Thursday, June 28, 2012


Broken.  That's what I am.  I feel as if I have broken into a gazillion pieces.  And I'm not sure at this point, how to put myself back together.  I've been in a bit of a dark place the past few days and just couldn't bare to write the following words: I am still not pregnant.  IVF # 2 did not work (hence my lack of blogging).  I started taking HPT's on Saturday, which was 7dp3dt.  That's when I got my first negative.  Like the stubborn (and I suppose hopeful) person that I am, I continued to POAS all the way up until my BETA.  Negative after negative.  But even after seeing the negative yesterday morning (which was the day of my BETA), I still had a teeny, tiny bit of hope deep inside.  Hope that maybe, just maybe I would be one of God's miracles yesterday.  Sadly, I wasn't.  My time is yet to come.  It's excruciatingly painful and it still very much stings today.  I suppose it will continue to sting until I receive a positive test and confirmation that my miracle is ready for me.  The thought of potentially living this life without a child of our own is terrifying - and it hurts really bad.

The hurt is so bad, that I contemplated deleting my little blog (let's be real, I think my only readers are my mom and sister!).  Sometimes, I feel like it's just too painful to record all of the sadness that I'm feeling.  I mean, I had initially started this blog thinking that I would be documenting a beautiful 9 months of pregnancy and then would go on to document my baby's first everything... Unfortunately, that was not God's plan for me or for my little blog.  Quickly, over the past few months, my blog turned into a journal about my infertility journey.  A myriad of writings that reflected my sadness, anger, my feeling scared and anxious and somwhere buried in there as well - my hope and my faith.  I'm truthfully not writing my blog for followers (although, if you are a follower - welcome! and thank you!).  I'm writing my blog so that I will always have record of the feelings I've had throughout this journey.  Maybe what I write will someday help someone else out there plagued by the horribleness (is this even a word?) of infertility.  But if not, I'm happy to continue on with my little blog for me. what?  I've been asking myself that very question since before receiving my first negative HPT.  We have a few options...

1. I had been researching CCRM for months.  I have read many blogs of women who have had amazing success with CCRM.  I had myself convinced that this is where we needed to go.  We scheduled an initial telephone consult with the amazing Dr. Schoolcraft for the end of August.  I am thrilled and am currently working diligently on getting all of my medical records sent to their facility ASAP.  That said, I've also recently read some reviews on CCRM, specifically regarding women with high FSH.  I'm worried now, that "donor eggs" will be Dr. S's suggestion - I'm not ready for that.  And therefore, I'm not sure Dr. S will want to accept me as a patient.  But... only time will tell, and we are still planning to speak with him, ask him A LOT of questions and hear what he has to say...

2. A few weeks into starting acupuncture, my Acupuncturist informed me of herbs... His herb protocol is very in-depth.  It's a 90 day process and would essentially be a change in my lifestyle.  I would record a food diary and would essentially have my diet re-vamped.  I would also be taking multiple herbs in addition to my twice per week acupuncture sessions.  The kicker is, I could not do this "herb-protocol" during an IVF cycle.  The purpose is to treat my eggs during their primordial and 2nd stage of "life" so that when they become "live" follicles, the quality may in fact be better...  The intent is to prepare your mind and body for an upcoming IVF cycle.  However, it seems like many women who begin this herb protocol do end up conceiving naturally within the 90 days - wouldn't that be amazing?!

3. Do a 3rd IVF cycle with my amazing, current RE, Dr. A.  I love my doctor.  She is beyond knowledgeable, thorough, empathetic and caring all the while being a to-the-point type of doctor.  There aren't many "frills" with Dr. A - and I like that.  Most importantly, though - Dr. A has never once mentioned the words "donor eggs" to me.  I'm aware that many RE's out there probably wouldn't even take me on as a patient with my highest FSH being 18.6.  Dr. A has hope for us - sometimes, I think she has more hope for us than we (or at least I) do.  The next protocol that Dr. A has suggested is the Clomid-FSH protocol without birth control.  During my IUI cycles I responded well to the Clomid, so in her opinion, she thinks re-introducing the Clomid in conjunction with the Follistim may be our best option at this point to hopefully trigger more follicle growth.  Dr. A recommends that I have one natural cycle, un-medicated, prior to starting in on this 3rd IVF.  That brings us to the end of July/beginning of August.  With our upcoming vacation - the potential retrieval/transfer would be while we are away - SO... should we choose option #3, that brings us to IVF #3 some time in September... which seems SO far away right now.

So - those are our options.  I have an acupuncture session tonight and plan to talk a bit more about the "herb protocal" with my Acupuncturist.  I'm hoping that perhaps there is a bit of a modified version of the protocol that I can try for the next couple of months before either doing a cycle with Dr. A or with Dr. S (I think I'd like to do at least one more IVF cycle prior to jumping into the complete herb protocol).

The unknown is so scary - I'm not sure we'll have a decision on which option we'll choose until the end of August, when we have our phone consultation with Dr. S.  I'm sure time off from medicated infertility treatment will be a good thing, but it will be difficult for me - I've been on a medicated cycle since my first IUI in December, 2011.

I'm praying for peace and comfort during the next couple of months.  Praying for guidance as to which option to choose.  And mostly, I'll be praying for a miraculous, naturally conceived baby during our time off from treatment!

Aubrey Blair

Friday, June 22, 2012

Updated Symptoms

Here is my list of updated symptoms (in bold):

1dp3dt: Nothing
2dp3dt: Some afternoon cramping and slightly sore bbs
3dp3dt: Some cramping on and off and slightly sore bbs (mostly in the morning). Update: I noticed yesterday evening that the on and off cramping I had been experiencing was mostly felt far to the right and left - possibly pain/cramping in each of my ovaries (??)
4dp3dt: Some cramping on and off (mostly in the center of my uterus), slightly sore bbs, a small bout of nausea this afternoon (could have been from the heat wave) and the start of an unpleasant pimple on my chin (normally the feeling of a pimple developing on my face is the first sign that AF is on her way) :(
5dp3dt: Only symptom was sore bbs and luckily that nasty pimple that I felt was starting never officially popped out!!
6dp3dt (today): Slightly sore bbs.  No cramping, but maybe just the feeling of tightening in my uterus (??)

I was prepared ALL day today for painful and consistent AF-like cramps coupled by a splitting headache.  That's exactly what happened last cycle on this day.  I'm happy to say that history has not repeated itself (so far) this cycle!  Praying to God that this is a very good sign!!

Aubrey Blair

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Signs from God

Recently, I've seen two things that I'm convinced have been signs from God at just the right times...

First, on our way to my doctor's office on the morning of my ET, I was extremely nervous.  Mostly nervous about what my embryos did overnight and how strong they would be.  I kept my eyes closed for most of the ride, but as I opened them and looked out the window, the first car that passed us on our right was one whose bumper sticker caught my eye:

"Nothing is impossible with God"

Second (and this actually happened today), I was travelling for work with some co-workers to Connecticut.  Since we were all coming from different towns in Massachusetts, we decided to meet on the Mass Pike at a Park & Ride lot so that we could drive the rest of the distance together.  After our meetings and picking up my car from the Park & Ride lot, I noticed a street sign as I was headed home that literally made my heart skip a beat...
Faith Ave... (It's difficult to see because I had to quickly snap this picture from my iPhone while at a red light). 

Today I am thankful for God's reminders to have Faith and to believe in Him.

That said, I'll end with my updated list of symptoms so far (updated symptoms in bold):

1dp3dt: Nothing
2dp3dt: Some afternoon cramping and slightly sore bbs
3dp3dt: Some cramping on and off and slightly sore bbs (mostly in the morning). Update: I noticed yesterday evening that the on and off cramping I had been experiencing was mostly felt far to the right and left - possibly pain/cramping in each of my ovaries (??)
4dp3dt (today): Some cramping on and off (mostly in the center of my uterus), slightly sore bbs, a small bout of nausea this afternoon (however, this could easily be from the heat wave we're experiencing in New England right now... my car read 108 degrees on my way home today!) and the start of an unpleasant pimple on my chin (normally the feeling of a pimple developing on my face is the first sign that AF is on her way) :(

Aubrey Blair

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Belle (and an update)!!

Happy 3rd (21st!) Birthday Belle Elizabeth (yes, Belle has a middle name)!!!
Mumma loves you sooooo much!!
* * * * *
Today is 3dp3dt... I'm a little concerned.  My symptoms so far have been:

1dp3dt: Nothing
2dp3dt: Some afternoon cramping and slightly sore bbs
3dp3dt: Some cramping on and off and slightly sore bbs (mostly in the morning)

The on and off cramping I've had yesterdy and today is reminding me a little too much of the cramping I had last cycle.  I'm trying SO hard to stay positive and to try to have hope and faith.  I know that this is all in God's hands, but I wish so badly that there were something I could do...

Aubrey Blair

Monday, June 18, 2012

This Cycle...

I was on birth control for 11 days...

I've had 11 Acupuncture sessions (so far)...

I injected 310 units of Lupron into my stomach...

I injected 8,400 (!!!) units of Follistim into my stomach... (that equates to 14 boxes and 1 refill called-in to my pharmacy)...

I had 6 ultrasounds and blood draws (6 early morning doctor's appointments)...

I had one Pregnyl (HCG) injection in my stomach...

I had a successfull ER (4 eggs with really only 4 follicles!)...

I had an ET (2 embryos)...

I've had 5 PIO injections so far...

I pray will be my last cycle that will bring us our miracle baby...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Egg Transfer and a Happy Father's Day Message

Yesterday's Egg Transfer was successful.  The best news being that it was not called off... our embryos had continued to divide and grow and we ended up with one 6 cell grade C embryo and one 8 cell grade B/C embryo.  Sadly, based on the grading our embryos received, I feel as though the odds are a bit against us this time.  Last cycle we transferred two 8 cell grade B embryos - it's clear from our pictures from both yesterday and our last cycle that this time, the embryos are not as "pretty".  That said, I expressed my concern to the doctor, who informed me that she's performed many transfers of embryos with grades C's and D's that resulted in healthy, live births.  I pray that we'll be so lucky this time...
I've been on self prescribed bed rest since yesterday at noon, when I returned home from my ET.  It's been difficult (luckily Tink has ben keeping her mumma company!), but the time is passing and I know that taking it easy is best for my baby embryos right now.  I'm so fearful and worried and I just wish I knew what was happening in my uterus right now.  I pray that our embryos are thriving and growing...  Now we just wait... the dreadful two week wait.  I'm not sure if I'll POAS yet... I'm going to try to hold out from testing as long as I can.  We'll see!
On a separate note, I want to wish my Dad a very happy Father's Day!  Due to said, self prescribed bed rest, we aren't able to see my Dad today, but I'm hoping that in two weeks the reason will have been well worth it for all of us! 

Dad: thank you for being such a loving, supportive Dad who's always been on my side.  I love you so much and am so blessed to have you in my life!
Aubrey Blair

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 2 in the life of my embryos...

We have two 4 cell embryos. One is grade B and the other, grade C, which has just a little more fragmentation. Last cycle at this point we had one 3 cell embryo and one 4 cell embryo. Both were graded as a B. The transfer is scheduled for 9:30 tomorrow morning.

While my physician doesn't say this is necessary, I am ordering myself to two days of strict bed rest (because that's what they do at CCRM). I'm beyond scared. After tomorrow morning, this is all completely out of our hands. The outcome is up to God. I just pray that He knows how ready we are for a baby.

Aubrey Blair

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How similar is too similar? My ER results are in...

Yesterday's retrieval went well.  It's funny how the second time around, you're just more relaxed about the whole process.  The crazy thing though, is that yesterday's procedure and today's results were pretty much identical to my last cycle.  Here's how...

* Last cycle we almost missed my retrieval.  It was pouring rain on April 23rd and took us about 2 hours to get to my doctor's office.  As luck would have it, it was also pouring rain on June 13th.  However, this time, it didn't take us 2 hours - we left in plenty of time and arrived at my doctor's office right on time.

* This cycle, I was in the same prep/recovery room.

* Last cycle (with about 6-9 good sized follicles), 4 eggs were retrieved.  Going into yesterday's retrieval I was bracing myself for 0-2 eggs based on the fact that I only had about 3-4 good sized follicles at my last ultrasound...  They retrieved 4 eggs!!!  Quite frankly, I was shocked!

* Last cyle, of the 4 eggs retrieved: 3 were mature and 2 fertilized.  This cycle, the results are the EXACT SAME... we have two embryos (!!!).  (I'm hesitant to end that sentence with exclamation points and therefore, I've ended the sentence with a period, but have the exclamation points in parentheses - I'm weary of being excited).

* Last cycle I had a day 3 transfer.  This cycle, we're on track for another day 3 transfer IF my little embryos split and divide as they should tonight and tomorrow night.

To say I'm scared would be an understatement.  I'm utterly frightened and anxious for the next two days (moreso for the next two weeks).  I'm trying to have as much hope and faith as I'm able to muster up deep within.  I have my fingers, toes, eyes... everything crossed and I pray that we'll get good news again tomorrow.

Aubrey Blair

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's a go!

After hours upon hours of waiting, the Nurse finally called me yesterday late afternoon with my instructions for my retrieval!  I had been on pins and needles since Friday - after my appointment that morning, I really only had about 3-4 follicles (there was 1 lead follicle and a few smaller ones on each ovary).  My doctor wasn't convinced that they would move me forward with the IVF and even mentioned possibly converting me to an IUI.  She had me come back on Saturday morning and then again yesterday (Monday) morning as well.  I still only have 3-4 follicles... 1 lead follicle that measured around 21 mm, 2 that measured around 17 mm and then a smaller one that measured around 14 mm).  I know the cards are stacked against me this time, but I'm just SO thankful that the IVF was not cancelled!

So... last night I stopped my stims (!!!) and took my HCG shot at 11 p.m. (if you know me, I go to bed around 9 p.m. on weeknights so this was quite the feat!).  Today, I do nothing and take nothing.  Tomorrow, my retrieval is scheduled for 11 a.m.  I'm nervous.  Last cycle I had at least a few more follicles that were of good size compared to what we have to work with this cycle.  Last cycle they retrieved 4 eggs, 3 were matrue and only 2 fertilized.  This time, with the decreased numbers, I fear that nothing will be retrieved - or that what is retrieved won't fertilize.  These are the same fears I had with my last cycle of IVF, but this time I have so much less hope based on the numbers...

I spent some time last night going through and organizing the giant box of fertility meds that I have left for this cycle (in the midst of going through my meds, Nick and I found out that another couple that we are friends with are expecting...  Will I ever be happy for people again?!).  I cringed as I pulled out the progesterone syringes - I'll begin taking the PIO shots again tomorrow night (IF anything is retrieved)...

I'm scared, I'm nervous, I'm anxious, I'm pessimistic, and even though I have so much less hope this time than I did last time, truthfully, there is a little bit of hope buried deed inside of me.  I'm trying to grab ahold of that hope and clench it with all of my might. I just don't want to be let down again...

Praying for a successful retrieval tomorrow and for just one lucky egg!

Aubrey Blair

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happiness is...

...this little stinker who fills my heart with such joy!
Belle, who has many nicknames (Tinkerbelle, Tinker, Tink, Tinky, Stinkerbelle, Stinker, Stink, Stinky, Buggy, Bugga... the list goes on... seriously), can't wait to be a big sister.  In fact, she prays with Nick and I every night for a baby. 

For now, I count my blessings and thank God every day for sending me one of his little doggy angels to watch over me and comfort me on the days that are the toughest to get through... I love you Buggy!!

xoxo, Mumma (Aubrey Blair)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Miserable Mood Monday...

Ugh... I just can't get it together today.  First, it's Monday and Monday's are always the worst day of the week.  Second, my co-worker (who knows about my heartbreaking struggle with infertility) told me today that she's pregnant.  I honestly am at a loss.  How can you be happy for someone when you feel so sad for yourself?  The news announcement (let's face it, I've known about this longer than I should have) of her pregnancy left me with a pounding headache that just won't subside.  Luckily (for both of us) she told me in a work instant message, which was much better than having to face her as she told me this undeniably extremely exciting news (for her... for me, the news is undeniably extremely gut-wrenching).  God knows I've been worried about this day for weeks... I wasn't sure how I would be able to control my facial expression... All I could picture were my lips immediately turning upside down into a frown that I wouldn't be able to re-form into a smile to at least make it look like I'm happy for her...

How horrible is that?  How horrible am I???  Fine. I'll admit it, I AM happy for her.  I'm just SO SAD for myself.  Why her and not me?  I mean really, why not me especially with ALL of the assistance I've had including months and months of medications, injections, IUI's and an IVF?  I just don't understand...

Now that I officially know, it's awkward.  I feel like I can't talk about it with her.  I mean, I really can't talk about it with her.  I don't know what I'd say.  I don't know that I could say anything without starting to sob.  I feel so upset for myself that I just don't think I can have the normal day-to-day conversations with her in fear that this will come up.  And now knowing just makes it all that much more difficult.  The worst part is that I want to say something to her.  I want to be a normal person and ask her how she's feeling, when she's due and all the other questions that I'm DYING for someone to ask me someday.  But - I.just.can't.  I cannot be that friend to her right now, and it kills me that by not being able to be that friend, I'm not really being a friend at all...

My heart aches today.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bad Eggs

Todays appointment was just alright.  I'm discouraged.  My estrogen was only at 57 (so it still needs to rise considerably) and apparently I have 3-4 small follicles on my right ovary and only about 1-2 small follicles on my left ovary.  In fact, I only had 1 follicle large enough to even report on my results flowsheet.  Based on all of this, my dosages of 10 units of Lupron and 250 units of Follistim will stay the same for now (which is fine - I'd rather keep it the same than decrease it, anyway!).  My next appointment is on Tuesday morning.

Until then, I'll be praying to God for more follicles and lots more growth.

Fingers crossed....

Aubrey Blair
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