And so it goes…

Our 4 year anniversary cycle was not to be. I do feel like it’s the best shot we’ve had, but alas, letrozole cycle #2 has failed. I got my period yesterday and went in today for a follicle check to be cleared to start letrozole again this cycle. Things looked ok, although it seems there is still a little bit of a cyst on the right side, but he said I was ok to take the meds again starting tomorrow.

Ach. Yesterday was disappointing, but sadly, not surprising. Despite knowing that we can make a viable embryo, and that I can carry a baby successfully, it just doesn’t work for us. My OB thinks it’s probably the eggs and sperm just not getting together for whatever reason. We can do an IUI, but honestly it just feels like a waste of $600+. I decided not to this cycle because the timing seems like it could be too tricky with teaching, but told him we might do it next cycle. I need to call the place where they do it to find out details, but the nurse today mentioned STD testing- we have of course, done it all, but I’m not sure if it’s been too long since then…

My disappointment pales in comparison to my friend who just learned that their trip to transfer their last two donor egg embryos didn’t work. I’m really shocked. She did everything, and I mean everything to try for another successful FET. Intralipids, a D&C instead of just endometrial scratching, infrared saunas, acupuncture, massage, chiropractor, and I’m sure I’m forgetting more… not to mention traveling from CA to Eastern Europe and many expensive medications and supplements.

This journey is not for the faint of heart. It is hard, it is heartbreaking, it is unfair, it is painful, and it is costly in many ways.

Speaking of cost, I just found out my HSG is likely going to cost us another $600+ for a total of $851. I spent a few hours on the phone with the OBGYN office, the Imaging office, and the insurance office to try to straighten things out yesterday (on my day off from teaching), but it seems unlikely they will cover any of it. Since the HSG is associated with infertility, it is automatically on the ‘not covered’ list, even though my OBGYN tried to code it for the abnormal bleeding issues etc. and it initially looked like they would cover part of it.

On a happier note, my husband was offered a job in New Zealand! We are pretty amazed and bewildered as it’s something we’ve been talking about for literally years. And it has just sort of happened really quickly over the last couple of months, and now it’s ours for the taking! It feels very daunting thinking about all of the logistics of moving there- what will we take, what will we not take, what will we do with things we don’t take, will we be there for a few years or forever? So many questions! And crazy to think our lives could be completely different in just a few months.

Of course we looked in to fertility related things, and it seems like I might be able to qualify for covered IVF there, but I would have to be referred before my 40th birthday, which gives us until October. My low ovarian reserve and the fact that we have a living child could count against us, but if we did qualify, I would probably give it another shot. I just really don’t know if lightning could strike twice for us. Even if it’s not covered, it seems like it would be less expensive there if we did pay for it, but I’m not sure how the options and details compare.

Anyway, lots of big decisions in the weeks to come!

Thanks for reading. Leaving you with some wild flowers because that’s better than a photo of my empty uterus, am I right?

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Sick Day at the Beach & Anniversary Eve

What is that they say about best laid plans? Oh yeah… so school and soccer and everything else that could have happened today fell by the wayside when the little one woke up with a low fever. She wasn’t acting like herself. Of course after I notified the school that we wouldn’t be coming I second guessed myself a bit because she seemed to perk up, and the fever was still quite low… We headed to the beach to enjoy the beautiful day for a bit because she wanted to do ‘something fun’ and after about 5 minutes of playing in the sand this happened! IMG_4190.jpg

Now when she was a wee munchkin she used to nap at the beach fairly often, but these days, unless she’s sick, it’s pretty unheard of. So this solidified for me that I made the right call! So much for getting a full day of work done! Although, she did take about 2 more naps after this one, so I did manage to grade 2 papers (and should be grading another one now, which I will shortly… sigh).

Though it’s been little more than an occasional ‘oh yeah’ moment over the past few weeks (I did mention things have been busy!), our 8th wedding anniversary is tomorrow! I was just reflecting back a little bit on my past posts and realized that 4 years ago, on our 4th anniversary we were about 5 days away from finding out I was finally pregnant with our sweet little babe. Hard to believe! Though the timing is a little different and the processes are pretty drastically different, I find myself back in the TWW all these years later. It would be pretty amazing if this turned out to be a lucky one for us…

Anyway, I just wanted to write a quick note to mark the occasion as tomorrow I’ll be working late and my husband will be jet lagged- he’s STILL making his way back from his 1/2 way round the world whorl wind job interview- and my daughter will probably still be a little out of sorts. So, not sure when or if we’ll do much celebrating, but it is a big deal. We’ve had our highs and lows, but I think we still make a pretty great team. And we may soon be taking on some big new adventures… we shall see!

Thanks for reading!

And so the wait begins… again

Friday and Saturday went pretty amazingly well. On Friday, the little one napped before my husband left, so we got in our last try, and I got my stitches out and all was well. On Saturday we made it to acupuncture and she was thoroughly entertained with the toys that she and I had picked out so I got in somewhere around 30 min of acupuncture time- she definitely could have played there longer too! Then we went off to see a ballet with some friends so it was a pretty special day (she’s currently in love with ballet- mostly the Nutcracker, but this one was exciting too!), and good way to keep busy with daddy gone. I’m still flying solo in the parenting department but he’ll be back tomorrow night.

After all this time, I’m not really sure what I should be doing now to try to maximize chances of hopefully fertilized eggs dividing and traveling down toward my uterus. Is there anything I can do? Other than keep taking aspirin and try to focus on things that could help implantation? Should I still take the mucinex stuff? I haven’t been… I should review my FET #2 protocol too, except the things I feel like probably mattered most (if anything we did mattered), were the endometrial injury and the intralipids. It’s too late to do the former and seems a bit extreme to do the latter at this point in time… but maybe I should think more about that one.

As far as side effects, I feel like there are some hot flashes I get on on the letrozole, and sometimes headaches. The Ovidrel seemed to cause some uncomfortable bloating/constipation, which was most uncomfortable Friday, then better by Saturday.

I’m a bit stressed about work, so the plan is to take my daughter in for an extra school day tomorrow so I can hopefully finish these lab reports that have been hanging over my head for over a week now (and I’m only half way done). She started coughing today though, so I’m really hoping that will blow over and she’ll be ok for school. Fingers crossed we both get sleep tonight and she feels good in the am!

I’ll sign off with a picture she drew this morning- it looks to me like a cell, although she said it’s a stage. I just had a thought that maybe, just maybe, it could represent a little zygote that could become her sibling! Now that would be cool!

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And now we wait… Thanks for reading!

Another Shot

I really was not in the headspace of doing shots again… definitely some old feelings creeping up as I sat holding the needle ready to inject it into my belly. I was originally thinking that the trigger was going to be a shot to the back side and that my husband would be doing it. Once we looked up some instructions we realized it was on me (I’ve always done the belly shots myself). It’s been literally years (4 to be precise) since I had to give myself a shot and it felt a little intense- I needed a few minutes to wrap my head around it, but I did it!

As shots go, this was pretty simple. Luckily we still have a pretty full box of alcohol pads to clean the skin, and the syringe comes pre-loaded, ready to go (refrigerated), just take off the cap, check for air bubbles and push up a drop, squeeze some flesh near/below the belly button (I went on the lower left side a little over an inch away), go all the way in with the needle, release the skin, and slowly-ish inject the drug. Then remove and cover, and press gauze (I didn’t have this so used a folded up tissue) on the injection site for a few minutes.

Here I am with the needle, and yes I’m wearing x-mas jammies in April- my daughter’s choice to wear some we all had that matched!

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Our trigger shot was Ovidrel, which I’d been reading a little about some Drs. not thinking it’s a high enough dose so I just hope it’s doing what it’s supposed to do. We did it at 11:37pm last night (I know, we’ve been staying up too late!), so the ovulation should be around that time Friday morning. Fingers crossed we get my LO to take a nap so we can get our last attempt in tomorrow afternoon!

I’m also getting my stitches out tomorrow on my hip, so hopefully that will go well. It’s still pretty sensitive, but healing well (I think), and hopefully I won’t need to wash it and change the bandage twice a day after that (the only way I figured out how to do it effectively was in the shower, so I’ve had a lot more shower time this past week than usual… which is probably not altogether a bad thing, but won’t be so easy with my husband gone)!

Saturday I’m hoping to squeeze in an acupuncture session… but with my 3 year old with me!! My acupuncturist suggested it, I really have no idea how this will go, but we’ll try to get something in, even if it’s quick- she even said she wouldn’t charge me! I need to think of some things to bring to keep the little one entertained (and I mean super entertained), because I really don’t like to move at all while I have needles in! I’m not sure this is going to be possible, but I guess we’ll try!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

What the trigger shot?!

And just like that, infertility is starting to take over my life again… and I really don’t have time for it!! I have a million things to do from grading to class prep to time with my 3 year old to I can’t even think about what else… but somehow this has crept in and become a little more of a big deal.  At least that’s how it feels at the moment.

As I mentioned in the last post I finished my letrozole on Saturday (day 7), and had my follicle check today (day 11). I’ve been so busy the past few weeks, I feel like I barely got in my 5 doses (one was definitely a bit later than the others), and I just haven’t really been able to put much mental energy into it. I did manage to squeeze in an acupuncture session after work yesterday, so that kind of kicked things off.

Today I didn’t really have any expectations, just was curious to see how the follicles looked. First, the lining looked good, measuring at 10mm. He found one BIG follicle on the left (25mm), and then another pretty big one (19mm), and then over on the right 2 more! One at 18 and one at 17mm. So 4 potential follicles that could contain eggs that could release and give us chances something might stick- pretty exciting considering I only got 6 eggs from the IVF cycle. Anyway, of course there are many things that could prevent 4 eggs from actually developing and releasing.  And even more things that could keep them from actually fertilizing and developing into a healthy baby… but 4 chances sure sounds better than 1! In reality, the big one may actually be too big, and the smallest one may be too small, so it may just be the 2 in the middle that have a real shot. The only negative thing he found was a cyst on the right side in addition to the follicles. I’m not sure exactly how bad this is yet…

And some follicle pics of the big one on the left and 2 things on the right (not sure if one of those is the cyst?):

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So I left just thinking we’d track ovulation and that would be it. I told my acupuncturist I’d call and give her the update after my appointment and she brought up the idea of a trigger shot- which I’d actually had on the tip of my tongue, but didn’t ask about during the appointment. She thought it might help with getting more of them to mature and release. I called back my OBGYN and he said he didn’t really think that was the case, but since my husband is going out of town he was open to doing the trigger shot to help make sure I ovulate before he leaves. So I filled my husband in on all of this and we had the whole should we or shouldn’t we conversation, and I talked it over again with my acupuncturist, who offered to ask one of the RE’s at the fertility clinic across the hall from her office about it. S/He thought that the trigger shot would be a good idea, and that it could help keep any extra follicles from forming cysts going into the next cycle, which sounds good to me. My OBGYN had mentioned that this could happen and that he’d want to check me before doing letrozole again after having this many follicles this time.

So, another $107.00 and 45 minute (each way) drive to the pharmacy, and we have procured a trigger shot! Ugh, and I thought I was steering clear of shots! It’s an Ovidrel trigger shot (250μg), which we’ll probably do tonight(?) in hopes of ovulation 34-36 hours later so that we can get in one more try before my husband literally takes off half way around the world! We are definitely rusty at doing shots- it has been a few years! So I guess we’ll have to look up some videos online! I figured they’d give him some instructions when he picked it up, but apparently not, and for some reason he didn’t ask! I was just looking through my blog for some insight but I don’t think I wrote much about trigger shots specifically, since I didn’t really start this blog until after we did the IUIs… and by the time I got to trigger in IVF there had been so many other shots it just kind of slipped through the cracks!

Anyway, wish us luck! Here’s to hoping one of these 4 follicles has an egg capable of turning us into a family of 4! And that everything else falls into place to make that happen!

 

 

Catching up…

No I haven’t dropped off of the face of the Earth, but life has been a bit crazy since my last post! To pick up where I left off (I think), I did the sonohysterogram, sandwiched in between my two spring break trips- woohoo!

It didn’t go as well as the HSG had gone. I did it with the same imaging group, but at a different office location because it was the only place they could fit me in. Things went badly right from the start. I walked in and they said I was late- because they somehow changed the time of my appointment even though I’d received several messages confirming the original time- and then they told me I’d have to pay a huge copay- more than for the HSG even though I thought this was supposed to be a covered procedure- it was $488!! Ugh. So, after that great start I wasn’t exactly in the best mood. The procedure itself was ok, not fun (I forgot to take any ibuprofen so that probably didn’t help!), and maybe took a little longer than the HSG.

The most disappointing thing about it all was that the Dr. said he didn’t find anything. No explanation. I guess I really wanted an explanation because this hit me harder than I thought it would. I was fighting back tears on the drive home. I know not finding something is not bad, it’s just that not having any reason for the strange bleeding, and of course the lack of pregnancy despite our recent efforts, felt bad. I really wanted to find something that had a solution, something to fix. Here is one of the images, honestly, it’s been a few weeks and I barely remember what’s going on in there, but they said the lining looked good… blah blah blah.IMG_3132 2.JPG

So, on to a more fun topic, the spring break trips were great- the first one was with my college girlfriends and was really fun- actually more so than I thought it would be. It was really nice to see them, they are pretty amazing women and I’m so glad they are my friends, even though most of us don’t see or even communicate with each other all that much lately. Next was a trip to Hawaii with my little family, which turned out to be busier than I’d expected, but was a lot of fun. My OBGYN called to go over the test results while I was by the pool at the resort and it was super windy and hard to hear him and I’m not sure exactly what we decided, other than going back to letrozole/femara for a few(?) more tries. I feel like he’s leaning toward pushing me to see an RE soon…

So to fast forward to today, teaching has been nuts, lots of grading, testing, field trips etc. and it may not slow down much until the end of the semester, so I wanted to get this in before the details fade even more from my crowded mind! I took my last dose of letrozole for this cycle last night and of course my husband has to travel right about when I’m supposed to ovulate (because nothing works out the way it’s supposed to!)- but this is a very exciting trip- an interview for a job on the other side of the planet that we have been wanting to happen for quite some time- more on that later! So, I suppose I ought to get on top of ovulation tests. I’ve missed out on acupuncture for this first part of the cycle I think, but hopefully I can pull something off before it’s too late?! Oh, and I finally had the surgery a few days ago to remove any remnants of that crazy cyst on my hip. It flared up 3 times in all (I think), I don’t think any of them were actually infected (despite my long antibiotic stint), and I felt like it was still waiting to flare again so I finally went for it, and now it’s gone. Somehow, this made me a little sad too- I guess I just don’t do well with surgery in general or things being removed from my body in particular? I don’t know. But now I have a bit of extra wound care to remember to do at least until the stitches come out at the end of the week.

Yesterday was a very big day for 3 of my good friends who are trying for their second little one- two of them started IVF injections (after having no problems conceiving #1), and the other flew off to eastern Europe to transfer their last 2 donor egg embryos. These are exciting and nerve-wracking times for them, and I hope all goes well. But at the same time, it leaves me feeling like we’re not doing enough. I know we could do more. Honestly, a lot of it comes down to the financial side for me, and the really bad experience of the retrieval, and just not feeling confident we would get lucky again. I don’t feel like we can justify spending that kind of $ that could be going towards other important things, like a house (someday)! I don’t know, maybe I should be doing more now before it really is too late (if it’s not already). I’m considering doing a consult with a mini-IVF RE, mostly to see what he thinks our chances are of success, and what sort of strategy he would recommend.

Thanks for reading, despite all of my rambling- it’s way past my bedtime! Good night and good luck to all. :-*

So I CAN get a positive ovulation test!

I decided to take the timing recommendations in my ovulation test directions more loosely this cycle and instead of between 11am and 4pm I did them when I thought things might be happening, and I did it! I got a positive! Right before my husband had to go out of town. So we got in a couple of tries in between the HSG and his trip… I know, I know, it won’t make a difference, because nothing we do does… but at least I feel like I’m not messing things up this time!

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On a less enthused note… The last few days I’ve been feeling more and more like just giving up… and it’s only February… we were supposed to rally for this whole year! I am feeling like the chances are just so minuscule it’s probably not worth the effort. I mean it took IVF before, and we were so lucky that one of those tiny embryos became our healthy baby girl…

I do feel armed with a lot more knowledge this time around, about the various options we have, about the need to advocate for ourselves, about my own body- what I’m capable of going through, and the fact that I now know I can sustain a healthy pregnancy- something I definitely wasn’t confident about before. At the same time, the odds against us succeeding just feel so overwhelming. I won’t let myself throw in the towel yet, but it’s hard. I wonder if we are meant to be a family of 3, and could we really handle another baby anyway, can I physically do it all again now that I’m pushing 40- the minimal sleep, etc? I don’t know. Like I said before, I won’t be devastated if it doesn’t happen, but I do want to feel like we did our best (short of going through IVF again at this point).

Thanks for reading, and Happy Valentine’s Day!