Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Head Spins

My head is spinning and my mind is racing.  It's been a whirlwind since returning from vacation (yesterday) (more on our awesome vacation later, though!) and I'm in a complete daze.  You might ask what could have possibly happened in a matter of a little more than 24 hours for me to feel completely zombie-like and unable to process any information?  Well... Not only did I return home to AF's arrival (seriously, as if returning home from vacation isn't sad enough - this was just enough to put me over the edge.  Devastated is an understatement as to how I felt yesterday.  It's times like these that I get mad at myself for having so much hope...), but we also had our long-awaited phone consult with Dr. S from CCRM (!!!!!) last night.

I was sure to take notes as we listened to what Dr. S had to say and I'm literally writing this blog post by transcribing last night's many scribbles (since my brain is pretty much dysfunctional right now, I'm hoping my notes will help me to better structure this post and relay what we learned!)... so bare with me... After spending about 5-10 minutes explaining my "saga" (as Dr. S put it), here's what I learned, should we choose to move forward with IVF treatment at CCRM:

* (Perhaps most importantly) They would check to see if there is a missing genetic status of my eggs/embryos.  Hopefully, genetically, my eggs/embryos will be normal.  I did ask Dr. S if there is a correlation between high FSH and genetically poor eggs/embryos.  Unfortunately, he said that yes, there is a correlation between the two.  And while I wouldn't want this to be the case - perhaps this would at least be able to tell us some more about why my prior two IVF's didn't work, even with what seemed to be two very good (or at least just good) quality embryos that were transferred both times.
* They would be very aggressive with my stimulation protocol to hopefully stimulate more follicle growth (this is what my local/current RE is trying to do with each IVF cycle as well, and while I do truly, truly believe that my local/current RE is doing all she can - something told me that perhaps CCRM would be more aggressive?).
* I would start pre-cycle supplements (I need to find out what type of supplements I would be on!) during the month that we visit Colorado for our one day work-up (ODW).
* 1 month prior to my IVF cycle, I would start testosterone priming (I need to read up on this!)
* Most likely, my IVF cycle would include both injectibles as well as clomid (interestingly enough, this is the same protocol that my local RE said she would suggest trying next) along with an antagonist to keep me from ovulating early.
* We would need to head out to Colorado for the ODW some time between day 5 and 13 of my cycle.  I will be restricted from caffeine for 3 days prior to the ODW (I don't think I've had any caffeine in months!) and will be given an order to take home with me for day 2 or 3 blood work that will need to be frozen and sent back to CCRM so that the results can be read in their lab.

The most significant (to me) points that I took away from our call are:

1.  When asked what he thought my chances are (based on my age and FSH) of conceiving with the help of an IVF cycle, Dr. S said that he would guess (without seeing me) that I had a 25% chance with IVF (each time) of becoming pregnant (normal women my age would have about a 70% chance of becoming pregnant with IVF, so there is a fairly large variance here in the percentages of success).
2. When asked if Dr. S has treated patients with "issues" such as mine, he told me that about 2/3 of his patients are from out of state who also have high FSH and/or low AMH.

So.... first off, I'm actually pretty pleased with a (guesstimate) 25% chance of conceiving with IVF.  That's 1 out of 4 tries, people.  I've already done two... that must mean that a successful cycle is just around the corner, right?!  And secondly, I was so happy to hear that CCRM and Dr. S treat women with issues such as mine on a regular basis.  He said CCRM would in no way turn me away based on my FSH (this is actually contrary to much of what I've read in on-line forums, etc.). 

He also said though (and I knew this would be coming, so I was prepared for it), that with donor eggs, my chances of conceiving would be more like 70%-80%.  I explained that at our current age of (only) 30, we're not ready to throw the towel in on my own eggs yet, to which he responded that as long as we know that we would have this as an option by means of having a baby at least up until I'm 40. 

Lots to think about... Lots of reasons why my head is still spinning and why my mind is still racing.  Lots of money (I'm waiting for the gal from the financing office to call me with exact-ish numbers, but I've heard about $5,000 for the ODW and close to $30,000 for the IVF cycle - not including flights and accommodations while staying in CO)... And unfortunately, no guarantees.  That's the only thing holding me back from all of this.  It's not the money.  I know we will find a way to pay for our very stubborn baby if he/she ends up being a product of CCRM.  My biggest fear is that after all of this I still won't be pregnant.  But we believe it's a risk that we have to be willing to take.  We truly believe with all of our heart and soul that our very stubborn future baby will be worth every.single.penny/flight/shot/etc., etc., etc.

So with all of that being said, after hanging up with Dr. S last night, tears immediately fell from my eyes and streamed down my face (I think partly from the sadness of even having to deal with all of this, and partly from the confusion and mind racing that already engulfed my brain).  I looked at my husband and through my tears, together, we were able to map out what we think will be our next steps:  I have 1 month left of herbs/acupuncture.  As of now, I'll continue the acupuncture twice weekly through my next IVF cycle, which will most likely be in October (with my local RE).  In the meantime, I'm hoping to be able to schedule our ODW at CCRM at the end of September (which will be the beginning of my next cycle) for some time in late October/early November...

Phew... I think that's it.  Now I'm off to indulge in this delicious lemon cookie that I bought today during lunch to try to put a smile on my devastated face after learning yesterday that I'm still baby-less for yet another month (all the while dreaming of being back under these beautiful palm trees in the Coronado sunshine)...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


pictures courtesy of Pinterest

I've never been one to dread my birthday - in fact, I always welcomed being one year older.  I have friends who hem and haw about their birthday and not wanting to add that extra digit to their age.  Perhaps though, since I have a late summer birthday and have always been the youngest of most of my friends, I always felt that I was just catching up to everyone else?  Regardless... this year is different.  I'm dreading my birthday (thankfully, we'll be on vacation, though!)... Not because of my age (30 could come and go and I wouldn't know or feel any different)... but because birthdays are a celebration and this year I just feel like I'll be celebrating documenting another year without being pregnant.

30 stings.  I was supposed to have children by now.  If you knew me in high school/college, you would know that 30 was my number - I'd surely be a wife (check!) and mom at this point in my life. 

This will be my first birthday since since starting infertility treatments last fall.  I would have never guessed that I'd still be in the same place where I started back in November.  But here I am.  Lucky for me, Nick and I share our birthday so thankfully, I can just focus on celebrating him (while window shopping on Rodeo Drive!).

Still praying for a miracle.  God knows that all I want for my birthday is two pink lines.  I mean, when I think about it, it's not that much to ask... After all, He would be killing two birds with one stone... it would be a birthday gift for me AND for Nick!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Report

I finished Silent Sorority last night.  Here are my thoughts...

Most everything about infertility in this book was something that I could (sadly and unfortunately) relate to... I found myself, over and over again, thinking "that's exactly how I feel!"  About 3/4 of the way through the book, though, I realized that the author was not going to beat all odds and miraculously become pregnant.  It left a bad taste in my mouth and I immediately noticed that my mood had changed.  It's funny, because reading on-line forums about infertility or other peoples' blogs about infertility, it's the success stories that I'm drawn to.  I love reading real-life stories about people who struggled to become pregnant, people who have endured the very same pain and heartbreak that I'm enduring right now, and who somehow, by the grace of God end up seeing two pink lines on an HPT.  While those stories make me insanely envious and jealous, it fills me with hope that if it happened for her (and her and her and her), then maybe, just maybe it can happen for me, too.  Silent Sorority did the opposite though... toward the end of the book, I was devastated.  Devastated for the author, but also for myself.  It made me scared and brought me back to the questions and fears that I've filed way far back in my brain... What will we do if we can't have a baby of our own?  How will I ever be truly satisfied with my life without a child of my own?  How will my husband ever be truly satisfied with his life, knowing I can't give him a child of his/our own?  How will this change us - as a couple and as individuals?  I even started asking Nick these questions out loud (and at this point, he just about wanted to rip the book out of my hands and light it on fire) - Of course he didn't have the answers to my questions... I suppose no one does.

I did finish the book, though.  And I do have to say that it left me with the utmost respect for the author.  I've done a lot of soul searching over the past year and a half since encountering this awful, heart-wrenching stage in my life - but since finishing this book, I feel as though I've begun to search even deeper within my soul.  In some ways, I don't think I'm able to fully reflect on what I've read just yet.  It's a scary place to go...

That said, I may put off reading infertility books for a while and just stick to the on-line forums and fellow blogger community to keep me going with (what I hope will be for all of the blogs I follow) real-life positive, happy and miraculous outcomes!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ten on Tuesday (infertility style)

1.  Lately I've been having an issue with OPK's.  While normally on my blog OPK's would stand for "ovulation predictor kits", #1 (and #2) in this post is actually referring to "other peoples' kids".  Aside from reading blogs about other peoples' pregnancies and/or children, in real life I.just.can't.take.it.  I don't want to see your kids, I don't want to hear stories about how undeniably cute they are and I especially don't want to hear about how difficult life is with children - because try not having them at all.  I know this sounds harsh, and deep down I suppose I don't really mean it... But I guess this is just one of the many stages in dealing with infertility that you (or at least I) go through.

2.  My annoyance with OPK's is recent.  For the past year and a half, my issue was more so with other pregnant women.  I seriously avoided some of my friends for 9 months (I know, I'm horrible..) - but once their baby came, it was almost as if I'd returned from the dead...

3.  Next on my reading list: Silent Sorority.

4. After I finish reading Silent Sorority, this one will be next.  And then, when I've finished that one... I'll read this one (OK, I'm done with linking infertility books now, I promise!).

5.  My acupuncturist is on vacation this week - I've been stressed about taking this week off (especially since I'll miss another two sessions while I'm away on vacation) - but I guess c'est la vie (random tid bit of information: I was a French major in college).  He was sure to give me extra herbs, though, and I'm still juicing once a day so I guess that's good...

6.  I think my BBT chart looks somewhat more normal this month.  My temps seem to be a bit lower (early in my cycle) with less significant ups and downs so far.  I'm hoping that with this cycle I'll see more of a distinction, clearly outlining the two phases of my cycle.

7.  Last week I confirmed with CCRM that they have received all of my medical records (for Dr. S's review) for our upcoming phone consultation at the end of the month!

8.  Last week I also confirmed with my local RE that I'll be all set to start IVF #3 (ugh, just typing that makes me want to barf!) once I get my period at the end of September (which would be the end of my 3 months of herbs and if for some reason we choose not to move forward with CCRM).

9.  I'm still praying that we won't even have to deal with #8 or #9.  Please Lord, answer our prayers!

10.  A couple of years ago (before knowing anything about my infertility issues) (during a time that I was going through some other difficult things - - not nearly as difficult as infertility, though), I wrote and stuck a bible verse in my wallet for a daily reminder that it's all in God's hands and that it will all turn out OK, according to His will...
I'm glad that I never removed this from my wallet - it's a nice reminder for me to trust in Him, even on the most difficult of days.  Jeremiah 29:11

Aubrey Blair

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I confess...

Why is it that people are drawn to others' good fortunes (as I type this, I suppose the same is true for people being drawn to others' misfortunes)?  It's funny... On December 23, 2008, I activated a facebook account.  Why?  Because I got engaged the day before.  With some convincing from my sister, I just had to announce brag to my "friends" the great news.  Over the next couple of years, facebook quickly became my lifeline.  I was constantly connected and aware of all the goings-on in my "friends" lives.  Rather than being someone who posted frequently, I was someone who followed... constantly.

Once Nick and I decided we wanted to expand our family and try for a baby, I became even more addicted to facebook.  Around this time, I got an iPhone, so I literally had the updates of my "friends" lives in my back pocket.  As the months passed, with no pregnangy to announce and post about on my own facebook page, I became even more facebook-obsessed.  Of course during this time, I would notice daily while stalking my facebook news feed, that my "friends" were announcing their pregnancies and posting pictures of their newborn baby left and right... at least it seemed that way. 

Finally, once I was knee-deep into infertility treatments, I realized that facebook was not good for me.  So, I quit (my sister had recently deactivated her account - and this should actually be another post in and of itself - but, my little sister is actually the "cool" one - normally you'd think that it's the little sister who chases after her big sister trying to immitate and mimic all that she does... in our family, though, it's the other way around - everything my little sister does, wears and buys... is cool... and I try to be just like her in a lot of ways, like when she quit facebook!).  Seeing others' good fortunes and joys only hurt my already scarred heart that much more.

I really haven't missed facebook all that much.  It's been quite the breath of fresh air.  I'm not longing to know if so and so had her baby or what so and so named her baby.  I certainly don't miss seeing my "friends" announcements on-line of their pregnancies.  And more than ever I DO.NOT. miss seeing my "friends" posts about how miserable their pregnancies are, how sick they are, or how they just can't wait for their pregnany to be over!

BUT, having said all that... the title of this post does allude to the fact that I have a confession... So, without further ado, I confess to you (mom - who again, I think is my sole reader) that I accidentally logged into my facebook account today and took about a half hour and searched every "friend" I knew from a few months ago (prior to deleting facebook) who had either been pregnant or who already had a baby... I scoured their pages, stalked their pictures and... truthfully, I didn't feel as crappy as I thought I would have felt.  I didn't feel any better though, either.  And so with that - I deactivated my account again...
Facebook and I just aren't meant to be friends right now.  Maybe (God willing) someday I'll (hopefully) have some great news to share.. but something tells me I'll posting that news somewhere other than on facebook ;)
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