Infertility Bites

Infertile, Trying to Conceive, and Forty-One Years Old – Ain't THAT a Bummer!?!

IUI #3 in mere hours October 29, 2008

I’ve been informed that IUI #3 is scheduled for tomorrow morning, at 10AM.  I have to say that I’m rather excited about this time around.  It’s almost the same way I felt when we did the first IUI.  I’m eager to get it done, partially because I am sick of injecting the oh-so-pricey Gonal-F.  I did my last injection of it last night for this cycle, thank the good Lord.  I’m also eager because I have a good feeling about this time around.  I’ve got a good feeling about this IUI, partly because I now know for a fact that I can get pregnant this way.  I know it works. 

I’m also nervous about the IUI because, once again, in spite of our best efforts, I’ve only managed to produce one follicle that looks to be a decent size.  The follie we’re placing this month’s hopes on was an acceptable 17mm in size on Monday’s scan.  I may as well have taken a smaller dose, since I got the same results on the smaller dose too.  Damnation.  Why, oh why, couldn’t I respond to fertility meds like normal ladies would??  Any other person who took that much of Gonal-F would have had enough viable follies to start her own football basketball team, for Pete’s sake.  Sigh.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful that I don’t have OHSS or anything of the sort.  But… why not more than one follicle?  Just once?  Still, I did get pregnant last time with just one follicle, didn’t I?  It could happen!      

Please, y’all keep your fingers crossed that this IUI works, and that we get a real, live, healthy take-home baby.  I know all the statistics.  I know they’re certainly not as in my favor as they would be if I were five (or ten years!) younger.  Still, we could be that couple who succeeds, right? 

I don’t even want to think about what we’d do (or not do) if this doesn’t work this time around.  I know it’s ridiculous not to think about it, but it’s not like I don’t know what could happen.  It’s not like I haven’t been there, done that.  La, la, la!  I’m not listening!

I was thinking about it, and if I do get pregnant this time around, the baby’s due date will be around August 1st.  Not exactly ideal, from a teaching perspective or a weather perspective, but don’t think I wouldn’t take it in a nanosecond!  I can handle a third trimester in the sweltering heat and humidity of July and August in Texas, ’cause I know what the (likely?) outcome would be.  Hell, if someone could guarantee that it would work, I’d do it standing on my frickin’ head, thankyouverymuch. 

Anyway… I worked at the Fall Festival here at our school last weekend, to earn some of those much-needed internship hours I require to satisfy the 140 hours required for my Masters degree in Educational Administration, and to qualify to take the test to become an administrator.  I do enjoy teaching, but I certainly don’t see myself in the classroom until can I retire in about 900 years.  I believe I will be a good admin, but that test we have to take to get the certification is nasty, y’all.  Ugg-gah-lee.  I generally don’t do much (read any) studying for a test like that, because there’s really no way to prepare.  However, this time, I at least need to see a practice test, to see what it’s going to be like.  There’s just. so. much. material.  It’s mindboggling how much crap they expect us to know and remember.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say that this certification exam has me concerned, even thought the test isn’t until next Spring or early Summer. 

What can I say?  I worry, therefore I am. 

Wish me luck tomorrow, please.  Ten years of trying is long enough.  Really and truly.     

XOXO

 

Baby one more time? October 26, 2008

If I keep having to go to my RE every other day, I may have to take up residence there. 

My period started on Oct. 15th, a Wednesday.  My RE wanted me to come in for a baseline scan on Friday, Oct. 17th, and to start my Gonal-F injections again at 300iu.  I started the meds, and was told to make appointments for the following Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Lovely.  On Monday’s appointment, they did the u/s scan, didn’t see much happening in la ovaries, so I was sent for a blood draw to get my estrogen levels checked, and to expect a call that afternoon, letting me know if/how I should adjust my dosage.  Monday afternoon, I was told to up my dose to 375iu, and to keep taking it that way until my next appointment, Wednesday.  At Wednesday’s scan, again not much going on in the ovary pics.  So…another trip downstairs to the lab to get my estrogen levels checked.  That afternoon, I was given the news that yes, there was a slight increase, but not really enough of one to write home about.  Therefore, my RE wanted me to up my dose yet again, to 450iu.  Please don’t forget – this shit’s beyond expensive.  I’m now injecting nearly $360.00 into myself each night.  For those of you unaware of a teacher’s salary, that’s right at 10% of my monthly salary.  Each. night.  

I went to the RE again today, for a repeat performance of the scan.  At least this time, my nurse saw a follicle, fer cripes’ sake.  It was only 13mm, so we’re hoping like hell that some other follicles will catch up before we (who am I kidding??) I inject the trigger shot of Ovidrel.  After one more trip to the lab for an estrogen level, my level is rising as a decent amount (~129, I think she said), so (thankfully) I get to stay on the 450 iu, and not increase it at this time.  I’m to go back to get another u/s on Monday, and my nurse believes that we’ll do the IUI on Wednesday, October 29th.

 

Good News/Bad News October 8, 2008

The Evacuation

  • Good news:  we evacuated from Ike without any issues or Rita-like traffic jams.  More importantly, we managed to leave before I murdered my husband in a fit of anxiety/panic/frustration.
  • Not-so-good news:  Hurricane Ike’s path included the part of Texas to which we evacuated.  His winds caused a substantial amount of destruction throughout the storm’s path.

Infertility Medicine Status:

  • Bad news:  I had to discontinue taking the Gonal-F for this cycle, because I couldn’t get in to have my blood levels and scans done.  It was necessary so that I could avoid such lovely things as OHSS and/or the off-chance of becoming pregnant with my very own basketball team.
  • Further bad news:  That means that any of the Gonal-F I’d already taken for this cycle was completely and totally wasted, and that stuff’s expensive as hell.  F and I are out several hundred dollars because the medicine is so costly.
  • Good news:  I had the presence of mind to take the Gonal-F with me when we evacuated because I knew that it would probably ruin in our refrigerator, since we were almost guaranteed to have our power knocked out.  We took it with us to my parents’ house in Lufkin, in an ice chest.
  • Shitty news:  Lufkin’s power was knocked out too. 
  • Even shittier news:  In addition to Lufkin’s electricity being out, there was no ice to be had for several days, so the medicine was not refrigerated as it needed to be… I’m sure as hell not going to inject that stuff into my body, after it being at temps as high as 87° F for more than 24 hours. 
  • Possibly redeeming news?:  We’re going to claim the meds that were lost in the hurricane on our insurance, and hope to hell they won’t refuse to pay for it.

Hurricane Aftermath:

  • Great news:  Our house escaped damage, for the most part. The outside had a couple of cosmetic things messed up, but it is, as Austin Powers puts it, “sound as a pound, luv”.
  • Disappointing news:  There was a small hole created in our ceiling next to the fireplace, where leaks shouldn’t exist because we had the damned roof replaced, and that was supposed to fix it, but it didn’t.
  • Annoying-but-okay news:  The outside chimney cap was blown off of our house, and it landed in our back yard.  It’ll cost about $350 to get that fixed, and that will be covered by our insurance.
  • Seriously annoying newsThe fireplace/chimney specialist who came to inspect the fireplace to see if the damned leak was due to the roof or the chimney and give us an estimate for the chimney repairs necessary after the storm said that the inside of the fireplace, however, is basically crumbling and is not considered safe for fires in its current condition.  The cost to fix it?  About $1000, which will not be covered by our insurance, since this wasn’t a result of Ike.  Naturally. 

Electricity status:

  • I-told-you-so news:  Yes, I was right – Hurricane Ike did knock out the power here in our neighborhood. 
  • Frickin’ bothersome news:  The power wasn’t restored at our block until September 27th, fifteen days following Ike’s visit to our neighborhood.  That’s right; fifteen days without hot water… without internet(!) …and oh yeah – without air conditioning during 90-degree plus days.  Fifteen days cooking on our propane grill outside while fighting overzealous mosquitoes.  
  • Life-saving news:  While in Lufkin, F and I managed to stand in an outdoor hurricane relief line for about three hours and purchase a refurbished generator, so that we could return home and begin repairs and/or restoration of our home.  This was a week after no power, and no ice in Lufkin, thankyouverymuch.
  • Effing frustrating news:  F and I brought the generator back home, and tried to fire it up.  That’s right, you guessed it – the sonofabitch wouldn’t turn over.  F and I loaded the damned thing back up into the car, and drove back to Lufkin (where my parents now had a generator too) with our tail between our legs, hoping to get it repaired in Lufkin, where 25% of the town had electricity by then.  No way could we have stood the heat here in our home without fans at least, and there’s no way in hell I could’ve slept here with the windows open.  I would’ve been too afraid that someone would come in and knock F and I in the head.  As we were loading that generator into our car, I hadn’t seen F that disheartened in a very long time. 
  • Thank-God-it-wasn’t-too-terrible news:  We took the generator to a repair shop that evening, and picked it up the next day for a repair cost of only $40.  That gave us the ability to come back to our home again, and start trying to clean up around the house.
  • News for which I was thankful:  The school where I work was closed until Wednesday, September 24th, when faculty and staff had to return to get things ready for our students who returned the following day. 
  • It figures news:  Didja notice that school started three days before I got power restored to my house?  Yup – it’s great fun, having to dress and put your makeup on by flashlight, lemme tell ya.   

All in all though – F and I came out of this relatively sane, still on speaking terms, and mostly intact.  He marveled that he’d managed to gain weight during our power outage.  It didn’t surprise me though, because all we could do was eat and play Spore on my laptop.  (Frickin’ love that game, by the way.)  It was too hot in the house to do anything else. 

Our internet service was restored, and we were back on the grid the Monday after the power was back on at our house.  The university where I am getting my Master’s Degree in Educational Administration was very considerate of its students, and allowed us to still participate in the current course.  They extended the deadlines for all of our assignments, for which I am eternally grateful.

My heart definitely goes out to those whose homes and lives have been destroyed by Hurricane Ike.  I attended Texas A&M University at Galveston, and enjoyed living in Galveston for several years after I graduated.  It breaks my heart to see all of the damage that has been wrought upon my old stomping grounds, and to the folks who live there.  There is simply so much destruction.  It’s hard to wrap your mind around the devastation.

 

Take a hike, Ike! September 11, 2008

Wouldn’t you just know it??  Hurricane Ike is now heading right toward us, and as we’ve feared (but expected would happen sooner or later), Houston is expected to be on the dirty side of the storm.  Where F and I live, we live in Evacuation Zone C, so we’re supposed to be the last group of Houstonians to undergo mandatory evacuations.  However, this sucker scares the fire out of me.  The sustained winds are supposed to be over 100 mph here if Ike hits where they are predicting it to go.  These sustained winds will last for around 12 hours, and that’s not counting the winds that will be in the area starting tomorrow around noon, and all the way through Saturday.

So, F and I want to get the hell outta Dodge as quickly as possible.  There’s a snag, though.  I’m supposed to have an appointment tomorrow, to get bloodwork done and have another ultrasound scan, to make sure I’m not sending my ovaries into a tailspin with all the Gonal-F I’ve been shoving into my body since Monday night. 

I started my period again on Saturday, so I called in on Monday, like a good patient is supposed to, and had to go in that afternoon to get my baseline scan done, and make sure everything was as it should be before delving into another round of infertility meds.  Since I checked out clean as a whistle, I started Gonal-F injections that night, 300iu this time instead of the 187iu I did the last time. 

That’s all well and good, but now I’m concerned that I won’t be able to continue this freakin’ cycle, if I can’t get this bloody u/s scan and bloodwork thingy completed.  If that happens, I’m screwed, ’cause I’ve already injected several hundred dollars worth of this stuff into me, and it would suck beyond sucking to have to start all over again a month from now, without completing this round.  We’ve already established that F and I aren’t exactly rolling in dough, so this could be a rather large potential setback.  Another thing I’m worried about is the fact that I have enough Gonal-F left for about four days’ worth of shots.  If we are relocated because of this damnable hurricane, will it screw up the delivery of my meds??  Ugh.

Well… that issue’s been resolved for me.  Crap.  I can’t get into the doctor’s clinic soon enough today to get the test results back today, so I have to wait until next period.  I’m stuck up here at work until at least 2:30, and the clinic won’t be able to have my estrogen levels back before Dr. S heads home.  Thanks a lot, Ike.  You just cost me at least $500 that we don’t have, you bastard. 

I sometimes hate my damnable luck.  Honestly, I do.

 

Apologies and Ramblings July 8, 2008

Geez, I’m sorry I’m not an everyday blogger.  Matter of fact, I haven’t even been a weekly one, or even biweekly.  My apologies, folks.  I’ll try to do better, ‘k?  I really will try.

The good news is that I finally had my period again after my miscarriage.  Yay.  It wasn’t as bad as I imagined it would be, which makes me happy. 

F and I are both eager to get back on the ol’ baby-making horse, but are going to wait to use medical intervention until my next period…dammit.  Two Three reasons, actually, but they’re definitely related.  The first reason:  money.  Yes, I know, we still have some of the meds from before I got pregnant, and that’s beyond wonderful, trust me.  However, Dr. S and I decided that my ovaries could stand some more stimulation, in the form of a larger dose of said meds.  Good news?  I have most of the meds already.  Bad news?   I don’t have the remainder of the Gonal-F I’d need to have on hand to complete the med cycle, nor do we have the available fundage for said injectible platinum.  (Okay, it’s not really platinum, but you get the gist.) 

Second reason, and the main cause of Reason #1?  F was sick, and didn’t get to work for 2+ weeks.  It’s getting to be like our frickin’ summer thing…I get out of school, start making plans to go places, do things, and then F gets sick for at least two weeks, and All Things come to a halt.  Y’see, F drives a truck for a living these days, and when F doesn’t drive, he doesn’t get paid.  Now, he and I aren’t the best at saving money, by a long shot.  I’d much rather have someone else cook than for me to do it, hands down.  That’s (sadly) our main source of wasted money, to my way of thinking – eating out / take out.  But, we have wayyyyy too much debt, and buggered credit, to say the least.  During those weeks when F doesn’t work, the bills still seem to keep coming, damn them. 

We try to survive on just my meager teacher paycheck.  That in itself is trying, but add in several visits to doctors, several trips to the pharmacy to get meds, and the usual grocery extravaganzas, and you can practically hear the sucking sound as the money leaves our puny checking account.  Now, of course – when we’re broker than broke – would be when I start my period, and when I’d need to go and purchase about $500 worth of Gonal-F, if F and I were going to try to Create a Life Through Modern Chemistry.  Ummm, not going to happen this month.  It simply can’t.  Dammit. 

Reason #3, you may be asking?  Well, F had a weird spot showing up in his chest xray, and after an inconclusive MRI, and had to take some radioactive sugar to try to see what was going on in his body.  He was supposed to get a PET scan, and the contrast stuff contained radioactive sugar (iodine, I think).  Pity he was too claustrophobic to go through with it, poor thing.  Exposure to radioactive stuff, all for naught.  He had to go get a broncioscopy procedure instead. 

I thank God that the doc didn’t see anything out of the ordinary during the bronchioscopy, but there is still something weird that shows up on his chest xray.  I don’t know, and neither do the docs, but they say it is NOT cancer.  At least this has (hopefully) convinced F that he needsneedsneeds to STOP SMOKING!!!  The doctor told him that there’s no permanent damage in his lungs right now, and that if he quits, they will stay healthy.  F says he’s cutting down, but I can’t tell that he has.  I just continue to hope and pray he quits.  God Almighty, I’m sick of everything we own reeking of it, plus all of the money that literally goes up in ashes.  When I think if it, it makes me ill.  I know, make everything be about myself.  I am truly a drama queen.  Sheesh. 

Still, I wonder sorts of effects the radioactive solution he drank had on his swimmers.  I need to ask about that when he goes to the doc this Wednesday.  I don’t want us to be trying the old fashioned way if there’s any danger that his guys could have been affected by the radiation, ya know?  I know that the doc said that the radioactivity only lasted about 24 hours tops, but still.  It’s not like it only stayed in his chest area, if you know what I mean.  We don’t need the added stress of worrying whether or not this batch of swimmers glow in the dark.  Suffice it to say that I’ll feel much better about trying naturally if there’s a reduced chance of mutation as a result of radiation.   

The doctor did say that F suffers from a severe B12 deficiency.  He’s now going in weekly for a B12 injection, but after this Wednesday, I’ll be giving the shots to him.  That ought to help save us a bit of cash – I hope. 

I often think about my former pregnancy, and in which week or month I’d be if I still were expecting.  Still, when F and I had this scare, it made me think that things do happen for a reason, even if we don’t see the reasoning at the time.  I can’t imagine how we would’ve handled this financially if I’d been pregnant too.  Am I a monster for thinking this way??  God knows, I would love to still be pregnant!  Could I have handled the stress without inflicting damage upon those I love??  Without that Xanax I took that Friday night to help me sleep during the weekend four or five days before he had his PET scan scheduled? 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m made of pretty strong stock.  I can usually handle almost anything.  Usually.  But, when it comes to my family, I worry myself into a non-sleeping tizzy, to say the least.  I would lie in bed, cry to myself, and worry.  No fun at all, kids.  I sincerely don’t recommend this.  I mentioned to my mom that I hadn’t slept, and she gave me a couple of her Xanax “to help me get some sleep”.  I’m not the kind of person that usually pops pills to turn my brain off, but in this case, when it was staying on a spin cycle of nasty, ugly thoughts every night when I was supposed to be sleeping??  Hell yeah, I’ll take something.  If that makes me a wimp, so be it… but it did help, if only for that night.

 

So far, Gonal-F’s not really impressing me March 15, 2008

Filed under: infertility bites — vamplita @ 8:25 pm
Tags: , , ,

Had an ultrasound yesterday, to make sure my ovaries haven’t gone into hyperdrive with the Gonal-F.  No worries there, y’all.  According to my nurse, Maria, I have one follie that was at 16 yesterday, and five smaller ones, not really worth speaking about.  Damnation.  Same bloody results as I got with the Clomid, only much, much more expensive.  Still, I’m going to inject myself with Ovidrel tomorrow night at 9PM, to get ready for an IUI come this next Tuesday at 9AM. 

The best thing about this is that I’m on Spring Break as of yesterday, thank goodness.  No having to take a half-day off, or any time off from work.  That makes me happy,  because I always feel like I’m abandoning my students, not to mention inflicting cruel and unusual punishment onto the poor sub who winds up watching my demon spawn.  I always leave stuff for them to do, but I know how they behave. 

They’re not very concerned with their work, or, consequently, their grades.  It’s hard to find anything that they do care about at school.  Sadly, the majority of them couldn’t care less about failing a class.  Or, if they do care, they don’t care enough to put forth much effort regarding the matter.  The future of our nation, ladies and gentlemen… be afraid.   

*Big cleansing breath in, annoyance about students out* 

So, where was I?  Oh yes… Gonal-F and its poor turnout.  I have to say that I’m kind of sickened that my ridiculous ovaries only managed to produce one darned follicle of any noteworthy size this cycle whilst on the highly priced Gonal-F.  I mean, what the hell???  Look, gentlefolk, I totally understand that it’s all basically a crapshoot and stuff, truly I do.  I comprehend the fact that no one can guarantee certain results when it comes to IF treatments.  I get it, okay universe??  But, can’t you find a way to spread the wealth as well as you manage to do so with the not-so-good tidings??  Please? 

I mean, I am not an evil person.  I wouldn’t be a horrible mother.  Between you and I, I think I’d be frickin’ awesome as a mother.  I can guarantee you that any child I happen to ever carry within my womb will be very much wanted, and very much loved.  Honest!  I just want the chance to prove it.  Even if it’s only once. 

Seriously, if you need references, I can get them for you. 

 

Nope. No baby. March 10, 2008

Filed under: infertility bites — vamplita @ 9:17 am
Tags: , ,

Not this past cycle, anyways.  So, I beg, borrow, steal, comparative shop, and manage to order the Gonal-F for about $600 less at a different locale, thank God.  I ordered it this past Friday, and it was shipped that night, scheduled to arrive at my house by noon the next day.  I was told that if it didn’t arrive by then, to give them a call. 

Uh huh.  You guessed it.  No meds by noon.  I called the company, who traced the FedEx package, and it’s been delayed by weather.  The crappy thing is that I have to start injecting the Gonal-f on Sunday, so something has to happen to get some of this pricey stuff to me in time for this to happen as scheduled.  The company I used was really cool about it.  The customer care rep called a (relatively) local pharmacy and paid for me to come and pick up the smaller package of the stuff there. 

The reason I say that it’s relatively local is that it is in the same city.  Only a mere 23 miles away.  Heh.  So, I pile into the SUV and head to the fancier part of town, where the people walking down the street don’t look like gangstas.  They even know where their waists are, and somehow manage to keep their pants pulled up to that locale, in spite of the tremendous pull of gravity experienced on pants on the east side of town, where I live. 

Nice pharmacy, too.  A real Mom & Pop kind of place, “where everybody knows your name”, so to speak.  It’s funny, though.  When I get there, the lead pharmacist asks me where I live, and I tell him.  He replies, “Oh, we were wondering – we didn’t recognize the ZIP code.”  Somehow, in this idyllic setting, that doesn’t surprise me.  I can’t imagine anyone from this neck of the woods being unfortunate enough to have to darken my side of town, where we don’t have Ben & Jerry’s stores, or epicurean markets, or storefronts that offer “Massage”, and actually mean it instead of something seedier. 

Don’t get me wrong…the particular neighborhood where I live isn’t all bad, but there are some places not far from there that are pretty yucky.  F and I moved there with the intent on moving elsewhere after three years, and now, I don’t think we will.  We’ll (hopefully) remodel this one, and keep it for the time being.  It’s in a quiet neighborhood, on a quiet street.  I honestly don’t know if we could find another location – as safe as this one is – as close to where I teach. 

In addition, there’s not a bookstore within ten miles.  Pitiful, actually.  We’re like the red-headed stepchildren of the city, here on the east side of town.  We have fast food places to eat, and a few decent sit-down restaurants, but hardly the fare that’s available uptown.  This city has some really spectacular restaurants, clubs, and museums on the west side of town.  On this side of town, we have refineries, and chemical-ridden air.  What a deal, huh?

F was home all weekend, with back spasms.  (I tell you, he’s falling apart, folks.  Sheesh.)  We went to the Urgent Care Center on Friday afternoon, and the doctor there prescribed him some Flexeril, and some Vicodin for the pain.  Sadly though, F wasn’t enjoying a nice buzz of any kind.  He’s still hurting.  I really wish his back would behave itself, and stop seizing, already.  If not, he’ll have to go to his regular doctor, who will take Xrays and tell us what we already know – he’s suffering from back spasms.  He called in sick again today.  That makes three days now without money coming in.  I realize how very petty and small that sounds, but we’re living on a razor’s edge between being able to pay our bills each month, and financial disaster.  There’s not a whole hell of a lot of leeway. 

Ah well.  Enough of that, eh?  I’ve got to stop being such a gripey ol’ heifer. 

~~Change of Subject~~

Have I mentioned that I’m giving up caffeine this cycle?  I’ve decided that I’m bigger than my urges for caffeine, so I’m going to give it up, all in the interest of becoming pregnant.  It can’t hurt my chances of fertilization, only help.  Now, I may wind up with the King Kamehameha of all headaches, but that too shall pass.  Most headaches are fleeting, after all.

I’m a bit concerned about taking this Gonal-F, mostly because its side effects include difficulty breathing.  I don’t need that.  Fat asthmatics like myself don’t do well with the whole ‘difficulty breathing’ thing.  Let’s hope that stays away.