Tuesday, August 25, 2009

HypnoTherapy - Session 1

1 week to transfer and I'm continuing to giving it my all. Here's the next area I've been working on, the mind.

Strike that first part. This was supposed to be my "Giving It My All: Mind" post before my FET was unexpectedly cancelled. I apologize that I'm just now getting to this. Slacker, yep that's me lately! I ran into a "screw it" mentality when I was cancelled and now I'm trying to get back on track to giving it my all. Anywho, here's the first of 2 posts that have been sitting in my draft folder forever:

I used to be positive and hopeful in my ability to conceive. After the VR, we thought we'd be that couple that conceived on the first try. After a couple of years we went through testing and were told over and over again that IVF was our only option. We refused to believe it and thought for sure it was just a matter of time before our prayers were answered. We eventually wore thin and moved onto IVF. We thought for sure we'd be that couple that conceived on the first IVF, nope. Surely the second one would work, nope. Surely the third one at the #1 clinic in the world would work, nope again.

This photo represents hope. These are ovulation tests. I kept these in a container and told myself that as soon as it was full, it was time to move on.

This photo represents heartache and a gradual loss of hope. These are pregnancy tests, one for each failed cycle. Not a single double line. The digital one in the middle was from IVF#3 where I thought for sure I was pg. The words "Not Pregnant" dropped me to my knees and left me feeling completely defeated.

As you see, losing my positive outlook didn't happen overnight and to regain it would also not happen overnight. I had become weary and unbelieving that it will ever happen for me.

We somehow found the energy for one last try, a 4th IVF with all the bells and whistles. It came with a hefty price tag and an end result of one embryo, one chance. This added an overwhelming amount of anxiety, stress and fear.

Improving diet and the physical body can be accomplished with a decision to do so. Improving the mind on the other hand can be quite a feat, especially when you've spent years being knocked down instead of up. Unfortunately the mind has a mind of its own, the subconscious. "Just be positive!" If only it was as simple as a decision, and I'm not talking about being positive on the surface while still fearful on the inside, I'm talking about being positive from the core, really believing it can happen for you.

I needed a renewing of the mind, a full renovation. I found I couldn't do it on my own in the short amount of time that I had. Stealing a quote from my pastor; "I needed a check up from the neck up and get rid of the stinkin thinkin".

Some of you noticed that I was much more positive in my recent posts. I've been working hard on it. I sought some outside help with Lynsi Eastburn of HypnoFertility. Thanks KayJay for the referral. Lynsi specializes in helping those that have struggled conceiving naturally or with medical assistance. She is wonderful!!! I've had 2 sessions with her so far and hope to have more. Each session includes an hour long conversation on the phone and then she records a custom hypnosis audio file for you to listen to.

The first session she gathered a lot of info about me, my family and our journey. We discussed all fears, areas of stress/anxiety, strengths and my faith. Her goal is to balance mind, body and spirit by resetting the subconscious. I love how she customizes the therapy to your life style and needs. In my case, she's reprogramming my subconscious that I can conceive, replacing the fear and hopelessness with a positive outlook and repairing my trust in my body and in my faith. In her recording, she walked me through experiencing a successful transfer, a positive pg test, a wonderful pregnancy and the birth of our child.

Our subconscious doesn't know the difference between reality and imaginary. It only knows what we feed it. There's a quote on Lynsi's site that says "worry = negative self hypnosis". If we live in fear and constantly speak failure, this is what our subconscious learns.

My subconscious has suffered some pretty deep grooves from this journey. Pg tests, doctors and experience have drilled it in my head that I'm unable to conceive. It has played like a stuck record for too long. I'm ready to put on a new record and take back my life. Tap, tap, testing 123, can you hear me? I'm taking back my life!

Our body acts out our belief system. Tell a completely healthy person they have a terminal illness and only have 6 months to live and watch how fast they deteriorate physical, mentally and emotionally. It's amazing how powerful the mind is.

Now of course the mind doesn't operate alone. There are physical ailments and medical diagnosis that hinder people regardless of if they are positive/negative about their situation. There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to pass that lining check, but I didn't despite being positive. But I do strongly believe that our mind is very powerful and plays a role in improving or deteriorating our situation. In regards to deteriorating, I believe the resulting stress plays the lead role. Studies prove that stress creates havoc on our bodies and can even shorten our lives. Quoting my pastor again, "Your mindset will either mess you up or move you up".

Our subconscious is always listening whether we are or not. That's why our words are so important. What we say or hear is always being recorded. My husband tells me all the time to watch what I say, that my words are powerful. I used to say fooey to that. But now I understand it on a much deeper level.

Our subconscious also does not know the difference between our situation and someone else's. Have you ever read about someone in a similar situation and it did not go well for them, and you found yourself stressing that the same will happen to you? Your subconscious can interpret this fear as if the situation happened to you. I actually experienced this a few weeks back. I read of a girl who only had 1 cgh normal embryo, just like me. When she went to transfer, it didn't survive the thaw and her transfer was cancelled. This scared the crap out of me and I started to fear that this would happen to me. By the end of the day I was quite ill and stressed out. I've since then abandoned myself from reading the boards during treatment times.

I listen to my hypno recording at least 3 times a day. I was skeptical at first but was willing to try anything. I've learned that hypnosis isn't some kind of hoo doo that puts you under a spell and makes you do goofy things. It simply relaxes you and speaks to a listening subconscious. At first it didn't seem to work. I would listen to the entire recording and never once fall asleep. Then I started noticing that I would start the recording and next thing I knew, she was counting to 5 and I would wake up. I was like, dude, this stuff is working! Lynsi said that the conscious drifts off once it's familiar with what's being said but the subconscious keeps paying attention. You don't have to fall asleep for it to work, but it's best to be fully relaxed so that the subconscious is listening to the recording only and not multi-tasking.

So is it working? I really believe it is. It's not super obvious after only 1 session and is noticed more in hindsight. I seem to be much more positive and hopeful. For example, I just failed my lining check after 5 weeks of prep. Normally that would play over and over in my head. I would let fear weigh on me that it will happen again resulting is unneeded stress and anxiety. But this time I took it as a fluke and believe that all will be fine next time. While I'm still a work in progress, I'm starting to believe in my ability to conceive a little at a time. I'm becoming the little engine that could.

Toot toot!

Friday, August 14, 2009

FET#1.5 Calendar

AF arrived yesterday, wahoo! Good bye, good riddance, adios bad lining!

My IVF nurse called today and we discussed all the details of my upcoming FET.

They removed the BCP from my protocol as discussed. She completely agreed with my theory that the BCP thinned my lining, it didn't fully shed and then I developed a new lining on top of the old.

As soon as I ovulate, I'll notify her, get a progesterone level and then start Lupron 7 days past ovulation. I'll then wait on AF.

After AF arrives, I'll start estrogen patches. Once I start the patches, I'm not allowed any caffeine, which for me, only means chocolate. Had a mini-meltdown over that one. Supposedly caffeine restricts blood flow.

I had sent them a pubmed article where a study was done showing that vitamin E, l_arginine and via.gra suppositories all improved uterine blood flow and therefore improved the lining and receptivity to implantation. Once I start patches, I'm to take vit E 600iu 1x/day and l_arginine 1000mg 2x/day. They did not want me to take the via.gra as they didn't want to chance making my lining too thick.

If When I pass the 2 estrogen levels and lining check, I'll then start progesterone suppositories. Transfer will follow 6 days later. My best guestimate for transfer is Oct 11.

I asked if I needed to do the 8 sessions of acup again and she said yes, definitely. Seems they feel strongly about it, so I'll be a good patient and obey.

Finances permitting, I will try and get another hypno-therapy session in too. Yes, I know, I still need to post about my previous sessions. Very soon, I promise.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just Hangin' Around...Waiting

First, I want to thank each of you for your supportive comments, emails and phone calls. It seems that when we go through trials in life, that is when we are reminded most of how loved we are. I am blessed to have so much love and support from an amazing bunch of family, friends and those I've never met. Thank you!

Well... today I should have been in Denver transferring my little #7. But instead I'm at home stuck in a waiting pattern. What's 2 more months when you've been waiting years, right? Let me tell ya, in these shoes, 2 more months seem like an eternity. If this journey has taught me one thing, you would think that would be patience. But it has not, I'm becoming more impatient. I'm tired of waiting, tired of getting so close to the front of the line only to be asked to go to the end. If only there was FastPass in this journey...

I have got to find the location of this machine and get a FastPass to #7! I did not edit this photo, it really had the #7 on it. I just googled FastPass machine and this is what popped up, how cool is that!

My friend "the other Jill" pointed out that with my transfer being pushed 2 months, I'll now be having a July baby, month 7! Yeah, a July baby, that's a wonderful thought. Kerry also pointed out we've been married 7 years. Ok, for the record, I'm totally not superstitious, but no harm in having a little fun with it, right? Anything to bring a smile to the journey.

Many of you addressed that it was better to be cancelled than risk transferring into a not so perfect environment. I couldn't agree with you more. I knew as soon as I saw no triple pattern on my u/s that I needed to cancel. I was actually terrified that CCRM would say it was ok to move forward and then I'd have to gain the strength to cancel myself when I wanted nothing more than to bring home my embaby. In the end, I'm so glad they cancelled me so I didn't have to make that decision on my own. Regardless, it very difficult to face.

I'm doing a lot better now, just dealing with a case of the impatients. Luckily I got all my money back from our travel arrangements. The eating healthy, exercising, chiro and hypno-therapy are all accumulative and will benefit me the longer I do them. It was very frustrating to dump all those synthetic hormones into my body for nothing. I'm not so sure about the acup, it didn't seem to help and cost me $510 for 6 of the 8 sessions recommended. I assume CCRM will want me to repeat the acup sessions, but I'm undecided about that. I hate the pressure of needing to do everything possible to increase your chances (even if there's no proof it works) so there's no regrets.

Some of you keyed in on the fact that it may have been the BCP and lack of AF that was the culprit. I couldn't agree more. I believe the BCP was responsible for a poorly developed lining. I assume I never fully expelled it as AF never came, just 2.5 days of red spotting. I believe that when I started the estrogen patches, I started building a lining on top of an old unstable foundation. So while it grew, it didn't develop properly. Boo BCPs!

My nurse was going to put me on the same exact protocol. I kept asking if there was anything we could do differently since it didn't work the first time. In the end, she said let's take out the BCP. I believe this will make a huge difference. Without the BCP, I'll develop a full lining which means AF should arrive in full force and not leave me wondering, is this spotting or AF?

Phoebe, you asked if the u/s could have been wrong. Oh God, wouldn't that be horrible! That thought crossed my mind heavily. Fortunately my clinic sent u/s photos to CCRM and I asked them if she was indeed measuring my lining and they said yes. That gave me peace about it.

I finished my last Crinone progesterone suppository last night. That means I'm finally drug free!!! Now I sit and wait for AF to show. Once AF shows, I'll call my nurse and get my next FET calendar. Next I'll wait to ovulate. Who knows how long that will take after all these synthetic hormones. I hope I don't have some marathon ovulation. Once I ovulate, I'll start Lupron and wait for another AF. Lupron is notorious for making AF late, wonderful, more waiting! Once AF shows, I'll start estrogen patches on cd3 and continue for 16 days. I then have the big u/s, will there be a triple lining??? You betcha there will be!!!

I know some of you are anxious to hear about the hypno-fertility sessions. I'll try to finish them up and get them posted soon.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Giving It My All: Interrupted

We interrupt the following program for a very crappy announcement. I'll just get right to it. Our FET has been cancelled!

Today started off as an exciting day. I finally made it to my lining check u/s. My lining has always been "beautiful" (doctor's words). So I went into the appt with full expectation of hearing the same. I first had my blood drawn to check my estradiol and then headed to the u/s room. She first did an abdominal u/s. I've become quite good at reading u/s, but this time, I didn't recognize my uterus. She then did an intra-vaginal u/s. She measured the lining in a couple of different areas, but it still didn't look familiar. I asked if there was a triple pattern and she said no, it actually looked like I was about to start my period. My heart sank.

She said she would email the u/s photos to ccrm and then I left. Half way home I couldn't contain it any longer, I burst into tears. I called my IVF nurse and she then called my local clinic and told them to run a progesterone level on the same blood. I would then wait and wait and wait some more. I lost track how many phone calls and emails I went through trying to get all the info and photos to ccrm.

6 hours after my u/s, I was still waiting, still unable to stop the tears. By now I'm nauseous. My results finally come in but my IVF nurse needed time to go over everything with Schoolie.

Here's the results:

E2: 728 (perfect, they want it > 300)
P4: 0.08 (perfect, means I did not ovulate through the drugs)
Lining Thickness: 7.9 - 9.9mm (perfect, they want it > 8)
Lining Pattern: No triple pattern (bad!)

I then received the dreaded call, I'm cancelled. Schoolie looked at the u/s photos and said there appeared to be a lot of "junk" in there and he did not want to use that lining considering what's at risk here having only 1 embryo. I agree, but that doesn't take away the extreme frustration. He wants me to get rid of this lining and start over. OMG, can I please get a break here, I am so so tired.

He really didn't have any answers as to why this happened. I wondered if it was because I only had red spotting instead of a full AF, but the nurse said that shouldn't matter. She's leaning more towards it maybe being the BCPs. She told me to take 2 progesterone suppositories 2x/day for 6 days to bring on AF and then call her when it arrives and we'll go from there. Yippee, more drugs.

I had put a lot of time into my next post on the mind, some pretty cool stuff I learned from my hypno-therapy sessions. For now it will stay a draft and I hope to share it later.

Well, I gave it my best, there was nothing I feel I could have done better. 5 weeks of drugs, acup, chiro and hypno-therapy for nothing and I have to start all over again. We are due to leave in 3 days and now I need to cancel all travel plans. I guess I need to reset my transfer counter as well, from 6 days to go to 2 months, how sad. Hang in there my little Lucky Seven, I promise I will do my best next time.