Blistering cold in NJ

and I love it! No, I'm not even a little bit jealous of you chicks who live in warmer climates - I actually feel sad for you. This is the life! :)

Some time around April it gets a bit old - just in time to truly welcome in the warmth. I came from Miami on Christmas day and, unless you grew up there, I just don't get how it isn't depressing.

How is Santa supposed to ride a sleigh in his big ass suit in the heat? Ugh!


Christmas stuff....

Great idea from the lovely Phoebe. In honor of the Christmas season, I'm tagging you all on the below:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
If calories weren't an issue, egg nog with freshly grated nutmeg and some rum. Yummm.

2. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Gift bags, because of the convenience. But, for a child of my own, I would exclusively wrap gifts. It was such joy tearing them apart when I was little.

3. Real tree or artificial?
I love real, I hate fake trees and yet, my trouble-making pain-in-the-ass cat forced me to buy a fake tree this year (even though I didn't put it up). It was on sale for 50% off at Target - 7 foot. If he tries to climb it or baps the ornaments off, I'm going to smack him senseless. Of course, he'd just smack me back and I'd lose that fight. A friend of mine sent me a Hallmark Christmas Card that just cracked me up because it's so purrrfect. There is an orange tabby on the front with a Santa hat on and the caption says "O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, your ornaments are history." Oh yeah, that's MY cat!

4. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Colors, LOTS!

5. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
There is no design plan. I use balls, lights, garland, ornaments, crafty things, pictures, berries.

6. Do you hang mistletoe?

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
No. I do celebrate Christmas but in every way a non-believer would. I celebrate the spirit of the season but the religious meaning doesn't carry through in any way.

8. Mail or email Christmas cards?
E-Card - but a great one. Every year I use Photoshop to crop pics of my furbabies into a Christmas scene. Last year I put them into a Volkswagon Bug with my little Pekingese driving. This year they're on a sled. I'm too last-minute to sit down and write out cards - though I LOVE the idea.

9. What is your favorite holiday dish?
I'll be in Miami this week celebrating with my family and the traditional Cuban meat is roasted pig. It's good stuff.

10. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
I grew up with a little boy named Matthew. We lived in a 2 family house and spent all of our time together, like brother and sister. One Christmas Eve, we were on my mom's bed watching TV, talking about what we hoped to get from Santa the next day, etc. and, suddenly, we heard the sleigh bells as loud as you can imagine, just booming, and we panicked because we were wide awake and Santa was coming and he would leave if we were still awake. Our hearts were beating out of our chests and we were freaking out, noting that we thought it was too early for him to come and we were almost in tears when my mom came into the room and said it was time for Matthew to go home (downstairs) because it was late and we told her our worry and she laughed and said the bells were from the record she had playing, it was the opening music to a song. :)

11. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
A couple of years prior, Matthew and I had just learned that the Easter Bunny wasn't true, at the heels of the Tooth Fairy revelation, and we stood in the hallway noting how distrustful we were now and that the "only thing we can truly count on is Santa!" HA!

12. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
No, I'm a Christmas morning girl.

13. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
I love snow, I love cold, I love winter. I could live in a snowy winter climate for 8 months out of the year and a 50-70 degree climate for the remainder of time. If I want oppressive heat, I'm more than happy to board a plane and fly to a Caribbean island and fry for a week. I've never had great tolerance for heat - though because my idea of heat is usually the 90% humid heat of the east coast vs. the beautiful California warmth, I admit it's tainted.

14. Have you ever recycled a gift?
I actually don't think I have.

15. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
The decor and the fantasy of what it is more than the reality.

16. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
I love dessert more than meals so it's hard to pick. My mom's flan (super rich with cream cheese blended in), chocolate-pecan pie, cream puffs.

17. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Don't have any :( But I sure intend to start a few in a mother role!

18. What tops your tree?
Just a star.

19. Favorite Christmas Show?
Santa Claus is coming to Town.

20. Saddest Christmas Song?
I reeeeeeeealy dislike Christmas music, don't know why.

21. What is your favorite Christmas Holiday Song?
See above.


January 21

That's my transfer day! I tried to get a Friday but the C.CR.M cyclers gobble Fridays right up, understandably, so I got a Thursday.

I'll fly into Denver Wednesday morning and return Saturday morning.

Tomorrow I'll make plane, hotel and car reservations. I can get a round trip for $208 right now so I'm going with it and hopefully my lining will cooperate and everything will work as smoothly as the first time (except for the grand finale, of course!).

I talked with Dr. S.urr.ey yesterday who reported that my MTHFR is heterozygous A1298C and that I do not need to be concerned about blood clotting issues or even miscarriage and that this mutation isn't a problem for my own health but that the extra folic acid and B vitamins is important for a fetus in the neural tube development. I take FABB twice a day, which is an acronym for Folic Acid, B6 and B12. So I should be set.

I'd woven some caffinated coffee back into my life a couple of week ago. As of yesterday, that's over! (and I have a headache today)

BCP's begin day after tomorrow (today is CD1) and Lupron starts day after Christmas. I should be a real sweetheart on New Year's Eve! :)


Eye Color Chart

I'd used this little predictor before, which I thought was interesting.

Log in brown eyed parents for you and your mate. Then log in both you and your mate as green eyed with no blue eyed siblings. I can't think of HOW I could make the results any more partial to brown.

And look at what you get:

Even if I gave the father brown eyes (with both brown eyed parents) and the mother green eyes (with both brown eyed parents), you'd STILL get a brown eyed child 72% of the time.

Again, does it seem even remotely likely you and your mate could have not one but EIGHT dark brown eyed children???

Just astonishing how they beat the odds!


No one asks

How is it a green eyed woman and a green eyed man wound up with a bunch of brown eyed children? Honestly, HOW does that happen?

Is it theoretically possible? Umm...yeap. Is it theoretically possible that To.m Br.a.dy and Gi.se.le Bu.nd.chen will produce a baby that looks like the one Wi.ll Sm.ith and Ja.da Pi.nke.tt have? I guess. But not bloody likely!

So how is it that J.on & K.at.e wound up with eight children sporting dark brown eyes? I'm no geneticist and I welcome education in this department - but I don't think the odds are in favor of this outcome even once, never mind 8 times. And since none of these children are the product of an egg split, we really are talking about EIGHT times!

Naturally, the question you're asking is "well, what are you wondering Sky, if K.at.e had an affair?" Nope. But I do think it's so fortunate that it was apparently Ka.te with the infertility issue (PCOS, she has said). Because if they'd ever needed a sperm donor, tell me what their chances were of finding a green-eyed Asian donor. Seriously, tell me. I'd say it's less likely than a blue eyed African American. That would have sucked and left them with a choice of either a brown-eyed Asian man or a green-eyed non-Asian man. The kids would be either light eyed and non Asian looking (which would make it reeeeealy obvious) or Asian looking with brown eyes, which they are.

I suppose this means J.on & K.at.e repeated the statistically improbable event of having eight children in a row with dark brown eyes.

Some odds, eh?



Because I don't want ya'll to think I've got it out for Miss K.nox and I've exaggerated one brief smile as standard protocol, I submit the following. Each picture is taken in custody - and most are in the courtroom. Oh, and check out the one with the writing on her shirt. It actually says "All you need is love." Holy fuck - a hippie chick mantra on trial. That's rich!

I could have provided countless more but you get the point. Besides, I might be leaning in stalker territory by now.

Maybe I'm just jealous (and I concede that possibility) because I freaked the fuck out about imagined scar tissue. Because when I heard MTHFR, I thought, CRAP, my baby will have Spina Bifida. Because I worry ad nauseam about everything and a chick half my age beams a kick ass smile every time she's led into a courtroom halfway across the world where she's been charged with murder and may actually never walk free again.

Yeah, it's delusional but, you know, maybe it's a happier existence.


A.ma.nda Kn.ox (totally off topic!)

You know the girl. She's standing trial in Italy for allegedly killing her roommate. I've been mildly aware of the story and, frankly, the facts against her seem weak - at best. Given what I know, I couldn't vote to convict. She may have actually done it but, again, I don't think the evidence supports that sufficiently for me.

But I'll say this: if she gets convicted, I'm going to give her a big fat idiot award and I'll tell you why. She isn't a toothless teenage tranny from the bus depot with a meth addiction. She's a pretty educated girl with intelligent, supportive parents and a relatively privileged life and yet she has the moronic audacity to nearly always have a SMILE plastered on her face in court.

Seriously! WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Even if I knew I was completely innocent of a crime. Even if my alibi was having dined with the U.S. president. Even if the only DNA found at the crime belonged to someone in custody who'd just confessed to having been the sole perpetrator. EVEN THEN, I would NOT have a smile on my face. EVER!

Holy shit! Someone in that little girl's inner circle needs to stop coddling her and inform her that innocent people can and do go to jail based on perceptions and that that stupid ass grin on her face ain't doin' anything good for her cause.

Mind you, A.ma.nda's less than rational behavior goes back. When she was brought into the police station to be questioned just after the murder, her behavior was reported as "inappropriate." She'd sit on her boyfriend's lap exchanging kisses and passed the time doing cartwheels and splits. I suppose in the context of all that, the perpetual smile on her face seems very much in character. Makes you wonder if that isn't, in fact, a tell. A sociopath may struggle to project the image of a psychologically balanced individual as he/she has no innate understanding of what that would be. Usually, the brutal murder of your roommate would elicit...umm...I dunno, maybe sadness, tremors, weepiness - even a state of catatonia. Maybe the beauty here is that she actually did do it and her detached behavior post murder was just as it would have to be in order to murder.

I feel terrible for her parents who, by contrast, look ravaged in every single interview and every shot. They've bankrupt themselves to fund her defense, alternate the international travel between them so someone is always in Italy and age decades with each passing week while their daughter flashes her pearly whites looking as though she hasn't a care in the world.

What's up with that? Somebody tell me!


Home Sweet Home!

I took an earlier flight this morning from Denver to NJ on stand-by to get in a bit earlier and glad I did. It's good to be home with my furbabies.

Before I left Denver, Dr. S.urr.ey called to say everything looked great and that I didn't need a saline sonogram before my FET. He just wants to have a telephone follow-up with me in about 10 days and that my polyps were sent to pathology but expects them to be benign (so do I). Uterine polyps are usually benign and I may not have even removed these if I weren't TTC. Then again, I'm not a fan of leaving things inside that can welcome cellular change at some point, so...

I forgot to ask him if I should expect my next period to arrive when it should have, which is in like 2 weeks. Well, I would definitely like to get rolling ASAP, which probably means birth control pills upon next period and then get moving forward for a transfer in January.

Hey, I've got four ladies on my blog roll that are expecting their little bundles VERY soon: RetroGirl, Polly, Onwards and Emily. Stop by and wish them well when you have a minute!

And in closing, have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving holiday ladies!


If I believed in the devil...

I would be convinced he invented the laminaria sticks. My heart truly goes out to women who've had multiple sticks inserted and I have an entirely new appreciation for the determination and tolerance to pain some women have. Clearly that's not me.

Got to C.CR.M at 7:30 AM and everything went quickly. Within 30 minutes I was fully prepped for surgery and had seen Dr. S.urr.ey and the anesthesiologist (whose name escapes me). The nurses were so sweet and gentle. Dr. S.urr.ey asked if I was able to tolerate the laminaria and I said "no, I was not able to tolerate it and it was very painful at times where I thought it's what labor pains must feel like but I did not remove the stick." He smiled "good then, that eliminates one concern of cervical incompetence in the future." At least my torture was for something!

Last night Me and I went out to dinner. She is really so witty and funny and super smart. We chatted up a storm and wished each other well.

Back to this morning, it's all a little blurry but this is what I recall. Being wheeled into the O.R., I said "hey, I'm really dizzy now" and was told they'd slipped a mickey into my I.V. and the next thing I remember is the anesthesiologist saying I'd be asleep very shortly and I said "how long until I'm asleep?" and he replied "about 8 seconds" and I said "well then, I'm going to fight it!" He smiled "oh yeah, well knock yourself out."

And then I woke up! :) Then things got more mentally bizzare.

Sky: "Where's L.ivi.e, how was her surgery? Is she okay?"

Nurse: "Who's L.ivi.e?"

Sky: "My Pekingese, where is she?"

Nurse: (smiles and looks at other nurse) "No, we're not performing surgery on pets yet"

Sky: (pensive, said nothing, tried to get my brain working)

Five minutes later I was about 99% perfect and embarrassed over it. Wow! What the hell was I thinking to believe my dog had surgery too?

About twenty minutes later, I saw Me whizz by post surgery and she seemed totally alert and we waved at one another. Cool! Then I had some crackers and juice and Mr. Me was such a super duper good egg and drove me to my hotel where a friend of mine arrived a bit later.

Everything post surgery was a piece of cake, as I expected it to be. I feel totally perfect except for some sleepiness so that's probably what I'll spend the day doing. Tomorrow I'm outta here with my friend and we head back to NJ for Thanksgiving.

Speaking of, wishing Me, her mister, their family and the rest of my wonderful IF buddies a great T-Day! Eat up! :)


Labor Pains?

Onwards was right, Dr. S.urre.y inserted a laminaria stick into my cervix. Oh. My. God. And none of my paperwork said to take meds in advance so...two shots to the cervix and little rods or something to make way for the laminaria stick. FUCK! I don't know what was worse. Wait, yes I do - the laminaria. I nearly cried. He said to try to tolerate it and not remove the stick but that if I absolutely couldn't tolerate it later, there is a little string where I could pull it out. Then he said my cervix is tilted a bit to the left so if I pulled it out, pull toward the right. What-fucking-ever!

He left the room with the nurse to give me a few minutes and I thought I would pull it out right then and there but I wanted to try to give it 5 minutes and see if it subsided to something more tolerable. Then nurse returned and I asked her if I could sit up. I imagined a hard wooden stick running from my vagina into my uterus that would break in two if I sat up. But, apparently, it's not as I imagine and I can sit.

As soon as I left the clinic, I felt better. Do I feel like jogging? Hell no, but at least I'm not in unbearable pain. But I do feel like I have very strong period cramps. The worst part is I can only take Tylenol which, in my opinion, is WORTHLESS! But I'm uncomfortable enough to take two right after I post this.

Me is coming by and we're going to grab a bite and gab about tomorrow morning's procedures for each of us. She has more follicles right now that I can produce in months! Ahhh, youth! :)

Well, that's it for today - I'll check back in after the surgery and hopefully I'll be in awesome spirits and just so thrilled to be done and one step closer.

Oh yeah, the post title....if labor pains are worse than this, I vote to gestate future children in pods and pick them up when they're done!

Good Morning Lone Tree!

Got in last night - good flight. Exhausted and crashed. In what can only be described as a huge coincidence, two other bloggers on my blog roll will have their retrievals tomorrow morning. Wow!

Both Me and Phoebe will be at C.CR.M in the same window of time I'll be there tomorrow morning. I'll be checking in at 7:30 AM for surgery at 8:30 AM with Dr. S.urr.ey and Me is behind me by an hour. So her husband gets to drive two women out of the center for the price of one. :) Poor guy!

Just returned from having my EKG done at the Sk.y Rid.ge Medical Center that's next to the clinic and all went fine. And in a couple of hours I have to check-in for pre-op and that cervical dilation that I just don't even want to think about but, yet, it creeps in. Seriously, I may never have birthed a child yet but I'm not so clueless as to not know that cervical dilation is what happens in labor and I'm pretty sure it's associated with pain. EEK!

Seriously, I just want it to be over with already so I can get back on the plane to NJ, see my awesome little animals, get some restful sleep and get ready for the Thanksgiving feast!


Colorado Bound (again!)

I'm not complaining, actually. I'm grateful that Dr. S.urr.ey's office was able to accommodate me for the polyp removal surgery next Tuesday. Normally these things aren't such a big deal but there are extenuating circumstances and obstacles:

1) Surgery this year will cost me zero dollars (deductible met) - all confirmed by C.CR.M

2) Polyp removal can only be done on certain cycle days (so that leaves me only one more cycle if I miss this window - and it would be in the month of December - good luck getting scheduled then!)

3) They will not release me to a taxi or to drive myself after the surgery. I "must" have someone I know pick me up. This is a biggie - a deal breaker - because I am not about to bring a friend out from NJ Thanksgiving week! But in what can only be described as serendipity...Me will still be out there for her cycle and was her usual super nice and flexible self to agree to picking me up when I begged her for the favor. No chance I would be this lucky next month or another month. THANK YOU AGAIN "ME" - FOR COMING TO THE RESCUE!

Can I just say that a long time ago, when I lamented about having virtually no family (though a wonderful network of friends, albeit tiny) and worried about having help with a child in a pinch, Lorraine told me that children really build a community around you - whether or not you intend for it to happen. And, case and point, IF has done the same thing. And that's a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!


Panera & Polyps

So I had the most exhausting, whirlwind of a day yesterday. I woke up at 4 AM, got ready and left around 5:15 AM for a 7:30 AM flight from NJ to Denver. Plane arrived early and I took a taxi to C.CR.M. Checked in and inquired about the H1N1 vaccine, which they still had. Normally I don't think much of vaccines but this time I felt apprehensive about it. But I decided to go with the "Sch.oolc.ra.ft law" of all pregnant or planning to be pregnant patients to receive the vaccine. Had I been pregnant, I don't know if I would have gotten it or not. But it went fine - serum stung!

Then the fun part. I met a fellow blogger! The very lovely Me is cycling and was sweet enough to pick me up at C.CR.M for lunch. We both bitched about gaining weight after years of hormones and crap. She is tall and slender and I looked like a watermelon with legs by her side :(

We grabbed lunch and a table at Panera and talked and talked. She's a hoot but super smart - like, intimidating smart. You know, the kind of person who would actually know what MTHFR stands for and what it does in its most basic scientific sense - even though she's not positive for the gene mutation. I sat there as I usually do in the company of highly intelligent people - in awe. Stop by and wish her well - that her ovaries produce a strong crop of healthy little babies she can raise some day soon. (and thanks again my friend!)

After lunch came my C.CR.M appointments. I had the ultrasound and an update on my infectious disease blood panel and then met with S.ur.rey for the hysteroscopy. My fear of having scar tissue had been so heightened that all I could process was extreme gratitude that I had "no scar tissue at all." But....yeah, there's a but. I had a polyp removed over 2 years ago. Well, now it's back - with its brother. So I have to have them removed prior to transfer. S.ur.rey said I did not have to return to have it done - to have it done locally as long as I'm comfortable with the surgeon, etc. but at this point, I just want this prep stuff to be out of the way. I called him today, as he asked, but he didn't return my call (Ugh!) because there may be a slight chance he's in early next week and can do the surgery. Otherwise, I'd have to wait until next month, during specific days in my cycle to have it done. At least my insurance covers all of it (I checked) so it's just the flight (again) but thanks to mileage points, I'm good there. And a car rental and hotel for a couple of days.

Crossing fingers I sync up with S.ur.rey tomorrow and we can hook up for early next week. Otherwise, it'll have to be next month and I just don't want to sweat it out one way or the other.

And word to the wise for those of you who ever consider taxi service to/from airport and C.CR.M - DON'T! I am in NYC at least a couple days a month for meetings and TRUST ME that the cost of cabs in the city are a drop in the proverbial bucket next to the cost of cabs in friggen Colorado. $80 each way plus a tip! I could have rented (and should have) a car for the day at a fraction of the price. CRAZY!


Hemorrhaging (TMI Post - be forewarned)

...And I couldn't be happier. What a nightmare since the D&C! Most people would be fine but with my hyper-worry personality, I suck!

D&C on 8/14
Period on 9/20 (two days, sort of full flow - seemingly on track)

Then...nothing! Nothing until the teeniest spots two weeks ago and then nothing again. That's it! I thought, I'm done, screwed and game over. Convinced I had severe scar tissue. The dreaded Asherman's Syndrome!

Dr. Surrey finally prescribed 2cc's PIO which I injected on October 30th. Then I waited...and waited...and waited. I was beyond upset. Now it was confirmed. Severe Asherman's - a known complication of a D&C which is, potentially, catastrophic and - UNFORTUNATELY - rarely mentioned!

Then last Friday (one full week after PIO shot), I had a drop of red. Then another. Then gone. What a nasty tease. Worse actually. This meant my cervix wasn't scarred as something was coming out but obviously my uterus was annihilated with scar tissue so there was nothing to shed.

Saturday, few spots. Sunday, enough for a panty liner but nothing more. Monday a pad - woo hoo. I thought, well, maybe the scarring isn't really awful.

Then Tuesday morning I woke to a saturated overnight Always pad with wings. During the day, I was bleeding so heavily through another pad and then through a Super Plus tampon and into my pants. Heavy today as well. I wanted to hang the bloody pants in celebration!

So, I went from absolutely certain I had the most severe case of incurable uterine obliteration to thinking, hey, I think I'm fine.

Yes, I'm profoundly grateful for a great outcome (which I have more faith in now) but I really wish I could STOP hopping on the crazy mobile the instant my brain imagines any potential tragedy, however remote. And this is on 50 mg/day of Zoloft!

Tuesday I fly to Denver before dawn for an ultrasound and hysteroscopy with Surrey and infectious disease blood panel update and back home to NJ same day. Whirlwind! Wish me luck girls. :)


"Fasting Homocysteine level is DEVINE"

That was the email from my nurse today. Whew! One thing down. Looks like my protocol would probably change only by the extra Folic Acid. Cool with me.

Now for my other worry (it really is always something). Several weeks after the D&C, I was still spotting very very very lightly every day - mostly just on the tissue. Five weeks after the D&C I got my period - for two days and bright red and plenty though not as heavy as usual (and I'm pretty heavy normally). That was on September 20th. I went in for a transvaginal ultrasound today (mostly because I requested it) to see where my lining was and it's 6mm and I have no symptoms of a period coming whatsoever (didn't have the usual PMS in the period after the D&C either).

Of course, I'm terrified that now I have the dreaded scar tissue issue or that I'll forever have lining problems.

I had a D&C summer of '07 to remove a uterine polyp and I had no scar tissue from that and obviously have always had good linings and implantation was no problem.

Seriously, can I just STOP worrying until AFTER I know what's what?! WTF is wrong with me and my hyperworries? I'm really praying this won't be the case and that my uterus is perfectly fine and healthy and that my cycle is just out of swing.



Mutha Fucka! Yeah, it looks like an acronym for a pretty nasty curse - hey, maybe it is!

My nurse emailed today. I'm positive for this gene mutation - whatever the hell it is - and I have to start taking massive doses of folic acid 2x/day and tomorrow I have to have a "fasting homocystine" blood check.

I think there's some debate as to whether this causes miscarriage or not but I believe there's consensus that this does block folic acid absorption and we all know how important that is to ward off birth defects, with spina bifida being a biggie.

Wish I'd known this months ago but I wasn't tested. Anyhoo, very grateful to know now. My next worry and, Lord, I hope it never pans out - but I worry that maybe I have scar tissue from the D&C (no evidence of this, mind you, just my usual neurosis!). And that would suck WAY worse than the MTHFR!

Anyone else have experience with MTHFR?


Let there be light

I must begin by thanking each and every single one of you wonderful ladies. Hearing from so many caring souls out there - many of which are new to my blog - was so heart-warming and gave me such comfort while I sat in a fog.

There were a couple of weeks there that I actually believed I would donate my 14 remainning embryos and call it a day. In an email exchange, Kami gently suggested I hang on to a couple of them - just in case I changed my mind. Within days I'd already begun to come around (thanks again Kami!).

What happened? Well, I think it was truly a fluke. I got very very sick - probably food poisoning of some sort - and days later I started to bleed and things just sort of tumbled from there. No sense in rehashing it now, I guess.

Oh, and the bizarre depression. Let me tell you all that before the loss, I experienced depression and anxiety that worsened considerably by the day. It all began in my seventh week. I think it was the very high dose of PIO (my progesterone level was over 70) and other pregnancy hormones that conspired badly for me. Between week seven and eight, I lost 10 lbs. and was barely sleeping. I would wake up at 3 AM with such anxiety that one night I had an urge to leave my house in the middle of the night in a rain storm and run down the street, barefoot, as fast as I could to a field a few blocks away and lay in the mud. No, I don't think I was psychotic but I was desperate to RUN, anxious to get away from myself. It's difficult to explain.

My OB wanted me to take Zoloft and insisted it was relatively safe during pregnancy and that it's certainly far safer than a deep depression - but I worried about eating a soft cheese, never mind an anti-depressant!

However, after two weeks on Zoloft, I woke up feeling brand spanking new. I realized I'd slept the entire night and that the world no longer felt like it was coming to an end. I will remain on the Zoloft (which is the lowest dose that's prescribed) throughout any future pregnancy and increase the dose if/when I give birth as I am a prime candidate for post-pardom depression. Hey, I could think this is a bad break but a lot of women have far greater physical and medical challenges during pregnancy and they do what they have to do. So will I.

After refusing to have a re-group, last Monday I finally had my phone consult with Dr. Surrey and he was happy to know I'd do a FET. Before that, I have to have a saline sonogram to make sure everything is looking good inside and he gave me the option of bloodwork for blood clotting issues, though he didn't think it would be necessary as we both classified this as a fluke.

I thought I might transfer by Christmas but in what can only be called AWESOME news, my company's annual medical enrollment notice this week came with news of brand new health plans and guess what? Yeap! There is infertility coverage. I could say "FUCK! Why didn't they do this last year and I could have saved 15K from my whopping bill" but I won't. I'm going to be thankful that they'll cover 50% up to 15K in 2010 for infertility services and be extremely thankful, which I am!

My plan will be as last time - transfer only 1 embryo, as I have no desire for twins. Dr. Surrey reminded me that my embryos are all vitrified so the reality is my chances are nearly as good with these as with the fresh transfer - something I knew when they were frozen and always found comfort in.

So, it's a January FET for me!

Now, about you all....I've been following all of your blogs ladies and I'm so thrilled to see how wonderfully it's going for so many of you (and this must be the year for girls, girls, girls!). For those of you in process, I have my fingers crossed and am very hopeful you'll be successful, at last. I'll be commenting on your blogs soon enough again!

Big hugs and another enormous thanks for the kindness and sensitivity you've all demonstrated.


It's over

Became extremely sick and I knew something was terribly wrong.

Can't go into details. Please, no pity for me - I couldn't take it right now. I have no idea what the future holds at this point and it may be just me and the furbabies and that's going to have to be okay.

Wishing you all the best and that your dreams unfold exactly as you wish them to. They can.


First OB Scan

For me, I think it's a combination of fear, my nature to protect myself from the pain of unexpected bad news and the fact that I have had no m/s or symptoms of any kind (other than being especially weepy, which is very uncharacteristic of me). Now, I have always said, I want NO m/s, please - but, obviously, the flip side of that is it leaves me wondering if the little appleseed decided not to stick around. And, though I don't believe in a supreme being, I do believe that the right things often have a way of unfolding when they don't always seem the best. So I was trying to be ready for a couple of outcomes today.

You were all right! Other than measuring 2 days behind (I was told +/- 3 days is fine), the heartbeat was 123 bmp and everything looked "right on track." I was at my former RE's office in NJ and I was so lucky to get the doctor I most loved there today - he's so tender, gentle and kind. He flipped on the audio switch and I could hear the heartbeat waves. Wow!

Thank you all for the encouragement when I was, clearly, lacking.



My first ultrasound is the day after tomorrow - Thursday morning. I don't even know if it's accurate to say I'm worried. Right now I'll just say I'm not feeling very encouraged. I feel no symptoms, nothing. The aching boobs I had (which were agony) have subsided to nothing over the past week and a half.

I do wonder if it's over already and it's just the 2cc's of PIO keeping me in the dark.

Pretty down today. The weather in NJ is gloomy and rainy and I miss my mom something awful. Hug your moms girls (and your dads). You can't understand or believe how excruciating their loss will be some day and the perpetual state of awareness that you will never hold them again. I would trade just about anything to have my mom right here on the couch next to me for two hours.

Sorry for the doom and gloom. Gotta get into the "tomorrow is another day" declaration of the lovely Scarlett.


It's the little things....

In the last week I've been icing before the PIO for less and less time. This isn't intentional, mind you, it's just that around 8:30 PM, I make my evening cup of Decaf Vanilla Chai Tea (yummy!) and enjoy it with a biscotti or a half of a cupcake (my neighbor brought me a delicious apple spice cupcake from Martha Stewart's new cupcakes recipe book - which she was sweet enough to stand on line to have signed by Martha herself the other day - a copy for each of us).

Anyway, back to the subject. I usually just forget to ice until it's late and the last few times I've felt the pinch a little but, you know, no big deal. So, tonight I decided not to ice at all. YEAH, I'm such a brave rebel! :) And you know what, the pinch is there but after the needle punctures the skin, it's over - and I think the distribution of the progesterone in oil is actually better without first icing the skin. Maybe I'll give it another go tomorrow night.

In other news, I painted a large canvas today that I've had for years. I chose an inspirational piece of abstract art but hated the outcome. So after it dried, I went back over it with a red shade as the base and tomorrow I will attempt to use this as my inspiration.


Estrogen & Progesterone


I'm embarassed to admit that though I know they want the progesterone over 20 with PIO and the estrogen over 300 (or is it 350?) and that I'm definitely doing fine, I don't really know what this all means.

I mean, when do they decide to begin the weaning process (you can tell I'm getting tired of the big IM nightly shot)? Is there a level they want to achieve before they begin that process?


No morning sickness, no problem!

So far, so good. I've feared the whole nausea thing but so far I'm doing well and I will thank my lucky stars if I never have it. For those of you who feel comforted by it, may you have my share :)

However, the last 3 days, I start to get CRAZY TIRED around 3 PM at the office and by the time I'm home (like right now) my eyes are closing. I will probably go to bed in a half hour and fall asleep not too much later. When my alarm's gone off this week, I've woken at 7 AM so tired that I'm sure I could stay asleep until noon.

I can't imagine it's the pregnancy - I mean, I'm 4w5d's! C'mon! The little embryo is probably a fraction of the size of a grain of rice - it can't be demanding of my body yet. So I thought, maybe it's the meds and that could be. Also the tension, the stress, the anxiety sapping my energy mid-day.

Hope you're all doing fab! :)


Beta #2 - 344

So...it just a little more than doubled. That's very good news! :)

No more betas. Next is ultrasound on 7/23.

Oh and there's a due date: March 14, 2010.

And I have to find an Obstetrician. Yeah, that's right - I don't have one. I have a wonderful Gynecologist whom I really trust and is a very highly respected Gyn surgeon. Is he "technically" an OB/Gyn, yes, but he chose not to practice Obstetrics a long time ago.

I called his office today to get a referral to a good Perinatologist. I just don't want to go to a regular OB, given I'm an IVF patient, a DE patient (risks for pre-eclampsia increase with DE), 42 and this is my first pregnancy.

Whew! It's been a wild ride. I wondered if I would ever get matched, I wondered if the cycle would succeed, I wondered if an eSET wasn't the stupidest mistake ever and then I fretted over those light waste-of-money Dollar Store sticks.

Maybe I just can't believe how easy this has been, despite all of my fears, anxiety and worrying, every single step of this cycle has worked perfectly. I feel extremely lucky and thankful.


Beta #1 - 167!

To be sure things were still good, Friday night I bought another cheapy Dollar Store stick. Contrary to what people say, I don't think it measures values under 50 so figured if my beta was increasing the stick would indicate so very nicely.

Saturday morning with FMU, I got a second line on the stick lighter than light. In fact, only after 5 minutes and supremely light. I thought FUCK, this is pissing me off - 'cause you know, then I started going down the chemical pregnancy bunny trail and who needs that?!

So I went out right after that to the 24-hour Wal.gr.eens and bought my trusty FRER (The Answer is also a great one - looks like the identical test). Then I headed to McDonalds, had a yummy egg thingy (which likely has plenty of salt incorporated) and some OJ and decided to wait an hour or so until I had to pee. It was plenty concentrated and the second line - for the first time ever - came up at the same time as the first line and pretty rich colored (though not as dark as control line).

Then I relaxed and promised not to POAS until beta.

I emailed my nurse early today after my beta blood draw so she'd know I already knew. She called with big congratulations, which was nice, and said it was a very strong beta.

I have to repeat on Wednesday, of course, and ultrasound on 7/23.

So far, sooooo good! :)

Huge congratulations to my bloggy friend Kami, who just got a positive beta yesterday from a FET with ONE single embryo "leftover" from her successful cycle two years ago. Isn't that awesome?! The icing is realizing that means you get to keep 25K in your pocket vs. a new cycle. That's a lot of cake you can buy for the icing! :)



On of my bloggy buds called this "Infertility Mecca" and I couldn't think of a more appropriate name. When you enter the temple, you understand why.

Onwards suggested some Dinosaur tracks - so I visited Dinosaur Ridge and did the "little" walk. The next pic below the "tracks" shows the "ridge" which is a 2.5 mile round-trip walk but in the extreme heat, the top of my head was so hot you could fry an egg. There were bicyclists that would zoom by me going up the incline - very impressive (I could see their leg muscles quivering).

And this is a picture from the top of Mt. Falcon where I was going to go on a hike the day before Dinosaur Ridge. The skies opened up just before I started the hike (very appreciative of the preferable timing vs. during my hike). But I love mountains so despite any weather challenges, it was still beautiful.

Last night, I watched some fireworks at a local high school with my awesome little furbaby Liv (pic not from last night) and a neighbor.

Sure hope you all enjoy the holiday and see some great fireworks!



Progression from yesterday (7 AM and 6 PM):

I like sticks with lines because they help me obsess over any line progression darkness.

The ones below - although super nice to see a "Yes+" and a "Pregnant" aren't as rewarding - 'cause they don't tell me HOW pregnant I am today vs. yesterday.

Then there are the Dollar Store sticks. Curse them! I hate them! I don't even know why I wasted a whole dollar on one! I think the baby has to be kicking to get a positive on those!

Okay, no - the truth is that I don't think the baby has to be kicking to see a line on these. Actually, I think you need a beta of like 50 to get a line. So, of course, there is my whole reason to worry. I worry that this year will be just like last year in more ways than just two lines on 4dp5dt. I worry that my nurse will call me with that sad voice of "well, you're pregnant but I won't lie to you, the beta is kind of low" (last year it was 15.5).

I've said it before and I'll say it again. We will all be crazy until AFTER the moment of our last failure (sometimes even longer than that). I can't help but relive the fear that I'm doomed to kill embryos a couple of days after implantation with some toxic goo my uterus produces! Stupid uterus! I only put in one, I didn't try to crowd you and upset you. Can't you be nice to the one?!

You'll be glad to know - I'm out of sticks now or, trust me, I would have also peed on the line ones 'cause that's the only way to know from a highly scientific standpoint (of course!) in my central NJ kitchen whether or not my beta is rising. HA!


5dp5dt - Sticks!

My biggest technical challenge getting shots of these is that the flash creates a white-out and then you see nothing. So I figured I'd take a picture in the morning and, hopefully, the sun would deactivate the flash. Well, NJ has been devoid of sun in all but 4 days since Memorial Day but there was enough daylight by the glass door that the flash remained silent (no, I don't know how to stop the flash myself - I'm so not techy).

But for those of you who like to pee on sticks too.....without further ado. :)

One hurdle down, a dozen to go!

Thanks all so much for your support and cheerleading - it's priceless!



Listen, you girls are the ONLY ones who will understand what I'm about to describe.

It takes some set of balls and/or outright idiocy to test on 2dp5dt and be disappointed by a snow white stick. Well, guilty as charged! Too embarrassed to admit it to you all, I thought "this shit's doomed!"

Yesterday, 3dp5dt I tested - AM and PM. Yeah, that's right - TWICE! Powder white. Then I played the mental games I often do with myself (and friends - oh they just love wasting their time with my mental manipulations!). I asked myself yesterday, knowing that the evening of 3dp5dt I have a negative, if I could go back to the transfer table, would I tell Dr. Gustofson, "you're out of your bloody mind - transfer TWO!" And last night, I said, I don't know - I truly just didn't know. And you could argue that I didn't know because there was still a chance for this to turn out well. That may be true.

But it gave me a LOT to think about. Because I realized that even though my crazy brain had gone to the "I'm doomed" spot, I still had some confidence that having agreed to an eSET was actually the right decision for me and one I was happy with. That was not only a good place to be, it was a really good place to be when you're thinking it might be over. One thing I'd likely not have to regret is facing a twin pregnancy that I might not be in a position to have (never mind the 8-10 fold increased risk in donor egg pregnancies for pre-eclampsia and premature birth which scare the life out of me - never mind with twins!).

Driving home from work today I remembered that last year, during my donor embryo transfer, I got my first positive HPT on 4dp5dt in the late afternoon.

Imagine plucking the finest baby hair, slicing it four times, dunking the piece in the lightest shade of pink and placing it next to a control line. Then put on your heavy-duty reading glasses and bring the stick to the light after 5 minutes and tilt it carefully towards the light and twist your head sideways. That's my 2nd line last year.

At 6:00 PM ET today, it was like deja vu all over again. I feel extremely lucky. And I would post the picture if I thought you could actually SEE the line in a picture.

Right now, it's looking very good. :)


Home & Embryo Update

I want to preface this by saying that I am well aware of how lucky I am. I didn't do anything different than most other donor egg recipients have done nor am I more deserving. I just got crazy lucky, that's it. And all I can do is pay it forward, which has always been my plan (whether donating 2 embryos or 14).

I've opened with that because I got a call from the embryologist today while I sat in the Denver Airport to tell me they froze another 5 blasts on Day 6 for a grand total of 14 blasts in the freezer.

So the details are:

Frozen Day 5
3-4AA (1-4AA transferred)

Frozen Day 6

Now here's something interesting. They consider even the lowest graded on Day 5 higher than the best on Day 6. Funny, huh? He said "because they were where they should have been on the right day." He also added they can all create a human but to compare between the two days is "apples and oranges."

I mentioned that AFTER the transfer I learned you could have a 5AA and that it's a higher grade and I didn't know anything was higher than 4AA. He said it's a hatching blast but "the numbers don't really matter - they just tell us how expanded they are; the letters give us more information." And then he said something about a hatching blast being difficult to work with because the "zona pellucida" (I just looked that up to figure out how to spell it - I can't believe he used such a technical word on me. I'm in advertising, not medicine!) is being shed and that process should be happening in the uterus, etc. He assured me a 4AA was the "perfect" embryo on Day 5 and to transfer and that with it being a donor egg with donor sperm, they're normally very high quality.

So if that helps any of you out there to stress less about your own results, awesome!

Next subject: 2WW. SUCKS THE BIG ONE! You all know; you've been there (so have I actually). Hate it!

My days have gone like this: "It worked, it worked, it worked - when do I buy a crib?" to "This sucks, I'm going to have to fly back out to Denver and I don't even like flying and now I'll have to fund a FET - why did I back down?!" Now girls, just repeat that a few dozen times a day.

Uhh, when can I POAS - seriously? When? Is 2dp5dt too soon? I'm not screwing with you guys, is it?



Bedrest is AWFUL. How women endure months of this in high risk pregnancies is beyond me. My back hurts.

The nurse told me I could only lay on my side or back but NO STOMACH! WTF?! I EXCLUSIVELY sleep on my stomach and no other way. It's not that I don't want to sleep on my back or side, it's that once you're asleep, you're oblivious to what you do.

BUT, thankfully, I must have been so conscious of my position that I stayed on my side last night (with the help of pillows propped around me).

Obsessing over symptoms and hate to say, nothing! I mean, I have some sporadic cramps but that's it. No twinges (which I had several of last year when I did get a BFP - albeit short-lived). So, already I'm not holding out a lot of hope and have second-guessed my eSET decision quite a bit - as expected ('cause I'm neurotic!).

But, enough of my complaining bullshit. I have 9 great blasts that are vitrified (6 top notch!) and potentially another bunch have been frozen today (but embryology won't call until Monday).

I'm looking forward to 6:00 AM tomorrow when I can shower, blow this popsicle stand and head home to my furbabies - who really make life so worth living! :)


I transferred ONE

I don't even know how to feel about that right now but when I sat there faced with the facts of this cycle, it really swayed me hard in that direction. This was the first time I met Dr. Gustofson and he was really very nice.

The embryos:


So, that means that TODAY, they will freeze the 9 remainning.

BUT there is still another 20 - yeah, you heard that right - 20 they'll follow until tomorrow and the embryologist suspected there would be about another 10 to freeze tomorrow.

The most persuasive and DECIDING fact I learned today is this: CCRM now vitrifies all frozen embies EXCLUSIVELY. In the past, this highly successful medium was reserved only for CGH tested embryos.

So, the vitrification fact means that in the event this was a stupid decision on my part and I have to return for a FET (Gasp! Hate the thought!), the success rate for a two embryo transfer at that time would be 80% (vs. 85%). So that's barely diminished odds. And, ultimately, I was willing to take 'em. Had vitrification not been adopted as the standard freezing method, I would have two on board right now - for sure!

In 9 days, we'll see how much I'll be kicking my ass (or not) for this decision. But in my case, thanks to the POAS mania I'll soon face, I'll know whether the ass-kicking is warranted by end of next week. My beta is for 7/6.

I'm a little woozy after the valium but it took forever to kick in. My bladder was crying when they did the transfer and I was so humiliated to use the bed pan 15 minutes later but not so much that I didn't fill it and thank them. Funny how I'm so used to spreading 'em with several people in the room watching that it doesn't even make me bat a lash. Now peeing in a pan - horrified! But I felt remarkably better.

I'd say the vitrification was the clincher for me. I had no intention on submmitting to a FET with success rates of 52% for a 2 embryo tranfer vs. an 85% on the fresh. Though I did accept a 60% chance of success with the SET.

Ugh! I'm going to second-guess this one quite a bit. I only hope it works and then I can just smile at the good fortune I had - without ever having to deal with a twin pregnancy I am not ready or equipped for.

Now it's off to eat in bed. :)))


10 AM Curtain Call - Tomorrow Morning

Of course, I don't know how these guys will do but I'm feeling pretty good they will be fine.

I've lost sleep and struggled quite a bit on transferring one vs. two. It's a very hard call either way. The truth is I would kick myself in the ass if I transferred one and it failed (another trip out here plus cycle is 6K - which is nothing to sneeze at) and I would kick myself in the ass if I wound up with twins. So, the ONLY way not to kick my ass is to have one implant. (you listening embies? just one should plan to stay, any other should decide my uterus is just a mess and refuse to have any part of it!)

But seriously, the success rate for a completely anonymous (i.e., not a sister or designated donor who may not be the most optimal donor but is chosen by patient all the same) proven in-house donor is around 85%, per Surrey, Sc.hoo.lcraft, nurses. THAT is the success rate I came here for - otherwise, I could have stayed in NJ, spent about 10K less and accepted lower odds.

So, with that in mind, how could I really only transfer one? Besides which, the former couples with this donor wound up with singletons and if the donor was 23 instead of 31, I would worry more about the twin thing. But at 31 she's still young but not so young that you wouldn't expect some chromosomally less-than-stellar embryos in that bunch.

And then there's this. Let's say I transferred one and it failed. After I reconcile having to come back for a FET, I wind up in EXACTLY the same place I am now - wondering, do I put back one or two.

Yeah, unless Surrey and the embryologist basically hold up a hatching blast and declare it's the most perfect specimen they've ever seen - that this has a 90% chance of success on its own, that this blast will be photographed for Embryology textbooks to illustrate what a blast should strive to be - I'm transferring two.

Good night my friends!


I brought the rain

Man! It is POURING in Denver! I left NJ in what can only be described as Seattle weather since Memorial Day and today I went to Mt. Falcon to do some hiking. Five minutes from arrival, the skies broke open and torrential rain poured down. I thought Maine Coons and Great Danes would crash onto my car (cats and dogs, get it? :)

So I drove back down the mountain at a 5/mph pace, windy roads meant to accommodate only one big SUV at a time - oh, and no guardrails. I kept telling myself, Take it easy, take it easy - there's not going to transfer any embryos if this little car goes summersaulting down the side of the mountain.

Don't need that kind of drama. I'm going to try again tomorrow - we'll see how the weather is.

Day 3 (and, yes, it will be a Day 5 transfer!)

The good news just keeps on coming!

Today they want to see 6+ cells. Out of the 30 that fertilized:

26 embryos with mostly 8 cells
2 5 cells
2 4 cells

Nothing has arrested, though he did say he "wouldn't be surprised if the 4 cell ones don't go anywhere."

He told me to expect a call from my nurse later today with instructions for Saturday.

Over the moon? No, not over the moon yet but it's certainly getting closer. :)


NJ to Denver

I'm leaving on a jet plane, I DO know when I'll be back again (you have to sing it like John Denver did).

Not very fond of airplanes, I may pop a Xanax when I board. At first I thought, GASP, I can't do that with the whole baby on board thing that's coming. But then I remembered that they'll be giving me some Valium before the transfer. So, obviously, they can't think it harms embryos! And it would be worse if I was white-knuckling it all the way.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not phobic about it. I don't break out in a sweat or hyperventilate or think I'll die. I just get anxious. When I travel for business (2-3 times/year), I don't love it - I just deal with it, you know? By contrast, I have a MAJOR phobia about public speaking (even in a sit-down meeting full of people). My heart races like I am on the treadmill at top speed and I CANNOT catch my breath and words don't come out and I ramble snippets of total nonsense. It's really really terrifying (and embarrassing). So I NEVER do a stand-up preso. And I have some medication that works WONDERS if I'm going to talk in a group meeting. Anyway, back off tangent.

As I walked down the stairs at the hotel in Denver last October during my one-day work-up, I purposefully touched the handrail and consciously thought to myself, The next time I'm here in this hotel, in Denver, I'll be here for an embryo transfer.

And here I am, going back to Denver (and to that hotel) today. :)

Last contact before Denver. Woo Hoo - here I go!

PS: Remember all of that disconnected stuff I'd been feeling for weeks and weeks? I'll tell you this, right now, it's gone. I've been jittery (hands trembling) all morning - and I haven't had caffeine in a year.


My basket of eggs

I got the call from the embryologist at 9:30 AM ET. All I can say is that, so far, this donor has proven why she was an in-house "proven" and highly recommended donor.

-39 Eggs
-35 Mature eggs
-30 Fertilized w/ICSI

He said everything looks really good and he feels confident it'll be a 5-day transfer and that he'd be "very surprised" otherwise.

I'll get no call tomorrow, as the next time they check on them is Thursday.

This donor's cycle is almost identical to her last (Nov 08) when she produced 2 more eggs and 31 fertilized.

If it continues to go as her last cycle, I'd wind up with 2 blasts on Day 5 and more than a dozen in the freezer. Yeah, yeah, that's hoping for a lot but I'm going to be very positive here 'cause I got damned great news!

So you're all thinking right about now, Is Sky nuts? How many freaking kids does she want?! Uhhh, one in nine months and MAYBE - just MAYBE - one more in 2 years. THAT'S IT! That's my maximum limit.

However, I can't tell you how much it would tickle me pink to donate all of the remainning embryos (that would be 6/each for 2 other women/couples). I know how absolutely grateful and thankful I was to be given the opportunity I was last summer with the donor embryo transfer. True, it resulted in a chemical pregnancy but I am so thankful to that couple for what was TRULY a gift. My heart would swell with joy to give that same gift to another woman/couple - it would probably make me even happier than her/them! No one but another infertile woman knows how meaningful that is.


PS: I'm sitting in my office and my face got hot and flushed. HA! That's the PIO working baby! It happened to me last year too and, you know what, I love how I look with pink cheeks - so healthy! :)


Today: Day Zero (aka Retrieval Day)

And guess what news CCRM gives you on retrieval day?


Yes, that's right - I got no fucking news today ON RETRIEVAL DAY!

So I eventually just told myself that no news is good news and that if my donor had, somehow, triggered an hour early by mistake (leaving her with no follicles this morning), that I would have been called - probably by a doctor, that's how serious that would be (yeah, I heard it happen once).

I'm not a mess though - thankfully - but I really wish I'd have been told something.

So tomorrow I'm supposed to get "the call" from the embryologist. Tomorrow I'll learn what the follicle count was, how many mature eggs, how many fertilized and how many are moving on into embryo-dom.

I think my nurse wants to see some elation in me - some really obvious happiness and every time she makes a comment (verbal or via email), I know she probably wonders why I'm still not overjoyed. Today she asked "are you over the moon?" and I thought, are you kidding me? Why? Not yet! I have zero information on retrieval day - that doesn't exactly elicit "excitement" from me, rather some worry.

Anyway, there is no real way she's going to understand my north east coast brain. The kind of elation she wants to see probably isn't going to happen until there is an ultrasound with a kick-ass healthy baby on the screen. Well, it's true that I'll be super duper happy and excited if I get a great report on transfer day (of the ones coming "home" and the ones left) but even that will be tempered with some anxiety.

What can I say, I'm a little neurotic that way.


The Trigger & Other Ramblings

CCRM called. My superstar donor triggers tonight for a Monday morning retrieval.

I say "superstar," 'cause she has 15+ follicles on the right ovary and 15 on the left - all measuring between 18-20mm. WOW - you go girl! :)

It just occurred to me that my sperm donor is decided, done, no chance to change my mind. Gulp! Listen, he wasn't my first pick and I LOVED my choice sperm donor fiercely (a guy I'd never met, go figure). My choice guy is an astrophysicist and if you'd heard his interview . . . too brilliant for words. If you've ever watched The Big Bang Theory on CBS, think character Sh.eld.on C.oo.per (with those sweet blue eyes).

The downfall of these types is they're not exactly socially smooth - that's where they stumble. But I figured with my Cuban "personality" (yeah, you know - emotional, passionate, fiery - it's mostly true! ;) I would nurture and raise a phenomenal mind who was deeply compassionate, had wide global perspective and wasn't afraid to speak up and fight for what's right.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be. When I was presented with a great-looking, proven egg donor, I jumped at it. The downfall is she was physically too alike to the sperm donor (she has blond hair and blue eyes and the Irish background - the sperm donor had similar Anglo, European background).

So I actually chose physical characteristics over everything I think is FAR more important in the end. Fuck me if that was a bad call but it's done now.

The new sperm donor (the one who will be busy fertilizing eggs on Monday) has a PhD in Pharmacy and is "hot," by all accounts. Apparently he was quite the favorite eye-candy at the sperm bank. Whatever! That shit is so unimportant to me and, yet, I know appearances count strongly in our society (which says a lot of fucked up things about all of us - myself included - but that's another post on another blog). This guy has "black hair" and "gorgeous hazel eyes." His background is Italian and Spanish. So his "look" is like mine. This is the actor the sperm bank claims he resembles (and I found others who've used him - their kids do have the same general attributes).

In this guy's audio interview, he sounds like a "duuuuude" (like As.h.tonOKu.tcher). Sounds like an idiot with a PhD (seriously, I've known several!). No depth. I'm going to hope that's all learned or I'm toast.

Wouldn't it be ironic that the resulting baby looks nothing like the sperm donor and just like the egg donor and I kick my own ass thinking, WTF was the difference? I should have just used the physicist. BUT, I don't think so. I know those latin genes are on the stronger side and so, at least, I'm hoping my kid isn't going to get the constant bullshit of "is that your 'real' mother?" I know that question wouldn't irk me if I were the genetic mother but to have that bond tested/questioned by strangers has to be unnerving. If I can avoid it for both of us, I will.

Wow! I thought I was over all of that but I think the news from CCRM on triggering tonight and a retrieval on Monday was like cold water in the face - it's happening, I can't change any of the players now.

The train has left the station.

(I was a little nervous when answering the phone - which is better than the strange nothings I've been feeling)


Denver Bound

Finally! I have a semi-definite plan (at least enough to book my flights).

The donor has 15 follicles on each side measuring around 1.7 and 1.8 cm each. They'll trigger her either tomorrow or Sunday night. So, right now the retrieval will be either Monday or Tuesday. I just learned that retrieval day is Day Zero (I thought it was considered Day One).

This means either of the following scenarios:

Monday retrieval - Day 3 transfer on Thursday or Day 5 transfer on Saturday
Tuesday retrieval - Day 3 transfer on Friday or Day 5 transfer on Sunday

I booked my flight to Denver on Wednesday (which would have me in Denver a day before the earliest transfer possible) and I'm returning on Tuesday (which is 2 days after the latest transfer possible).

Rather than today being my last day at work, I will work on Monday and Tuesday (so I don't waste vacation days).

Of course, I'm really just hopeful that it'll be a 5 day transfer. :)

Now all I have to do is expect a call from CCRM either tomorrow or Sunday to let me know when my donor triggers and give me instructions on the PIO and other "stuff" (Medrol, Tetracycline, etc.). Though I'm much improved from weeks ago, it'll still be nice to smash that vial of Lupron forever! :)))


Still dreaming

Nothing’s changed for me. I’m still in that state of denial, disbelief. I don’t feel even remotely “in cycle.” But here’s the punch line, if all continues on plan, I should be on the table ready to transfer in 8 days.

Wow! One week doesn’t seem like a long time at all and, yet, I’m working on projects like nothing’s going on in my life. In fact, though I’m technically “on vacation” next week, I’ve told my counterpart that she need not worry about back-up until late next week when my vacation plans may have me disconnected from email for a day.

Yeap, I’ll be schlepping my laptop and some files to Denver and setting up office in my hotel room. On transfer day, I’ll take it “off” but the day after I will get back online, even if it’s mostly from bed. I don’t think I can really just lie there for 2 days and watch TV (daytime TV alone could send me to the funny farm).

Seriously, when the hell is this going to get real? After the donor’s retrieval? After the fertilization report? After the embryo progress? After my transfer? When I’m back in NJ? WHEN there’s a BFP? When the child is born? WHEN?!


Can it be?

Is this just going to go smoothly for me? I mean, I want to believe it, truly - but, should I?

Today you see, all good news.

My lining is 9 mm, triple stripe; estradiol is 499.
The donor: 13 follicles on one side, 15 on the other and is "doing great."

Talked with Dr. Schoo.lcr.aft this afternoon. Everything said of him is an understatement. He's nice but uncomfortably quiet and deadpan (and not in a funny way) so it makes for some social discomfort. Yet, I was fine with it.

His reply to my lining was "really? oh, okay, that's really great" and said everything was going well with the donor and on schedule. I asked when her retrieval would be and he said, "well, assuming she's still on course of 10-11 days of stims, that would put her at Saturday for the trigger." That would put her retrieval at Monday, "give or take a day" he said. Crap! My nurse unintentionally mislead me on that. So now I have to change my Saturday flight to Monday or Tuesday.

Sch.oolcr.aft also said we'd know more definitively on Friday so this Friday, all of the plans will have to be locked down.

Tentatively, I'm expecting her retrieval for next Monday, I'll fly out to Denver on Tuesday, have a 5-day transfer on Friday and fly home on Monday June 29th.

As long as I'm successful and deliver one healthy baby in nine months, I don't really care how much they muck up the plans on this end. :)

That's all for now.


Big Day on Monday!

Blood work and ultrasound at local clinic. Crossing fingers that I'll have a good lining and triple stripe. Of course, the retrieval is expected to be on or about June 20th (next Saturday) so I think I'd still have 4 days to improve whatever is going on in my uterus (not that I think it could be accomplished in 4 days!).

Monday is also my "pre-embryo regroup" with the doctor. And since Dr. Surrey is apparently not in, my meeting will be with Dr. Schoolcraft. I've never talked with him and though I've heard stories of his quiet, dry, all-business demeanor, I'm not really worried - I do very well with those types. So I intend to ask him about my donor's progress and by the time in the day we speak, he'll have had a chance to see the report from the morning on my blood work and lining so we'll be able to discuss that too.

My daily meds are: 5 units Lupron, 4 Vivelle patches (alt. days), 1 Estrace pill, 1 pre-natal vitamin, .75 mcg Synthroid (for thyroid) and 1 baby aspirin. Yet, I have to reiterate that this feels VERY far removed. Maybe I'll feel "in cycle" when I'm in Denver.



This is my third cycle. My first (March 2008) was with my own eggs and it was a colossal failure. My second (June 2008) was with donor embryos I felt so fortunate to be given. It resulted in a chemical pregnancy. Another failure.

But what those two cycles had in common was the reality of the situation. I felt it. I knew I was in cycle and that I was doing something very proactive and on the cusp of a potential pregnancy.

This time? Not. Boy I hope that's not a sign of anything ominous to come. Not that I believe in "signs" (I believe in good planning, intelligent decisions and some luck of the draw - whatever that means) but I can cave to superstition every now and then too.

Anyway, I really think the culprit of all of this is CCRM and their distant, chilly manner. I've posted about this very subject, I've commented on other's blogs about it. And, from an emotional standpoint - as long as it works - I don't care.

BUT, it's still tough, ya know? I remember my nurse saying to me on Monday when she called. Now don't go thinking she called me unsolicited - that has NEVER happened. In my nine month relationship with them (yeah, a pregnancy's worth without one single transfer yet), they called me unsolicited ONE TIME - just once - and that was to tell me I'd had a DE match 5 months later.

So, back to the call. She said that from this point on we'd be "glued at the hip." I chuckled and said, "that's okay with me" but deep down, I really doubted it.

Well, I don't know what they think "glued at the hip" means 'cause I don't hear from her any more than I did months ago - which is nothing. If I don't email with a question, I don't get a call.

Again, if this is just "the machine" working perfectly ("no news is good news") and so no need to call me and I wind up with a gorgeously successful cycle, WONDERFUL! But it would be much harder to take if - I can't even say the words....because then I would wonder, was "the machine" working properly? Did they just drop the ball? Was I not being notified of critical events? WTF was going on when I was in the dark?

I have an ultrasound on Monday so she and I will talk that afternoon - not only about me ('cause I'm hoping I'll be in a good place) but about the donor and what her follicles look like. She started stims yesterday (crossing fingers).

I think Monday will bring some better news on how this is all going and a retrieval date.

Oh...the point of this post...yeah, I really feel strange, like I'm not in a cycle at all.


Gift/Note to Egg Donor

So, I decided to ship the egg donor's gift out this week because I don't plan to be in Denver until the day after her retrieval. This way, the nurse will give her the gift.

I packed a cute pink pajama short set, pink slippers and ankle socks and a gift certificate for a spa massage. It was wrapped beautifully in a printed box with a huge blue ribbon.

The hard part was the note. I mean, if she were someone I knew who'd done this once - to help me - of course it would have been easier. But this is an anonymous donor who has donated 3 times prior. I feel silly - like she'll read the note and think, yeah, yeah, yeah, this precious gift I'm giving you, yeah, I get it already, I get it!

So I thanked her and there was some emotion and I reminded her that what she's given will last me my entire life - a daily reminder etched into my heart and a mark on the planet for which I am profoundly grateful. And I wished her a quick recovery.

Just got a call from my nurse. My donor had her suppression check today and starts stims on Wednesday. Approximately 10-11 days later will be the retrieval.

So, I'm going to book a flight to Denver on June 20th! EEK!


New chapter, new background

And it's pink...not that I'm hoping or anything! :)

But seriously, if I'm fortunate enough to sit on this comfy leather couch a month from today with a sweet, strong, healthy baby growing inside of me - I don't care what gender I get.



Yeah, I don't really have 'em yet. I mean, how fucked up is that, really?!

When I've asked, I get answers like "well, we won't really know until your donor's stim cycle and to see how it's going" and I swear, I know that is right and sounds reasonable. BUT, every single time I hear of someone doing a donor egg cycle, even two months out, they seem to have a retrieval/transfer date on the calendar. Granted, they might be a day or two off in reality but they appear pretty true to actual in the end.

As of yesterday, my donor hasn't gotten her period yet. Once that happens, she has a suppression check (I forgot what that is from my own IVF cycle) and then she starts stims. Then my nurse said, going by former cycles with her, she would be ready for retrieval about 10-11 days after stims start.

So, the tentative date I was given was around the 20th. And that's perfect for me. It's a Sunday. If her retrieval really does happen on that day, I will fly out that day or following day for Denver. I have hotel reservations for $59/night at same place as last time (TownPlace Suites). It was clean and nice enough and close by and free internet and I can't beat the price really.

I haven't made plane or car rental reservations and that has me a little uneasy but what the heck can I do? Fortunately, I have a LOT of mileage points and I will be upgrading to first class - at least on the return, if not both legs!

In a perfect world, she'll have her retrieval on 6/20 and on day 5, we'll transfer 1 perfect, hatching blast that becomes a healthy and beautiful little bundle in 40 weeks and I wind up with a dozen 6-day blasts in the freezer. Anything else is off script! :)


Consult w/CCRM

So...Dr. Surrey called this morning and we talked. He said, CMV is a harmless virus except in these situations:

1) immunocompromised patients - either by intended immune suppression in organ recipients or in patients with HIV, "of which you are neither" or

2) to a fetus

Then he went on to explain why and how harmful it can be, etc.

I told him that the list of sperm donors with my ethnic background was very low and if I used the CMV to screen them, I would have been left with no one. He said he wasn't surprised.

I also added that CCRM must see women frequently who are CMV negative and whose spouses are positive and that those ladies must absorb that risk. "Very good point," he said. He merely added that in that case, not using the husband's sperm is usually not a good option for them. I said, Well, even if a married CMV negative woman was to use CMV negative donor sperm (instead of husbands), it still leaves her open to infection by her husband any time throughout marriage/pregnancy (intercourse, kissing, etc.) and, again, "yes, that's very true." And he said I could reduce the risk to zero. I agreed that I could reduce the risk to zero during the transfer but I could never reduce it to zero unless I agreed to live in isolation throughout a pregnancy and that "I believe the odds are overwhelmingly in my favor, even if not 100%." Again, he agreed.

Ultimately he said he was pleased I'd done my homework and that, given all of the above, he was very comfortable with my decision and felt I was making the right one but that he had to "inform me of the possible risks, no matter how remote."

I did add this, which I have always intended to do "Dr. Surrey, should I be blessed with success, I fully intend to be tested for CMV every month for the first few, while I still have options" (and we both knew "options" was a euphemism for "abortion"). He said, "that's an excellent idea."

The reality is that if I didn't acquire CMV in the first 2 months then any CMV infection later on in the pregnancy would be from a source other than the donor.

In the end, I'm going with my donor, I will be tested for CMV during the pregnancy (yes, I'm being very hopeful! :) and I will have to be extremely judicious about hand washing - much more so than ever before.

You CMV positive ladies are VERY lucky not to have to worry about this! Sheesh!

(PS: Wanna know the kicker? During my IUI cycle early 2008, the donor was CMV positive and the donor embryos I transferred last summer came from CMV positive male sperm - and yet, I'm still CMV negative!)


I love you Estrogen!

Maybe it was all in my mind and I was expecting it to be bad but . . . Nahhhh! Lupron really does suck donkey balls! F'king toxic devil ju-ju.

I felt a difference within HOURS of the Vivelle patch and Estrace pill. YUMMMMMMY!

Last week, I - a normally tough cookie - cried my eyes out! I cried over my mom (which is legitimate and sad and doesn't discredit the fact that I MISS MY MOTHER AND SHE SHOULD BE HERE WITH ME!!!), I cried over fear, I cried over the chai tea I like (I DETEST tea with a passion - hate every single kind, all of my life, just learned I like Decaf Chai Tea!).

But the crying jags made it clear the Lupron had pulled out all the stops.

So now I'm good again! :)

Tomorrow I'm having new carpet installed on my stairway to the 2nd floor and upstairs hallway (the rest of the house has Pergo flooring but uncarpeted stairs scare the bejeesus out of my uncoordinated self). And a contractor guy is coming over to check out 3 exhaust fans and 1 ceiling fan he's being hired to replace. I'll also be working from home.

Next steps: Thursday AM - estrogen bloodwork, call with Dr. Surrey about the damned CMV. I also have to remember to ask him why the one and only u/s scheduled for me is on 6/15 with a potential donor egg retrieval for 6/20. I mean, I want another u/s to ensure my lining is right (thickness, triple stripe, etc.) before I sink a 1.5 inch Progesterone needle into my ass, which is irreversible in a cycle!


Back to public for a while! :)

I've noticed that my blog titles aren't updated after making myself "private." So, for a while, I'll be back to open access!

This makes sense, especially now that I'm in cycle!

Woo hoo - welcome aboard!


CD1 - The Donor Egg Cycle at CCRM!

Wow! F-I-N-A-L-L-Y, it's arrived.

So, on Sunday I reduce Lupron to 5 units (whew!) and add 1 Vivelle patch and a baby aspirin. Looks like my donor should start her stims late next week.

AND, Dr. Surrey wants to consult with me next week about my using a CMV positive sperm donor. Ugh! I already signed CCRM's consent on this which states "current knowledge of CMV is that there is minimal risk of exposure to myself receiving the donated sperm [of a CMV antibody positive donor]," but I'm sure he's dotting his i's and crossing his t's.

I posted about this a while back but I'll refresh the topic. CMV (cytomeglavirus) is a harmless virus that exists in the larger percentage of Americans (and upwards of 95% in countries like India). For most people, you're infected through casual contact and never even know it. A month or so later, you clear the virus and forever keep the antibodies. However, if you're immune suppressed or a gestating fetus, being infected with CMV can be extremely dangerous - even fatal.

Here's the rub: I'm CMV negative. I'm in the small population who has never been exposed to this. I wish I'd been exposed a couple of years ago so I'd have antibodies and be done with it already! Alas, I wasn't. My sperm donor, however, is CMV positive. Now, don't misunderstand - he was tested when he donated and though he had antibodies of CMV, it was of a former infection. But he was also tested for active virus, which he didn't have. No one is allowed to donate sperm or blood or eggs or anything with active CMV infection.

So, there is virtually no risk to my using sperm from a CMV antibody positive donor. But, because there is some theoretical risk of exposure to CMV (what if the donor's CMV reactivated somehow while he was donating - which is so over-the-top remote...), Dr. Surrey will want to make sure I understand there is a risk of this. Yes, I know. There is also a risk of lightning strike but I still had to drive in the storm home from work last week, you know?

Could I avoid the risk down to zero (it's probably .000000589% right now) for the IVF? Yes, I could - by choosing a CMV negative donor. BUT, there aren't that many negative donors and I had a hard enough time finding someone who fit the criteria (smart and with a similar ethnic background), never mind someone who is also CMV negative. And, I could NEVER reduce my CMV risk to zero throughout the pregnancy 'cause - well - 'cause shit happens and people sneeze around you and you never know. I just have to be extra vigilant about hand washing and being tested and hope that whatever has kept me from CMV for 42 years, will hold out another 40 weeks.

And my issue about this has always been the same, which I will raise with Dr. Surrey next week. Many women undergoing IVF are CMV negative with CMV positive spouses. And it means absolutely nothing unless the spouses have active infection and since everyone is tested at time of sperm "donation" (spouses or anonymous donors) for CMV antibody and active viral response, it virtually eliminates the risk.

Additionally, should I get a BFP 5 weeks from now, I will absolutely have myself tested AGAIN for CMV by the 9th week of pregnancy just to make sure I did not contract it at any point in time from now until then. More than that, I just can't do.

Anyway, I'm so friggen excited to cut this evil Lupron dose in half and slap on a Vivelle patch to balance me out, Sunday can't arrive soon enough! :)


Yes, Lupron is the DEVIL!

Not in my last cycle June '08. My doctor talked with me when I'd just incorporated estrace into the cycle (vs. just Lupron) and asked how I was doing - that she understood how awful Lupron is and I sort of tilted my head sideways like a confused dog "huh? no, it wasn't bad - I'm fine." And I meant it. Of course I felt somewhat "off" but given all of the shots, pills, ultrasounds, tests and writing big checks, you don't really know what is causing the emotional unsteadiness.

Not this time. This time is bad. I've cried several times since starting on Lupron last weekend. I feel angry and out of sorts and my stomach hurts (like if you ate too much, even when I've not eaten). But mostly I'm sad. I'm worried and doubtful and feeling some despair.

But here's the bright side: I think tomorrow will officially be CD1 and that means I'll be on estrogen patches and supplemental oral estrogen within days. And that ought to balance out the Lupron madness, so I can be a better version of myself.

I'll post and officially count off CD1 as, I think, that would be the official start of this, hopefully magical, cycle.


Lupron - one down, 3+ weeks to go....

It's been nearly a year since I injected myself with anything so the sensation was strange and I hesitated a little. Lupron needles are nothing, yet it looks immense when you haven't done it in so long.

Anyhoo, it's a good warm-up to the enormous PIO that's to come. :)


Lupron starts on Saturday

I had an ultrasound today to check on things and they said there might have been a teeny fibroid but they're not sure it's even that. I remember during my one-day work-up last October at CCRM, the tech does a doppler sonogram on you to see uterine blood flow, etc. and she wrote something in the notes about a possible small fibroid. When Dr. Surrey did my hysteroscopy about an hour later, he wanted to see if it was a fibroid and I heard him say, "That's what I think they were seeing," referring to something that looked like a small "fold" in my uterus. WTF is a fold, anyway?

Well, he said it was all clear. Today I didn't worry so much about this little thing because I think it might still be the same "fold." Anyway, it wasn't my nurse but another who was just going to show it to Dr. Surrey and make sure I was still good.

We'll see. Obviously, it would be pretty catastrophic if the cycle had to be canceled because I needed to have anything going on in the uterus. I'm trying to remain hopeful, however, that it's nothing.

I did ask the doctor at the local clinic (whom is a sweetheart I love) "is that something that would be bad for a pregnancy" and he smiled and gently shook his head "no." So, I felt better about this going forward.

So...back to the topic - Lupron. I start on Saturday and it occurred to me that once I start the Lupron, I will have injections every single day for the next 6+ weeks, hopefully longer as that would indicate success! :)


Another F'king Delay!

My nurse sent me an email that the donor got her period later than planned. Now the retrieval is expected week of 6/18 and transfer is expected week of 6/25 - the week of July 4th. This is EXACTLY what I wanted to avoid!

My gut never feels good about the working environment right at a holiday time - staff is lower, 2nd tier employees taking up the slack and the leads are not normally working.

I'm so angry about this! Never mind another week to wait.

I was matched on March 11th - even if we keep on schedule I won't be in my 2WW for 3 1/2 months after the match. And that's AFTER waiting 5 months for the match in the first place.

Holy shit! I'm so pissed, I cannot even tell you!


Tears on Mother's Day

But not for the reason you all may think. Sure I want to be a mom but I believe I will be - hopefully next year.

But not having my mom around was harder yesterday than most days. I visited her grave with my little dog Liv and cried my eyes out. I left her a bunch of carnations (she loved them) in lively deep pink, light pink and white. And I planted three little colorful pinwheels. Just in case there's life after death, she is damned happy about the attention - I just know it! :)

My mom's been gone two years in August and in many ways, I don't think I've ever even allowed myself to face it. My mother's gone, forever. No, I can't believe it. I bargain sometimes with the universe and say stupid things like, I wish I had ten million dollars and my mom back (minus the cancer and that her handicap were miraculously gone and I would buy her that awesome house and take her here and there and I'll go on for a f'king hour and then it hits me that she's not sick in her house or in my house or in the hospital. My mom is gone and won't ever ever ever come back and I cannot believe that, I just can't!

I drove out of the cemetery with Liv, crying my eyes out all the way home. It was the most beautiful day in NJ but the road looked treacherous through my tears, like there was a mad rainstorm. And I guess there was in my heart.

I really hope having a baby will make Mother's Day a little better for me.

This is convoluted for a dozen reasons (my family would agree!) but if I could have the above scenario (mom back with her health and physically well and the big lottery win so I could give her what she deserved), I would consider trading the baby pursuit for it. SEE, I just created a worthless bargain again.

I wish there is something more after this place, 'cause I really need to see my mom again. There's so much more I wish I'd said.

Hug your moms tight girls, please.


Going undercover!

Well, for those of you who read yesterday's post, you know my "secret" is out to a few people at the office. And I'm trying not to be overly paranoid by the DE part of this journey is really really really private to me and I'd like to keep it that way.

Aside from blocking search results leading to my blog (which I've done and yet I can still find it from google - ugh! It probably takes several days to take effect), I'm going to privatize the damned thing - which makes me sad because I really don't want to lose the lovely bunch of you who visit and send me a little love. I appreciate you all so much - only a fellow IFer can know! :)

Anyhoo, please send me an email to skygarrett@yahoo.com so I can add you to the list. You'll only have to sign in once then and check off "remember me" and I think that's it, it'll be open to you always in future.

Especially as I head into the next couple of months - when my cycle begins, the trek to Colorado, the outcome....I just really need not fear that someone, somehow in the office has come across it.

Thanks girls! :)))