Wednesday, March 28, 2007

CD3 Results

I got a call yesterday with the results of my bloodwork from CD3 (March 6).

LH = 1.4 (apparently less than 7 is very good)
FSH = 4.8 (apparently less than 6 is excellent)
Estradiol = 232 (or 63.2 for you Americans; within normal but above 75 is VERY high)

If your LH is greater than your FSH it could be an indicator of PCOS. So these numbers seem to indicate no PCOS, at least to me.

Edited to add...
I found the following information on a website from a Chicago clinic:

"A blood estradiol level on day 3 (we do it on any day between days 2 and 4) of the menstrual cycle is a way to potentially discover some of those women with a normal day 3 FSH that may in fact have decreased egg quantity and quality. What we would like to see on day three is a low FSH level in conjunction with a low estradiol level. If the FSH is normal but the estradiol level is elevated, the elevated estradiol may be artificially suppressing the FSH level in to the normal range.

The idea of using day 3 estradiol levels as an adjunct in evaluating egg quantity and quality is relatively new. Clearly defined cutoff values for normal and abnormal are not well defined and are also lab-dependent. I like to see the day 3 estradiol less than about 80. In our experience, levels of 80-100 are borderline, and over 100 is abnormal. We like to repeat any borderline results in another cycle.

There is not much data that suggests that an elevated day 3 estradiol is a problem in itself. The problem is more so that it is potentially "masking" the detection of the poor ovarian reserve by suppressing an FSH level that would otherwise be elevated."

Knowing that in US terms, the E2 level is 63.2, that would seem "normal" to me. But am I wrong? Argh.


Any informed people care to weigh in on this one?

CD23 results to follow sometime next week. The trick is to get my CD23 results and analysis before CD3 arrives. Otherwise I will have to wait another month to cycle because until I know what the bloodwork says, I'm not spending another cent on cycle meds and donor samples as there may be underlying factors that need to be dealt with first.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

She's still an Angel!

The woman is a Godsend, I kid you not. Anees, the phlebotomist that I encountered before was at the medical centre yesterday and she welcomed me with open arms for my CD23 bloodwork.

In preparation for today's sticks, I had had 3.5 litres of water, worn sleevless top with a cardigan (to give her easy access to either arm), and kept my arms warm all day to bring the veins to the surface. Let me tell ya, never in my LIFE have I ever gone to pee that much during a workday! Dear heavens!

Anyway, Anees took us in and had me jump up on the table. I'd taken my Loraze.pam of course (an hour before) and I was firmly plugged into the soothing sounds of my walkman, keeping me in a semi-lucid state. She palpitated and found the sweet spot; I just sat there tapping my foot, squeezing a foamy thing and breathing VERY deeply. I lay down, and she swabbed twice... and STICK! She got it on the first try! Yahoo! All in all, she took seven vials for testing.

Today's round of tests include:
- Glucose
- Hemoglobin
- White Blood Cell count
- LH
- Prolactin
- Estradiol
- Progesterone
- T3
- T4
- Free Testosterone
- Feratin
- Folate
- Vit B12
- Insulin

I ought to get the results in a week or so. Hmm, that reminds me to get my results from my CD3 work awhile ago too. And lo and behold, it's time to have my annual Pap done too. Joy... Another peek at my hooha. Hopefully I can get the surgeon who did my lap last year. He was very good.

Today is CD24. I usually go for about 27 days or so, but I seemed to have ovulated late this time on CD17; maybe my cycle will be a bit longer this time around. We'll see. I've noticed since I'm off the Clo.mid and all the drugs that I DO ovulate on my own (as evidenced by a natural thermal shift) but that I am ovulating later that I would be with the Clo.mid/drug combo. I dread going back to the drugs. I guess because I know I ovulate, I don't want to mess with that, you know? Why push ovulation to CD12 or 13 when I would ovulate normally on CD17? As long as my luteal phase is 10 days plus... what would be the issue? I'm curious now. Anyone know?

P.S. To answer your question, my angelic phlebotomist prefers not to use a butterfly needle because the flow is too slow and would be agonizing for me to endure.

P.P.S. Oh yes, the migraines are linked to estrogen levels ladies; the rapid and wild range of rising and falling estrogen during a monthly cycle can induce both ovulation migraines as well as PMS-type migraines. Welcome to the fun. Meh.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Long Talk

So on to the "long talk" that hubby and I had the other day. We talked about a few things, and of course, discussed the whole donor insemination thing, the having kids at all thing, the financial thing (which, admittedly, my husband is NOT good at!), and the talking to family thing.

The donor insemination thing
Well, turns out that my husband is fine with donor insemination. He was just having doubts for the moment about how it would all turn out. He wonders how many times we ought to try donor insemination (dIUI) before we ought to sign up for IVF/ICSI. That's a really good question. I am not sure I know the answer to that one. Some people try for a few months, others pursue the dIUI route for a year or more. Having gone through two years of aspirated IUIs and all that that entails emotionally, I don't know if I have it in me to do dIUI for a year. For now, we have two vials left of the three that we'd purchased. We'll use one next month (barring results from the bloodwork). And then... down to one. Do we buy more after that? Use the same donor or another one? Or sign up for IVF/ICSI right away? All things for us to consider.

The having kids at all thing
My husband goes through periods of doubt about having children again. I guess this is normal for 'second-time-around' dads; I would think it is anyway. But in his case, he worries about raising the children as well. When his two children were babies, it was he who stayed home with them. He fed them. He changed them. He got up in the middle of the night with them. He made their baby food from scratch with a blender. He mixed formula. He washed all the laundry. The children's mother went back to work shortly after having each of their two children and he stayed at home to care for them. Essentially, he was a stay-at-home dad. And that was fine for them back then. Although along with much of that, he did the cooking, cleaning, taking care of the house, etc. And I think he resents having had to do all that work while his (now ex-) wife worked a minimum wage job and then came home and did nothing to contribute to keeping the house. So he fears having to do all that over again, by himself. He knows how much work it is to care for an infant and he worries about the fact that he did it all once before. Yet, if the truth be told, he knows very well that I am not content to sit and watch other people do work. He knows I am a stickler for a great many things. He knows that I wouldn't sit idly by and let him raise our child; that's just not me. But every once in awhile, that fear niggles at his brain again. Understandable.

The financial thing
Eeesh, my hubby is horrid with money! Like many women I know, I've taken over the financial responsibilities of paying bills, stuffing a little bit now and then in a savings account and putting away money in RRSPs, preparing for the future and unexpected expenses. Hubby just sucks at doing that stuff. His mentality is, "Ah ha! Money money money money... spend spend spend spend!" And I give him a thwap and tell him, "No! Down boy!" and pull the money away to take care of our essentials first. I know that if and when we have a child, the responsibility will fall to me to put some money away for education, eventualities, and unexpected things. He was simply afraid that he was so bad with the cash flow, that he couldn't afford to have children at all! No, not the case. He knows differently now.

The talking to family thing
Over the weekend, hubby went to see his family. There have been some major developments in his immediate family, all of which he's now caught up on. You see, hubby doesn't see his family much. He sort of considers himself the black sheep of the clan. But this weekend, when he went to his mom's house, he took the time to fill them in with our efforts on the TTC front. He told them about the tests. About the IUIs. About the aspirations. About the monthly ups and downs that all this entails. He told them about our decision to use a donor. He told them about our break. And he told them that we will try again. What he got from them was support. Colour me shocked. Yes indeed. A lot of support. They made suggestions (e.g., adoption from Canada, from abroad, using IVF, and the general "What if Gil went home to lie down after the procedures?" sort of thing), and they told him that they were so sorry for the things they've done and said to negate his (and my) emotions and actions. Yeah, there's a lot of history there; I won't get into all of it. It'd bore you to tears, trust me. But the support from his family is very much needed, and most certainly welcomed. I think we'll be going to see his family a little bit more now that we know where things stand.

I continue to wait for next Monday when I'll be going for CD23 bloodwork. So for now, all's quiet on the western front...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ow my head!

It's been a very quiet week. Not much to report. I'm waiting for my CD3 bloodwork results and looking ahead to the 26th when I get CD23 bloodwork done.

In the meantime, last night I was struck with the migraine from h*ll. Before I started the TTC journey, I knew I got migraines often, but I didn't track when or figure out why. Now that we are TTC, I keep an eye on all those things. And I have realized that I get two migraines per month.

One comes shortly before ovulation (although just how soon before ovulation I'm never entirely certain; it seems to be about 24-36 hours I think) and the other comes about 24-48 hours before AF arrives.

I've read that this is related to progesterone levels. Interesting. I ought to do a little more research into that. What do you, my readers, know about progesterone levels and migraines? Or other monthly hormonal changes and how they relate to migraines? I'd be interested to see what information is out there.

Have a good week everyone. Oh, yes, before I forget, hubby and I had a LONG talk the other day. Much was resolved, and more to come. I'll update that a little later.

Friday, March 09, 2007


Yesterday was a very difficult day. I thought it was going to be a good one, but it was difficult.

At work, we had a potluck luncheon. That's nothing out of the ordinary; we do that about once every month or six weeks. I did the chicken casserole dish that everyone seems to enjoy. And I was prepared. Not just with the dish, but emotionally, to deal with one of my co-worker's wife and 11-month old son. (Yes, they have gotten pregnant, had their son and are ready to celebrate his first birthday all within the span of my trying for number one, suffering miscarriages and having a laparoscopy. Ugh.)

I was totally prepared to deal with their presence, emotionally and psychologically. What I wasn't prepared to deal with was my former supervisor's pregnancy. Six months to be exact. Since she changed jobs (and thus office locations) when she stops by our section now, she chats with EVERYONE else but me. Everyone. I haven't laid eyes on her since sometime in November or December. And now I know why.

But dammit, had I only known, I could have been able to get through it and not break down. But no. That wasn't to be. She originally hadn't been invited, but she is the type to invite herself to various events. She "heard through the grapevine" (yeah, right) about our luncheon and of course, someone said, "Well why don't you come on over and eat with us too?" When she strolled in and I saw her bump, I was just overwhelmed by emotion. I barely made it through our luncheon. When it was done, I saw an opening in the conversation and made my exit, supposedly to wash utensils. I snuck back to my office, packed my things, called hubby to come and get me (God love him, he dropped everything at his office and ran to get me) and he drove me home as I shed buckets of tears. I just couldn't do it. I wasn't prepared.

But I did take the opportunity this morning to educate both my supervisor and the organizer of the event about infertility. And I asked that they please remember that in delicate circumstances, people ought to be forewarned; in my case, especially given that they know about my personal situation. Had my supervisor and/or the event organizer not known... I could understand. But they both knew. And no one said a thing. No one prepared me. No one bothered.

After 20 minutes of conversations about bottles, diapers, cradles, toys, big brothers and sisters, yadda yadda yadda ad nauseum, I was a mess. Good thing I got out of there when I did. Otherwise it would have been more than just dirty dishes to clean up. I would have been a puddle of blubbering emotion on the floor too.

*sigh* Please God, today will be a better day.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I Found an Angel on my Path

I didn't faint! Yippee! Get this... I didn't even CRY! Woo hoo! Can you IMAGINE?! I wasn't reduced to a quivering blob of a heap on the floor! And that, my friends, is a MAJOR accomplishment. I mean MAJOR!!!!! Seriously. You think I jest? Not at all.

Let me set the stage. I took my Lorazepam at 2:30 p.m. (2 mgs) and by 3 p.m. I met my hubby who came to pick me up at my office. We went to Apple.Tree Medical Centre on Bank Street and hubby took my health card and the requisition slip in to the phlebotomist. I sat down and for a few moments I relaxed to the sounds of my favorite "mellow" music on my MP3 player. I wasn't there for five minutes when she called me in.

She had me lay on my back to check my right arm. I obliged, and just breathed deeply, eyes closed, as she palpitated for a vein. No luck. I sat up and she turned me to lie the other way, so she could check my left arm. Again, deep breathing, music, eyes closed, and squeezing that little foam ball. She found a vein. She swabbed. Twice. Deep breath and STICK! She got it first try. Breathing deeply, I relaxed my arm a little more, stopped torturing the little foam ball and voilà. Done. One vial today. (Thank goodness! They're only checking FSH, LH and Estradiol.)

Let me tell you, this woman is a Godsend. I guarantee, she is an angel whom I am very lucky to have found. And I don't want to let her go. She was sweet and kind. When it was done, and I sat up and took off my MP3 player, I said to her, "I know you don't like to see people like me coming into your office, but I am very glad that you are as patient and as kind as you are. You understand what it's like for me, and if it's okay with you, I'll come back here for my CD23 work as well. Now that I've found someone as good as you, I don't want to let you go. Is that okay?" She laughed and smiled, blushing. She gave me her name and the phone number to the lab, as well as her schedule.

We headed home and me, being rather drowsy from the effects of the Lorazepam, I climbed into bed to sleep most of it off. I'm sure I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I surfaced again around 7 p.m., somewhat more lucid. And very glad to have it all done.

I will go back to her on March 26th for CD23 bloodwork. And I will have confidence in her, even though I'll still be twinged with a little fear. This month we are not doing a dIUI because I just want the base bloodwork without any medication in my system. That will give me a better indication of whether we are working with a possible thyroid problem, high glucose levels, immunity disorders, etc. So no meds, and no dIUI until April. But this blood work is a very, very good place to start.

Anees is an angel. I am convinced. Kudos to her and to all phlebotomists who listen to their patients.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Phlebotomists suck... blood that is.

Tomorrow my friends, is CD3. And that means this month is the month for the dreaded bloodwork. I live in fear of CD3 and CD23 this month. Why? Um, it might have something to do with the memory of blood being drawn when I was a child that went horribly wrong. Or the sadistic phlebotomists here. Remember those stories? Oh yeah. I do. Guys, I'm back on the rollercoaster. And utterly petrified. Anyone got a gravol? To h*ll with the gravol. I'm gonna go find my Loraze.pam.

Just so you know, I don't hate all phlebotomists. Some of them are fantastic. I just wish they all were.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Rainbow Appears for One IF Sister

Beth over at Prop Your Hips Up Afterwards has given birth to a beautiful baby girl. NOTE: I will warn you now, clicking on the PLAY button on that video will make you cry; bring tissues. But go watch. You have to see the smile on Beth's face at the end.

On February 23, Leah Catherine made her long-awaited entrance. Beth has endured so very much to carry that precious little life, going through Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) and a host of other problems during her pregnancy. She's dealt with it all with style and grace.

I confess, when I first started reading IF blogs, I'd surf around, and find the 'normal' mix of tales of bad timing, poor CM quality, needing oral medication, IVF, etc. Then the severity of IF seemed to progress; I found a few blogs discussing injectables and constant monitoring for OHSS. And one day, I stumbled on Beth's blog, with the photo of her swollen belly, bruised from injections, and her tale of HG. My initial reaction was, "Oh God. What this poor woman hasn't done. It must be so hard. Where does she find the strength to go on? How does she do it?" I was in awe. I admire her so very much. She did what she had to do. It wasn't fun. It certainly wasn't easy. But in the end, it was worth it.

So many of my blogging sisters are celebrating the birth of Leah Catherine this week, I wanted to pass on the news as well. Congratulations Beth. You made it. It sure wasn't easy but you did make it. You're a wonderful inspiration. May your new little one bring you all the joy in the world.