Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Repeat beta: "good"

The repeat beta was - in one word - "good". And that one word was all I got, but I'm not complaining. Music to my ears.

On the symptom front, there is still very little to report.
  • A tinge of queasiness now and again, but nothing I'd call nausea. This afternoon I learned that grapefruit juice, hot chocolate and camomile tea don't make it go away. I'm impressed that combination didn't make it worse, though.
  • Slight breast tenderness, but not all the time.
First scan is next Monday.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Beta result - a loose estimate

I did not get a beta number as such, even though I asked explicitely.
But the beta result is 'very much PG'. I don't know exactly where that is on the sliding scale of beta results, 
but I'll take it gladly.  Follow-up beta is on the 28th of February.  First scan is on the 5th of March.

I've taken a few days off from work, and will be spending a few days away with a friend (and her ART baby).
I'll be missing from the internet for a while. Please, try not to break it while I'm gone. ;-)


Set stick to stun!

Before going for the beta blood draw this morning I used a HPT. It was positive. I'm stunned.
The second line is faint, but undisputably there.

Can you believe I had to force myself to use it? Just before, I had been dreaming about POAS.
Only when I opened the pack, it contained something that looked more like a big pen. A deluxe HPT for IVF patients, you had to set days since retrieval and days you had stimmed before using it (to make it more accurate?). There was information scribbled all over it, but I couldn't find the details on how long to dip it into the urine. To make matters worse, the house was overrun with people (I think a party was going on) and people kept coming into the bathroom. Hello, some privacy please! And the other bathroom (which we don't have) was trashed, garbage and litter from the party everywhere. Odd dream.

Back in reality, my mind is racing, and I'm letting it. I realize that this can still go both ways, all I can do is hope for the best.

Thanks for all the well wishes of the last days, weeks and months. I'm going to hold onto them, because I still need them.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

11dp3dt - Lack of imagination

Thanks for easing my mind on the teas. I have been drinking only moderate amounts of tea and drinking different kinds too. Still, I helps to get a second opinion (or a score of them) and to get some reassurance that I'm not alone with these worries.

I'm still sticking with my plan to wait with the beta till Thursday. I will be taking some time off of work then, giving me time to regain my balance.
Meanwhile, I'm finding it very hard to be positve about this cycle. There are no symptoms to report, so no reassurance to be found there (too early, I realize).

I know we have a chance, but I don't feel it. I can't imagine a positive outcome, but I can imagine being disappointed very vividly. Let's just say I'm not in a hurry to get there.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Highly illogical

A number of you seem to think I'm coping rather well. Really?
Come to think of it, I suppose I am, for the moment. I am working and actually getting things done. Life at home is pretty much as usual too. The only thing that betrays my subconcious anxiety is bad dreams and the urge to cry when I think about my PG co-worker/friend. I feel deeply betrayed, which is highly illogical, but makes sense all the same. I don't want her to know that, ever, she's been very supportive to me. Fortunately, she'll be out of office for the next two weeks. Hopefully I'll have processed some of this feeling by then, or not, depending on our outcome. Sigh. Still, I'm not a sobbing mess yet, as long as I'm analyzing my feelings, I'm still more or less ok.

But, I wouldn't be my natural worrying self, if I hadn't developed a new pet worry. You're going to love this, it involves food and drink. Actually, just drink.

I quit drinking alcohol halfway through my stims. Even if it doesn't help, it doesn't hurt either.
On transfer day, I also quit drinking coffee. I know my moderate consumption of two cups a day (not too strong coffee either), should not affect the outcome. Thalia once posted about a study on caffeine and fertility, which concluded that there was no proof that coffee was harmful. Still, I thought it would ease my mind, so out with the coffee.

But one has to drink something. Fruit juice has too much sugar in it (natural sugar is also sugar). I don't drink diet sodas, they taste foul. I turned to tea, herbal tea mostly with little or no caffeine.
Now for the pet worry. Some herbs have medicinal properties, say preventing PG or inducing miscarriage. My rational mind says, those herbs won't be in mainstream herbal tea's. There would be urban legends about it. Or documentaries. And websites. My rational mind also says, stay away from Google.

Therefor, I'm putting the question to you. Please tell me I'm crazy for worrying about these teas:

  • Green tea with mint (aroma and leaves)
  • Green tea with lemon grass and lemon peel
  • Black tea with rosehip, cinnamon, clove and coriander
  • Tilia flower tea
  • Camomile tea
  • 'Wild' berry tea: Hibiscus, rosehips, roasted chicory root, orange peel, blackberry leaves, natural flavors of: black raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, red raspberries, cranberries and cherries, citric acid, licorice root.

One herb used in teas that has medicinal properties is St-John's wort. Ironically, one property is that it lessens the effectiveness of BCPs.

What's done is done, the tea is in, I can't take it back. Next time, I'm sticking to coffee and hot chocolate. Better the devil you know!

Do they sell astronaut food for PG women? Just out of curiosity.

(Note: expect an echo of this post to appear. I mailed to Blogger first, but it seems to be stuck in traffic somewhere.)

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Questions and anwsers

I suspect I wasn't counting correctly before. ER day is day 0, not day 1 according to the clinic's calendar. So today is 6dp3dt.

Do we know more about our diagnosis?

We haven't really had the chance to talk about this cycle with our dr. so we don't know. My guess is that they won't be able to tell us anything new.
After the previous round, we were told that the issue was probably the lack of binding between sperm and zona pellucida. We were also told ICSI should solve that. The fact that ICSI did work is circumstancial evidence, not direct proof.
Not that I'm complaining.

When is the beta?

The clinic suggested I go for a beta on the 20th. Call me crazy, but I think I'm going to wait until the 22nd. I'm having my family over for dinner on the 20th, not a good day to test, if you ask me.
I could test on the 21st, but I have to go to work all day, you know amongst the 2 PG ladies.
On the 22nd, on the other hand, I'm not going to work. Ditto for the day after. I won't have to maintain a brave face for anyone - no matter what the result.
I reserve the right to change my mind of course.

Oh, and I don't expect my period to show up before I test. In my experience so far it takes a whole week for my period to show after I stop the progesterone supplements. Again, I'm not complaining, though I think this is odd.

Feeling any symptoms?

No. Nothing.
Now, since I've never been much of a PMS sufferer and have had very little side-effects from the drugs, I wouldn't expect to feel much in the way of PG symptoms, (should the occasion occur). So I'm not putting any stock in symptoms.
I still feel bloated from the stims. I'm eating comfort food, courtesy of the progesterone and the lack of discipline (this is not the time).


Monday, February 12, 2007

4dp4dt - nothing new

The past couple of days were spent happily floating along. We made it to transfer!
What more could a girl want? A whole lot more, actually.

I'm still happy, but I'm also wondering. Is the embryo still alive and developing? Will it implant?
If it does, how long will it stick around for? My natural pessimism is taking over again, so I have to keep telling myself that this might work.

A single remark from someone about my newly PG coworker was enough to sink my mood and start a little pity-party in my head. It just shows how much I'm still hurt by IF, no matter how much I wish I would be over it already.

A little bit of self-pity is allowable, considering the circumstances, but when is enough enough?
When should I tell myself to get a grip?  Getting over IF is a gradual process, I suppose, so I should aim for  a little more grip every day.

What else is new?

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Embryo on board

I can scarcely believe it myself, but we made it to transfer. One lovely 8-cell embryo was gently parked into my uterus. No intricate maneuvering was required, thanks to my uncomfortably full bladder. It was all over in a jiffy. After a half an hour bedrest, I was sent on my merry way with the advice not to exert myself too much in the upcoming days. No sweat - literally.

Not only do we have one embryo on board, we also have one on ice! Incredible! The other also developed into a handsome 8 cell-embryo. I wonder how they chose which one to freeze and which one to transfer. Ienie mienie minie mo?

We have to take the embryologists word for it, we didn't get a picture, nor a peek on the monitor (a bit unpracticable as it was in the next room). The mere thought, how frivolous! For some reason, I don't mind.

The sense of utter relief will last me today, and hopefully tomorrow. After that it's time to get reacquainted with the joy of the 2WW (now fortified with an actual embryo!). Finally, finally we have a shot.

I'm very grateful we made it to this point. I know where I hope it will lead, though I realize all too well that there are no guarantees. The high (and low) points of my own infertility always makes me think more about the phase of (non-)treatment others are in. It's hard to figure out a wish that applies to everyone, but here is my attempt: I hope you all feel you're making progress, in some form or other.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

We interrupt our regular programming ...

... for a special news bulletin from Normal-land.

Yes mam, you've guessed correctly, I am the happy recipient of another pregnancy announcement. Not mine, of course not mine.

As PG announcements go, this qualifies as a golden specimen (and I'm not being sarcastic). Still, I feel the need to bore you with it.

It's from a coworker, whom I also consider a friend, so much so that she is one of my confidantes at work. I have been expecting it, since she bought and renovated a house only last year, but as the months passed by it dropped to the back of my mind.

She chose the best possible way to tell me: e-mail (Discrete, no instant reaction required).

In this e-mail she recognizes this must be hard news for me to hear (Empathy!) and she'll understand if I can't bear to talk to her about her PG (More empathy!). I probably should take out an ad in the newspaper saying: this is how you do it!

In all honesty, she couldn't have picked a better time. After all, I'm on a high here, still feeling a little euphoria (though that can change quick as a flash). Perhaps my other confidante tipped her off. Don't know, don't care.

My first thoughts were unfettered joy for her. Who needs another soul in the trenches? I quickly sent her a congratulatory mail, while I still felt that way. As if on cue, the mixed emotions creeped in as I pressed send.

Will I be able to bear talking about her PG - or even hear others talk about it? She suggests I won't, and perhaps that's not too far from the truth. In my mail, I told here there would be days when it would be too much to bear, there would be days when I'm fine with it, and there will be days in between. Am I deceiving myself?

I hope we can find a happy medium, I don't want to cut myself off completely, nor do I want her to bite her tongue all the time. Let's not forget I'm otherwise in the closet at work and don't want the waterworks going off all the time.
Probably we should lay some ground rules, but which ones?

  • I don't need to hear the details about any PG inconveniences.
  • I don't need to see the u/s, nursery pictures, onesies ...
  • I do want to know the big picture (are things progressing as they should?)
  • If I can't manage, I'll excuse myself, no hard feelings.
  • If I do get upset, it's all part of being an IF (unless the rules above were violated).

It's sad to admit to, but even such a golden PG announcement has me rattled. I have to consciously fight off the thought that this is an omen that means our cycle is doomed. (Remember my post about the Window of Opportunity? I need to reread your comments about it.) I feel sick to my stomach.

I guess it's just a roundabout way of saying happy for her, sad for me.

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Purple Haze

Yesterday was spent in a blissful haze (all natural endorfins, I promise). But at the stroke of midnight, the spell was broken and I started worrying about transfer. Will there be one left? Please, let there be one left.

Carol asked if I could talk them into transferring both. Maybe, but I have good reasons not to. If we transfer two this time, we'd have to pay for the entire cycle ourselves, in accordance with public health care rules (first transfer in patients under 35 = 1 embryo max). I don't know how much that would cost us, most probably it would be a bargain compared to U.S. prices, but still. So it is public health care AND clinic policy to be precise. If a first transfer does not result in pregnancy, the clinic's hands are no longer tied, transferring more than one embryo is allowed.

Another reason is that I'm okay with transferring one. I'm prepared to go through this whole rigamarole again if need be, more than I'm ready to think about twins.

Several among you asked if the second embryo would be frozen. If it makes the grade, it will be frozen. At this point, that's more than I dare hope for.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

6 > 4 > 2

We have 2 embryos! Out of 6 retrieved eggs, 4 were mature and 2 fertilized.
If all goes well, transfer will be on Thursday. Clinic policy is to
transfer only 1 the first time (in patients under 35).

The news still has to sink in, but let me say I'm very grateful we
made it past this hurdle. Today, I'm going to try and focus on that.
By tomorrow, I'm sure I'll be worrying about the steps to come.

My mind has been racing over the past days, now I'm a bit stunned.
Thanks for reaching out to me, it really means a lot, and will
continue to do so in the time to come.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Faites vos jeux - rien ne va plus

Retrieval went smoothly, much like last time. I was slightly
uncomfortable with the thought of having a strange man fiddling with
my lady parts, not my favorite position to make someone's
acquaintance. I shouldn't have worried because the doctor turned out
to be a woman. And then the anasthetic kicked in.

6 eggs were retrieved. Given my age and diagnosis (slight PCO) I think
that is low, and I'm concerned. Last time, on Men0pur, we had 12.
Perhaps G0nal-F is not my thing, though I'm sure my doctor will say
it's coincidence. Right now, I hope 6 is enough to give us an answer
either way.

In less than 24 hours we'll know more. I'm very worried, even though I
know there's no point in worrying. I can't change anything about the


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Date confirmed - parcelling out sorrow

Friday's blood results were apparently inconclusive, a low E2 level I think the dr said. So I was invited back for a scan and a blood draw on Saturday morning.

All looked well on the scan and the blood work must have been all right, since the retrieval has been confirmed for Monday around noon (CET). I'll be having the twilight sedation again, but I do expect to remember how to operate a computer and stay awake long enough to update.

Meanwhile my anticipation is steadily increasing and not in a good way.

In an effort to distract myself, I met up with a friend of mine and her baby (made in ART) to go for a walk. Afterwards, we stopped in a tearoom for hot drinks and sweets. A relaxing afternoon, until the table next to us was taken over by several couples and their bunch of tots. Ignoring them was pretty hard since they were acquainted with my friend.
I was ok with it, these are strangers, nothing to do with me. Talk about growth spurts, breastfeeding, viral infections, ... one ear in, other ear out.

But then, then they started listing all the people they knew who were PG, and such-and-such who were getting married, and babies would no doubt follow soon after.
I cracked at that, eyes welled up, managed to fight it long enough to pay the bill, but then I had to get out of there. Only I couldn't, because my friend was in the ladies room, I couldn't just disappear.
Luckily, she only needed one glimpse of me to see what was up, hugged me and told me to go on outside, she'd catch up with me. Relief, escape! And tears flowing freely.

There was nothing WRONG with them having that conversation. Had I been in their shoes, I would probably talk with the same casual air and taken-for-granted-ness. But I'm not, and I can't (any more). I just didn't need to hear that.
I hate crying in public, but I don't feel bad about possibly marring these people's perfect afternoon. After all, they can talk about it a little while, and then move on again. I think of it as parcelling out my sorrow, not that I feel it works.

Oh well, the tears were long overdue anyway, and the afternoon was pleasant for 95%, thanks to my supportive friend.

By the way, I can find unsuitable distractions in the comfort of my own home.
I'm watching Desperate Wousewives, the one where Gabby and Carlos take home a baby.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

A report from our correspondent ...

... and straight back to the studio, because there's nothing to report, Bob.

Thanks Lorna, and on with the sports section. First up, news from the
Ovarian League:

RO played a good game today, scoring 8 match points, ranging from 22 to 11 mm.
LO is having a hard time, only 2 match points scored, each measuring 15 mm.

Cup final is currently scheduled on Monday, with confirmation to
follow after the doping lab results are in.

That's all for now, thanks for watching.

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