Tuesday, September 29, 2009

FET#1.5 - Lining Check

Today was the dreaded lining check. OMG, would I pass this time? I spoke to my lining the entire way to the clinic, demanding that it cooperate and have a nice thick triple pattern.

I had blood drawn to check my estrogen level and then was sent back to the waiting room to wait an hour. I'm normally a very still person, but today I was a bundle of nerves and couldn't stop fidgeting. I sat back and watched couple after couple admire their u/s photos. One couple found out they were having a boy. One just found out she's pg. I just smiled and thought, my day will come!

Finally I was called back. They started with an abdominal u/s and spent a quite a bit of time there. I was absolutely dying for them to quit looking at my ovaries and get to my lining.

Next they had me empty my bladder for the vaginal u/s. When I returned, the sonographer and sonographer-in-training were laughing hysterically. She was teaching her how to put the condom over the u/s wand. She couldn't get it right and said "your wand is a lot bigger than my wand". I hopped on the table and watch these 2 ladies laugh and discuss condom techniques. Quite hilarious!

We got started on the vaginal u/s and I immediately asked if there was a triple pattern. I got the standard annoying answer, "I don't know, the doctor will have to tell you after he reviews it". Fortunately I'm pretty good at reading the u/s and saw for myself that, yes, there was a triple pattern!!!!!! But the nerves didn't stop, I needed to hear it from them.

During the u/s, someone knocked on the door and they shouted, you can't come in right now. I said, boy, they'd get quite a view if they walked in right now. After they were done I headed to the bathroom to get dressed while they let the person in. When I came out, Kerry was sitting there. I was so shocked to see him there. He wanted to surprise me and be there for me. So sweet!

We got to leave admiring my u/s! What a pretty lining I had. I wonder if anyone in the waiting room was envious of my lining?

As soon as I returned home, my results came in:

Estrogen: 816 (>300)

Lining: 9.7mm TriLayer (>8mm)

CCRM just called and said everything was perfect and I'm on for an Oct 5 transfer!!! Wahoo, I passed, I passed!!!!

In other news...

I've served in the church nursery for several yrs now. After I failed my 3rd IVF, I stopped serving as it was too painful to be surrounded by babies. I always said I would start again after I was pg. Well, I'm not pg yet, but I'm proud to say that I made the big step last Sun to start serving again. For the first time, my mom served with me. We had 7 little ones between the 2 of us. She got to see me in a mom role and I got to see her in a grandma role. It was great. We both left smiling in anticipation for the day when it would come true, me a mom and her a grammy.

SIX days to transfer!!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

FET#1.5 - A Huge Jump Forward

Thank you all so much for all the estrogen vibes. Let me tell ya, those were some powerful vibes!

On cd9, they wanted my E2 greater than 50, I was only at 37.

They added Estrace 2mg 1x/night.

Today, only 3 days later, they want my E2 greater than 75.  My nurse said she'd keep her fingers crossed for me.

My results just came in... I'm at 1015 !!!!!!  Seems there's no middle ground with me. 4 days from now, they want it greater than 300. Stop the vibes, stop the vibes!!!!  Better yet, send some triple pattern vibes!

I told my nurse I think she kept too many fingers crossed!  She said a jump from 37 to 1015 in 3 days is unheard of. This may explain why I've been feeling bloated and nauseous. Since starting the Estrace, my spotting completely stopped and I have enormous amounts of ew cm (in a pretty shade of blue I might add). I think my fat rolls have sucked every particle of estrogen out of those patches and my hoo-ha went to town on those little blue pills.

So my instructions from CCRM are to continue as is.  They don't want to reduce my meds as that would cause a pretty big drop in estrogen and that would not be good for the lining. Now if when I become pg, I'm stuck continuing the patches and blue suppositories until several wks of pg. Oh God, I'm going to have a smurf baby!

I got an email in regards to the Na-Nu Na-Nu photo below that made me laugh so hard.  It was from a very dear friend Joyce who's 73.  This is what she said "Looks like your dolly partons have grown a tad.....have they?".  Thanks for a great laugh Joyce, I needed it!  Funny thing is, just last Sun, my mom exclaimed to me in the middle of church; "your boobs look HUGE!".  Let me set the record straight, I have not gotten a boob job and I haven't intentionally done anything to make them look bigger. It just happens to be a new bra that I really love because it fits well, is comfortable and holds form through the laundry. Apparently it holds form on me as well! So if anyone out there is about to spend lots of dough on a boob job, give me a shout, I'll give you the name & model of my $10 Walmart bra!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

FET#1.5 - Acup #3

I just returned from my 3rd acup appt. She felt all my pulses and said my energy and anxiety are so much better, but definitely have room for improvement. That's good because I've been working hard on it. She said my estrogen is coming up, but not quite where it should be yet. I explained the protocol I'm on and she understood it pretty well as she works with a lot of infertility patients. She said that's good they added more estrogen. She said my liver pulse is taught and that made sense since I'm on artificial hormones and my body is trying to process them. For over a year now I've been flip flopping back and forth between natural and artificial hormones, I'm sure my body is confused and worn out.

She loaded me up with needles from head to toe again. I listened to both of my recordings from Lynsi and had a nice relaxing nap. Afterwards, she massaged my stomach, shoulders and neck and then gave me some anxiety relieving exercises to do at home. She really is great!

She decided that she wanted to leave the 4 needles in my head until bed time if I was willing to. Said it would work on my anxiety all day. Thank God I work from home! I look like a martian.

Here's my Na-Nu Na-Nu greeting as seen on Mork & Mindy.

In other news, I exchanged a few emails with my nurse. I requested another estrogen check as having to wait an entire week was too much stress. She's having me go in tomorrow morning to see where I'm at. I asked what they would like it to be for tomorrow and she said "We do not have a specific number at that point of the cycle, however definitely over 50 ideally over 75." My acup said I was in the 40's today and guessed I would be in the 50 or 60's tomorrow.  I hope she's way off!

I looked into the doses I've been taking.  The Vivelle patches only give 0.1mg per day per patch. At the max dose which is 4 patches, that's still only 0.4mg a day. The Estrace is 2mg/night. That's 20x more estrogen than I was getting. Surely that has got to do something, right? For a few mins I worried that I may be getting too much, but after a little research, I saw plenty of protocols that called for 6mg/day. So I'm good.

I've been watching for fertile signs to know if the estrogen's kicking in. Last attempt I had major fertile signs 2 days after starting the patches and it continued all the way up until I was cancelled. This time I'm now 8 days past starting patches and haven't had squat. Finally today I started getting one little fertile sign and I hope it picks up. I'm confused as to why it seems I'm not absorbing the estrogen as well this time, the only thing we did different was take out the BCP and I actually had a period. You would think that would make a positive change. So frustrating. Really hoping it was as simple as wearing the patches too low in a non-fatty location. My SIL is a nurse and confirmed that the patches needed fat to absorb. I have them on rolls of fat now!

Ok, tune into me tomorrow afternoon for my estrogen level. Send me lots of estrogen and good lining vibes. 10-4 good buddy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FET#1.5 - One Step Backward

Oh anxiety, please go away! I've had a rough couple of days. As positive as I desperately want to be, sometimes there's just no stopping those little fearful thoughts.

Yesterday morning started off with an acup appt. I had the owner of the practice this time and she's quite brilliant. She's from Shanghai and has been a Chinese MD for 30 yrs. She felt my pulses and said things were not good. She said my energy to my reproductive organs and hormones were very low and it was not a good time to be pg and to not transfer my embryo this cycle. Instant stress! She put needles in me from head to toe and checked me an hr later. She said that I just wasn't recharging, so she left me for another 30 mins. On a energy scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, I came in a 3 and left a 4. I'm worn out and need a new battery.

Today I had my first estrogen level check.  They want it >50, I was only at 37. Last time I was at 79. I was shocked, and it turns out my acup was right.  Last time I had beautiful estrogen levels but a crappy lining. How can my lining get better with crappy estrogen levels?

After a painful wait, I got the call from my nurse. Dr. Schoolcraft wants me to add in Estrace vaginally every evening at bed time. This will help increase my estrogen and plump up my lining. I've never used this before but it's estrogen in a little blue pill.  I've read to be prepared to start leaking blue. Oh fun! Kerry said he's going to start calling me Smurfette.

I went over the details of my cycle with the nurse to make sure there was nothing I was doing wrong. The only thing we could come up with is that I've been putting the patches on my lower stomach right above my pubic area where there's not much fat. She said they require fat to absorb and to move them to a more fatty area. No problem there!

I asked her if this compromised my lining since I starved it of estrogen. She said she thinks I'll be fine, that she's seen people with estrogen at 12 and the Estrace was able to correct everything. Oh please let me be in that statistic!

Now I have to wait an entire week to see if this is going to correct the issue. That will give me a whopping 2 days before my flight before I'll know if I stay on track.

For the last 2 days, I've had a little bit of spotting trying to come in.  I asked her if that was from my low estrogen and she said yes.  So maybe if the spotting goes away, that will be a sign that the Estrace is working.

Ok, that was all blah blah blah depressing. Thanks for letting me vent. So let me end this on a funnier note.

Last week I went to my 1st acup appt and saw an e-stim machine on her desk.  I asked her if she could do electro-acup on me instead. She agreed. She put needles in my lower back, 6 in my butt cheeks and some in my legs/ankles.  Any time I have ever had e-stim in the past, they had always put the electrodes on the lower back and calf needles. She did it a little differently. She connected all electrodes to the needles on my butt cheeks.

Now I'm one of those "baby's got back" girls. As soon as she turned the machine on, I could feel my butt bouncing all over the place.  After she left the room, I arched my back to take a peek hoping that it just felt that way.  OMG, my bootay can dance! It was really hilarious when the cheeks got out of synch, it was like oompa oompa.

I put on my iPod and started listening to my hypno recording.  It was really hard to relax and then Lynsi had to say "relax all your muscles, let them be just like jello".  I spent the rest of the time trying to get this jingle out of my head... "watch it jiggle, see it wiggle, cool and fruity, jell-o brand gelatin".

Kerry just walked in with my prescription... I'm supposed to insert this dinky thing vaginally???  Oh how the fertile women miss out on so much fun!

Sis, I hope you enjoy those roller coasters that go in reverse!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

FET#1.5 - Let The Building Begin

On my mark... Get set... Go!

Today I start the following:

Estrogen patches every other day
L-Arginine 2x/day
Vitamin E 1x/day
Baby Aspirin 1x/day
Lupron 5iu 1x/day
Acupuncture 2x/week

In addition to what I've already been taking:

Wheatgrass Juice 1x/day
Prenatal 2x/day
Folic Acid 2x/day
CoQ10 1x/day
L-Carnitine 1x/day
Probiotics 1x/day
Omega 3's 1x/day

For the body, I've been trying to get some kind of exercise each day. For diet, I've cut out all processed foods and sugar. For the mind, I listen to my hypno recordings every night and read a book on the power of our words and being positive.

Today I also:

Booked our flights
Reserved our rental car
Scheduled my blood draws and u/s
Scheduled my acup appts locally and in Denver

Left to do:

Book our hotel
Order more estrogen/progesterone
Schedule another HynpoFertility session

Building a nice lining sure is a lot of work!  Seven, this is all for you baby! I can't believe it, I thought it would never get here and now it's only 2w5d away!!!

On a side note, can I tell you how nice it is to have some estrogen back in my system?? Kerry can! I feel soooo much better and I'm nice again. =)

Monday, September 14, 2009

FET#1.5 - Three Steps Forward

AF arrived and actually a little earlier than expected. That's a switch since Lupron is well known to make AF late. I guess having to start Lupron 2 days early on 4dpo had something to do with it.

Good-bye prep cycle.

I just received my updated calendar from my IVF nurse. My FET date is set for Oct 5, exactly THREE weeks away!  Hang on Little Frozen Seven, your mama is coming to get you!

Wahhhhhh-Hooooooo, love moving FORWARD!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

HypnoTherapy - Session 2

My 2nd hypno-fertility session was life changing. Lynsi discovered something about me that no one else ever has. My hypno recording contained a lot of visualization. She had me visualizing the transfer, the positive pg test, the growing belly, the delivery, our baby. I could picture what she was describing, but it didn't seem real to me. I couldn't connect with it and it didn't trigger any emotion towards it. I found myself frustrated that I couldn't grasp on and experience what was being described. There seemed to be a disconnect somewhere.

I discussed this with Lynsi. I told her that I was struggling envisioning holding my baby and how I was unable to trick my mind into believing it. She ran me through a few tests. She asked me to close my eyes, visualize myself sitting in my living room and describe it to her. I did but not without asking what she wanted to know about it. She said whatever I was experiencing. I described what's in my living room. She then asked if I was experiencing it, or if I was just telling her what I know about it. It was the latter of the two. She then did the standard you're at the beach, with white sand and the blue ocean, etc. I could picture the beach, but I couldn't experience it, it didn't relax me because I couldn't put myself there.

There are 3 types of learning styles. Visual learners watch and learn. Auditory learners listen and learn. Kinesthetic learners do and learn. Visual people would be able to visualize that beach and start to feel relaxed as if they were really there. Their mind is capable of experiencing what they see. Their body is able to react to their visual experience.

She discovered that I'm a kinesthetic learner; I learn by experience, hands-on, doing the activity myself. My brain processes info in a logical manner. I'm very factual and analytical. I deal in reality and struggle with imaginary. I'm very tactile. I learn through concrete, physical objects. I have to literally be at the beach, or at least have been to that beach and experienced it in real life, to experience it.

We discussed left brain, right brain dominance. I compiled a list of the attributes. Which are you?

Left BrainRight Brain
uses logicuses feeling
detail oriented"big picture" oriented
facts ruleimagination rules
words and languagesymbols and images
present and pastpresent and future
math and sciencephilosophy and religion
can comprehendcan "get it" (i.e. meaning)
order/pattern perceptionspatial perception
knows object nameknows object function
reality basedfantasy based
forms strategiespresents possibilities
saferisk taking

I'm nearly 100% left brain dominant. When I knock on the right side of my head, it sounds quite hollow.  Kerry is right brain dominant.

This session has been a real eye opener. While Kerry and I have a great relationship, I believe there's always room for improvement in any relationship. We communicate more effectively now because we understand how the other processes info. As an example, I want details and he wants summary.

I say this session was life changing because certain difficult/frustrating things in my life now make sense, which means I can now do something about them.

The biggest frustration I had was why faith is so difficult for me. To give you a little history; I was not raised in church. I grew up really not knowing anything about God. To tell you the truth, I was quite the potty-mouthed wild-child. I moved to TN at 27. My first group of girl-friends were so different from me and all my friends back in IA. They were so friendly, selfless, full of love, so at peace with their lives. I loved hanging out with them. I didn't know what it was, but there was something about those people that I wanted. I soon started attending church with them. It was very strange to me at first and sometimes freaked me out. I felt completely out of place, but over time and after finding the right church, I started to really enjoy it.

That was 9 yrs ago. My family and friends tell me that I'm a completely different person, I guess now a clean-mouthed mild-child. So why am I so frustrated then? Because after 9 yrs, I still don't fully grasp it, no matter how hard I try, I just don't. It seems that every Christian has a personal relationship with God but me. I consistently see new believers "get it" and they are on fire for God. Where's my fire? How does it come so easily to them in such a short amount of time?

After my sesssion with Lynsi, it all makes sense now. My brain doesn't know how to experience God as a reality because I can't see, hear, or touch Him. They say we are comprised of a mind, body and spirit. I seem to lack the ability to interact with my spirit bit. While I believe in God and I believe that someday I will have a child, neither seem "real" to me because I haven't experienced them in a kinesthetic way. But now that we understand how I learn, I can now let go of that frustration and work on finding a way that I can process this.

Lynsi's 2nd hypno recording works on strengthening the right side of my brain. In addition to visualization, she has included interaction.  Just as one example, she has me visualizing a control box with different buttons and knobs that adjust my hormone levels, stress levels, lining thickness, etc. I use my hands to adjust anything needing adjusting.

In regards to me not being able to visualize/experience holding my baby, I joked to Lynsi that I was about to go buy a doll. She said that was an excellent idea and really believed it would help since I need something tangible before I can experience it. So off to Target we went. On the way there, I was envisioning being put in the looney bin, but if this can help remove even a little of the trauma that infertility has placed on my subconscious, then it's worth it. As soon as we got to the baby doll aisle, I was overwhelmed. These things eat, drink, burb, snore, cry, poop, pee and fart!!! I said rather loudly in a crowded store, "did that thing just fart???". Kerry said, can you say that any louder? We were laughing so hard trying to pick one out. There were these motion sensored ones that cried when you walked by them. I was at the opposite end of the aisle when I heard Kerry "shhhh... it's ok baby, don't cry". I turned around and found my 6'5 husband with a baby doll over his shoulder, patting its back. I laughed so hysterically that I nearly melted to the ground. I finally picked out our "baby" and headed home.

I want to say that I have an incredible husband. He could have very easily made fun of me and made me feel even more of an idiot than I already did. But nope, he did just the opposite. He encouraged me as he was willing to do anything to help me through this. He even held the "baby" for a little bit so I didn't feel alone in this experiment. For the first time, I was able to visualize him holding our baby (after laughing my butt off) and what an awesome sight that was.

Is it working? Let's just say it's still a work in progress that is going in the right direction. I believe it will take some hard work to strengthen my right side, but I'm dedicated to making it happen. I really need another hypno session, but finances are a little tight right now.

I now see why Kerry is the less stressed out one in this journey.  While he's out having fun in the park, I'm stuck in a cubicle.

If you made it this far, you rock! I'd be thrilled if you could humor me and answer the following questions. I'm curious to see if there's a common pattern. Feel free to comment as anonymous.

Are you left or right brain dominant?

A.  Left
B.  Right

When you visualize the beach, can you actually experience it?

A. No, I can "picture" it, but I don't actually experience it.
B. Yes, I can visualize and experience it, I find it relaxing.

Does believing in God come to you easily or is it difficult to comprehend?

A.  Whether I believe in God or not, I find it difficult to comprehend.
B.  Whether I believe in God or not, I find it easy to comprehend.

I'm curious to see if everyone falls into an AAA or BBB category. 

I'm clearly an AAA, ie Anal Actuality Analyzer, and Kerry is a BBB, ie Beautiful Beach Believer.  Lucky Seven is an AA, rut-roh, looks like we're going to have a little mini-Jill.

I'm anxious to meet an ABB, do you exist?  What's your secret???

Friday, September 4, 2009

FET#1.5 - Two Steps Forward

I had my blood drawn today to test my progesterone level. They want the level greater than 5 to indicate ovulation.

My level was: 23.12 (lab reference range 5.16 - 18.56)

Last time it was 27.64, so my progesterone seems to run on the high side naturally. Not sure if that's a good thing or not.

I start Lupron injections (10iu daily) tonight and then wait for AF.  The sooner she comes, the sooner I get to bring my sweet little Seven home, so come on AF!

Right foot, Left foot.... great to be moving FORWARD!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

FET#1.5 - One Step Forward

I'm acronym-happy in this post, so just a reminder that there's a lingo legend towards the bottom of my blog (on the right) if you need it.

I finally ovulated on cd19 yesterday, wahoo!  For those not familiar with charting, estrogen is produced before ovulation and progesterone after ovulation.  Progesterone is a heat inducing hormone and is seen by a higher set of temps.  See my nice temp spike?  They will remain high and then drop when AF arrives.  I can't wait for the day they stay high for 9 months!

I talked to my nurse today about the next step.  My original calendar had me checking my p4 and starting Lupron tomorrow, which they anticipated would be 6dpo.  Since I'm only 1dpo today, we needed to adjust it a little.  We ran into a timing issue as my clinic is closed Sat, Sun and Mon, so I'm scheduled for an early p4 check this Friday.  If my p4 is > 5, I will then start Lupron injections that night.

I asked if starting Lupron on 4dpo instead of 6dpo would cause AF to arrive earlier, or if it just meant more injections.  She said it just means more injections.  Oh joy! 

I also asked if I had my p4 checked on Fri and it was > 5, could I start injections on Sunday (6dpo) which is the standard.  She said no, that I needed to start Lupron the same day my p4 was tested.  I said, but if my p4 is > 5 on 4dpo, it should be > 5 on 6dpo as well, right?  She said they can't guarantee that and I have to start on the same day as the p4 check. Oh well, what's 2 more injections.

One small, but happy step forward.  If I completely confused you, don't worry, just consider it good news.