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

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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.

 

Crossing all crossables March 17, 2008

F and I go in for our second go-round with IUI tomorrow morning.  I’m sincerely hoping that we have some baby action this time!  Please, if any of you are in good with the Man Upstairs, please send Him a tiny missive regarding vamplita and family.  Or, at least send a few get-a-swimmer-to-fertilize-the-egg vibes our way, will you? 

F and I would appreciate any help we can get.  God knows I’ll be a nightmare to live with for the TWW.  Last time around, I kept experiencing phantom symptoms.  I’m sure almost everyone has those.  At least I’ll be keeping busy with grad school, thank goodness. 

Still, my mind flashes forward to possibilities.  During that ever-lovin’ Two Week Wait, I find myself looking at stuff like pregnancy announcements, diaper bags, and reading as many TTC success stories as I can possibly get my mouse to click upon.  I tell myself that I do it for inspiration, and I honestly think that’s why I do it.  I want those positive vibes to help if it’s at all possible, ya know? 

I’m the kind of person that casinos love to have as a patron!  The answer to “Why?” should be obvious, I’d imagine.  Because Hope Springs Eternal within this breast, ladies and germs.  I’m an optimist when it comes to games of chance like slot machines, thinking that if I keep sitting at the machine in front of me, it will eventually pay off.  After a while, I start thinking, “hey, this thing is bound to hit pretty soon.  I know it’s got at least (enter ridiculous amount) of my money already, plus the cash the previous soul plunked into here right before I sat here.  If it’s going to hit…why not for me?  I stand just as good a chance of winning as anyone else, don’t I??  After all, I’m due to win big, aren’t I?  It’s gotta be my turn by now, right??”  So, fast forward and see vamplita deposit her last money into same promising machine, still thinking that it could happen.  Kind of a Pollyanna-ish sort of way to gamble, no?? 

Still, following in that same sort of logic chain, I could get pregnant this time, right??  All it really takes is one single swimmer to meet my one luscious egg, right??  Hey, I know my biology; I know that’s a fact!  Besides, women get pregnant all the bloody time without trying, so sooner or later it’s bound to happen for me, right?? Because after all, I’m actually trying to get pregnant!  If I keep at this reproduction thing, it’s bound to pay off for me, right??  I’ve heard the stories… I’ve seen the women up at my RE’s office who have had success at this, and they’re not that different than me.  Okay, maybe some of them are thinner, and some of them are younger, but I’ve seen ladies up there that look about the same age and shape as I am.  Surely it’ll happen for me! 

Guess we’ll find out if I win this time, huh?  :oÞ

 

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

Filed under: infertility bites — vamplita @ 8:25 pm
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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. 

 

Take 2 – this time, with feeling! February 8, 2008

Ok, so I’m not pregnant this month.  As I said, no shock there.  I started my period the morning I was to go to the doctor.  I may not be surprised, but I am a bit bummed that it didn’t work.Dr. S met with us this past Wednesday, and we discussed our options.  I lobbied for Clomid + IUI this month.  Dr. S agreed, as did F.  Starting my Clomid tonight.  This time, I’m to take 3 pills each night (as opposed to two) during (Cycle Day 3 – Cycle Day 7) CD3-CD7.  She’s hoping this will cause more eggs to mature this cycle, instead of just the one like last month. She told me to start using the OPK on day 10, which is this Friday.  That’s also the day I go in for my ultrasound to see how many follicles have matured.  (Have I mentioned to you that these ultrasounds are $195 a pop, and that insurance is covering nada on those little gems?)  If I don’t ovulate over the weekend, I’m to inject myself with some stuff called Ovidrel that will cause me to ovulate within a certain time period following the injection.  On that Monday (or possibly Tuesday), F will have to go in and do his part by donating some swimmers into a cup.  Then I go in a couple hours later to have the procedure completed.  Please, God, please let this take.  Please let me get pregnant this month.  Please have one of F’s swimmers meet with a ready and willing egg. 

We’re also encouraged to go home following the IUI and have intercourse too, as kind of a plan to keep as many swimmers in the vicinity of the egg(s) as possible.  Call it hedging our bets, if you will.  F will probably be ready to have sex, since he can’t ejaculate for 3-5 days before donating his sample for the IUI.  If all goes well, I could conceivably be with child as early as 2-13-08.  Again, keep those fingers crossed and say a tiny prayer or two! 

I just read about another procedure called fallopian tube sperm perfusion (FSP).  That’s IUI, plus injecting about 20-30% of the washed sperm even further, into the fallopian tube as well, with a balloon inflated after insertion to ensure none of the sperm injected there swim south, back into the womb.  The patient leaves office with the balloon inflated within her for a while, then can deflate it all by herself later.  From what I’ve seen of the research, FSP seems to have a significantly higher rate of pregnancy than just IUI and shouldn’t be that much more expensive, relatively speaking.  I’ll ask Dr. S when next I see her whether or not this clinic does FSP, and if so, how much more is it cost-wise than IUI? 

IUI costs $350, unless it’s done on a weekend.  If IUI has to be done on a weekend, that’ll be an additional $50, thankyouverymuch.  I forgot to mention that previously.  F and I would definitely prefer that my OPK doesn’t show positive on a Saturday!    

 

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow… February 5, 2008

is it.  Pregnancy Test Day.  My current raison d’etre.  I know that I really ought not put too much emphasis on this time around, considering our poor showing during ovulation.  And yet… the tiniest glimmer of hope is there, whispering into my ear with the faintest voice.  It tells me that it is possible that I’m pregnant.  Stranger things have happened, right?? 

From a strictly scientific perspective, it’s fascinating to witness what’s happening to me ever since I (probably) ovulated.  For the past two or three days, my stomach’s been feeling weird, and my breasts have been tender/borderline sore.  It could be happening because I’m pregnant, or it could also be purely psychosomatic because I know what the early symptoms of pregnancy are. 

I haven’t told anyone, because I don’t want to give anyone false hopes if I’m not preggers.  If I told F that I’ve been feeling these symptoms, he might think it’s actually happened, and it would be such a disappointment to him, knowing that I’d been having symptoms.  I want he and I to find out together tomorrow.  He’s going to the appointment with me. 

It’s a follow-up with my doctor, Dr. S.  If we find out that I’m pregnant, then we embark upon that aspect of this journey with a song in our hearts, and our fingers crossed.  If we’re not pregnant, we discuss our game plan for the next month.  Personally, if we’re not with child this time around, I want us to try IUI (interuterine insemination) next month, along with the Clomid. 

Granted, it’s more expensive when your bloody insurance won’t cover it, but it’s also got a higher percentage rate of success when compared to using Clomid and relying on intercourse.  What would happen is this:  I’d start my cycle, either naturally, or with the help of prometrium.  Sometime during the first 3 days of my cycle, I’d go in for an ultrasound, which would be used as a baseline for that month’s egg developmental progress.  On days 3-7, I’d take the Clomid.  Next, I’d start monitoring my luteal phase with an over-the-counter Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK).  If I don’t ovulate by day 15, I’d have to take an injection of Ovidrel to stimulate my egg follicles to mature and drop.  

As soon as I’d get a positive when using the OPK, I’d have to call the doctor’s office that morning, so they could make an appointment for me that day.  Then, F would have to contribute his swimmers, either in person, or at home and take his sample in within one hour of its release.  It would be “washed”, assuring that the best of the best swimmers were concentrated into a sample for insertion into my uterus. 

When my appointment came around, the techs would use ultrasound to insert a long, thin catheter into my uterus, and then inject F’s washed (and New and Improved!) concentrate into the catheter.  Once the procedure would be complete, I’d have to remain horizontal for a little while, hoping everyone knows which way they ought to be going. 

The reason they use this technique is to help the little swimmers along by shortening their route dramatically.  They get to avoid the sometimes harsh environment of the vagina, and they’re put into the express lane, bypassing the vagina to go straight into the uterine cavity.  Now, the techs still can’t control which way the sperm swim once they’re into the uterus, but at least more of them have an increased chance to at least be in the running in the Race to the Egg.  Little Ms. Ova and any mature sisters she may have, ought to have dropped from the ovaries, and begin heading through the fallopian tubes, toward the uterine cavity.  In the meantime, F’s swimmers will start (hopefully) moving through the womb and into the fallopian tube(s) to meet any eligible bachelorette eggs in their path.  The first swimmer to meet this egg wins – no one else is allowed to fertilize that egg once it’s fertilized by the sperm who got there first.