Saturday, November 29, 2008

Retrieval is Scheduled!

When we last left our story, our little group was growing nicely. I thought I might post the latest news and an update.

I can give you the following facts and details:

Last Thursday
CD 6, pre-stim ultrasound scan
Large cyst (right side), 5 follicles left side
E2 bloods (156)

Last Friday
CD7, pre-stim cyst aspiration
Ultrasound scan
7-8 follies on the right, 4 on the left
Lining 4.5

CD 11, Day 4 of meds
Ultrasound scan
7 follies on the right, 3 on the left (such an underachiever, that left ovary!)
largest measured 1.1 cms
Lining 7.5

CD 12, Day 5 of meds
E2 bloods (1036) (this had been forgotten on Tuesday and I had to wait for the requisition to come in for the bloodwork to be done)

Friday in Montreal
CD 14, Day 7 of meds
E2 bloods (need to get result)
Ultrasound scan
7 follies on the right, 3 on the left; largest measured 1.6 cm, smallest measured 0.7 cm
Lining 8.5

Saturday in Montreal
CD 15, Day 8 of meds
E2 bloods (need to get result, and OMG, what a mess of bruises on my inner forearms!)
Ultrasound scan
7 follies on the right, 3 on the left; largest measured 1.9 cm, smallest measured 1.1 cm
Lining 10.1

I asked about what sizes of eggs they would collect and I was told that they collect anything over 1.6 cm and right now I have 7 that already measure that large, and two sitting at 1.5 cm that they expect will catch up. So tentatively, I have 9 follies to possibly work with.

NINE. That ain't bad for a chick my age! At least, I don't think so. Sure, I would have loved to hit double digits but I'll take what I can get right now. I'm not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth.

I got a phone call this afternoon to fill me in on the details for the retrieval. It's scheduled for Tuesday, December 2 at 9 a.m. I have to be there for 8 a.m. I've just taken my last injections of Gonal-F and Luveris (my Lord that stings like the bejeezus!). I have to take my last injection of buserelin tomorrow before 6 p.m. and I have to take my Ovidrel trigger shot at 10 p.m. on Sunday night. And I have spent so much of today totally nauseated. Some days I rarely feel any effect, other days, I am just sick to my stomach. I guess today just happens to be one of the latter. Ugh.

Question for you bloggers who are experienced with trigger shots in difficult circumstances:
I am supposed to go to the Neil Diamond concert on Sunday night. I need to take my trigger shot at 10 p.m. and of course, Ovidrel needs to be refrigerated. What do you think my options are for that injection? Do I...

  • take the meds to the concert, leave them in the car (it's below freezing here these days) and go to the car to do the injection?
  • take the meds to the concert, ask to leave them in a fridge at guest services (with prior approval) and collect the Ovidrel to do the injection at 10 p.m. in a washroom?
  • ask hubby to drive us and bring the injection to me for 10 p.m. trigger outside the concert hall, in the car?
  • leave the show early enough to get home for the 10 p.m. trigger?
  • other?

What do you suggest oh wise and experienced IF bloggers? What have you had to do in these types of cases? How do I do this AND see the concert too? Thoughts?

I heard this week that my girlfriend T in Montreal is now on bedrest for the remainder of her p/g. I know it's been difficult for her; I must give her a call.

I also got word from Journey that after 2 positive HPTs, her Beta value was only 2 and she is miscarrying yet again. She and her husband E are frustrated and upset of course and now there will be further investigation into possible clotting disorders. I hope they get the answers they need.

So for right now, we are trying to get through one day at a time, follow instructions to the letter and make sure that we're ready for Montreal on Tuesday, December 2.

Nervous? Hell ya. Hopeful? Lord no. Eager? Definitely. Let's see what this yields when all is said and done. And now I think about what I'm going to do in my 2ww (assuming I get that far) to keep me occupied and not go entirely stir crazy.

This weekend I'm keeping busy with my friend MH and his wife KC and their 5-year old twins. Tonight, the kids saw their first Santa Claus parade in our city. And they are LOVING the snow! They're from California so they haven't seen snow before and it's giving us a lot of laughs to watch them enjoying it to the fullest! They'll be back for Christmas so I am hoping there is more snow for them to frolic in then. Enough to make snowmen, and forts, and snow angels and all that good stuff.

Love to you all and a 'coucou' to my Cyclesista friends and visitors. Keeping my fingers crossed for all of us cycling this month as we all hope for some good news, and possibly the best Christmas gift we could ever wish for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Follie Report from the Trenches

This morning's results from the local RE: A-OK.
For once. *exhales*

The uterine lining is measuring right on track, triple layer and all. And my local RE can see at least nine follies, all measuring between 9.5 and 10.6 mm in size. He was pleased to see that all the follicles were growing at approximately the same rate and honestly, so was I.

I was terrified as I lay on that table, expecting him to find another cyst. Or a follie that wouldn't grow. Or all the follies that wouldn't grow. Or signs of OHSS. Or... any one of a number of things. I am sure I was shaking as he examined me. Only after he said that things look good did I finally breathe.

So we're still on track. Those results will be faxed to MTL this morning and if there are any changes in my meds, I will hear from the RE there later today. Still keeping my fingers crossed for no more hiccups!

I was talking to my RE about the cyst aspiration and he was glad they could do that for me. He asked about the stims, retrieval date, and number of embryos that MTL hopes to transfer. I told him that given my history and my age, they expect 3-4. He told me that the MTL clinic just recently had great successes; one in particular was a woman who is 44 years old, who got lucky with twins after a transfer of 5 embryos. With luck, I'll get there before I'm 44, though I know many of us on this path pursue treatment long after that age these days. For us, we saw the first urologist for hubby's reversal in 2003 when I was 33 years old (a year and a half before our marriage); I'm now 38. I can only go for so long, yanno?

Anyway, we go to MTL on Friday, then possibly on Saturday again (depending on Friday's scan) and retrieval is scheduled for Monday, December 1. Do you realize that is in less than ONE WEEK? I'm not there yet, but I'm slowly approaching that milestone; another first in this journey. And hopefully, it will yield results this time.

On another note, I went to my SIL's baby shower on Sunday past. It was a relatively small affair and I wanted to go to show support for her. She is due on December 26. I didn't mind the shower much in and of itself. But two things did make the afternoon hard.

Firstly, all the beautiful gifts, baby clothes, toys, everything, was passed around for all the guest to see. I can't bring myself to fawn over those things just yet. It makes my heart ache a little too much. I couldn't even go buy an ITEM for her for the shower; I had to resort to a gift card. But as I explained to her, I couldn't possibly know everything that she had or what she still needed. And better than that, they're about to move into a new house (next weekend) so they may realize when they get there that they need something for the baby's room (e.g., curtains?) that I wouldn't possibly be able to get for them without their input. Anyway, the gift card will go a long way.

Secondly, there was going to be a game that necessitated teams. And as it so happened, the numbers worked out so that the "mothers" were going to be pitted against the "non-mothers"... in a challenge about how much each team knows about babies. I sighed. Luckily, the afternoon seemed to get away from us and we never played the game. I was never so glad to get out of a game in my life. I guarantee.

My thoughts are with Journey as she just got a BFP although she and her husband, E, are cautiously optimistic. You see, they have seen a BFP before but Journey had an early miscarriage. So we're crossing fingers that this time is the right time for them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Scan Tomorrow

Tomorrow I go back to the local RE for another appointment with the dildocam to see how my follies are doing on all these meds. Normally, they would do a "Five days on stims scan" but the local RE is unavailable on Wednesday so they will let me do a "Four days on stims scan" on Tuesday instead. My appointment is 6:45 a.m. tomorrow morning. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

I must say, so far the injections are going well. We had one incident with the Gonal-F pen the other night where the tip of the needle just wouldn't pierce my skin; it just dented my tummy repeatedly! So after a couple of tries like that, we changed the needle because it was obvious that one wasn't going in at all! Needle changed, we never had a problem after that. Hubby is getting to be a pro at sub-cue injects. My tummy is starting to feel a tad full, and I woke up completely nauseous this morning. To be expected now and then I guess.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cyst Be Gone!

I'm back from MTL and I am glad to report that the cyst aspiration went without a hitch.

My hubby was able to be in the room with me and he watched the cyst on the ultrasound as it shrunk in size and disappeared from the screen, all while holding my hand and letting me dig in a nail or two when I felt the pain of the needle poking through. It felt like a lot of pressure in my abdomen, like a stitch in your side that doesn't go away, and it sorta took my breath away a little but nothing drastic. Mind you, I know my pain threshhold is rather high, so I expect some women might feel it much more intensely. At least now I know what to expect for the retrieval in early December.

The actual procedure took less than five minutes so it wasn't bad at all. And I have to say, those are the most comfortable 'stirrups' that I've ever had the pleasure to be in: padded, nice and long up your calf, and cozy in fact... actually WARM. Odd to describe stirrups that way isn't it? Would that all doctors had that style of stirrups!

When we were done, I asked the doctor to tell me how many follicles were on the right side (my monitoring ultrasound couldn't see them all because the cyst was in the way). He started counting...

I have seven follicles (at least) on the right, and at last count, five on the left. For a grand total of about 12. Not bad. I hope that continues and that I get a bunch of them to mature in the next week or so with the Gonal-F and the Luveris.

So we returned to our home last night and at about 10 p.m. we started laying out all the injections. I'm currently taking the following meds:
  • Metformin (500 x 3 times per day) for PCOS
  • Levothyroxine (0.5) for Hypothyroidism
  • Pre-natal vitamin
  • Buserelin (20) sub-cue injection
  • Luveris (75 IU) sub-cue injection
  • Gonal-F (225 IU) sub-cue injection
  • And hubby started his doxycycline (oral antibiotics) last night too.
MTL would like me to have a monitoring appointment on Wednesday the 26th as well. And next Friday, I'm back in MTL for an appointment so they can see me themselves.

So this cycle is still on track. At least, for now.

Next week, I have a distraction. my best friend MH and his wife and kids will be arriving on Thursday for the long Thanksgiving weekend in the States. I cannot wait to see them, and it'll be the first time I get to meet their kids. It'll be wonderful. We're ALL going to MTL next Friday; me for my appointment and with luck, we can take their kids (boy-girl twins, almost 6 years old) to the Biodome or something. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do to entertain children in MTL? Advice most welcome.

Oh and Mel? Thank you for putting a link to my blog on Friday's L&F. I really appreciate it. Support is a great thing and I know the women (and men) here 'get it' and can offer their good thoughts. Sending hugs your way for the kindness.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Impromptu Trip to Montréal

In about an hour, hubby and I are heading out the door for a previously unscheduled and certainly impromptu trip to the hospital in MTL. They got the results of my ultrasound and my bloodwork from yesterday, and I arrived home late yesterday afternoon to find a message on my phone:

"If you can be in MTL tomorrow, we can aspirate the cyst using the same procedure as we do for a collection (retrieval) and you can continue with your cycle, starting stims tomorrow instead of today."

WTF? You're kidding me?

I called them back and after a bit of phone tag, around 5:45 p.m. I had the details. So with luck, this cycle won't be scrapped after all AND I won't need a full laparoscopy to eliminate the ovarian cyst.

I'm not going to count on this though; I'm fully expecting something else to crop up and cause a problem. But we'll see what the day holds; keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Buttered Side Down

I don't know where to begin this entry. The thoughts in my head are so jumbled and mixed with intense emotion; none of it good.

I went for my pre-stim scan this morning and I was nervous and anxious as I slid up onto that table for my appointment with the dildo-cam. The RE asked me, "How are you doing?" and my honest reply was, "I really don't know."

So for the semi-decent news:
Lining measuring 5.3 mm on CD6.
On the left, five little follicles just hanging out.
On the right, at least three little follicles doing much the same thing.
But that's not all.

No. Not for me. Never! It wouldn't do just to have happy little follies kicking back and waiting for the Gonal-F and the Luveris, would it? No Gil. You get more! You get the full freakin' monty!

Right there, in all its huge glory was a cyst.
A honking big cyst measuring over 3.5 cm in diametre.

And we all know what that means right? *adopts game announcer voice* Tell the young lady what she's won Johnny!
Well now, to start off, I am pretty sure you've won a cancelled cycle Gil! Congratulations! And there's a bonus prize of having another laparoscopy to boot to aspirate that cyst! And then, when all that is done, you get to go back on the BCPs to start all over again! Woo hoo!

I couldn't believe it. A cyst. Another cyst. It didn't respond to the BCPs that I was taking (similar to my previous cyst on the right side three years ago). So that likely means that it'll take a lap to remove it. Nice. Just what I wanted.

Then, because there was a cyst found, the orders were to have my E2 measured so that meant bloodwork. I went down to the lab in the same building and I found a GREAT woman there (Karen!) who saw how distressed I was. She told me to have hope. She hugged me. She saw the tears in my eyes and the frazzled look on my face. She was sweet. And she got a vein on the first stick (admittedly I showed here where was best to stick based on My Angel's success with that area on my forearm).

When that stress was done, I had the pleasure of shelling out just over $2200 for my Gonal-F and Luveris, which luckily doesn't expire until sometime in 2010. I came right home to stick the sensitive meds in the fridge.

And now I wait.

I wait for the ultrasound results to be sent to Montreal.
I wait for the bloodwork results to be sent to Montreal.
I wait for Montreal to call and tell me that my cycle is cancelled. (It will be I'm sure. We all know how this goes... but I have to wait for the official word from them on this.)
I wait for Montreal to tell me when they can do a lap for the cyst and when they need me for pre-op stuff... assuming they will take me at all.
I wait for something GOOD to come of this. But I really don't see a silver lining. Not at all.

Right now, I am angry. I am stressed. I confess, (and if you are religious, I apologize in advance) I hate that God is throwing roadblocks in my way. I hate that He obviously deems me unfit to parent. On my way back from the doctor's I wondered why He didn't just take me now and get it all over with. Christ, wouldn't that be easier??

I hate that I have to go through this at all. None of this should be this way. None of it. Ever. And this morning, I hated the fact that I had to go through all this alone this morning.

Like I said in my last post, seems I am the bread that always lands buttered side down on the floor. And so it continues...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Standing on the Edge

Tomorrow morning I go for my pre-stim scan at my old RE's office (he works in collaboration with the clinic in Montréal). While I'm there, I'll stop at the pharmacy and pick up the Gonal-F and the Luveris because ladies and gentlemen, (oh who am I kidding, 90% of you are ladies, right?), if the scan goes well, by tomorrow night I'll be doing THREE injections instead of just one.

And you just know how I'm gonna love that, right? Given my fear/phobia of needles?



I'm starting to feel that this cycle is real. I'm starting to feel like we MIGHT have a shot at this. That's dangerous. I'm starting to feel that old b*tch creep back in, you know the one; starts with an "H" and ends with "OPE". And dear heavens, that scares me. I am so afraid to let myself feel any hope at all that merely the thought of having any simply terrifies me.

I'm not afraid of failing; I expect failure at this point. Would you believe a part of me is afraid of succeeding? Because then I won't know what to do next. The IF road I know; I have travelled it for over five years now. I know this road inside out, backwards and forwards, upside down and right side up. I know it intimately. But the possibility of having hope, no matter how faint, frightens me right now. I'm trying to push it away, push it aside, get it out of my mind and out of my system and just focus on getting through one day at a time without having any thought of what the future might bring.

I read along with the women (and men) at Cycle Sista and I see where they are in the current cycle and I keep hope for them and wince at their setbacks, as well as cheer their successes. I go back to previous months and see how many were successes and how many didn't work out. I know that a part of me is curious as to which side I'll fall on when this cycle is all over.

And even the notion that I am entertaining the possibility that a positive end to this might exist is completely absurd! Because we all know, dear bloggers, that I fall on the crappy end of the statistics every time. I am the side of the coin that lands down. I am the buttered bread that lands face-down on the kitchen floor; never face up. So I am valiantly trying to keep that b*tch "Hope" out of my world.

Out, out damned spot!

Suffice it to say, for today, I stand on the verge of starting tomorrow with stims, and stimming with 225 units of Gonal-F and 75 units of Luveris for the next 9 days (at least).


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Back to life...

... back to reality.

I was never keen on that song really, but here it is, real life comes up and smacks me in the face. It's November 16 and I'm home from my holiday in Florida. And while it was an amazing holiday, the reality of work, cold weather, and the bruises of injections are worming their way into my world. Bleh.

Today is "officially" CD2. Though because I didn't ovulate (I was taking the BCPs) I expect this visit from AF will be short and sweet. She'll be kicked to the curb in no time at all I'm sure. She'd better be!

I go back to work tomorrow morning and I know I'm going to be right in the thick of a huge project for the next week or two. That'll keep me occupied, and that's a good thing. This coming Thursday, I have an appointment here in Ottawa to start the monitoring for this first IVF/ICSI cycle. That same day, I also start Gonal F and Luveris injections. I'm already dotted black and blue from the Buserelin on the left side of my abdomen (the right doesn't seem to bruise much at all) and I have to add two more injections this coming week? Ugh. Wish me luck.

I had a mini meltdown two or three days ago with the injections. It was a particularly rough one, it didn't go in easily and it burned during the injection and pulling out. I tried to keep still. I know I made it tough for hubby; I actually broke down in tears and then he wondered what he had done wrong, figuring he had hurt me badly. He didn't. I was just hurting emotionally and psychologically I think. You know what it's like: I wondered why me? Why does it have to be this hard for me? It shouldn't be this way. Making a baby shouldn't be like this.

Some days are easier than others I guess.

To distract me, on Thursday, my best friend MH and his wife and kids arrive to spend the American Thanksgiving weekend with us. They'll be coming to Montreal with us on November 27 for our monitoring appointment as well. We'll spend the day in the city there before coming home to have dinner in the Ottawa area. I think we're going to do a ham for Thanksgiving dinner, because they're coming back up here in December for Christmas too, and I know I'll be doing a turkey for Christmas dinner for sure!

And something hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday: I have less than two weeks to sew an IV-friendly hospital gown. The time is just flying by. Where did it go? What the heck happened? I know I made the other hospital gown relatively quickly once I got going, now I need to do that again. Wish me luck!

I almost wonder if I need to though. I have dropped between 4 and 6 sizes in the last six months. I attribute that to the proper meds now to treat the PCOS and the hypothyroidism. Mom, my aunts and my dad all made comments about how much better I look now and how much weight I've dropped. That's a good thing. Still lots to go through, so I know I would be more comfortable in my own hospital gown than one provided to me. I never know if those things will cover me adequately. Then again, I've had so many people look at my hoo-ha over the past five years, what's a few more? Still though, I think I'll make the hospital gown. It'll do me for years to come... as long as I don't sully it in surgeries, or other procedures. Huh. Maybe I should make a few!

Question for you: I just got an invitation to a friend's baby shower. It's going to be on December 13... around about the time I'll be having my Beta for this first IVF. I don't know if I ought to go. I'm of the mind to reply "yes" with a caveat (luckily the organizer knows about my IF issues). What would you do?

Shlomit: I'm sorry I missed you in the capital! Let me know next time you're heading this way. It would be great to hook up with you!
Ms. C: I would LOVE to meet you during our jaunts to your city! We'll have to organize something.

Sending hugs and best wishes to all of you in IF blogland.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Vacationing in Florida

Ah Florida. Sunny skies. Soft white sand. Blue water. And retail therapy. What more could a girl ask for?

Well, I can tell you I would like to ask for a holiday that doesn't involve injections, but we all know that's a fantasy, right?

As much feared, I am on holiday and I have to begin the injection protocol. I had hoped to avoid it til after I got home. Oh well. So I started the Buserelin (Suprefact) injections as of Friday past. So far, so good. I think. The injections have gone well and no bruising as of yet though I suspected that last night's shot would have given me one because it hurt like hell. And these are only sub-cue injections... I've no idea how I'm going to handle the PIO shots! *trembles at the thought*

Yesterday morning, hubby took his kids up to the flea market so I had a little downtime to myself. Much needed, let me tell you. I lay out in the sun by the pool for an hour and a half and loved every minute of it. When they got back, we had a bite to eat and then went back poolside for awhile. Stupidly, I decided to go for a swim... I say stupidly because I had my cell phone tucked up in the shoulder strap of my bathing suit and didn't remember that it was there til I had been in the pool for a couple of minutes. I could have kicked myself. *sighs* So last night, I had to go out and buy a new phone. I was very limited in my choices (needed one that was unlocked, that takes a SIM card and that has the single entry feature that I so love) but I found one. I will see if I can get reimbursed for it later when I get back to Canada. I doubt it, but I can always check.

On Friday past, my mom, my two aunts and I went to Ellenton to hit the outlet stores. We got a great deal at Clarke's there; I came out with two pairs of shoes and all in all, I think we purchased 10 pairs! Nothing like shoes to cheer up the ladies! I also managed to pick up a new pair of pants, a sweater, a couple of summer tank tops and a couple of lovely blouses. Some were on sale and what a steal. I couldn't pass them up. Anyway, Ellenton was quite productive.

We took the kids to Busch Gardens already and they had a blast. So did I in fact. My dad joined us there as well and he really loved seeing the kids have fun on the coasters and water rides and stuff. It was great. We're going to Orlando tomorrow for two nights, so we can do Disney's Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios, and we'll be back on Wednesday sometime I expect. I am looking forward to both parks actually; and it'll be my first time at Universal.

I confess, I'm still somewhat stressed though. I am trying to make sure the kids have fun but they're teenagers so it's hard to get them excited about anything. I know Mom and my aunts are a bit stressed having teenagers around and all the noise that they bring as well. They're not used to that much so having four extra people underfoot is tough for them. Though I know Mom wants to spend time with me, so I'm trying to make everyone happy.

Today, we hope to hook up with friends of ours from home and go for a picnic on the beach at Fort DeSoto national park. It's a really beautiful place to go enjoy the beach and the Florida weather. I hope we have a good afternoon for it. I'll update after Disney and the theme parks. Love to you all.