Monday, June 29, 2009

Deep breath!

Hubby and I took the kiddos on our first beach vacation and left today after I had my blood drawn.

I've been really looking forward to it, but also nervous. The Stickies love their routines, so I wondered what being out of their element would do.

But also, I was beyond terrified of getting today's beta results. I knew what would be acceptable (530ish) and I knew what I wanted (over 600).

The last two hours of the drive to the beach were torture. I had thought I would have heard from them, but hadn't, so was terrified that bad news was delaying the call.

Wherever you are, that audible sigh you heard arounf 4pm EDT was me after hearing the number: 944.

Wooooo...

I felt like a weight was lifted.

I know of course that we're not out of the woods; nowhere near. But I feel great about today's milestone.

Another beta on Thursday. Fingers crossed!

Friday, June 26, 2009

The bare minimum

I went in for my second beta this morning. It had to be above 180 to officially hit the 48 hour doubling time. It was 190.

I realize I should be happy about that, but I'm really nervous. It's still seems lower than I'd like. I know it's tracking right at the median, but I feel like most people have higher numbers at this point. And, Betab*se.info seems to suggest that that is the upper limit of the normal range for betas at this level. (In other words, most betas that are in the range of my first beta (88) double more quickly than mine has.) So, I guess I'd say, I'm not in the danger zone, but I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of it.

I have to say, the beta checking business was much easier the first time around--with twins (which I'm assuming this isn't), I was over 1,000 by my second beta, which was altogether quite reassuring. This is...well....less so. Particularly because I haven't yet crossed the beta threshold of my first miscarriage. That was in the 500s. So, I'd like to best that by a lot, and then lap it by one beta. If/when I do, I think I'll feel a little better.

Here's hoping. Come on, little stickcicle(s)! We love you!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2:30am *Updated*

I woke up this morning at 2:30am and REALLY had to pee, but just lay there like a deer in headlights.

Do I test now, or pee quickly, go back to bed, get some sleep and test at 6:00?

I couldn't decide which would give me the better chance of actually sleeping.

I ultimately decided to test. I was all nervous and worked up and figured I wouldn't sleep either way, so I might as well just end the anticipation.

You can imagine my surprise when...

Well, that was supposed to be the dramatic pause before I posted a photo of a positive hpt. My phone won't let me upload it, but the news is the same. We have cleared hurdle #1.

I'm still waiting (on pins and needles) for my beta and will update as soon as I have it, but I didn't want to leave you hanging.

I still have my "no congratulations" rule. These early days just feel WAY too tentative for that. But we're certainly thrilled with step 1.

Thanks to everyone for your support. You don't know how much I lean on it! :-)

Update:
Just heard back from the nurse and the number is 88.6 (on what I guess is the equivalent of 14dpo). I guess that's fine, but I was hoping for more than 100. Back Friday for another. Fingers crossed for better than 180.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

That old familiar feeling

It was unavoidable, really. I knew the emotion of this all would eventually come rushing back. And today it did. In full force. Of course, it's different. I get that. I'm in a very different place than I was last time. Last time I felt the desperation that you can only feel when you sit on the precipice, wondering if you'll ever be blessed with children.

Today, I am so lucky. I have two beautiful children. I get how different it is.

At the same time, though, that feeling of desperation seems unavoidable. All day I've felt the weight of this cycle. You see, I always wanted three children. Hubby might even want four. And I can't escape the feeling that this is our best hope to make that happen. If tomorrow's result is negative, I am not sure what we'll do. We have two children already, so it almost seems foolish to do treatments again. I mean, IUI is either pointless--because it's never worked before--or gives us a risk of multiples or higher order multiples. And that almost seems irresponsible.

IVF could help us control for that, but I always said that I would have to be willing to raise as children the number of embryos we create. So, that's a complicated thought experiment.

And then there's the DIY option. And, well that just seems less than ideal for so many reasons. First because in more than two years of trying, we had one success (if you can call it that) which resulted in a miscarriage. I don't want to open up the possibility of month after month of disappointment and timed s*x and everything that goes along with that.

Ugh.

And so, here I sit. I'm less than 12 hours from the HPTs that I broke down and bought yesterday. And I feel so similar to last time. Last time, I remember feeling that I almost didn't want the 2ww to end. Not that I like the 2ww, mind you, because we all know it sucks, but rather because during the 2ww there is still hope. And hope, however little of it you feel, is better than a flat out rejection.

This time, I feel similarly. I'm literally petrified of a negative. I just don't want to feel infertile again. I don't want infertility to get to dictate how many fu*king kids we get to have. I want to be able to have three kids. I want them to be close together in age. I want it all. And it just pisses me off that it doesn't necessarily get to be that easy for us.

Blech.

So tomorrow is D-Day. Come on, stickcicles! Please hang on tight.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

D-Day minus 3

The 1.5 ww hasn't been horrible. I've definitely kept my mind off things, which has made it go by *relatively* quickly. I fear that the last three days (two days?) will be a little more tortuous, though. And on Wednesday morning, I'll have the inevitable "to test or not to test" before the beta question. I was at CVS last night and almost bought one, but didn't. I guess maybe I just didn't want the temptation.

I remember really stressing over the "to test or not to test" question last time. I again REALLY live in fear of seeing a stark white stick. I hate those damn things. Or seeing the "not pregnant" digital. I hate those, too.

Last time I ended up testing. And of course it was fine because...well, because it was fine. But it's hard to picture what that drive to the clinic would have been like without the positive. I mean, if I test Wednesday morning and it's negative, will I really feel like driving all the way down to get blood drawn just to confirm the result?! Ugh. That will just be a nightmare.

I also (unsurprisingly) really just don't know what to think this time around. I can't say that I have a feeling one way or another. I have no symptoms, not that you ever do this early. So, we'll see how quickly these last few days go.

So, I guess all in all, not too much to report. Fingers still crossed, but cynicism still abounds. Hang on, stickcicles.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hang on, Stickcicles (part deux)!

Here they are, our two beautiful little stickcicles, the siblings to our beautiful Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato, who were frozen almost exactly two years ago.

It's funny, both because things have been so busy and because this is an FET, I've basically been living in denial that we're mid-cycle.

Take yesterday, for example. After I put the stickies to bed, I checked the messages and had a fairly cryptic one from the lab asking me to call them back. I was admittedly a little freaked--maybe the embryos aren't going to make it!--but I really didn't lose any sleep or obsess over it.

Denial.

Then today, I had an early meeting in the city (way downtown)--fairly convenient given that my transfer is in midtown. (You see, I go to a satellite clinic of a University center so only have to go to the midtown clinic for retrievals and transfers.) So, I got up at 5:30, got ready, and caught an early train. Hubby came later and we planned to meet for a quick lunch before going to the transfer.

Seriously, do you hear how I was talking about this?! Going to meetings? Fitting in a quick lunch? Time was, I'd be planning my whole week around this. Now? Denial.

But, I think my cycle-long denial started to wear off a bit today. As evidenced by the fact that I almost cried in my meeting. Twice. And LITERALLY, nothing happened that could remotely have upset me.

Seriously?

I chalk it up to pent up emotions finally starting to bubble to the surface.

They started to come out in full force once we got to the clinic. I started to get really nervous and stressed. And then I started to feel the weight of what we were about to do. I started to realize how much I wanted this. Damnit, we wanted three kids. At least! I started to realize that this was a freebie--a free cycle before we had to make some hard decisions. And part of me doesn't want it to end. I don't want to face any brutal facts.

Then, we got pulled back for the transfer and the doctor came in and gave us the status report. Both survived, but as I mentioned, one didn't look great.

I almost cried when he said that. And that's when I started to realize how different I feel this time around. It feels so much more real. Last time, the thought of a pregnancy or an embryo ending in a real, live baby was so foreign to me I couldn't even go there.

Now?

Well, it's very real. I've been to this place--I've looked at the embryos on the screen and taken the picture home. And now that picture is the first in the stickies' baby book.

So hearing that one embryo didn't look viable? Honestly, it gave me a different kind of twinge.

And then suddenly I felt horribly guilty for being in denial for this cycle. I felt like maybe I wasn't taking it seriously enough and I wondered--if it doesn't work, will that be why?

Ugh.

Have I mentioned that I f*cking HATE infertility and the mind games it plays on you?

In other news, this clinic has either gotten really loose in their efforts to make you feel more comfortable or I've become a big-time infertile prude. When I got taken back for the transfer, I sat back on the table and put my feet in the stirrups. But they offered nothing--no blanket or covering. So, there I was. Spreadeagled on the table, girly bits flapping in the breeze while they scurried around for several minutes.

Seriously, people. Would a light blanket kill you?

Oh, and I forgot to tell you about the woman who was scheduled for a transfer at the same time as me. We were in the dressing rooms--which are technically different rooms, though separated only by a paper-thin wall--and she was talking SO. LOUD.

"Well, you know, I have a TWO-YEAR-OLD at home, so my husband is coming later."

"Okay."

"And, do you have my Valium?" (Yes, she was in there for a TRANSFER, not retrieval.)

"Yes, here it is."

"Oh, no, I need just one 10mg tablet. You see, I have a TWO-YEAR-OLD at home, so I can't be too out of it."

"Oh, okay."

"I mean, last time, I took more and I was laid out for a full day, but now I have a TWO-YEAR-OLD at home so, I need to take it easy."

"Okay. Well, we can't give you Valium unless someone is here to escort you home."

"Oh, well I'm supposed to call my husband to pick me up, but I need to wait, because, you see, I have a TWO-YEAR-OLD at home that he's taking care of today."

I left wondering if she had any kids.

Anyhow, that's the news from here. Back in the 2ww. Oh! How I haven't missed ye!

Hang on, Stickcicles!

On the train home from my transfer, plus two embryos. I'm feeling so much right now, it's hard to capture it in a mobile post.


Both embryos survived the thaw, one "beautifully" and one that doesn't look too good, apparently. I'm happy of course that one looks good, but deeply saddened that the other did not. Not in a "I'm disappointed it might not work" way, but more in a "I feel guilty that, because of random chance and happenstance, we chose you to freeze and, because of that, the chances of survival are far lower than if we had made a different choice two years ago.

It's a strange and unexpected feeling that is born, I suppose, from the fact that the last two embryos we transferred did survive.

I know, I know: maybe if I HAD transferred this one, it wouldn't have. And I wouldn't trade Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato for anything. But I definitely feel this transfer a lot differently.

I'll post more later--perhaps when I've sorted this out better. But for now, I feel somehow at peace that my beautiful stickcicles are back home where they belong. I only hope they hold on tight and that I can provide a cosy resting place for them because I'm alredy attached.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

PIO, Day 2

For a moment when I read Carol's comment, I thought: "holy crap! Have I been using a much bigger needle than I needed to?! No wonder my butt is sorer this time than last time. Here I was just thinking I was a wimp."

So tonight I dutifully took out all of my PIO accouterments, gleefully thinking I had an easier shot ahead of me. Then, I disappointingly realized that I had, in fact, only been using the 18 gauge to draw up the oil and the 22 1/2 gauge to inject. I just had them reversed in my mind.

Damn it.

I guess the up side is that I didn't actually stick a needle that size anywhere near my butt! You guys must have thought I was at once both a crazy person and one bad-ass bitch.

In other news, the DC job has not yet called to offer me anything yet. For shame! What, do they expect me to go through a normal process or something? Sheesh.

In the meantime, though, I have branched out in an attempt to make some actual friends here in suburbia. I don't know if I've mentioned that I haven't really connected with anyone since I moved here. I have some acquaintances at work, but nobody I'd hang out with outside of work. And I haven't really met anyone anywhere else outside of work.

It's my fault, really, given that I've done literally nothing that would allow me to meet friends outside of work. It just seems harder in your 30s, you know? I have my friends from different parts of my life--can't they all just relocate here so we can hang out without all of that weird new "I have to be polite because I don't know you very well" phase?

I don't mean that to sound as horrible as it does, I just mean that I long for someone that isn't a lot of work. Like the kind of person who feels like an old friend from the moment you meet them. I love those friendships.

Anyhow, since my plan to relocate my best friends from around the country to my little hamlet seems destined to fail, I've finally decided to make an effort with some local working moms of twins. In short, a fellow working mom to 15-month-old twins posted to our listserve the other day basically saying, "good lord, can someone please tell me this gets easier?!" I replied that I totally felt her pain and offered no solution other than to drink good wine together.

She emailed me back saying something like, "thank god, you get it. All of these other people emailed me telling me to get my thyroid checked if I was really that tired."

We had a good laugh about that and I was immediately optimistic--she's comfortable about making sarcastic quips about women we don't even know yet to another woman she hasn't met? Jackpot.

Anyhow, she emailed a few women (not the thyroid women, of course.) and we're getting together next Friday. I'm hopeful that they're normal. And, assuming they are, I wonder if they realize that they have to be my new best friends? You see, this is all part of my "you don't necessarily have to move to DC" plot. That way, if nothing comes of that job--which there's a good chance nothing will--I will at least be making more of a concerted effort to meet more normal people here.

And by normal, I really mean people who are nothing like my new-ish next door neighbor. She's a good example of whom I do NOT want to be friends with. We introduced ourselves when she and her husband moved in, and they immediately asked us to help them move that Saturday.

!! Seriously?!

Then, when we didn't, she saw us later and basically called us out on it. "Oh, we MISSED you Saturday."

?!

Then, we didn't see her for a couple of weeks and when we did she said, "wow, we haven't seen YOU in a while."

????

I'm sorry, when you display yourself to be that high-maintenance in our first meetings, my drama radar goes off and I run screaming for the hills.

Anyhow, since this post is all over the place, I'll sum up: I'm not shooting myself with a needle the size of a screwdriver. 2. No word from the job people, and 3. I'm hopeful these working moms of multiples are women I'll connect with.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Notorious P-I-O

Wow, FETs are REALLY low maintenance compared to IVF, huh? I've been taking oral estradi*l since CD2 and have had one doctor's appointment. One! I was practically living at the clinic last time--particularly because my stims cycle was a bit of a disaster. Well, until it wasn't anymore.

So, my appointment was Monday. They checked my blood and did an ultrasound and everything looked good, so they scheduled my transfer for Monday at 1:45. I have to go in again Friday for more bloodwork, but otherwise I just show up, transfer (assuming the thaw goes according to plan) and cruise back home.

Weird, huh?

But, because it can't be all sunshine and roses, I did have to start the notorious PIO shots tonight. No, they're not awful. But, seriously? Is there anything fun about injecting sesame oil into your ass using a 18 gauge needle?

I don't know if I've mentioned that it's two years to the month since I started the stickies' IVF cycle.

Strange, isn't it? It seems just so long ago--like it was a whole other world or something. Everything feels so different now.

Also, I seem to have gotten out of my brief what-happened-to-my-20s funk, which is good. Hubby and I had a good chat about it and I came to a couple of realizations: 1. This state, in the long term, isn't for us. It's been great because we're closer to family, and for that reason we may stay here longer than we would otherwise, but all things being equal, we're keeping our options open. 2. My job is pissing me off. It's a good job, but--and I know this is going to sound self-aggrandizing or something--but I feel pretty underappreciated there. It's not even worth going into the petty details, but you know the drill. 3. I need to either find a job that isn't so damn frustrating (in a state that isn't so damn frustrating), or quit.

Of course, since quitting isn't an option, I serendipitously came across a job that would be a pretty damn good fit for me in....DC. So, I threw my hat into the ring. I don't know what will come of it, or if we'd take it even if anything did, but it just felt good to explore some options. It made me feel less trapped, which is always nice.

So, there you have it. Trying to get pregnant AND applying for a new job in a different state. Insane? Probably. But that's a label I'm totally comfortable with.

Friday, June 05, 2009

The $1 million question

Sarah asked a great question today: "if you have two frozen, what are you going to do if they both do well in the thaw."

We were indeed lucky enough to have to frozen. And they are indeed frozen together. Which means we may or may not have two to transfer.

In short, we're going to transfer both. And, yes, that does terrify me. To my core.

The thing is, I laid out a few conditions when we decided to do IVF. The biggest was that, we couldn't go into the process unless we were willing to raise as children all of the embryos we created.

And so, since we have to thaw both together. And since I really can't see destroying one, we're left with just the option to transfer whichever of our beloved stickcicles make it through the thaw.

It actually seems downright silly to contemplate the possibility that we'd get pregnant with twins again. I mean, the chances of both making it through the thaw in good shape are, sadly, probably not that high. (Though, as a testament to what a different place I am right now, I haven't even Googled that factoid yet. I will now, of course, but I haven't yet.) And, if they both do make it through in good shape, I believe there's only around a 25% chance that we'd get pregnant at all. And only a 16% chance that we'd get pregnant with twins. (Yes, those I researched through my clinic's SART reports.)

So, I guess I'm not really contemplating it as a REAL possibility.

But, if we're on the winning end of all of those stats? Well, then please buy me a good stiff drink and wish us the best.

In other completely random news, I've become obsessed with the song "Sometime Ar*und Midnight." Anyone familiar? If not, I highly recommend it. It's FANTASTIC. I've listened to it about a million times in the past 24 hours.

For some reason it really hit me. It's brought back a flood of emotions and memories from my 20s in DC. It's essentially the story of a guy who runs into an ex-love at a bar and is so overcome with emotion and memories.

And, it's funny, my emotional reaction to the song has been super strong. Not that it reminds me of any ex-love in particular or because the story really speaks to me. Rather, the song is so full of emotion and electricity and it just reminds me of those feelings--that madness that was my 20s.

I can remember going to bars and getting super excited about new dates and about the electricity that comes with seeing an intriguing new stranger across the room or getting a phone call from someone you're so excited to see again.

And I can remember getting so sad at break-ups. Wondering what happened. Worrying that I'd never find "the one."

It's funny, I think that's really the only time in life where you have those kinds of emotional highs and lows. Nowadays the everyday emotions seem almost muted by contrast. The electricity isn't quite there anymore.

And I don't mean the electricity of a new relationship, though that's part of it. But there was just something electric and exciting about the whole time period. I think it's the kind of electricity you can only feel when you're just starting out, sitting on the edge of the "real world" and just starting to dip your toes in the water. I didn't for example, feel the same electricity in high school and college. For some reason, living on my own for the first time, going out with the friends who were really your urban surrogate family, there was something electric about the whole era.

I'm not saying that I wish I was anywhere other than where I am today. But for some reason listening to this song has made me realize that that kind of electricity is really something you experience at a stage of life that, for better or worse, I've passed.

Of course, it had to pass. Being 34 and trying to live the way you lived when you were 22 is just...well, less electric than sad.

But, just because you're happy with the way your life has turned out and the way it's going doesn't mean you can't be nostalgic for the past.

Although, as I'm writing this, something is starting to occur to me. Actually, there is one other period that, in theory, should breed that kind of electricity--the period when you're trying to have kids and build your family. So, really, shouldn't I be feeling similarly excited now? Instead, though, I just feel...I don't know. Tired and scared, I guess.

It's really too bad, too. There's something wonderful about feeling that crazy mad electricity. And, it's too bad that I can't get more excited about this cycle and the journey it represents. But for us--for all of us--it's hard to get too excited because...well because of everything you all know all too well. So, rather than feeling excited, I'm just feeling...cautious.

Wow, this went in a different direction than I thought and ended up as a random tangent. Perhaps is the estraid*l talking? Either way, it's a good song. Check it out. :-)

In the meantime, bloodwork and ultrasound Monday and, if all goes well, transfer next week.

Wowzers.