February 23rd

The date for the endometrial biopsy is set after I finally got my period yesterday! The cramps were so bad at first that I had to double up on Midol and today I enjoyed the lovely experience of bleeding right through everything into my jeans. Thank goodness it was the end of the day and I just darted out of the office and came home.

So, tomorrow I start my Vivelle patches for this mock cycle.

My impatience over the extreme length of this donor match process at CCRM really hasn't improved. Again, I can acknowledge I was given a 6-9 month timeline but on several occasions I was told (by doctor and nurse) that it is usually around 4 months and much of the wait depends on my donor criteria. I barely had criteria. She must be proven, caucasian and with any eye color but brown. In two weeks it'll be 4 months I'm waiting.

Tick tock, tick tock.

I feel like my life is on hold, stand still. I can't make plans to go on a vacation because I want to be available when I'm matched. I can't even plan a vacation later in the year because, trusting this will work (I don't even want to imagine otherwise), I wonder when I will have to end all air travel.

To say this process is draining doesn't scratch the surface. You all know. Many of you have been where I am, and worse. What a club to be in!


Evidence in 2008!

Someone posted an image of their sharps in 2008 and I liked the idea so much, I dug out a picture of mine.

You can't see all sides but of what you can see, there's Gonal F (probably more expensive than liquid gold), progesterone injections and tons of the little Lupron needles.

I couldn't get rid of it. No one would take it - not CVS, not the local hospital, not Shraftt's (which is local to me in NJ) and I would never throw them in the garbage, though I can see getting frustrated enough that you would do it.

So, lucky for me, my best friend's husband is an Oncologist who has to dispose of sharps in his practice and when she was visiting with me, she offered to take them back home to Florida in her car and got rid of them. :)

I have one more bottle to fill this year and I hope I'm able to deposit those huge PIO shots while gleefully knowing I'm finally pregnant!


Irresponsible Assholes!

(DISCLAIMER: This is a very harsh and angry post - please DO NOT read if you're sensitive)

She had a fucking litter. Yeah, I'm definitely due for a period (reason for being this "harsh") and I was already a bitch on wheels about this subject before this latest affront to ART.

For starters, the only way this woman wound up with 8 fetuses is that she was likely undergoing an IUI when her doctor pulled the plug, given the high volume of mature eggs and, being pissed off and incapable of responsible behavior, she decided to go ahead and have sex anyway. Then this asshole refused to reduce, despite health risks to the entire pregnancy and herself and proceeded anyway, having birthed 8 premature babies (of course!) today.

I love Diane Sawyer and yet I wanted to slap her across the face today on Good Morning America for, again, cooing over the story of a moronic idiot who did such a blatantly irresponsible thing that costs the lives of hundreds (if not more) of children a year. But Diane loves to focus only on the stories with a happy ending, which only mislead most couples into believing that giving birth to a litter of babies is anything but playing Russian Roulette!

The most tragic stories are not the ones where the entire pregnancy is lost at 6 months (though it's heartbreaking enough!). The worst are the stories of high-order-pregnancies where 3 babies are born "relatively healthy," the 4th is diagnosed with cerebral palsy and the 5th languishes in the NIC-U on a ventilator for days but dies from agonizing respiratory failure.

But these assholes are hailed! Oh, poor young mother - and the church runs to help her care for her babies, wash their clothes, give the couple a "night off," gift them with a family van and donate diapers.

That's right! That's SO "The American Way!" Be irresponsible and you'll get a handout (corporate bailouts are an excellent case in point) but be a responsible woman who transfers 1 or 2 embryos if you couldn't fathom reducing, or reduce if the merely good 3 embryos turned into 5 fetuses and you get nothing. Diane Sawyer will not have you on to spread your responsible behavior. She will only coo if you do something incredibly dangerous, stupid and heartless. Makes me SICK!

And, ultimately, every single woman in need of ART will suffer - you'll see. Just like the idiot Indian woman who gave birth at 70, these radical wingnuts make it bad for all of us in the end.

At some point, lawmakers will be faced with such outrage from their constituencies, that they'll be poised to act. And then you'll see laws begin to surface that are intended to eliminate these extreme ABUSES of ART which will only add layers of red tape, time, cost and difficulty for decent women who wish to build their families responsibly.

Shame on Jon & Kate and shame on this new California woman (or feline!). I know it's very tempting to judge them after-the-fact because it turned out well for them but that's the completely wrong approach. Many people drive drunk out of their minds and don't kill anyone on the road but it doesn't make that behavior any less reckless and wrong. Likewise, just because these idiots played Russian Roulette with their children and won doesn't make them lesser assholes for playing the game in the first place!


The Plan

I have my annual pap in 2 weeks, exactly. I'm going to ask my doctor if I can take the following before the endometrial biopsy:
  • 3 Advil gel caps
  • 2 Midol
  • 1 Xanax
  • 1 Martini
Okay, laugh all you want but I'm asking. When I have severe period cramps Advil doesn't do a lick for me but if it helps swelling, can't hurt. For me Midol is my magic bullet, for sure - works miracles. The Xanax will help my anxiety and I don't know about you guys but a Martini dulls pain. Aside from that I'll be on antibiotics, which won't do anything for the pain but I need to make sure there will be no contraindications.

I think if I take all of that, I should be zonked out enough that it'll hurt minimally.

The one thing I'm not going to do is cancel the biopsy because I am very very very bad with regret. I know several women who wear rose-colored glasses in life and they wouldn't do the biopsy and if they received a BFN, they would never believe it could possibly be a missing integrin that was the factor.

Personally, they live happier lives but I don't believe they're realistic lives. Regret is good - it's what teaches to do better/differently next time.

I REFUSE to spend 30K for a donor egg cycle to wind up with a BFN and always wonder if I had no integrin and that was the cause. I couldn't live with that - just like I've never stopped wondering if my chemical pregnancy (from donor embryos that came from a donor egg) was a result of my hydrosalpinx. I had my fallopian tubes removed to ever avoid that doubt in future and I think that was a radical approach.

I love you girls, truly, for dealing with my madness and being so nice about it. :)


I just talked to my wonderful Gyn (who my old RE's office called a "top Gyn surgeon" btw). I'd called to brace him that I would be calling to set up the endometrial biopsy, etc. and I asked "is it going to be painful?" and do you know what he said? I mean, I expected the usual reassuring bullshit of "oh, just uncomfortable." But NOOOOOOOO! He said (emphatically and with much emotion in his voice) "YES, it's going to hurt like Hell!"

HOLY F***!

What led me to call him were all the comments on Stirrup Queen of the biopsy. OMG! Seriously, women there commonly refer to it as FAR worse than labor pains.

I even asked him "do women pass out?" and he said "oh, it's happened, I won't say it hasn't."

He recommended taking 4 Advils and even a Xanax.

Girls, what have I gotten myself into?

Anyway, he said "it's something you have to think about because you're the one going through the expense and going to Colorado for all of this." He said that sort of in support of doing it but agreed with Dr. Surrey that I didn't have much endometriosis based on the laprascopic surgery last September.

Ugh! I feel sick already.

I have my annual pap in two weeks (on 2/9) and I still haven't gotten my period but I am on Prometrium until tomorrow night. Can't wait to get my period and get moving forward.


I can't wait to get my period

Who wants a period? Ugh! No one except for the women of IF land. That messy, emotionally-laden, bloated time brings one good thing to the IFers - CD1, that's what.

All we do is wait. And when you haven't had a period for 6 weeks (with nothing in sight) and you need to get one to start a CD1 and get rolling with whatever you have coming next - for me, that's an endometrial biopsy to rule out a missing integrin protein in my uterus - you really don't want to be waiting extra weeks or months for a period.

I was usually regular - short, but regular (24-25 days) when a month before my 41st birthday in early December 2007, I didn't get my period for almost 2 months, which is what prompted my Gyn to give me the Day 3 testing panel (FSH, E2) and when that ugly 12.8 number was read to me. And this year, right along with my 42nd birthday, my period didn't come back the next cycle. Maybe it's some early menopause signs, which shouldn't be terribly surprising with an FSH of 22. C'est la vie!

I just want to get this awful test out of the way and get my results back and know a donor should be just around the corner. Verrrrrry much hoping! :)



Where do you ladies find all of the super cool templates? This one has no header for my blogger sign-in and I lost all of the sites I check every day (which I will be incorporating as soon as I figure out how to get a cool template that's from a good source 'cause I can't not have a direct link to all your awesome lives!)

There are worse things (TMI post!)

I have been taking Prometrium since Sunday afternoon to bring on a period. On Monday morning I was so dizzy and foggy and exhausted that I just knew that little pill had a hand in it. I emailed my nurse and she directed me to put it up my woo hoo - "in the top 1/3 of your vagina." Ack! Gross!

Tuesday morning I felt "much better" as she promised. But last night I felt like I was getting a yeast infection (which almost doesn't surprise me when shoving a pill up there). :( So last night I just took it orally and this morning back up the woo hoo. No more itchy feeling and maybe taking it orally in the afternoon and evening isn't a big deal 'cause I'm headed home vs. on my way into work where I need to have a clear head.

Honestly, I didn't like the PIO because it's a damned huge needle and the point of entry is tricky to do on yourself (though I did it) and I didn't think there were worse things. Wrong. I actually prefer PIO instead of feeling dizzy and unwell or getting a yeast infection.


Traditional Surrogacy

I came across a message board today in which a 32 year old woman was using her sister as a "traditional surrogate." So how this would work is that the infertile woman's husband's sperm would be inseminated into the surrogate sister and that sperm would fertilize her egg during her normal menstrual cycle.

Just the idea of the above makes me queasy. What a recipe for disaster!

For decades, maybe longer, traditional surrogacy worked beautifully for many families. But they are also inherently wrought with enormous issues and there have been some pretty big landmark cases where they failed miserably. Baby M comes to mind - but that was in the mid 80's, when there was no other choice for families. They took chances that we don't ever need to consider today.

The idea that I could carry a child from an embryo that has no genetic tie to me whatsoever and hand it over after I've loved and cared for it inside of me for 9 months is unfathomable. Now imagine it also being your own egg, your genetic offspring and handing it over.

RECIPE FOR DISASTER! (yeah, it bears repeating!)

Granted, I don't have a sister (I am an only child) and maybe some of you would tell me that you could easily provide not only surrogate for your sister's baby but that you would even use your egg.

Wow! Sisterhood must be a love more intense than I think I could feel for anyone but my own child, that's all I can say.

Your thoughts welcome.


Endometrial Biopsy Here I Come!

So I spoke with Dr. Surrey this week. I had a list of questions for him and he answered them all, quite fully.
  • Endometrial biopsy: From the post operative report of my laparoscopic surgery last September, he doesn't feel I had very much endometriosis at all and that I also did have a chemical pregnancy so I had some degree of implantation. Basically, his experience tells him I'm not missing the integrin but said it would be the only test that hasn't been done on my chart. So, I'm doing it - even though I'm scared shitless and I know I'll be a wreck, I'm going to do it. Furthermore, I'll be doing another mock cycle so my uterus is in the same hormonal place it would be when I later do the donor egg cycle. No biggie - I'm good with that.
  • Saline sonogram: He doesn't think I need it since everything checked out good during work-up in October and must have stressed it 3 times but because I still would feel more comfortable to do, he's fine with ordering it.
  • FDA Infectious Disease Testing of donor within 30 days of her retrieval. I wanted to be sure they do it the way it needs to be done so that I can donate all leftover embryos down the line. He assured me that's standard protocol, whether I was going to donate or not. Good.
  • Immune disorders, clotting disorders, etc. - he doesn't feel there is a need and that it's all very controversial in its relationship to fertility, or lack thereof. I let this one go.
  • CGH Testing on "proven" Donor Eggs: I asked if this would be worthwhile. His answer "absolutely not." I'm okay with not doing it and saving myself 5K unless he thought it could yield real benefit.
  • Vitrification: they don't use it on every cycle - only those with CGH testing. Reason being, this new freezing method is still being researched and though it looks promising, they don't have any long-term results - so, how would this affect embryo quality for thawing 3 years down the line. He said their FET's using the regular freezing method have worked well and they'll stick with that for the time being.
  • ICSI: They use it quite routinely on donor sperm, given they were frozen. :( I was hoping I'd get 2.5K back. Oh well.
  • My period. I haven't gotten it in probably 5 weeks, even though I'm usually a 24 day girl. He said, "no problem, we'll get you on Prometrium and you'll have a bleed at the end of that." Is it just me or is it a little tiny bit odd to talk with a man about your period?
And, finally, I asked if this was in any way going to mess with my spot on the donor waiting list. He, emphatically, said no. Whew! 'Cause that may actually have made me reconsider all of it, particularly that Dr. Surrey is not on the same page as me on needing the biopsy in the first place.

Seriously, WTF has EVER requested a biopsy?! Yeppers, silly me. I think I'll schedule the day off so I can recover afterward.

Ten minutes after the call ended, my awesome, sweet nurse called to get the ball rolling on calling in scripts and sending me a "kit" for the biopsy - I wonder what that's about?

Well, I did close by saying to my nurse "please tell me there's an influx of donors out there" and she said that yes, there was quite an increase and then I just asked, more bluntly, "please tell me I'll be matched soon, I'm almost a hundred for goodness sakes!" and she laughed, "it won't be too much longer."

I'll be happy if I'm matched in the next 6-8 weeks. Sooner and I'll do a cartwheel!



Mine are back, with a vengeance!

I lived my entire life without even understanding what all the fuss was about until . . . until January 2005. I began to have an itchy palate. It was bearable for about a week before I couldn't even sleep because of the itch. As gross as this sounds, I would keep a spoon on my nightstand so I could scratch it at 3 AM when I would awaken with teary eyes, itchy nose and an uncontrollable itch in my soft palate that felt like Chinese water torture.

I saw 2 doctors who basically shrugged "sounds like allergies, take some Claritin." Really? 'Cause that wasn't the first thing I thought to do. By the time I'd seen these guys, I'd taken every allergy med I could think of. I was beyond despondent and hadn't slept in weeks.

Ironically, the 3rd doctor I saw was a D.O. (doctor whose approach is rather holistic) and I've never had much faith in that route (mostly 'cause that crap never works on real ailments!). Now, this story has a bit of irony to it. Irony #1: the holistic doctor absolutely found my problem (nasal polyp) when the mainstream guys did not and Irony #2: the holistic doctor did not send me away with frankincense and murr as I expected but rather a prescription for Nasonex (as blue blood heavy FDA approved, regular pharmaceutical drug as you can get!).

That was a Sunday. I'll never forget it. I used it before bed (my attacks were worse after I went to bed) and by Monday morning I was 80% better. Within a week, I was 100%. A nasal steroid literally saved my sanity. I slept for the first time in weeks.

Two months later I saw an immunologist and had a bunch of tests run to find I was allergic to trees, pollen, dust mites, feathers, dogs and the worst one - the very worst - ragweed. Well, I can try to avoid all of them (and do when possible) but a life without a dog is no life I want to be a part of. I'd rather live on nasal steroid addiction but I won't even have a brief discussion around a solution whereby my dog and I would part. That's just crazy talk!

For about a year I visited the immunologist twice a week and was injected 2-4 times each visit. If it helped, it wasn't much. But, truth be told, my allergies have been minimized the past 3 years and the itchy palate is a distant memory. Until today.

This morning I woke up with an itchy palate that's plagued me throughout the day. Tonight I met my friend N at the ice rink where her daughter was skating and it was all I could do not to grab a plastic utensil from the hot dog vendor and scratch away. I think I have some leftover (expired, but it'll be fine, I'm sure) Nasonex - I love that damn bee - in my nightstand that'll get me through a couple of days. But I am going to have to see a doctor for a new script, just in case, which brings me to a new subject.

Is it just me or do you ladies also not have a G.P.? Maybe it's being so worn out on RE's and Gyn's and surgeries and blood tests and the cooter cam that I feel like, Enough already!


Wanna Giggle?

Now I must remind my readers that I have taken great pains to educate my friends about fertility, the biological clock, the one-in-a-million potential for a 46 year old woman to conceive with her eggs using IVF, never mind naturally. And even though I am now "only" 42, I've told them a 42 year old with a single-digit FSH has a small chance of conception WITH IVF and even if it's successful, she has about a 40% chance of miscarriage, given the likelihood of a chromosomal abnormality with the embryo. They also know I had my fallopian tubes removed to greatly reduce the risk of implantation failure and miscarriage.

So last week, while out to dinner, sipping a cold Corona light, my girlfriend V asks "Sky, have you ever considered just stopping all of this, meeting a guy and getting pregnant the natural way."

BHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! C'mon, you can laugh out loud, I give you permission! I did. I was even embarassed to - I didn't mean to make her feel stupid but the comment just floored me. I didn't even know how to reply without making it worse.

"Well, I think natural conception is a closed door in this life for me - remember, I have no fallopian tubes." Clearly she'd forgotten that as she then cocked her head and said "oh yeah" then added "but why not just meet someone and do the IVF thing with him."

And it occurred to me then that this is exactly why women will continue to follow in the footsteps of their infertile sisters, even when every single attempt to educate them has been made. No matter what they're told, they ignore it - seems too impossible to believe. As long as a woman has a period, other women will believe - despite fact, science and evidence to the contrary - that she can still conceive naturally. Ugh!

I wanted to scream - I'M 42, I HAVE A HIGH FSH AND NO FALLOPIAN TUBES!!!!! The chance of my meeting Vince Vaughn, his falling in love with me and our getting married is leaps and bounds greater by a million orders of magnitude than my ever having a natural conception. In fact, even if I had 500K to devote to a genetic baby and CCRM were willing to blow their stats letting me try, it's unlikely it would work. If you don't believe me, Google Alexis Stewart (daughter of Martha Stewart) who's blown 28K/month for years at the top infertility centers, using experimental treatments and consulting with the world's leaders in infertility trying - yet no baby. She's not the exception, she's the fucking rule for women our age!

@#$%^&*()$! Women just DO NOT GET IT!

Exasperated, I took a bite out of my burger, had a sip of beer and rendered the process of educating other women hopeless!


Thank you!

I read each and every comment on my last post regarding having an endometrial biopsy. I will call Dr. S to discuss this as well as a few other items I have that are outstanding.

Jill, that study - though a statistically small sample - sort of pushed me over the edge. The one thing I've found is that you can have the integrin one month and not another - which concerns me. I intend to ask Dr. S if it would make sense - just to be safe - to run the Lupron therapy for the 3 months prior to the transfer.

The very last thing I want is to spend this fortune and fail only to then wonder if it was a missing integrin, if it was an immune problem, if it was whatever. If I wanted to spend another 5K, I would actually ask to have CGH testing done on the embryos (which isn't totally out of the question for me), though I think Dr. S might say it's a gross waste of money when using young donor eggs.

I don't want to leave a single thing to chance.

Again, thank you all for helping me to achieve clarity here. Where would I be without the other ladies of infertility who've been down this road before me?


Endometrial Biopsy - should I?

I've been thinking about this lately. When I had my 1-day work-up at CCRM, Dr. S asked if I'd had one. I said I hadn't and asked what it was. He said something about checking for alphavbeta3 integrin expression. What?! So I asked if I should have this done and he said "no, I doubt you're missing this." Then I asked if it hurts and he said "well, most women don't thank you for it."

Okay, that was sort of enough to get me off the subject but I've never really let it go in my mind.

I don't want to make it seem as though IVF with donor eggs is in any way more "special" than IVF with your own eggs or that I'm more worthy of succeeding than someone doing regular IVF. BUT I do want to say that I make this distinction: IVF with donor eggs is unfuckingbelieveably expensive and if I have to endure some pain to ensure I'm not missing some protein that has a very simply remedy (3 months of Lupron Depot), why not just do it, you know?

I never had my post-one-day-work-up consult with Dr. S - mostly because I didn't think I needed it. But I think I should have it. I have some questions - a small list actually - and maybe this would be a good time to have them addressed.

As for you other ladies out there in IF land - whether you've done IVF with your eggs or donor eggs:
  • Have any of your doctor's recommended an endometrial biopsy? If so,
  • Did you have one? If so,
  • Did it hurt? If so,
  • How badly on a scale of 1-10.
Many thanks, in advance, for giving me your comments and advice.


Happy New Year!

To all of the ladies who've received their BFP's in the last few months, 2009 will bring you the greatest joys!

And to those of us working towards that BFP, may it be just around the corner!