A Whole Lot, and Not Much At All

A lot has happened since I last wrote. In late April I had a polyp removed from my uterus. This was done at a surgery center a few miles from my new REs office. The surgery was fine, although I hate waking up from anesthesia! It’s like being inside one of those dreams where you are awake and aware of what is happening, but can’t move. Luckily that abated quickly, and hubby and I were able to drive down to San Diego to see his family for the weekend. We did make one stop, at my favorite tea house for a proper English Tea service.

Over the next two weeks I made the 90 minute drive to Dr As office three times. Once for a check up after surgery (cervix had healed nicely), once for an ultrasound on CD1, and lastly for a sonohysteriogram to ensure that the polyp was gone, which it was.

During my CD1 visit, my doctor asked me to pick a transfer date. After having previously always been assigned a date with no say in the matter, I was really excited, and picked a Friday that I already had off work. But then he mentioned starting blood thinners and birth control, and I knew that this wasn’t going to be the way I could do a transfer. My body has never cooperated with what it’s supposed to do on BC, which stresses me out, and the blood thinners, at $25 per day, are too expensive to be on for a month. So, we are doing a natural cycle, with just estrogen, progesterone, and blood thinners for a shorter time. I was a bit disappointed, but am mostly grateful that with Dr A, I have a choice about how I want to do my FET.

Speaking of the expensive blood thinner, I have the best news! Previously I had my RX filled at a mail order pharmacy, and they got my cost down to $23 per dose. This time I took my RX to Costco, assuming I would pay the same amount. Well, Costco is amazing. I PAID $5 FOR A 30 DAY SUPPLY!!! They told me the cost on a Thursday, but I refused to believe it until I had paid on Monday. I’m now wondering how much I could have saved if I had used them for all my other meds, but it’s ok, I’m just glad I now know to never get my RX filled anywhere else, ever again.

So, way back before my first IVF, Dr S had run some basic genetic testing, which revealed that I’m a carrier for fragile X. We saw a genetic counselor, who reassured us that this has an almost 0% chance of affecting our offspring. They had some additional tests run on my chromosomes, and it turns out that I have an inversion on my 21st chromosome. I was told that this carries a higher risk of miscarriage, but never told that there was anything we could do about it. To be honest, in all the drama of the last few years, I pushed most of this out of my mind.

Anyhow, Dr A brought up running some thorough genetic tests on me, so I brought him my records. Since the disease testing done by Dr S was pretty basic, I’ve decided to have the genetic testing done. Well, I’m just really glad that I brought the tests to Dr A, and that he took the time to look them over.

So, that inversion on my 21st chromosome? He called me and explained that the reason there is an increased risk of miscarriage is because it leads to extra genetic material in the embryos. He suggested genetic testing of the embryos. After thinking it over and talking about it with Hubby, we’re going to have our remaining embryos tested. They will thaw all 5 the day before my FET, do the testing and have the test results rushed, and transfer 2 healthy embryos. The unfortunate thing is that it could turn out that none of the embryos are healthy. Or some of them my not survive the test and refreeze. But, that is a risk I am willing to take to avoid a miscarriage.

I am PISSED that Dr S told me not to test the embryos after IVF, even when I asked him if we could. Hubby can’t even talk about Dr S without getting furious, and I feel the same way. I am so glad we switched drs!

So now, I wait for my period (about 2.5 weeks), and then start meds. In the meantime, I’m eating healthy again and cutting out caffeine. If we’re going to the expense of genetic testing, I’m going to do all that I can to make sure my body is healthy to receive these embryos. Wish me luck!!

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Mock Cycle

This past month has  absolutely flown by! I can’t believe we’re already more than halfway done with April. Time needs to slow down!

So let’s back up to where I left off, which was my trip to WA to visit my friend KM. The trip was great, even though it didn’t go as planned. KM is a SAHM, and this trip was basically to hang out, and I would keep her company during her daily routine. Thurs and Fri were as expected. Fri we took her older son, E, to the bus stop, went grocery shopping with L who is one year old, picked E up at school and took him to his dance team practice, and made our signs for the March For Our Lives in Seattle on Sat. Sat KM woke up with a fever, so the remainder of the trip was a staycation with lots of binge watching. E lost one of his front teeth while I was there, and he was so cute about it. L is a super snuggly baby, so I got lots of baby cuddles. Not the trip I’d planned, but pretty awesome.

AF arrived while I was there, as expected, so Dr A sent me paperwork to have my estrogen levels tested at a lab in WA. They even looked up where I was and found which lab was nearest and specified the paperwork for that company. Everything looked normal, so I started taking estrogen 2x per day- which made flying home (already unpleasant, airports are awful) into an emotional experience. I had hardcore mood swings on estrogen this round.

A week after returning home, I drove to Dr A’s office for a monitoring ultrasound. They also tested my progesterone to make sure I hadn’t ovulated yet. My body was cooperating, so the next day I added progesterone suppositories to my medication regime. I also started Lovonox. Within 24 hours of the first injection, I had a large red welt. I tried one more injection, with the same result. I emailed Dr A, and he let me know that I will need to use the more expensive blood thinner. I’m ok with this though, because at least now I know that any heparin based blood thinners are not an option.

Last Thursday Hubby drove me to SB for my mock Transfer. This involved a Pap smear, mock transfer, uterine biopsy for progesterone levels, and a sonohysterogram. This showed a uterine polyp, which I will need to have removed before we do a transfer. I had a polyp removed last year, and the procedure was done at a hospital. This time, Dr A has a surgery center, and he can do the procedure. Seriously, this guy is amazing.

We scheduled the procedure for one week after AF was due to arrive, however she came a week early, so I’m currently scrambling with work and his office to see if we can schedule the surgery sooner, while my lining is thinner. I have some questions (will I be put under, how long does it take to heal, will I be able to do a transfer next cycle, etc), but I have a 1 hr Preop appt next week where I get time to ask all my questions before he does his exam. Dr A himself called me yesterday to let me know that my progesterone levels look great with the suppositories. I still can’t get over the fact that he called me instead of having one of his staff do it. I love this guy so much!

Our embryo carrying Droid.

Oh, we also transported our embryos from the old lab to Dr A’s office last Thursday. It felt like we had a Droid in our car, and this thing was HEAVY! Hubby got to do all the heavy lifting. There is a bit of a snag currently because Dr A requires more detailed STD testing before each retrieval than Dr S, but I’m not too worried. Hopefully what we had done will be sufficient, especially considering that the retrieval’s are already over.

That’s about all that’s been going on. Life has been fairly smooth, and I feel so grateful that we switched drs. I’ll let you know how the polyp extraction goes!

Some Crib Drama

So, there’s something I haven’t mentioned yet. Back in December I bought a crib. It was a used crib from a friend who was moving to Ireland. Her daughters were both co-sleepers, so the crib was practically unused. Back before my cancelled December transfer, we were at coffee when she had mentioned that she was selling off most of her stuff, and listed it out, including the crib. I thought about it for a week, talked it over with hubby, and then texted her that I was thinking about buying the crib, if she still had it. She did and was so excited that I wanted it. Apparently she’s been saving it in case I decided I wanted it.

See, I was REALLY confident about my December transfer. I figured we’d be setting up a nursery in a few months. We arranged pickup of the crib, at which hubby had to dismantle the crib. There was a drawer that was supposed to be included, but she wasn’t sure where it was so she said she’d get it to us later. The whole time I was under the impression that, since she had saved it for me, that she was going to give me the crib. As we were leaving she told me to just pay what I thought was fair for the crib.

I had no idea what was fair for a used crib!! I figured maybe $40 since it had quite a few scratches, and the mattress board had some stress fracturing to the wood. The crib was also composite and felt fairly cheap. To be honest I wasn’t too crazy about it when we went to pick it up, but I had committed to take it and I wasn’t going to back out and put the burden of selling it onto my friend.

A few days later we met for coffee again, and the crib came up. While she was in the restroom I asked my other friend what a reasonable price would be. She said $100 which was way more than I’d been planning on it. When my friend returned I asked her what price she had in mind, and she said $200!!! I was floored and kind of freaking out since the crib was already at our house and I felt committed. I talked her down to $120, but I wasn’t happy about it.

A week later we were all getting together for a farewell dinner and I was going to pay for the crib that evening. The morning of the get together she messages me, making sure I had the money. Then, when I confirmed that I did, she said “don’t get robbed”. What the actual hell?! Who says that??!! I shrugged it off and tried to get excited for our night out.

At dinner I gave her the money, which she happily took. When I asked about the drawer though, she said she’d forgotten it. For the next week as she was getting ready to depart, I asked about the drawer twice, and she brushed me off both times. Needless to say, she left the country without ever getting me the drawer.

The dismantled crib sat in the corner of our guest room for a month, mocking me for our failed transfer. I finally decided that if we are able to have a family, I don’t want my children to sleep in a crib I’m so resentful of, so I decided to sell it. I brought it into our living room and assembled it so I could list it on Craigslist.

Before listing it I wanted to find out what the mattress board was called so that I could disclose the damage. When I looked it up, the second link was information on a recall for this crib. I was fuming! I contacted the company and ordered the repair kit, but I was pretty upset. When I finally got the kit (meanwhile the crib was set up in my living room for a month) I listed the crib on Craigslist. Within an hour it was flagged. You see, the crib has a drop rail, and apparently these have been illegal to sell or resell in CA for over 6 years.

In the end, I had to take the crib to a thrift store and give it away. The $120, which I will never see, I now consider a donation to my friend’s move. I haven’t told her what happened with the crib. She’s the type of person who would take it personally and throw it back on me somehow. Needless to say, I’ve learned that friends and money don’t mix and I will never make this mistake again.

Consult With My New RE

So, it’s been a few months! The last entry I wrote was in the aftermath of breaking up with the RE we had been seeing for three years. This was a difficult decision, but I never had any regrets. I used the two months to regroup, and just enjoy life without IF drama. It was really nice. I was able to prepare for meeting the new RE and keep my stress levels low.

I was still bothered when I’d go to work at the library and a mom who already had 2+ kids (this happens a lot in my community) was pregnant again, but mostly I was ok. Hubby and I spent time in our yard digging drainage ditches and decorating our house entrance. I’m glad we did this when we did, because CA is currently in the middle of a storm, however, one of our ditches is unfinished and is currently a small pond. The other one works great though!

On Monday hubby and I drove the 90 minutes to meet the new RE. I was instantly struck by the differences between him and our previous Dr. While Dr. S (old doc) was older and overly confident, Dr. A (new doc) was younger, and genuinely nice. His office was also very posh, and his front office staff was incredibly friendly. We had a full hour with him to go over everything, and afterward hubby and I only wished that we had taken the time to consult with more than one dr before making the decision who would be providing our IF treatment.

Dr. A does things so differently than Dr. S. I’m going to just list them out because that will be easier.

  1. Office- Besides having a nicer facility and friendlier staff, his office is also pretty amazing. They do everything from lab work to transfers in office, so I won’t have to travel to different places for each test and treatment.
  2. A Mock Cycle- Dr. A does a mock transfer cycle with his new patients. This allows him to monitor how your body is absorbing the medications, which allows them to make adjustments for the actual FET. During this time, there are three ultrasounds, and when you go in for your mock transfer, they also do a sonohysterogram, and take a small biopsy of the uterus to test for progesterone absorption.
  3. Progesterone- Dr. A does not like to do progesterone injections, because in his opinion the only place they really need the progesterone to go is to the uterus. So, instead, I will be doing progesterone suppositories. The shots were really inconvenient and painful, so I’m glad that there is another option.
  4. Medications- Holy cow! Dr. Uses so many less medications for the FET cycle. Simply estrogen, progesterone, and dexamethasone. And, instead of using BC to control my cycle, I simply start medications when my period starts.
  5. Blood Thinners- At our initial consultation, Dr. A said that he didn’t think I would need to be on blood thinners, which was a relief because this was a huge point of contention between me and Dr. S. However, after meeting with me, Dr. A did not just assume that he was right, he consulted with a high risk pregnancy specialist. The specialist suggested that I be put on blood thinners, but that we could try Lovonox first during my mock cycle, to see if I have the same reaction to it as I do to Heparin. If I do, then I will need to be on the more expensive blood thinner for my transfer. I’m so appreciative of the fact that he didn’t just assume he was right, and was willing to change after consulting an expert.

After meeting with him, hubby told me his opinion, and he was also very impressed. When Dr. A was talking to us, he directed most of his comments to me. Dr. S, and most male Drs, usually refer most of their comments to the husband, but Dr. A seems to realize that everything related to an embryo transfer is my decision.

So, now I’m waiting for my period to start so that I can start meds for my mock transfer. I’m on my way to Seattle to visit my friend K, and I’m so excited to spend a few days with her! We’re doing the March for Our Lives on Saturday, and I can’t wait!

You’re Fired!

Anyone who has followed my blog for any length of time knows by now that my RE has always pretty difficult to deal with. The trouble began within the first few months of seeing him, and has continued for the last three years. I often wished there was another option near me, but the fact is the nearest RE is almost 2 hours away from where I live, so I’ve settled for the RE that was geographically close, even though he was a jerk. I’d hoped that his expertise would make up for his lack of tact.

However, last week I reached my breaking point with him. It all began on Monday when, during my ultrasound, he informed me that he had opened an embryo lab, and that I would be transferring my embryos to his lab and doing my FET in his office. I was told that I needed to fill out paperwork so that his office would have permission to transport my embryos to his office. Every day last week I received a call from his office asking if I had received the paperwork yet, which was supposed to be emailed from the current storage facility. However, every time they called I had to tell them that I hadn’t gotten anything.

Finally, on Friday, I decided to take matters into my own hands and call the lab myself to find out what was going on with the paperwork. The person I spoke to knew exactly what paperwork I was referring to, but my name was not on her list to receive the paperwork, and thus, my embryos were not in the group that was going to be picked up THAT DAY to be transported to my REs office. She suggested that I call my REs office immediately.

I called my RE, but their office is closed on Friday’s, and the message service would not even try to patch me through. I wasn’t going to wait around and risk my embryos not being transported to his new office, so I decided to leave work and drive the 30 minutes home to find the business card I had with my REs personal cell number. I knew this number was for emergencies only, but the risk of not being able to do my FET this month qualified as an emergency in my mind.

I got home, looked through my FET paperwork, and found the number an called him. My RE picked up, and once I’d explained there reason for my call, he told me that I wasn’t supposed to get my paperwork until next week, so my embryos weren’t supposed to be transported this week. Then (and this is what finally put me over the edge) he SCOLDED ME LIKE A CHILD telling me that his cell was for emergencies only and that I needed to call his office. He didn’t yell, but instead used a calm, patient voice like he was explaining this to someone who didn’t know the meaning of an emergency.

I was pissed! How dare he talk to me this way!? What was even worse was that I wasn’t in the least surprised to receive this treatment from him. Since the first time I called him with concerns (when I found out I carry a risk of passing on Fragile X to my future children), he has always talked down to me any time I bring something up that isn’t on my treatment calendar.

After sobbing for a few minutes, I composed myself, touched up my makeup, and send him a quick email:

I’m sorry you were upset that I called your cell. Trust me when I say I only call it when I deem the situation an emergency. I had to drive home 30 minutes from work to get the number today. Your office has been calling me almost every day this week asking if I had received my embryo paperwork. Yesterday a staff member at your office mentioned that I was on the February list, and when I told her my transfer date, said she would call then to have the eforms sent ASAP. Then I call Beverly Hills today and they said my embryos weren’t on the transport list. to me this all added up that I was supposed to receive the paperwork, it hadn’t gone through, and now my embryos weren’t going to be transported with the rest. maybe that doesnt sound like an emergency to you, but it was for me.

Then, I drove back to work. By the time my 30 minute drive was over, I knew that I could no longer work with him. I had lost all confidence in his ability to care about me as a patient. I had to wait until Monday morning to call his office to let them know about my decision, but this was a good thing. On Friday I was angry and upset, and that isn’t a condition anyone should be in when they make a big decision. However, Saturday I woke up and was content with the idea of leaving his treatment behind. I felt the same way on Sunday. Hubby was completely on board with seeing someone else, even if it meant long drives for simple things like ultrasounds.

The call to his office went fine. I could tell that the person I spoke to was surprised to hear this from me, but she didn’t ask for an explanation. Immediately after I called his office, I called the other RE and they were able to schedule me for a consultation on March 19. I don’t mind waiting. I already have 5 frozen embryos, so I don’t feel any urgency. I’d rather wait for the RE who has excellent YELP reviews (4.5 stars for 17 reviews) than continue seeing my RE (3 stars for 11 reviews). One day I will be writing one of those negative YELP reviews, but not for awhile as I don’t want it to be too emotional so that it will be taken seriously.

Firing my RE means that I will not be doing a transfer on Jan 30. It was incredibly difficult to make this sacrifice knowing that it would prolong the FET process. However, I feel confident that waiting will mean that I can have a better experience and hopefully a higher chance of success. I always grit my teeth when someone says that you shouldn’t stress while TTC, but I’m coming to realize that the amount of stress my RE caused me was not normal. Nor was it ok.

For now I’m going to focus on my life outside of infertility. I will continue to watch what I eat, and go to the gym in preparation for my new FET, but I will also try to relearn how to enjoy my life and focus on something else for the first time in three years.

FET 4 Part 2- Why Can’t Anything Be Easy!???

After my first attempt at FET #4 was cancelled in early December due to the California wildfires, I was really disappointed, but overall was still feeling ok. I attribute this feeling of peace to the fact that I had changed my eating habits leading up to this transfer, and felt great without dairy, gluten, and processed carbs as part of my daily diet. My mental headspace was better than it had been in years, and physically I felt pretty good. Suprisingly, I stuck to my eating plan until Christmas Eve, almost 2 weeks after the devastating news. I had lost 13 pounds in 6 weeks by this point, and was really proud. I’m a complete emotional eater, and the fact that I had avoided falling back on old habits was pretty amazing. However, once I allowed myself to eat “normally” for the holidays, it was over for the next two weeks and I ate whatever I wanted, gaining back much of the weight I had lost.

I’ve been eating healthily since Jan 7 and am only 2 pounds away from where I was before the holidays. It has been really, really challenging this round because things have… not been going easily leading up to this transfer. I want comfort, and food usually makes me feel better. However, I know what I’m feeling is absolutely is warranted, so I’m going to look out for myself and stick to my healthy eating.

Besides, it turns out that I am probably allergic to gluten. Since I was in my mid 20s I’ve had allergies that took the form of itching palms and feet, and hives if I went more than 24 hours without allergy medication. I’ve had allergy tests done, but they only tested for environmental factors. Since I’m allergic to some plants, pollen, and cats, I’ve been getting allergy shots, in addition to my daily dose of Allegra. Right before my cancelled transfer my acupuncturist suggested that I try going off of my allergy medication for the transfer, and mentioned that my symptoms sound like they could be food related. My allergist had never mentioned that this could be a possibility so I had no idea. Sure enough, I went off my allergy meds, and I did not have the symptoms any longer. I never would have connected the dots if it weren’t for my acupuncturist. I haven’t had to take any allergy meds except the days following when I allow myself to eat something containing gluten. It’s been a really good motivator to stay on track.

So, before my first attempt at this FET was cancelled, I had already decided that I was finally done with my RE. I have had so many bad experiences with him, but the next closest dr is 2 hours away, and I can’t imagine driving that far just for an ultrasound. However, when my drs staff threatened to cancel my cycle because they had a schedule change and couldn’t keep my scheduled appointment (they wanted me to come in at at time when I was due to visit 150 children at a school and had just confirmed my visit for the next day), I knew that making the drive would be better than dealing with him or his staff. When my FET was cancelled I was resigned to the fact that I would need to stick it out for one last transfer, even if I didn’t want to.

Luckily, within 3 days of my cancelled transfer I had a new treatment calendar for an FET on January 30 and was able to start my meds again. Since my dr does medicated cycles, there is no need to wait for my body to do anything. It’s pretty weird having everything controlled by medication, and feels pretty unnatural, but if my BC thins my lining as well aunt flo, who am I to complain?

Since I have a clotting disorder I need to be on blood thinners from a few days before my transfer until probably about 28 weeks, if I ever become pregnant. Well, my RE has had me on Heparin and I have had a really bad allergic reaction at the injection site both times, with swelling, redness, heat, hives, and unbelievable itching. I informed my RE about the symptoms after my July transfer, and he said that he wanted to put me on a new blood thinner. He did not change my medication for December, so I figured he must have felt that I would be ok trying the medication again. I had the same reaction, and so I let him know that I thought I needed to be put on a different medication.

He looked into it, and it turns out most blood thinners are just different forms of the same medication. Rather than risk that I would have the same reaction to a different form of the same thing, he is putting me on something entirely different. A blood thinner that cost $25 per day!!!!!!!!!! I naturally completely freaked out when I found out how expensive this medication is going to be, but my RE says it’s the only option he is comfortable with for me because repeat exposure to Heparin can worsen symptoms. He is optimistic that insurance will cover this medication once I’m pregnant, because at that point it is for the health of the pregnancy, and not for infertility treatment.

I’ve been frustrated though, because the pharmacy he is ordering this through and his office do not seem to be able to communicate. I need to start this medication on Jan 25, and the pharmacy says they have not yet received dosing information from his office, although his office says they have called it in. I’m starting to get nervous that this pattern will continue, and I will reach Jan 25 without the expensive-as-hell medication in hand.

Oh, and another cherry on top of an awesome FET prep… my RE recently moved office so he could make his old space into an embryo lab. Great right?! I don’t have to drive 2 hours for my transfer. His office is supposed to get the embryo lab in Santa Barbara to send me release forms so the embryos can be sent to his lab. But, it’s been 4 days and I still haven’t received anything. The timing of this change is terrible though. I can’t help but think if they had only started doing transfers out of his office last month, they wouldn’t have had to cancel my cycle. Also, if this transfer is unsuccessful and I want to see a new Dr, I will have to have my REs office send the embryos back to Santa Barbara. It’s never easy is it?

Despite these MAJOR frustrations, I’m holding it together pretty well. Yes, I feel like throwing something, but I’ve kept my cool and haven’t even cried (although I did come close when my mom called tonight). I know that there is nothing to do but be patient and hope that this time will finally be successful.

 

CANCELLED!- Two days to FET #4

I was working on a post about all of the lifestyle changes I’ve made. I wrote it under smoke clouded skies, feeling optimistic about my upcoming transfer. A lot has happened with my RE leading up to this FET, but I have made so many positive changes, and was feeling very relaxed and ready. And then, at 5:30pm last night, I received a call from my RE. My transfer, and all others, have been cancelled. The surgery center in Santa Barbara had to close due to intermittent power failures, and poor air quality from the fires in Ventura. It was too much of a risk to thaw embryos or do surgery when there was a chance that the power could fail and the backup generator could give out. If the air filters stopped working, any thawed embryos could be compromised. So, after everything, my FET has been cancelled.

I think I’m still numb. I received the news when hubby and I were at a friends house visiting her new foster kittens. We were outside going on a quick Pokemon Go walk when I received the call. I froze in place and listened to my RE tell me how sorry and frustrated he was, how he felt especially bad for me because of how much I’ve been through, but that it was out of his hands. He said he will create a new treatment calendar as soon as possible.

After the phone call we spent hours cuddling the kittens and talking. I mostly just listened and played with the kittens, and was surprised to find that I wasn’t crying, or angry. I was disappointed, but after the fires started last week I had a sinking feeling that they might affect our ability to go through with this FET. With how many blows we have been dealt in the past few years, I didn’t trust it when everything seemed to be going so right leading up to this transfer.

So, at this point all that I know is that I will definitely not be pregnant before the end of 2017, and that for the next while things are out of my hands. I’m doing my best to be ok with that, because there really isn’t any other choice.

 

 

Prepping for FET #4

So, apparently I’ve become a quarterly blogger. Thanks to anyone who has stuck with me and is reading this. We’re well underway in our prep for FET #4, which is scheduled for Tuesday, December 12.

In August, my RE did a biopsy to test for the presence of Natural Killer Cells, and the results came back normal. In October, he did another biopsy for an Endometrial Receptivity Array which would test if the timing of my FET needed to be adjusted, and the results of this were normal as well. As much as I long to be normal in most areas of my life, I was disappointed in these results. I wanted something we could work with. Instead, we just get to try another FET with no real changes. But, we do get a hefty price tag. Between lab fees and dr’s fees, the two biopsies cost over $2700. For no real results. Yea, I’m not bitter AT ALL!!!!

Well, I guess it isn’t fair to say that no changes were made- my BC for this round was progesterone based- and I hated it. My face broke out, I felt constantly overheated, and I had to wash my hair every day because I woke up to an oil slick each morning. My last dose was last night and I’m so glad it’s over. But, it did a better job at controlling my bleeding (I was having a period despite my Loestrin), so that’s good.

Also, my Dr did an endometrial scratch on Thursday, and this is the first cycle we’ve done this. At least this is covered under my Mini IVF pre-paid plan. It was pretty much the same procedure as the biopsies, and so I knew what to expect (cramping and some pain during, bleeding immediately after, and spotting for the rest of the day).

It has been a rough few months, and I can’t go in to some of it, but those around me are definitely sensing an “when it rains, it pours” theme in my life right now. Yet, I’m doing ok. After over 6 years of TTC, I’ve finally gained some strength, as well as the ability to not freak out over every little thing. If much of what has happened in the last few months had happened prior to 2010, I’d be running around like the Little Red Hen screaming “the sky is falling”. Now, I allow myself a day to freak out about whatever it is, and then I have to find a way to move forward.

For example, I was supposed to start Lupron on 11/14. I ordered my meds from the UK in the beginning of November, and as of 11/13 it had not arrived. I had to call the dr and luckily they had some on hand, so I had hubby get that for me and I was able to start my med on time. Then, when the package was finally supposed to be delivered (over a week late), the postal worker didn’t ring the bell and we missed the package. Thus ensued a chase all over town to find the package, which was finally delivered to my work on Friday.

I decided that since the Dr isn’t making any real changes for my FET prep, I’m going to make a positive change I can control and change my eating habits. My dr had suggested I do South Beach phase 1 when I first started seeing him, but I was so stressed out over everything IF related I couldn’t do it. I relied on food for comfort, and justified that I needed it. Well, as of one week ago I’ve cut out processed carbs and dairy (someone mentioned this might be similar to Paleo?). I’m still allowing fruit and starchy veggies, and I’m not calorie counting, instead I’m only eating when I’m hungry. I’m really enjoying this eating style, I feel good physically, and my moods have leveled out. I’d become pretty lactose intolerant over the last year, and my stomach is remarkably happy with no dairy. I also have more energy, and I don’t have guilt about what I’m eating. I dropped 5.5 lbs in the first week. I’m allowing myself to eat normally for the holidays and associated events, but the rest of the time I’m going to stick with this, mostly because of how good I feel.

I’ve also started going to the gym more regularly. I had to cut out working out from July-October because of a flare up of unexplained swelling in the Plantar nerve in the arch of my left foot. It’s better now, and I’m trying to get to the gym every other day for either a weight class or some time plodding along on a treadmill. I’m tempted to try a Spin class, but so far I have’t worked up the courage to sign up.

Mostly, I’m trying to feel hopeful. On Facebook this week someone asked what was the one thing we wanted for Christmas, and I posted a GIF of a baby. This is someone who is aware of our IF struggles, but still, that comment is out there for anyone to see and I feel proud. I also read a quote this last week in one of my favorite books Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

With this in mind I bought a wishbone necklace to replace the one that was stolen when our house was broken into two years ago. I plan to wear this every day until the transfer, so that I can physically hold on to that hope whenever I need an anchor in the weeks to come.

This transfer falls around the same time as my first transfer two years ago. Although that transfer ended in a chemical pregnancy, the results better than my last two transfers where the embryos didn’t take at all. So, maybe there is something to this time of year, and maybe, just maybe, 4 can become my new lucky number.

EMB not ERA


I had my EMB (yup, apparently someone in the office used the wrong acronym and I wasn’t having an ERA) last Friday. I went in to the office with a full bladder and some dread because of the expected pain. However, I was feeling optimistic too, because some of you remind me that an ERA was the game changer for you. Hubby drove me to the appointment, but he was asked to stay in the waiting room.

When I got into the room the dr mentioned the term EMB, and I asked if that was the same as an ERA. Nope. They were doing a biopsy alright, but it was to test for NK (natural killer cells). Before the procedure the dr numbed me with lidocaine, and while it was weird to be kind of numb down there, I was grateful for it. 

While the anesthetic took hold, he explained that he likes to do this test first, and then an ERA, if needed, at another time. Both tests require estrogen and progesterone, but the EMB requires these things for two days longer. They can’t do the tests in the same cycle because having biopsies two days apart messes with the latter procedure’s test results.

After I was good and numb the dr went in to remove some tissue. Even being numb it was REALLY uncomfortable. However, the procedure was pretty quick, and the worst of the cramping was gone in about 10 minutes.

The rest of the day hubby and I spent relaxing, and battling gyms in Pokémon Go. I had some residual cramping and spotting, but it wasn’t too bad.

I’d started my estrogen on day one of my cycle which stopped AF in her tracks, and by Saturday my body decided it was time to resume AF, so I’ve been dealing with that all week. I got a message from the dr on Tues that my biopsy showed only 9% of NK cells, which is on the low end, and a good thing. My body isn’t fighting implantation. But… we’re no closer to an answer as to why my FETs aren’t working.

At this point my dr wants to do an ERA in my next cycle, so I should start meds for that in under a month. Then, the month before my FET he will do an endometrial scratch, in hopes that it will increase the chances of implantation.

I’ve never considered myself a patient person. I used to love the saying “patience is a virtue (and I don’t have it)”, but I can no longer relate to this statement. With infertility there is really no choice but to be patient and let go of control. You will either get pregnant or you won’t. Things will either work out as you’ve hoped, or you’ll need to find a new plan. There really isn’t much you can do to guarantee anything related to IF. You can stress and get angry, but it won’t help. It’s taken me almost 3 years to get to this point, but it has really helped with my mental state. I’m frustrated, but still calm. And, dare I say it, I’m still hopeful.

FET #3- Failed Embryo Transfer

I had decided that for my third FET I was going to try something new. My first, and especially my second FET had involved many people whom I was updating at every step of the way. For my 3rd FET I decided to keep things small and just focus on my mental health during the process.

I was able to get in all of my acupuncture visits, as well as regular therapy appointments. My meds were fine, and I’ve gotten to the point where I could almost do the whole FET prep in my sleep.

The day of my appointment hubby and I tried to make as fun as possible. We went to breakfast before making the 90 minute drive to the surgery center for the procedure. This time I knew to get my bladder full before arriving, so I brought a few water bottles, as well as my reusable tumbler because I tend to drink more liquids if I drink through a straw. When we got there my bladder was good, so we were actually taken back for the appointment a bit early (the person who was scheduled at that time didn’t have a full bladder yet).

The rooms where they do the transfers are so small, and every time I’m in awe of how many people can fit into such a small space. The embryos looked great and the transfer went really well. 

Afterward hubby and I went to an ice cream parlor, and then to a cat cafe where we got to spend 75 minutes hanging out with some adorable cats and kittens (the picture for this post is two of the cats from the cat cafe). I slept on the drive home, and we had a relaxing evening at home with our cats.

The next week passed rather quickly. My blood draw was scheduled for a Thursday and I work until 8pm that day each week, so I made sure my drs office knew to call hubby with the results, which he would tell me once I got home from work.

I took an EPT on Wed and it was negative, but I still had some hope that the transfer had worked. In the end I’m glad that I saw the negative test the day before my blood draw, because when I got home Thurs night hubby let me knew that the transfer hadn’t worked.

The tears didn’t come right away. I got ready for bed, called work to let them know I wouldn’t be in on Friday, then crawled into bed with hubby and cried. At one point he asked if I was ok. Instead of answering I looked at him and asked the same question. His answer was no, and so was mine.

I’ve gotten used to the idea that the transfers might not work, but it is still devastating every time. I am surprised that it seems to be getting easier though. I haven’t cried nearly as much as after my second failed FET, and my mood has mostly been ok.

To add insult to injury, I developed an allergic reaction to my Heparin this round. The injection sites became red and itchy about a week in, and even after stopping the injections I had an area of raised, red, itchy skin for a week on both sides of my lower belly, each about the size of a softball. Thank goodness that has finally started to heal as it was a constant, miserable reminder of my failed transfer. 

My dr has decided that before my next FET he wants to try to figure out why my seemingly healthy embryos aren’t implanting. I’m scheduled to do a ERA, or Endometrial Receptivity Analysis on Fri, Aug 11. This test is done by a simple biopsy of the uterine lining. Apparently they are able to tell from this if they are transferring at the wrong time, such as too early or too late. A friend had actually brought this test to my attention over a year ago, but I never thought that I would need it. I’m just glad that they’re trying to figure out what’s not working instead of just trying the same thing again.

So, that’s about all that’s going on. I’ll try to update with my ERA results. Hopefully one of our 5 remaining embryos will take and I can finally experience a successful FET.