Thursday, May 29, 2008

Looking for the Zen

You're not supposed to consciously try to achieve a Zen attitude. But I'm going for it today. On purpose.

The spotting stopped late last night, thank goodness. Yes, I stayed up to verify. I drank a literal bucketful of water throughout the evening and had a couple (4) creme-filled vanilla cookies for good measure.

DH was very good with me on the phone. He zeroed right in on the things that would logic (yes, I'm verb-ing that word) me out of unnecessary worry. When I said the disappearing symptoms and spotting could be nothing or everything bad, he gently ranted "You have no idea what they mean for you, right now, in this pregnancy. If it's not black-and-white, there is no reason for you to live in the worst possibility. And if the worst thing happens, we are prepared for that."

DH saying "we" are prepared got through to me. He's with me AND I can handle things. Then I said, only half-jokingly, "The spotting started right after I'd finally allowed myself to run out and buy a pregnancy book." DH replied, "Yeah. God hates that." Which made me laugh and shape up a little more.

The RE's office says there's nothing to worry about at present. It's good that the spotting was not serious, and it's good that it stopped. Plans for the 7-week ultrasound are still on. No need for me to go in unless something concerning happens. They don't really care about my disappearing symptoms, dang them. So I'm on my own for another 8 days. Knock on wood.

So, I'm doing my best to stay on task at work today (it hasn't been too hard) and to not think about the things I can't know. The dog helps. She just came into my office — for the third time — to sniff the new stack of library books I'm working with. That seems to be the main thing on her mind this morning. Her routine: Sleep a little, wake up and remember the new books, sniff them and think hard, grab a little water, settle back down on her bed, and do the whole thing over when next she wakes. She is very "of the moment," not thinking ahead and not thinking behind. I think she's onto something!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I was having such a good day

Yesterday I worried because some of my symptoms had faded. I've seen this happen to so many others — sometimes it's the beginning of the end, but many times it means nothing. Symptoms come and go. I persuaded myself to run with that explanation.

Today was a good day almost all the way through: Good energy. Clearest head I've had in a while. Productive workday. No pressing worries.

Then, after dinner, I started spotting. It's probably nothing. There's no pain, no cramping. It's very, very light. No red. So far I'm not freaking out, but I can't pretend to not be apprehensive. Vanishing symptoms PLUS spotting does not make me happy. It helps to know that it could be nothing. But that doesn't stop me from knowing it could be something.

I'll call Dr. K's nurse first thing tomorrow and let her tell me there's nothing to worry about. I'll also let her tell me to come right on in for a check-up.

Either way.

I'm IT

To be precise, I was it back on May 9, when Joonie "tagged" me to post the following meme. Didn't mean to ignore. I know I saw it, but it went in one eye and — poof — out who knows where!

Four things I did ten years ago (1998):
(1) Took a job I immediately wanted to quit. Stuck with it, though, due to the next item on the list.
(2) Bought my first house with DH.
(3) Interviewed a Bigfoot researcher who later donated his own skeleton to science.
(4) Assumed that — once we were ready, sometime in the future — conceiving a child might take a while. Like maybe a few months.

Four things I did five years ago (2003):
(1) Had my first fertility workup with an OB-GYN.
(2) Repainted the interior of our second house.
(3) Adopted a retired racing greyhound.
(4) Went off BCPs after 17 years.

Four things I did yesterday:
(1) Cleaned up doggie vomit. Poor pupper, but GAG!
(2) Placed holds on 10 library books I'll pick up later today.
(3) Found that the milk had gone bad.
(4) Confirmed my own pregnancy rumor for a good friend who lives 1,800 miles away. She'd overheard someone I don't technically even know describe an over-40, never-had-kids, IVF-doing Lisa MyLastName. When my friend butted in to say "Did you say Lisa MyLastName?", the non-acquaintance insisted that my friend couldn't know me. Hilarious!

Four shows I love to watch:
(1) Curb Your Enthusiasm. It is so uncomfortably funny.
(2) America's Test Kitchen. They have great recipes and good info about kitchen tools.
(3) The rotating Mystery series on PBS: Prime Suspect, Inspector Morse, Miss Marple, Poirot, you name it.
(4) The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Still makes me happy.

Four things I love to do:
(1) Write/read (sorry, cheating, but they are closely tied for me).
(2) Cook new things.
(3) Spend time with DH and the hound.
(4) Listen to jazz.

That does it. I'm supposed to tag a few new folks. I'm sure it's bad form, but instead of going out and finding bloggers who haven't participated, I am going to take the lazy route and invite interested readers to consider yourselves tagged! Just post the meme answers to YOUR blogs and then pass it on as you like. Easy!

Friday, May 23, 2008

No news has been good news

I've been a quiet blogger this week, probably because I'm all talked out about my "delicate condition" for the time being (I'm fielding daily phone calls from the family) — and also because right now I need to reserve the part of my brain that strings sentences together. Desperately need it for work.

It's been strange to have something cooking without DH here. We talk every night, but it's hard to really talk. So far he's missed my positive HPTs, two betas, constant nap cravings, first stretching-type pains, low-grade fever (short-lived), frequent trips to the loo, and the first losing of the lunch. (Technically, I lost my supper. All of it. That happened about an hour ago.) I saw a bit of trace spotting earlier, too, but I'm trying to put that one out of my mind. It was minuscule and can't be worried about. Everything, overall, seems to be going just fine.

My first ultrasound happens exactly 2 weeks from today. DH will be home then, thank goodness.

Monday, May 19, 2008

With a song in my heart . . .

. . . I borrow a line from Stevie Wonder to say, "Don't go baby, don't go baby; don't go baby, don't go baby."

Today's beta result is 559. That gives me a doubling time of 46.7 hours. My guarded reaction as I tried to do the math kinda disappointed the nurse coordinator who called. She'd clearly hoped to hear some serious whooping.

What can I say — it is HARD to switch gears from keeping my hopes tamped down and perfectly categorized under the heading "Ain't Gonna Happen." Elation is still a bit out of my reach, but I have jumped on the just-plain-happy wagon and will work on ramping things up after the shock wears off.

Tonight I send a message to my little cell blob:

"Tomorrow marks 18 days since you first started growing. Good luck forming your neural groove with pretty brain bulge on one end (assuming the wiki author actually got that right). I just know it will go well. In the meantime, this song is for you."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Beta result near end of rambling post

"Your insurance will pay for this one."

Today was the first time I'd ever heard that as I checked out at the clinic. It was an all-around strange experience because I saw all-new-to-me staff. The whole thing felt totally impersonal, but what are you going to do.

I got in and out of there in just a few minutes. Back in my car, I turned emotional fast. I just wanted to KNOW. I wanted to know today's result, and Monday's, and Wednesday's. And I wanted to see a sac during one ultrasound and a heartbeat during the one after that. I wanted to make it past 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 10 weeks, 12 weeks, 17 weeks, 22 weeks, and all the way through. I wanted to hear that first cry at delivery and be told "S/he's perfect." I wanted to proudly watch my child grow and learn and work and live.

I wanted all of that OR for everything to end with this afternoon's phone call. I wanted all or nothing, and I wanted it before sundown.

I didn't cry in the car, but I thought about it. I just felt robbed of getting to hope for things and also silly for thinking about all the things that can go wrong. Of course today's news wouldn't tell me anything beyond today's news. And I had to live with that. It's out of my hands. Still.

So I reminded myself that we'd come this far. That's despite one well-respected RE telling us he wouldn't treat us, another pointedly and pooh-pooh-ing-ly saying "I wouldn't" when referring to whether we should try again after our failed cycle, and the other — our primary RE — stressing to us (as she should have) that our chances for a pregnancy from this cycle were only 10% and odds that we'd get a take-home baby, if something stuck in the first place, were just 1 in 5. This far is good.

Despite all the grim possibilities that haunt me, this day, in the churning sea of wary, weary days leading up to it, has ended on a positive note:

At 14dpo/11dp3dt, my beta came back at 192.

That is real. That is solid. That is really solid. Of course it has to be monitored, along with many things to come. But right now things are good, and I can work on making it to the next benchmark.

Tonight, though, I will relax.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

8 hours till I'm on the road to beta

Yikes, I thought it was 10 pm, but I was wrong. I need to be in my car at 7 am tomorrow to ensure that I make it to my 7:45 beta draw on time. I'll be there. Then I'll have to drive back home, still in rush-hour traffic, and get ready to teach a class at noon. I tried doing the prep work for the class this evening, but that didn't work out. Instead I talked DH to sleep on a different coast, fielded a couple of calls from people wanting to know how I'm holding up (fine today, thanks), and ate a very large artichoke for dinner while watching The Office.

My brain is mush. I did a bunch of work and interacted with several colleagues today. But darned if I can tell you what I really accomplished. I'm a list maker by nature, but my lists usually fade into the background once I finish them. Today, though, I relied on a list to keep me going and, more important, to serve as a record of what I actually did. 'Cause without it, I was unable to reliably track anything. Guess my mind was otherwise engaged.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Breathing, chasing off the crazy

Wellllllll, the FRERs that had been in my bathroom cabinet for a while were the Early Result type. These are the ones that can, in some cases, give you a positive several days before your missed period.

The FRERs I recently purchased are called Rapid Result. Have you seen those? I'd noticed the title difference but didn't think much of it. I assumed it just meant the results came up faster. I had no idea — didn't read the box, too cool for that — that they are recommended for use on the first day of your MISSED period or "thereafter." They are less sensitive than the others. Apples and tangelos!

Good grief. Different tests + highly dilute urine + POAS victim who's not used to working with positives = bring on the crazy.

The Rapids are all I have left now. Saw a hint of something later last night, enough to settle me down. This morning's test is darker than yesterday morning's and also dark as my lovely Answer tests, which are of the "early result" variety.

Heaven help me. I've hung an "Out to Lunch" sign on my testing lab.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is it already over?

This is essentially the same text as a post I just did on my regular discussion forum:

I know I shouldn't be testing so much. I. Know. It. But I wanted comparisons for all 3 brands from yesterday. Then I was going to just maybe do one a day till Friday.

My Answer test from earlier this afternoon is ever so slightly lighter than yesterday's (the one I pictured). It's really almost identical, just a tiny hair lighter. I thought this was no big deal due to differences in dilution. In person it is very pink and very there.

BUT, something possessed me 2 hours later to do another FRER. It is a total BFN. No color, no line, no nothing. This morning's FRER was measurably darker than yesterday's. But this is as white as white can be.

Surely I should be able to see SOMETHING.

Is it now just over?

Why did I do this to myself?

Why can't anything be clear one day and clear again the next day?

A horse is a horse, of course, of course

And a line is a line — look at mine, look at mine!

This is from yesterday, aka 10dpo/7dp3dt:


I've frankly never understood why many in the POAS Club invert their HPT images; seeing it always kinda makes me chuckle. If you can see the line one way, you can see it the other way. Right? (That's why I used an inverted image of a negative test for the blog. My thinking was "no line is no line.") But I am determined to milk this new frontier for all it's worth, for as long as I have the privilege. So here's my same damn test inverted:

It is so, so, SO early. My beta test is still 4 days away, and I know anything can happen in the meantime. But right now I am pregnant. HPT lines darkened slightly today. For apples-to-apples's sake, I used both EPT and FRER each morning. I trust FRER the most — lines are pink and absolutely there but still too faint for a good photo. The pictures are from yesterday's late-afternoon Answer test, the most photogenic of the bunch.

I didn't post yesterday because I needed time to wrap my brain around things. Plus, I wanted to tell DH first! He's on the road, and I didn't get to talk to him until last night at 8:45. That was 15 hours after I'd hopped out of bed to just test already. I crawled back into bed at exactly 4:55, and I missed DH as I listened to a meditation CD and drifted back to sleep for a while. I dreamed that I was in a retail complex, looking for a drugstore so I could buy backup HPTs. No pants, no wallet. I ran back to the car because I remembered DH had wedged some cash into the console after paying for parking on transfer day. Would it be enough? Let's see, 2 ones (that won't help) and 1 $17 bill (yes!). And, oh good, I am wearing pants, they're just down around my ankles.

As I did my PIO shot later, with pj pants pulled down, I laughed at the dream and wondered what the deal was with the $17 bill. True, the 4-test FRER box I'd recently bought was $18.99, so the car-cash combo would have covered that (assuming no sales tax in Dreamland). But something about the number 17 was sticking with me. Then I remembered the work-related interview I'd given last week. It was a Q&A about how I got started in my business and when/how I made the leap to self-employment. I told the story of wanting to make the leap and waiting for the "right time." Of course I wanted to do so under sensible circumstances, which included having built up a body of solo work to point to.

One day, while doing my regular job, a potential freelance client called wanting to know how many of a particular type of project I'd done. "Quite a few, but let me put together a list and get back to you," I said. I was thinking 6 or 7. I hoped it would seem like enough to the client. Well, my final tally was 17. And I was stunned. When had I done all that? The answer was whenever I could, all the time, for several years. I remember that day because a switch flipped in my brain. I looked around my office, which I so deeply wanted to leave behind to pursue the type of work this client was offering, and I thought "Why am I still here? I'm already doing what I want. It's real. Time to admit it and act on it."

I liked that the dream helped change my initial reaction to an honest-to-goodness positive test: False positive. Faulty test. Tests done this early in the morning don't count. Figuring out that 17 connection made me refocus. There comes a point at which you have to believe what you see. If I see something else later, I'll believe that then. But a line is a line is a line is a line is a line. (One "line" for each test on my bathroom counter.)

Which reminds me — to Possibility, I must say, "Okay, then. Color me both surprised and corrected. PLEASE don't let me find out you've been messing with my head."

P.S. My FAVORITE part of yesterday was when I logged on to my email account and saw a note from DH with the subject line "Good morning, baby." He'd sent it at 4:51, my time — that's while I was watching the lines come up. So I felt like he'd been with me after all. His reaction to the news? A simply succinct "This is good."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Shaking it off

It's been 3 hours since my most recent IVF-2ww meltdown. I've cried. Stared at Meet the Press. Breakfasted. Showered. Injected. Hugged the doggie hard. Now I'm just waiting for the mall to open. Can't think of anything I need, but I'm willing to look around.

I'm not the least bit worried about seeing Mother's Day shoppers/brunchers/mothers, btw. My sincere feeling is that someone else's mommy-ness does not affect my fertility or failure to conceive. One thing has nothing to do with the other. In a funny way, I think being out among the living, and life-giving, will make me feel more normal today.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, no, I haven't given up hope. I will keep shooting up the PIO, prayingfor/visualizing success, and behaving as though I just might be pregnant until AF or seriously negative betas tell me otherwise.

BUT, I will not pretend that I don't *think* all my typical markers for an imminent AF aren't going to lead to AF. I'd just be lying. And throwing logic out the window.

Of course I know that anything is possible. It's possible that 1 + 2 will not = 3 this time. Perhaps what I always thought was 1 + 2 was actually always, say, 1.5 + 1.5 . . . or maybe what's really going on here is 1 + 2 for now and another + 1 will join the equation in the coming days, totally throwing evil 3 for a loop. (Still with me?)

So, cheers to you, Possibility. I will stand happily surprised and corrected should you make yourself known.

Why today? Well, why not.

I'm at 9 dpo, sort of, I guess. Since the whole cycle was "staged," the correct phrasing is that I'm 6dp3dt. What I know is that by either 9 dpo or 10 dpo in a natural cycle, my body clearly tells me that AF is on its way: I have a restless night; my chest deflates and any soreness goes away; my basal body temperature starts falling; and I feel a sensation I can only describe as uterine gurgling (I've come to decide it's the endometrium starting to break down).

All I can say to those tell-tale signs this Mother's Day at 5:30 a.m. is check, check, check, and check.

I don't write this to solicit a flurry of "don't give ups." I'd prefer not to get any. I just write what I know. I know it on the surface. I know it from years of cold, hard experience. And I know it in my heart.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday dance break

I'm hanging in, doing my best to keep hope floating near the top of my well of emotions. As a quick distraction, I searched YouTube for a couple of mood-lifting songs I associate with this cycle.

Every time I drove to the clinic this time, I played "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" by the Scissor Sisters. Kept it on Repeat. The upbeat music paired with world-weary lyrics just worked for me. This fun video features a series of Stephen Colbert dance clips set to the music. Try NOT to smile from the pinata scene forward.

On ER day, the Michael Buble version of "The Best Is Yet to Come" played as I got my sleepy-time IV. My parents had just mentioned seeing Buble's opening act perform. This was in the same call where they passed along all kinds of good hopes, wishes, and prayers for the retrieval, the cycle, and beyond. Hearing the song made me feel all those good vibes — from them, other family and friends, my online peeps. And that's as good a theme song as any. I honestly do believe that the "best" is out there for us, regardless of what happens in the next week or so. Check out Gene Kelly's moves in the video. I find them hypnotic this Friday afternoon.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

No totsicles

Heard today that our 2 "extra" embryos didn't make it to freeze. My immediate thought was that their demise reflects poorly on the quality of the ones we put back. But no good can come from mulling that.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My 4 embies

We were shocked to learn that we still had 6 embryos chugging along yesterday. We chose to put back 4. The other 2 were of lesser quality but not bad. We'll find out tomorrow whether they make it to the blastocyst stage and can be frozen for a future cycle.

I'll have to do a later post about both the ER and transfer experiences, but I'm not up for that today. (They were good.) Although I'm supposed to be on bedrest, I've just spent the morning dealing with "emergency" work issues. The non-emergent kind that come up only when some people remember you've taken a couple days off. The work wasn't physically taxing, just annoying. I need to get back to my feet-up/nothing-else-on-my-mind state for the rest of the day.

Here's yesterday's photo of our 4 little 8-celled wonders. Behold the miracles!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Transfer set for Monday at noon Pacific

Quick facts:
  • 7 of the 9 eggs were mature
  • 6 of the 7 fertilized with ICSI (I am VERY pleased with that number)
  • I've started PIO, Doxycycline, and Medrol (the latter helps with assisted hatching)
We're not getting a fertilization report today — just waiting till we go in tomorrow for a 3-day transfer. Dr. K feels that all 6 will survive and we will select the best-quality embryos from the group. She wants to put back 4 if possible. Again, no telling how many really will survive or what quality we'll be dealing with. But we have every expectation that we will at least get a 2ww out of this.

So, tomorrow I do my regular meds first thing, take Prometrium at 10:00, work on filling up my bladder as directed, have an acupuncture session at 11:15, meet DH and Dr. K at 11:45 for decision-time, have the transfer at 12:00, do another acu session right afterward (hoping there is a potty break involved), and then head home to hang out for the rest of the day.

Thanks for all the sweet good vibes — I have felt them!

Friday, May 2, 2008

9 eggs retrieved

Happy relief!

It's not over yet, of course. We'll get the first fertilization report late tomorrow afternoon. Another one sometime Sunday. Then, we dearly hope, we'll have a transfer on Monday.

More later. Back to resting I go.