person get through this journey with an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on, that I've done my job.
I believe that this IS my month.
I believe that we will ALL get our BFP's.