taking a break

last cycle was not kind to me.  at all.  i think this can be attributed to emotional stress and lots and lots of drugs.  i am a different person since giving birth to brian – mainly, i have hypothyroidism, requiring the daily use of synthroid.  then i pumped low dose aspirin, birth control, lupron, estrogen patches, progesterone inserts, progesterone shots, medrol, and doxycycline… and a vallium on transfer day.  oh, and i almost forgot, my daily antihistamine for seasonal allergies, xyzal.  that is a lot of stuff.  but that’s not all my body was asked to process.  i was extremely stressed out {like to the point my shoulders and neck were in a big knot}, so my body had to process it’s own stress hormones too.  10 days after the transfer, i noticed my skin turned red when anything bumped it too hard.  this just escalated as the days passed to the point where any light scratch or even me resting one leg on the other too long results in a bright red spot that takes over an hour to disappear and is usually accompanied by itching.

i was hopeful this would disappear once i started my period and my hormones got back to baseline… no luck.  i asked my RE about it when i went in for my CD3 screening over the weekend.  he said to follow up with my allergist or dermatologist.  by memorial day, i was so desperate that i went to urgent care.  the diagnosis confirmed my google research… dermatographism.  cause unknown.  only treatment… antihistamines… which i take daily.  insert grumpy face here.  i called the allergist this morning, and there is nothing more they can do for me.  my dermatologist says they can help the itch and that’s it… more to come from them today.

i did see my acupuncturist yesterday as i am willing to try ANYTHING to help me at this point.  he said i have toxic heat, which is where the liver gets overburdened with too much stuff {like medications or natural hormones}, your body draws heat away from internal organs, and it manifests itself on the skin whenever it is touched.  logical.  he said he could get rid of it with one treatment, which was last night.  maybe it’s a smidge better, but not much.  i plan to stick with his protocol of treatment and herbs, coupled with lots of prayer in hopes that this horrendous presentation leaves me soon.  oh, and i am a bridesmaid in a wedding this weekend… i am going to look like a red streaked and splotchy freak.

anyway, i think my body was overloaded and is trying to tell me to hit the pause button.  i want my body to be as healthy as possible to receive another baby, both physically, mentally, and spiritually.  i am taking the minimum/usual prescription drugs right now.  i am seeking acupuncture treatments.  the stress is still very much a struggle.  i am guilty of overthinking and getting wrapped up in the “what-ifs” of the future… this is very much a constant struggle for me, but i am trying to pause and pray through those moments.  i have a follow up with my RE next week.  i will discuss my concerns with him and see if we can alter the protocol at all to try to avoid something like this in the future. 

God, please bring me peace and comfort.  please work through the physicians and therapists i have trusted for my care.  please help me to remember that worrying about tomorrow won’t benefit me today, and that your plan is perfect.  thank You for Your sovereignty, which You have shown me so many times throughout my life.  please heal me of this dermatographia, and if it is Your will, please allow us to have another happy, healthy baby.

not pregnant

the title says it all, but i documented how i felt along the way, mostly because i wish i had done this with brian to have a comparison.  some days i felt totally normal, and other days i swore i was pregnant. 

2 days after my transfer, i thought i felt implantation cramping, otherwise felt normal.

3 days after the transfer, i felt dizzy, saw dark brown/nearly black streaks exiting with leftover crinone, and could feel my heart beat in my uterus {sounds weird, but i could feel that with brian early on}.  but something strange happened.  my entire abdomen cramped up when getting up from laying down (this also happened  on transfer day at the fertility clinic and once on day 2).  WTH body?   WTH?  probably it’s way of making sure my embryo didn’t implant.  

tested 4 days after the transfer in the morning, definitely negative – mostly did this because with brian i thought the first two + tests were evap lines, so i wanted a clean control {and for the record i no longer believe in evap lines}.  no longer feel my heart beat in my uterus, and felt normal.

5 days after my transfer the lightheadedness returned, HPT still negative. 

6 days later, negative.  feel normal, but my emotions are fragile today.  i know not every cycle will work, that’s why we started “early.”  but i have this overwhelming fear that we will slowly deplete our frozen embryos with no success, and then i’m back to square one and need to do another egg retrieval. and will my insurance company let me?  or will we have to waste time with IUIs again?  and maybe my thyroid levels are off and that’s not helping?  this process is complex.  the human body is complex.  

7 days later, still negative.  still lightheaded.  had acupuncture, and chuck thinks i could be pregnant.  every time i give up, i get another wave of false hope.  definitely emotional torture.  and i’m starting to question chuck’s credibility. 

8 days later, still negative.  this is awful, but i’m going to remove the framed picture of our embryo from my nightstand.

day 9, negative.  and i’m done wasting HPTs.  blood test is on day 11.  i had it moved up a day so i had time to cancel my next shipment of PIO.  i think i’m depressed.  i mean, i poured myself into this process for 6 weeks to just lose two embryos.  i never imagined that i would be this upset.  after having brian, i felt so complete… i thought i would be ok if he were to be our only little.  but my heart is aching again.  and i’m bitter.  i’m tired of going to the doctor to try to get pregnant.   i’m tired of spending thousands and thousands of dollars on these efforts.  i cry at least once a day, usually two or three times.  i’m seriously a wreck.  

day 10… didn’t even test.  i honestly couldn’t face another negative.  i know the answer is negative, so no point rubbing it in my face unnecessarily.  emotionally, i’m doing a bit better today.  i had a long walk with a dear friend who is also embarking on the FET journey after years of {in}fertility, and it was good to just spend some time with someone who gets it.  in processing, i’ve come up with quite a long list of questions for dr. w.  mostly related to things that were different this cycle than with brian:

  1. were my thyroid levels good prior to the transfer?  
  2. could PCOS be at play here?  should i take metformin again?  what have my estrogen and FSH levels been at CD3?  
  3. could the mucus ball in my uterus at the start of the cycle impacted this?
  4. what about the crazy abdominal cramps i had right after the transfer?  have you heard of this before?  is this my body’s way of trying to prevent implantation?
  5. should we consider transferring more than one embryo in the future?  

i’m sure my questions won’t be well received… they never are.  i think my RE’s office wishes patients would play dumb and not think with their own brains.  i’ll probably ask nurse mary or whoever calls tomorrow to help me schedule a debrief appointment.  i don’t give a damn if they don’t like my questions… they will be answered, and if i must, i will take my business elsewhere.

day 11, negative.  no surprise here, but the phone call still crushed me.  mostly because nurse mary {still not my fave} acted like we will have to take a break between cycles.  say what?!  she is checking on this with dr. w, hopefully she actually does her job and gets back to me about this soon.

i probably will not recap FET take 3 unless there is new and different information to share.  best of luck to all those waiting on babies.

IVF recap – FET attempt #2

call me crazy, but brian is approaching one (will be one by the time i actually post this), and i feel the need to get the show on the road for number 2.  i’ve seen so many friends who battled infertility with their first to go on and wage war again for another baby, and i would rather have a bit of a buffer and not feel crunched.  hubby agrees, so we are proceeding with caution.

i’m writing this in real time, but will post later… sometime after the transfer.  i’m just not a post as i go kind of girl… maybe i’m slightly superstitious {which is totally ridiculous}.

  
hormone evening out: BCPs

it’s funny, details from my first transfer that i swore i would never forget, i’ve forgotten… like exactly how long i took birth control and lupron shots, how many progesterone shots prior to the transfer, etc.  good thing i {sort of} documented that here.  i don’t have an official day count of how long i have been taking BCPs, because i’ve been taking them since november in preparation for this.  i recently called my RE’s office to say i was ready to start the FET process again and they drafted up a protocol that seems like a good timeline.  during this time, we also signed consents for the transfer, coincidentally on brian’s birthday. 


trial transfer and sonohysterogram

apparently my bladder was too full again {sorry dr. w, took me 45 minutes to get to your office thanks to traffic and the morning hot tea moves quickly}.  dr. w explained that these tests were necessary again because after having a baby the uterus changes size and shape, and theoretically the measurements for embryo placement may be different. i also had some “retained products of conception” after delivering brian requiring a d&c, so dr. w wanted to make sure my uterus was clear.  i’m happy to report that all went well.  interestingly enough, this test was scheduled for brian’s original due date.  dates don’t line up often in my life, but this is just weird. 

lupron

i started lupron on trial transfer day {again, weird with the dates since this was my due date with brian}.  i actually did not want to give myself the shot even though it was a tiny baby one.  crazy how i would do almost anything to get pregnant the first time.  shots didn’t phase me in the slightest, but today it did.  it went well enough though.  lupron will continue until progesterone starts.  i don’t remember this happening for FET #1, but i started spotting on lupron and the last day of BCPs… the only thing i can think of is that i took BCPs one day longer than i normally would in a cycle.  guess we’ll see how my hormones look in a few days.  also, my boobs hurt the last few days of lupron only, before starting patches.  i don’t remember this happening last time {at least i didn’t document it}.  lupron is supposed to suppress, so who knows. 

also, seems these little shots are giving me little headaches most evenings.  all for a good cause, i suppose.

last BCP

after starting lupron, i only took BCPs for 5 more days.  i spotted on the last day (see above).  my period/withdrawal bleeding started two days after the last BCP, which is similar timing to FET number one.

cycle day 3 screening (somehow this is technically CD 1, i guess because it’s my patch start date)

my appointment went well today.  i had to bring brian with me, which is always awkward at an {in}fertility clinic.  hopefully the other patients who have yet to have a baby view it as a success story, instead of judging me for rubbing a child in their faces.  there were two other ladies who had kiddos with them, so that helped.  back to the appointment, i met one of the newer doctors today (two of the familiar faces from my IUI, egg retrieval, and first FET days have since retired).  this lady was very friendly, but either her techniques weren’t as great or i couldn’t relax because my bladder was full having no chance to pee bringing brian with me and brian was fussing during the ultrasound because he wasn’t a fan of the lights getting turned off.  either way, the ultrasound wasn’t comfortable, but my insides looked good.  nurse mary {still not my fave, and apparently she is the nurse manager now… gasp!  i could think of so many other better candidates for that position just from my limited interaction with other nurses} called later in the day to say my blood work was good too, so i start estrogen patches this evening and decrease my lupron dose.

estrogen patches

first patch was uneventful.  it gets traded out this evening for another single patch.  then i will work my way up to four patches by changing them out and adding one every other day.  

by the third day of patches (still only one patch), i have noticeable cervical mucus and my ovaries hurt.  i remember the cervical mucus from last time, not so much ovary pain.  i’m moving up to 2 patches tonight.  my next ultrasound and labs are scheduled for next week (scratch this – i ended up going sooner, see below), hopefully my ovaries will be quiet and my lining will be pretty. 

i’m up to four patches now.  holy mucus.

been at four for a few days, and i had my first emotional breakdown.  i’m sure the hormones don’t help my cause, but for the record this process still sucks.  relying on a doctor to conceive a baby for you sucks.  relying on estrogen patches and progesterone shots to stay pregnant sucks.  having to order said medications from the speciality pharmacy because my insurance plan makes me sucks.  crying helps me accept.  this is my journey.  everyone has something because life is imperfect.  instead of constantly striving for perfection, i need to say thanks for what i have and how far i’ve come.  for me, and probably for most, this is a never ending process.  also, my appetite is out of control and i’ve gained a couple of pounds quickly… i’m assuming this is from the patches?  i’ll blame it on them for now.

i’ve been at four patches for more than a week and all of the sudden i have red spots that will not fade when i change them out.  what the heck?  hopefully this is just a fluke or i will run out of real estate soon. 

mid-cycle check (CD 7)

had an impromptu visit with my RE this morning after 3-4 days of ovary soreness.  my doctor asked me why i was concerned… “because you have cervical mucus?”  while i wanted to reply with “i’m not that stupid,” i instead told him about how my ovaries have felt tender.  i was just supposed to have an ultrasound, but the ultrasound revealed several smallish follicles and fluid in my uterus, so my RE ordered blood work too.  there is no dominant follicle, so ovaries are not an issue, so now we will have to see if the fluid disappears.  i wonder if this is what’s causing my discomfort.  anyway, i’m told this happens sometimes and progesterone usually dries it up.  i’m kind of worried about this cycle now and am hesitant to transfer our next best embryo because i don’t have a whole lot of confidence in my uterus.

second mid-cycle check (CD 12)

well, no more fluid!  i honestly think the fluid was a giant ball of mucus because something that looked like a mucus plug and that was streaked with blood fell out of me over the weekend/CD 9.  anyway, back to my appointment this morning… i had the triple stripe, as pointed out by the doctor on duty and according to nurse mary, everything looks perfect.  i know all too well that just because things look good doesn’t mean you will actually get pregnant.  we have a fair amount of frozen embryos still, but next in line is our only AB embryo… the rest are BB.  i’m nervous to use our AB, but i’m praying that the right embryo will make it to my uterus.

day minus 5 (new medicine day)

i traded lupron for four new medicines:

  1. doxycycline 2x a day: uneventful.  just had to rearrange my prenatal time.
  2. crinone 2x a day: the real fun hasn’t even begun… give this puppy a few more days to work up some good funk.
  3. progesterone in ethyl oleate: first shot was just fine, however my butt muscle was sore the next day.
  4. medrol: loathed this one last time and still do.  i’m currently listening to my husband snore as i “rest” in hopes that sleep will come soon.


day minus 3

just not feeling good about this cycle.  i feel crampy every now and then… who knows.  got a wart on my finger frozen at my primary care doctor this morning, seriously worried that will interfere with the FET.  he started talking about how the freezy stuff triggers an immune response, pretty sure i do not need any immune responses.  still praying that all works out according to God’s plan, which i know it will.

update on crinone… this stuff is still gross.  i think it seriously irritates all of my lady parts and just makes them hurt.  i had the option of skipping crinone this time, but hubby and i decided it was best to keep the same protocol that worked with brian, even though my RE doesn’t use crinone as much anymore.  to think, i could’ve avoided this.  if this cycle is not a success, i may consider ditching crinone for future cycles.

oh, and PIO… how you are a pain in my {back}side, literally.  i forgot how sore i got from these shots the first time… natures way of tricking me in to doing this again.  while they suck, when i think about the fact that i only had to use them for ~9 weeks with brian, i know it’s worth it.  it’s such a short span of time relative to the rest of pregnancy {and life}.  i hope i’m lucky enough to get another babe on take 2 so i don’t have to have cycle after cycle of PIO.  

either i’m adjusting to the medrol, it’s being kinder to me, or i’m so exhausted that my body gave in, but sleep finally came easier (although i did wake up to pee in the middle of the night, which is unusual).

day minus 2

blood work only today.  the past two draws, it felt like the technician was trying to rip the vein out of my arm. anyway, nurse mary called to say everything looks “perfect.”  i don’t love that word, but whatever you say nurse mary… i will be there at 10 am for a 10:30 am transfer in two days. 

day minus 1

i’m nervous and excited.  over thinking everything.  and finding comfort in some of my favorite Bible verses today.  in less than 24 hours, i will be at my RE’s office for FET take 2!


transfer day

after an awful night of sleep, here we are.  prayers said, consents signed, valium taken, hospital gown on.  just found out our AB embryo didn’t survive the thaw, so now we’re down to 6 BBs, well 5 after the one that will be transferred today.   i’m disappointed and sad, but God is in control.  this process is so emotional, but i hope will be worth it. 

the transfer itself went well, although apparently my bladder was not full enough {i will likely never get this right}.  we got to see our embryo up on a big monitor before the transfer and watch it make its way to my uterus on another monitor.  then i rested for 30 minutes after {and maybe cried a little}.  the nurse had my doctor stop by after she saw me crying.  he probably thinks i’m nuts, but this process is just draining and full of the unexpected, and sometimes you just need to cry those emotions out.

i had acupuncture after my transfer, which is always relaxing.  now i’m just taking it easy at home – i plan to watch a little gilmore girls, search for some more house decorations, maybe nap. 

to keep the tradition alive, here is a picture of me and the hubs all suited up for the transfer {love the “artwork” in the background, ha}:




12 day wait

generally, i’m not a patient person.  infertility has helped me work on this a little, but there’s still room for improvement.  it’s only the first day of 12, but i don’t have a great feeling about this cycle.  with brian, i had so much peace.  it’s not coming easy this time.  i’m over analyzing every twinge and cramp, or lack thereof.  i haven’t decided if i will test before my beta.  i don’t want to drive myself crazy, but i want to be prepared if the results aren’t what i hoped for… so maybe i’ll test a couple of days before. 

5 days out now.  on day 3, i swore i was pregnant.  now i’m about 70% sure i’m not and the HPTs agree so far.  i know there’s still time, but my vote is not pregnant.  if anyone has success stories where you were still pregnant with negative HPTs 5dp5dt, i’m all ears.  i keep wondering where i went wrong.  with brian, so many people were praying… maybe i needed more prayer warriors.  then i realized 88% of the population just has sex without telling the whole world and asking for prayer, and they get pregnant.  wouldn’t that be nice.

anyway, here’s to baby g #2, whenever you come along!