IVF #1 – Cancelled.

Yeah, cancelled. A weird, strange turn of events and I’m a variety of emotions right now. Basically, what happened is, when I started the shots (follistim) I responded too well, and my estrogen shot up way too high, before my follicles had a chance to catch up and grow. Then it was a game of playing with my dose, and in doing so, they lowered it to bring down my estrogen to catch up with my follicles. The estrogen dropped, but it actually plummeted, so much so that even as my follicles grew, my estrogen never came back. I spoke to my actual doctor on the phone yesterday, and he said my ovaries are very sensitive, obviously, and next time, they would start me on a much lower dose and build it gradually.

My follicles grew, though. Yeah, they’ve grown. And I’ve been in to see them for ultrasounds..let’s see.. like 10 days in a row maybe? Something like that. And the past few days, the nurses were blown away by the amount of follicles. I had a total of somewhere between 60-80 eggs between both ovaries, though the amount of those maturing was probably more like 25-30. Either way, I was at high risk for OHSS, and they wanted to watch me so carefully. As of this morning, before I knew it would be cancelled, my biggest follie was 19 mm. So close. Because of that, I’m sore, crampy, slow, bloated, etc. Is it the worst pain I’ve ever felt? Not at all. But it’s enough so that lifting things is not a good idea, not to mention any sort of exercise. I had to actually wear sweatpants to work yesterday because regular pants were going to be too uncomfortable. That was just embarrassing – luckily it was a Friday, but still. Not to mention the fact that I’ve been late to work the last 10 days in a row, too. I’ve had people covering for me. I’m pretty sure the whole school knows, as a teacher who shows up late to school every day for a week and a half gets pretty obvious. I’ve been getting up at 5, leaving the house at 6, waiting there at 6:30 to be the first in line for blood, then the ultrasounds, then speeding to work and getting there around 8:45. It’s been stressful, to say the least. My job had taken a back seat for sure. I was just putting in enough effort to make it through the day. And I’ve been emotionally distant at work, too. I’m well aware. And you know what? It would’ve been worth it. Definitely. If it wasn’t for the fact that my cycle was cancelled a day or two before trigger and then retrieval and I have to do the entire thing again from scratch next month.

And so yeah, I’m kind of pissed about that.

So now I’m on the pill. Ha. The pill. I haven’t been on the pill since…two April’s ago. It’s been a long time, and I was hoping to never do it again. The only reason I am, other than following orders, of course, is because they will shrink the follies, bring me back to home base. I’m sick of sweatpants and being fat and bloated. Silver lining…maybe my acne from the drugs will clear up.

Yesterday, I was really pissed off. Today, after finally, for the first time in weeks, sleeping eight hours and not rushing to the doctor’s (I did go, but at a slower pace this morning), I’m in a weird place emotionally.

My current emotion is one I wouldn’t have expected – relief. I guess this is a point that a lot of people get to – where it’s just…it’s so much, so much on your mind, takes up your whole life, and then you catch a “break” from it – in this case, forced upon me. And this break, there’s nothing to overanalyze. I’m on the pill for a while. What’s to think about?

And it’s almost this big thing lifted off my shoulders. Today was the big marathon in our state, and two years ago, I did it. My first marathon. This morning, as I literally drove past the runners on my way to the doctor’s, I thought about that day. It was a horrible race, actually. But I was proud. And I had a goal – to finish a marathon. When is the last time I have had a goal that I have tried to reach that wasn’t baby related? I guess two years ago. That was my last goal. And today, I miss that. I want a normal life again. I want to have goals that aren’t baby related. And no, not like “losing weight”. But like, maybe running a half marathon again, and losing weight in the process. Or re-decorating our house. Or getting in as many dates with my husband as possible, and do a little traveling like we used to, when the goal was to enjoy each other fully without thinking about other people, like future children.  To love like teenagers. I miss my old life, when there was more to it than simply receiving fertility treatments and wondering why I’ve been dealt these cards.

So, I’m not sure how long this mood will last before it turns bitter and very unpleasant, but until then, I’m trying to embrace this “gift” of a break I’ve just received. We are going to pumpkin pick, do a little hiking (as soon as I’m physically able), spend time with each other, go to the movies, start on our house projects…who knows. I’m going to invest in my job again. We’ll do what we normally do, without thinking about babies. Supposedly, those babies will come eventually. But until then, right now, I need a new goal.

The IVF Crazies

I didn’t think this first IVF cycle I am doing was messing with my head. I didn’t think it was affecting me – just another chance at pregnancy, like my last three IUI’s, or the previous six rounds of Clomid. Just another month. Yet, apparently, it has been affecting me, and it’s affecting my life. And what better place to turn to for advice than right here?

See, the thing is, I don’t really want to talk about it. Not in real life. I really don’t want to talk about the details. What’s new with my IVF cycle? People want to know this. The answer is nothing. Well, everything, but nothing, so I’d rather just let it be. I drive 40 minutes every single day to either have my blood drawn, or have an ultrasound with it. If it doesn’t fall on a weekend, I’m arriving there at 6:30 in the morning, when the lights are off and the workers aren’t even there yet, just so I can be first or second in line when the blood draw starts at 7:00. I have to be at work, at school, at 8:05, but since that’s impossible when ultrasounds don’t start until 7:30, I get out of there around 8 and hustle (if that’s possible in traffic) back to school, usually arriving late, after the kids get there, with cold tea and the need for a bathroom, but there’s no sub in my room and no one helping out, so I need to rush.

Then, it’s my actual situation. The doctor today actually used the words “your polycystic ovaries”, confirming, I guess, that I have PCOS. And all of that build up of follicles makes for a doctor’s dream IVF cycle, if it weren’t for the large risk of OHSS. I’ve got 30+ follies on both sides. That’s a lot of development – and I’m fearing pain and OHSS. They tell me while I am at a high risk for OHSS, I will be triggering with Lupron, which is supposed to help combat that. Though, the doctor today said I will probably also be taking HSG, which sometimes gives the symptoms of OHSS, but isn’t. I should be on the look-out.

I’m going to the doctor’s every day because my follies are tiny, but my estradoil is way up. So it’s up and down with my follistim dosage, as I crank through the Ganirelix in the public bathroom. I’m officially bloated, though not really in pain, as I’ve started putting out some major egg whites (sorry for the TMI) and feeling fat. Tomorrow will make the 5th day in a row to have my blood drawn, and I’m going back Thursday as well.

I knew all this. I knew this would happen. What I didn’t know was how, apparently, subconsciously nervous I would be. I am quite literally putting all of my eggs in one basket, and I am a bit of a wreck about this working. About me feeling okay. About getting OHSS. About making smart choices on my end, so as not to ruin this opportunity.

I need help from you IVF-ers. What should I be doing or not doing? I’m not exercising, except for the daily walk with the dogs. Is that the right move? I’m trying to drink a lot of water. The right move? I’m not having any sex (hey, it’s the truth) because I’m worried about rupturing something or causing pain or sending me into OHSS land and it’s starting to bother my husband, I think. Not to mention keeping the sperm supply healthy, and why am I even thinking about that? Is this the right move? What about food? Should I be following an IVF diet, as I know some of you have done? My doctor never said anything about it, but still. I want to do this right. I want, I want, I want.

I realized tonight I am putting this future not-yet-conceived child ahead of my marriage, which is really not a good thing. I’m too overwhelmed for sex, too negative, too busy, too stressed, too worried, too..whatever, but yet, when the time came a few months ago on Clomid, I’d perform under any condition. He has a point. So yeah, ahead of my marriage. Heck, ahead of my job, ahead of my friendships, ahead of all my priorities, ahead of my sleep. And it’s causing some rifts, as well as exhaustion and stress. I’m overwhelmed because I’m worried, because this is a big deal, because my frustration with all of this is hitting a peak, right in the middle of shots. I’m not myself (though, I really haven’t been much in the last year and a half) but this “new” version of me is worried, overwhelmed, and stressed.

We all know “just relax” is not the answer, so god help me if those words find their way into my brain. That said, some relaxing is probably in order, I’m guessing. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible as a teacher to relax. NOTHING about school is relaxing. I’ve got meetings, some scheduled, some on the fly. I’ve got parents with questions, students with behavior issues, professional goals I’m supposed to be caring about right now, and clearly, I just don’t. Take tomorrow for example: getting to the doctor’s for 6:30, blood drawn at 7, rushing to work for 8, meeting at 8:05, full day of school, long meeting at 3:01 until probably 4:30, rush to get the dogs fed (Sadie throws up if I don’t feed her right on time), rush to do any schoolwork I’ve brought home, rush to get ready for Thursday, and to do it all again, starting with the doctor visit. Too much is going on right now, too much is on my plate. Yet, there’s nothing I need help with. No one can help lighten my load, unless you’re planning on whisking me away from it all to a cabin in Colorado where we can eat fresh fruit and get our nails done and be on a vacation. I just want this all to end, so I can resume some sort of schedule, with early to beds, relaxing workouts, and not worry about if I’m eating too many carbs or not drinking enough water.

Also, my back hurts. Every day when I wake up, it’s either my neck or my back. It was my neck for a long time, now it’s my back. It hurts in one spot. Did I pull something? Maybe. I switched pillows and it didn’t help anything. Is it stress? Do I have rheumatoid arthritis? Or just a case of the auto-immune crazies (one auto-immune disease and you start to think you have them all)?

Like I said, I don’t want to talk about it. Other than venting here, I really don’t want the pity, or the worry, or whatever.  I’m dealing with it, I’m hoping it ends soon, I’m hoping I don’t land in the hospital with OHSS, I’m hoping I have many good eggs pulled out, I’m hoping one results in a pregnancy, which results in a successful 9 months, which results in an actual baby, which, hopefully, would result in me feeling back to my old self, with less stress. But I’m worried it won’t, that this is my new life.

But I don’t want to talk about it.

More writing prompts and an IVF update

I’m a few days behind on my writing prompts! But first, an IVF update.

I’ve been to the doctor’s…let’s see, tomorrow will make my fourth day in a row. I guess I should’ve expected that. I really don’t mind, and I’m especially grateful that three of those days fell on the weekend, including my day off today, so I didn’t have to rush to work. The long and short of it is that my follies are still very small, yet very numerous (like, 20+ on each side). However, my estradiol shot up very quickly, from 34 to 250, to 600 back to back. So I’ve started Ganirelix, to keep the ovulation at bay I guess, even though there are no follies big enough to release an egg. I have also bumped my follistim back a bit. I’ll be interested to see how many follies are actually growing during tomorrow’s ultrasound. The other issue is I have three cysts – two on the left and one on the right. Apparently no one is overly concerned, as I keep going with this cycle. They are small enough, I guess. But they continue to be watched, and I just hope nothing happens with them to cancel the cycle. All of a sudden, today, I feel bloated and a little crampy. Nothing much by any means, but I wonder if this means things are growing in there. Here’s hoping.

Okay, my writing prompt update:

I skipped the accent one, partly because I’m late on it, and also lazy. However, I can say that I have what I deem the “typical” accent of newscasters across the country – New England, but not too North (Bostonian or Maine) and not too South (into New York and New Jersey). I’d say there’s not much to hear when I talk, accent-wise, but then, everyone says that. When I lived in London for four months and worked with sixth graders, they used to tell me all the time that my accent was so strong, but they didn’t have any accent at all. It’s all relative.

October 5: What is your favorite book?

It’s sad that I’m struggling here. I have read a lot of good books, yet titles rarely stay with me. Here a few I’ve read multiple times:

1)      The Giver, by Lois Lowry. I actually read it aloud to my students every year, but even if I didn’t, I’d read it myself. It’s a futuristic, utopian type of story, with similar characteristics to The Hunger Games, without the competition and love story. It’s So.Good. I love the deep questions it brings up.

2)      I Know This Much Is True, by Wally Lamb. Truth be told, I haven’t read this one in years, but I loved it and read it multiple times.

It’s sad that I have to stop here. I need to read more, I think. However, I can add any Jodi Picoult book to the list, especially Nineteen Minutes and a few others.

October 6: Who is your current favorite band?

Another one I struggle with. I love music – music is a huge part of who I am. However, I typically identify with melodies, not lyrics, which lead me to love random songs, rather than specific artists. My favorite genres of music are big ballads, from the likes of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, etc., anything acapella (I’m really into Straight No Chaser and many groups from the show The Sing Off at the moment, not to mention my all-time favorite Boys II Men), and when I’m in a certain mood, quiet guitar-type music, like from John Mayer. I also listen to country (thanks to my husband) and like Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney, among others. And finally, I enjoy a good pop song. If I can sing to it or if the harmonies rock, chances are, I’ll like it.

October 7: If you could sleep with any celebrity who would it be?

This one makes me laugh. Before I started fertility treatments, I was clearly lacking hormones (hence not ovulating). I thought people were good-looking, sure, but the more animal instinct of attractiveness really did not exist, for the most part. I couldn’t name one celebrity I was lusting after, when everyone else in high school and college had a list 10 miles long. And then, after the hormones were shot into my system, I figured out the hype. So, I’m simply going to put my list of Top 5 celeb crushes, which I think should do the trick.

1)      Henry Cavill

He starred on The Tudors, and seriously, I can’t even explain it. Just watch that show. Now, he’s starring in the upcoming Superman movie, and yes, I will be seeing it in theaters. Possibly multiple times. If only he was chosen for the 50 Shades movies (he was being considered).

2)      Joseph Gordon-Levitt

I’m pretty particular about him – the long hair look doesn’t work for me, and I need clean-shaven as well. I’m picky – what can I say. He doesn’t fit my type as much, but I kept him in the list.

3)      Josh Hutcherson

Yeah, I know, he’s young, and I’m 28. I’m a creeper.

4)      Zac Efron

Again, I’m creepy and I’m well-aware. They are both – well, I think he and Josh Hutcherson have both reached 20!

5)      Tying for fifth place – two Gleeks: Cory Monteith (I’ll have you know he just turned 30) and Chord Overstreet

 

 

I think it’s fair to say I have a type. Clean-cut, boyish face, big eyes..yep, that’s about it.

October 8: If you could have any job in the whole wide world regardless of your qualifications, what would you choose and why?

Last for my writing prompt updates, to be honest, I can’t see myself being anything other than a teacher. I believe I was born for the job and it suits me well. However, occasional day-dreaming, especially when I was younger, had me a better singer and less shy on stage – and my dream job would’ve been a professional performer. I like the idea of singing or acting for a living – I imagine that once the gigs come in, it’s extremely satisfying, not to mention the money. I have always loved performing, even though I’m on the quieter end of things. I think someone like Taylor Swift has the best job in the world.

A senior moment

I just can’t stay away from these daily prompts, even though I just got home from school (an ice cream social fundraiser) and have one million things to do. This is more fun.

October 3: What is your most embarrassing moment?

I tell my students all the time – whatever comes to your mind first, is probably what you have the most to say about. This worked for me too, and my most embarrassing moment immediately came to mind. I tried to think if there was anything worse, but nothing stands out without further thinking, so this is the one.

High school graduation. A stressful night as it was, what with the actual graduating, not to mention I was singing the national anthem with a few other girls, and Nate had my car keys, which he dropped in the parking lot and we were racing around trying to find.

But right before it was time to walk out, the entire class (about 300 of us) met in the auditorium with the school principal, who was giving out the cords. There were cords for honors, certain clubs, etc. I received two cords, I think, but the first one I received was class musician. When I was called to the stage, the entire class was sitting there, watching me. My principal had already given out a few cords, and was putting them around the students’ necks. Well, I forgot this fact, and when I went up there, I looked up at him and he started to put the cords around my neck. I didn’t realize what he was doing, and wasn’t thinking clearly, and thought he was reaching out for a hug – and so I threw my arms around him and gave him a huge bear hug.

The class burst out laughing, and a small part of me died that day.

Now, I laugh. Wow, I hugged my principal in front of my entire class. Me, the slightly nerdy, quiet, band geek. How totally uncool. But at the time, I could’ve crawled in a hole. And I still had to go out and sing the national anthem! It has taken many years since for me to remember that moment without that same feeling of unimaginable embarrassment. Now, I’m over it, but it still sticks out. Thanks, Jenn, for bringing it back!

An update – even with two more Provera pills to take, I got my period today. Day 1. Going in for my baseline ultrasound in the morning (and missing my staff picture!), and starting follistim tomorrow night. Haven’t even unpacked the meds box yet. Let the IVF games begin.

So many meds!

A quick update, because there’s not much going on at the moment.

I’m on Day 6 of Provera, and will be expecting my period around Day 12. I’m going back and forth with the IVF nurse, figuring out meds. This is the sheet that was sent to me in the mail:

It looks pretty hefty. Luckily, I’m used to the follistim and Ganirelix. I am a bit confused because I was told I am using Lupron, since I am at high risk for OHSS, but it wasn’t checked off on the sheet. I think it was a mistake. Also, I have no idea what the Vivelle dots are (estrogen patch, right? But what is that, and why do I need it?) And the HCG – I knew about the progesterone shots in the butt, but didn’t realize I’d be mixing up potions too. Whatever, there’s clearly more to learn before I start all of these, but it begins with follistim, and I’m an old pro there.

My husband and I have done some research and discussed how many embryos to put in at length. Our final decision is as follows: If it is a Day 3 transfer, we’re putting in 2. If it’s a Day 5 transfer, we’re going to make a game day decision. That decision will be based on how many high quality embryos we have total. If we’re going to be freezing say, at least 4 or 5 good embryos, then there’s absolutely no reason to put in 2 embryos, in our minds. We’re still young, and next cycle we’d be able to hopefully use a thawed embryo. So we’d only put in 1. If, however, we only have 2 embryos of good quality period, and would most likely have to go through the entire thing again next cycle, we’d put them both in. That’s the plan. I understand the risk of twins, and I also understand how challenging they can be, but what I didn’t like was having to choose. Really, seeing as how we’d both love to have twins but are perfectly happy with one as well, there’s no reason to make that final decision right now. It’s going to come down to our embryos. My gut feeling is that if we get to a Day 5 transfer, I am going to have a lot of eggs taken out, and probably at least 5 good ones (I hope). If that happens, we’re only putting in 1. So we’ll see.

I just wish that day would come already. My bitterness that has lingered and hung on for the last 5 or so months is slowly being pushed aside by hope. Hope is a dangerous little emotion..too much can do more damage than not enough. But IVF is the real deal – if this doesn’t work, I guess I’d be…really surprised. It might not work the first time, of course, but eventually..I hope IVF works. I really, really want this baby. My life is suspended, completely in limbo, and we’re really just going through the motions. So here’s hoping.

Good lord.

School is kicking my butt lately. The kids are brand new to fifth grade, so they are pretty needy, not to mention some scheduling issues that are being worked out. No need to share that story, but school is busy and my brain is consumed by it, basically. Home is busy, and not in the best way – my husband has class two nights a week, plus softball a third night, and Friday night is always a wash, with us half-passed out on the couch stuffing our faces. So we really only have one night a week to take it easy, pack lunches, watch a show, and get up early and exercise. My rituals are all messed up. I was made for a schedule. Chaos isn’t my style.

That said, the only things this chaos isn’t allowing me to do is exercise and blog. I don’t really miss exercise…but I need to get back on that. I do miss blogging sometimes. Anyway, N’s off at softball now, and before I make my lunch for tomorrow, breakfast shake, pack my water bottles, pour out my vitamins, lay out my clothes….you get the picture, I figured I had time for a quick update. (And yes, I really do try to do those things every night – makes the morning routine go by fast!)

I went to the doctor this morning to get my 34mm “exploding” cyst checked out. Long story short – instead of one giant cyst, I now have two small ones. However, the 34mm is no longer there, which leads me to believe that yes, it exploded last week. The smaller ones are around 20mm, but the doctor is fine with that, and is proceeding with IVF. I took my first Provera tonight. I’ll be ordering meds tomorrow.

Then I had unexpected blood work. Normally I don’t mind, but today was the first time I had to go see my doctor, 40 minutes away, since school has started. This means major rushing. Big time. See, you teachers understand…we can’t just take a half day every single time we need to go to the doctor’s. I don’t have enough days, and they are unpredictable and will sometimes be multiple days in a row. Luckily my principal understood when I mentioned last week to her that this could happen, and I simply sent a few texts this morning, but I was 20 minutes late to school today. Not 20 minutes like, past the time I’m supposed to arrive. 20 minutes past the students’ arrival. I was at my doctor’s office waiting in the dark at 7:00am. I can’t get there any earlier…it’s not even open. I did my part, but I didn’t anticipate needing blood work, and getting stuck in a half hour of traffic. So my class was covered by colleagues and my students were reading and patiently waiting for me when I got there. I just feel bad that my infertility causes many of my staff members to be waiting at my beck and call during this IVF cycle. Today was just the beginning. This is going to happen a lot, and I feel bad being late. It’s really not okay, but short of waiting until next summer, I don’t really have any other options. And it’s weird – I might actually have to tell some people at work about IVF, since, you know, they’re stepping in to help me. Who has random appointments at 7:30 in the morning on a regular basis? IF patients, that’s who.  It was a stressful morning. Luckily I swerved through traffic like a pro (at the speed limit, Mom), drinking my crappy breakfast shake while simultaneously blasting Glee’s covers of Whitney Houston I downloaded over the weekend. Seriously…if you like Glee, and you like Whitney Houston, you must get these songs. I have “I wanna dance with somebody” on repeat, and I’m currently humming “How will I know”. So.Freaking.Good. Glee is my guilty pleasure.

So that’s where I’m at. N and I are continuing our “how many embryos on a Day 5 transfer” conversation, but we’re also taking a little break. It starts to make your head spin. We had our original “gut” answer, but now we’re questioning it. We will do more research and it might be a game day decision, if I even get to a Day 5 transfer. We’ll see.

N’s birthday was yesterday, my mom’s is tomorrow. N’s psyched – for his birthday, I got him a ride in a Nascar-like stock car, where he’ll get all suited up and do four laps at top speed with a pro. He even has to climb through the window. Cloudnine.com..good stuff.

And finally, I’m in love with Jenn’s October Prompts idea – I love a good writing prompt, and these are awesome. I’ve stayed away from blogging lately, so we’ll see if this gets me back into it. I think my real life friends should start their own blogs and join in the October Prompts. 🙂

I hate cysts.

The last two weeks have been seriously crap-tacular. This past week, especially, was very much up and down, with the majority of it being down. I thought I might update.

The good of last week was our IVF consultation appointment with the doctor last Monday. Here’s a summary, in list form.

– We are proceeding with IVF (obviously).

– Though I am somewhat at a high risk for OHSS (young, many, many follicles in those ovaries), doctor says by giving me a Lupron trigger instead of Ovidrel, it cuts down the chances dramatically. He said there’s been no OHSS in the last 5 years for anyone taking the Lupron trigger. I hope this is true, because OHSS scares the crap out of me. For those who don’t know (yes, I do have a few non-infertiles who read this blog!), my understanding is that OHSS is when your ovaries hyper-stimulate, and you end up with crazy pain and you’re in the hospital. And it’s dangerous for you, not to mention possibly ruining the cycle. So this just can’t happen.

– We are doing ICSI. ICSI is a specific type of IVF, usually reserved for people with sperm problems, or unexplained infertility, which would be me. Instead of exposing my egg to a whole bunch of my husband’s sperm in the petri dish and hoping one attaches itself, they actually take a single sperm out of the bunch and literally place it on the egg (I think anyway). The doctors would select the best sperm there was to do the job. This is kind of crazy to me, that they are choosing, really, whether I’d have a boy or a girl. Not that I’ll know, but still.

– We are doing Assisted Hatching, if necessary. Again, to my knowledge, this is when, if the membrane of the…egg? doesn’t allow for the sperm to get in, because it’s too thick, the doctors would put a tiny slit in the membrane to allow it to come through. Assisted. Or something like that.

– We also agreed to participate in this study, something about exposing the embryo to 5% oxygen instead of the typical 20%. Apparently, scientists are the middle of trying to figure out if 5% is better for the embryos than 20%, and three big universities, including mine, are doing the study. My doctor assured me up and down that our success rates would not drop at all by doing the 5%. The success rates would either stay the same or get better. My husband is all about improving science, and I’m up for it too, so we said yes. I’m trusting my doctor on this one and letting it go.

– My clinic has a rule that you must freeze embryos if there are any to freeze. After that, you can do what you’d like with them. It’s not covered by insurance, but I’m not complaining. So it’s $1,000 for a year, and then after that, you pay a few hundred dollars every few months. We were going to freeze them anyway.

– Finally, we discussed the number of embryos to put in. Long story short – and for those of you who don’t know, your embryos are transferred back into your body either 3 or 5 days after the retrieval. I believe most people do a transfer on Day 3. However, if the embryos look amazing, apparently they can keep them going outside the woman’s body until Day 5, and be able to watch them 2 additional days, and then they would put them in. My doctor informed us that the success rate for getting pregnant at all on Day 3 with two embryos is the exact same success rate on Day 5 with one embryo (I believe he said 55%). Same exact thing. And for the Day 3, the chance of twins (when putting in 2) is 1 in 3. So it’s been decided that our Day 3 transfer, if that’s what we have, will be with two embryos. The bigger question at this point comes for if we make it to Day 5. If we put in two embryos on Day 5, our chance of twins is 50%. I realize that’s half, and not whole, but to me, I’m reading it like 100%. As in – by deciding to put two in on Day 5, we’re basically asking for twins. Day 3 is more of just a chance.

We think we have our answer regarding the Day 5 embryos, but we are still in discussion. N and I agree on everything – we can handle twins, we are fine having twins, we can afford twins, and twins would be wonderful. We would love it. But of course there are risks that come for babies and the mother – higher risk for complications, preemie birth, and of course I’d be having a c-section. While that’s more of a minor thing..I always just imagined I’d be pushing a baby out myself. But it doesn’t matter.

And then this came up, too. We hope to have three children, and four if we can afford it. At least one of those children was always going to be adopted, especially if we have four. At this point, I have always wanted to be pregnant twice. I want to go through that amazing time twice. By having twins, especially if we only have three and adopt the third, I’d be 29 years old and done, and I’m not sure that’s what I want. But I don’t know. I guess if I have a really horrible, stressful pregnancy I might feel different. I told N that I just can’t promise that if we do have twins, I won’t want to birth a third myself. And then if we have four, adopt the last child, and if we don’t, we wouldn’t adopt. N is fine with that, though he would rather adopt two, if we’re going to have four kids. I don’t think we’re going to be able to afford adopting two kids, but maybe I’m wrong. It’s all just..a lot to think about, just to answer the question of how many embryos on a Day 5 transfer.

If you asked me a month ago how many embryos, no matter what day they’re put in, we would’ve both said two. Now that it’s closer, now that the doctor makes me feel like making it to Day 5 with one embryo would almost definitely work, I feel like I’m taking a step back. I would love twins, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a single doubt about raising twins, and neither does my husband. But I just want a child, so badly, that I don’t know if it’s worth the additional risks of complications. And I don’t know if I’m going to be done giving birth. So we’re on the fence at the moment. And then again, we could end up with a Day 3 transfer of two embryos and get pregnant with twins anyway, and I’m not even second-guessing that one. So maybe we’ll just…see how it goes.

The fact of the matter is, all this talk about babies, such specific decisions being made, makes me think it’s almost here. And in reality – it might not be. I have got to get my mind geared up for this IVF thing..because nothing is guaranteed. We still don’t even know why nothing has worked up until this point. There could be some implantation issue we wouldn’t even know about yet. So, I don’t know. Doesn’t unexplained infertility really just mean unexplained until they figure it out?

After we made all our decisions (with the Day 5 question being answered when the day comes), the doctor did a trial transfer, though I’m not sure why, when I’ve had three IUI’s and an HSG already. And it hurt. It always does. Apparently things are tilted in there…it always takes them a while. Then he did an ultrasound to check on my ovaries, because even though it was only Day 10 of my cycle, if all looked good in there, he was willing to give me Provera and get this show on the road. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I have a cyst, on my ovary. It has been there for a few cycles, hovering around 20mm. This check showed it at 34mm. Which would explain the stomach cramping I’d been having. He decided he doesn’t want to proceed with IVF until it shrinks, and said I could either wait or go on birth control. I asked him if the timeline would be about the same and he said yes, so I opted to wait. I have an appointment on  Tuesday, before he goes on vacation for a week, to check in on it. So I went home.

Then, the very next day, I had the craziest thing happen to me at school. It was after our staff meeting and almost everyone had gone home. I was still feeling crampy all day long. I had just eaten a hard boiled egg and was preparing to leave when I suddenly had incredible intestinal pain. I’m not going to be graphic but I felt like I needed to run to the bathroom where..nothing happened. And I was spasming. Like, can’t walk, can’t sit down, can’t move spasming, I’ve had it before, but it always goes away in about a minute. This didn’t go away. I tried to tell myself I just needed to get home, so I tried to make it to the parking lot, and then I was doubled over with pain. I made it to my car, bent over, and then I think I started to panic, because I got dizzy, hands numb and tingly, white as a sheet, and thought I was going to throw up. Two people I work with were there, asking me if I was okay, and I was scared and a hot mess, so I basically pushed them away. They drove off, and  I realized I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t even stand. I made it back to the building, but of course it was locked, so my principal had to see me like that, asking if I was okay. I thought I was going to need a hospital visit, but when I do get those spasms, I know Advil helps. Advil also gives me lip hives, but sometimes it’s worth it, and this was one of those times. Finally, a janitor went around looking for Advil and got me some, and by that time I was in the nurse’s empty office, half standing, half laying down on the couch. After taking it, I sat there, almost fell asleep, and then about 45 minutes later, the spasms stopped and I drove home.

Two nights of a heating pad, plus endless amounts of laxatives, plus eating only potatoes and tea, and finally the pain stopped fully yesterday. I did see my primary doctor and he said it could be the cyst, or diverticulitis, so I needed to watch it for a few more days. I was sure it wasn’t fertility related until I started to spot. It wasn’t a lot, but it was there, for sure, and there’s no reason for that right now. A little research told me my cyst probably burst. Also, it must have been pushing on my intestines, causing the spasms and blockage. Now, I feel like a million bucks. When I go in on Tuesday, we’ll see what happened officially. I wonder if it’ll be gone…a lot faster than I thought it would be. I feel fine now.

While it totally screwed up my week and was very painful, my new thoughts are about IVF. One cyst, 34 mm, caused me an insane amount of pain and messed up my intestinal system. What will it be when there’s like 10 large follicles on each side? I don’t want to go through this again. So I will be asking my doctor on Tuesday.

That’s a super long update, but this IVF business is no joke. I never thought, after Clomid, after injectables, after three IUI’s, I’d be here, but I am. I want this to work so bad, so at this point, I’m anxious.

Gluten issues and an IVF consultation

Back with a minor update on things, and a few questions.

First of all, I want to say that though I haven’t been blogging much lately, I have been reading everyone’s posts and keeping up with your journeys. Lots of you are in the process of having babies, which is very exciting. Those of you who have gone through IVF, I’ll be coming to you with questions soon!

Okay, so I’m having this stomach problem. Let me back up. Last Thursday, my husband made a meal for myself and a good friend who came to dinner. He threw some chicken and rice into the crockpot with some cream of mushroom soup. Right as she was arriving, I realized I ought to check the soup container for wheat, as she has Celiac’s and I’ve been avoiding gluten as well. It turned out, as the can told me, there was wheat in the soup. Thank goodness I didn’t serve it to her, as I would’ve felt horrible beyond belief for making her sick, not to mention she’s a few weeks from giving birth! Oh man. Phew. So we had sandwiches and all was well. That night, when my husband came home, he sat down to a plate of his meal, and I don’t know what I was thinking, but I had a small plate of it myself, knowing there was wheat in the soup. Well, I do know what I was thinking. Every once in a while I think to myself, maybe gluten isn’t a problem and it’s just my weird autoimmune issues that flare up. How much wheat could there possibly be in this stupid soup anyway? So I ate it.

The next day, around 7:30 in the morning, I started having horrible cramping in my stomach. I went to school like that, had to teach for the first few hours doubled over and speaking quietly with shallow breaths. It hurt so freaking bad. I didn’t have to run to the bathroom though – just horrible pains. It took me a while to figure out what the hell was going on and then it dawned on me – it had to be the soup. It had to be the gluten. Finally, with the help of tea and gluten free pretzels, the pains subsided and I went on with my day. The rest of the day they came and went, but not as bad as the morning. Then yesterday, the pains continued. I didn’t eat any wheat at all (almost bought kettle corn at a fair, but was told it has gluten…so sad.) but I did have dairy in the form of ice cream, which…dairy does bother me in large doses. But it’s usually a little upset stomach and then it’s gone. This dairy seemed to bring back my stomach problems from the day before, and I was in and out of the bathroom all day. This morning it’s the same. I am having stomach pains, specifically on my left side, very low, practically in my uterus. It’s very low. And it seems to be localized. Every single time I eat, no matter what it is, I immediately feel pain there right after, and usually have a bathroom run. Then it’s dull pain until the next time I eat.

So. I have to assume this is the wheat talking, with yesterday’s dairy not helping out much. Last July, the day of my IUI and my husband’s big race, this same thing happened and it lasted for days. I thought I had a bug. Now I’m wondering if I accidentally ate gluten and didn’t know it.

I get a little paranoid sometimes, so here are my current fears:

1) I’ve damaged my stomach or intestinal lining in a big way, and like I’ve read, this gluten is going to stay in my system for 6 months and ruin my autoimmune system, which I’ve worked hard to keep balanced.

2) It’s going to affect my getting pregnant from IVF, since my antibodies are probably sky-high.

3) I’ve made myself sicker, and given myself like diverticulitis or something. Like, what’s going on in my intestine?

I’m just worried about it. And frustrated. I don’t know why I was playing around with gluten, but I tested negative for Celiac’s. I thought it just bothered my stomach a little. It’s not like I go out and eat fresh French bread, though I really want to. I just swear, if this impacts my antibody count which impacts IVF, I will kill. And why isn’t kettle corn gluten free?? Also, my stomach hurts.

So now I am determined to be 100% gluten free in everything I eat. Which means I better start looking at sauce labels and things like that. I never did that before. And here’s where you guys come in: I am looking for a new breakfast. Specifically some sort of shake I can take with me to school. Up until today, I have been having a protein shake with Syntha-6 chocolate powder, almond milk, frozen blueberries and a banana, and it was delish. And I just read the back of the Syntha-6 bottle. I can’t actually find the gluten ingredient, because there are about 5,000 chemicals in that crap, but it says, contains wheat. And to think, while “going gluten free” the last…oh, year of my life, I’ve still had this protein shake 5 days a week. No wonder I haven’t felt THAT much better. And it’s sad, that crap was filling, too.

So a little help from you healthy people out there – I need a new shake. I did try that green stuff a few of you mentioned in your posts long ago, but…I think the color just threw me off. I don’t know. I can’t do it. It needs to be like…fruity, with little vegetables, as opposed to vegetably, with little fruit. And I can’t have yogurt. Anyone have a great one out there? I’ll use the almond milk – that stuff rocks. I’ll never go back to milk again.

I’m going to try to be careful today. I read online that after a gluten stomach attack, things like high fiber foods and dairy can keep it going for days. So no dairy today (I’ll just take out the cheese from that omelet I was planning on….boo.), no soy, no corn, no nuts, and of course, no wheat. And low sugar.

Did I tell you? My come-and-go hives, which I’ve had severely for the last 2 years, is back out of my system. My allergist said this would happen, it comes and goes. A few months ago, I couldn’t touch an ounce of sugar without throat hives, and after testing it a few times lately, my sugar issue is back to normal, and I’ve celebrated with ice cream that’s not sugar free. However. I don’t want to be stupid, and bring these hives back right when it’s going out the door. So I really need to stick to the low- to no-sugar.

But also today, my stomach is inflamed, so high fiber foods won’t feel comfy either, like the salad I made last night. No veggies, either. What the hell am I going to eat today? It might be a BRAT diet day.

Okay, on to IVF. This is really happening. I am really doing this. Tomorrow, we are meeting with my doctor, and creating our IVF plan. All the decisions will be made here. One decision that is rolling around in our heads is the number of embryos to put in, when the time comes. My husband and I have both agreed on two. We would prefer not to go through this again, and twins are something we feel we can handle, afford, etc. Also, if one embryo doesn’t implant, there will be the other one. Many people put in 2 and are only pregnant with one. So we are in agreement. My doctor, however, might be trying to convince us otherwise. The reputation at the center is to have as few multiple births as possible, which I understand, because of possible complications. And I’m young. And my ovaries appear “healthy” – just not the rest of me, but whatever. I know he’s going to try to convince us to put in one, because he’ll assume the one will take. But I’m not so sure I want to count on it like that. We still are thinking two. So it’ll be an interesting conversation tomorrow, but I’m happy to make the plan. After that, I’ll have to wait about 2 weeks before I can get Provera and get this party started. Then, I’ll have new questions for you IVF-ers out there: How bloated will I be, like, do I need to go buy more pants for work? How painful is it? When they say I can’t exercise..what does that mean exactly? How can I avoid OHSS? How painful are the progesterone shots? Etc.

But one day at a time. Today’s goal is for my lower intestine to settle down and convince me I haven’t ruined my chances at a pregnancy by firing on my autoimmune system.