Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pre-Op Complete - Next Stop: Surgery

Sorry I've been away. It's been a complicated time here in San Diego but things are back to normal now (for me).

During the fires last week, I forgot about my upcoming surgery which was worrying me. I woke up yesterday and realized that it is next week and I immediately starting worrying again. I know it isn't a big deal and I've talked to many people who have been through it but I can't help but worry. It's not every day that I am put unconscious. I've only had that done once before when I had my wisdom teeth about 25 years ago.

I went in for the pre-op today which was mostly taking vitals such as blood pressure, blood, pulse, etc. I had a nice talk with the doctor who explained the procedure and it seems I am all set for next week. I will have the surgery on Tuesday morning.

I mentioned in my last post that AF arrived on CD 22. I don't know what that is about but like all my problems, I blame the medications. 22 days?!? That's short even for me who usually has a 26 day cycle. I may take next month off as well so I can see if my body gets back on track. I don't think a short cycle is a good sign that all is well. If we are going to try for IVF, I want all of the conditions to be perfect. Or at least as perfect as possible for me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I found a distraction (and not one I recommend) to thinking, worrying, plotting, researching, and overall obsessing with fertility issues: a natural disaster. I live in San Diego County and we've been under siege by wildfires since Sunday. DH and I (and our pets) have evacuated to a relative who lives in a safer area. Our house is ok now but the fire isn't over yet so we are watching everything very closely.

That being said, I haven't thought much about my surgery, my fertility issues, and even the fact that in the middle of all this, AF arrived on cd 22 (what??). Normally you'd get a whole post about cd 22 and just how wrong it is for AF to start that early. Something ain't right.

But, that will all have to wait. There are bigger issues going on here now.

I was tagged by Chris and I promise to respond when I am in the right mindset. (I'm not ignoring it).

I hope everyone is well. Pray for the wind to die down.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


These past two days I was in San Francisco for a work meeting and I stayed with one of my brothers. I haven't told any of my siblings about our fertility treatment - only my mom knows. I don't know why - I guess I don't want a lot of people asking about how it is going when it is obviously not going so well.

I have a few people that I have to update each cycle (some close friends, my mom) and of course, you out there, but I try to minimize the number of people I have to report to. Maybe if I had good news once in a while, I wouldn't feel it necessary to protect myself like this. But when I share, for example, that I have 8 follicles and I'm really excited, frankly, to the uninitiated, it takes a whole lot of explaining and in the end, 8 follicles is a nice intermediary step, but if there isn't a pregnancy from one of those 8, it's not really all that great of news, is it?

Anyway, my brother was discussing the idea of he and his wife having another child and we got to talking about children and I opened up to him. I didn't tell him all of the grusome details and but I let him know that we have been having treatments for 10 months now and I told him about my upcoming surgery.

He then told me that he and his wife tried for about 6 months to get pregnant and then went to a doctor and found that she had fybroid cysts in her uterous. She had surgery (more extensive than what I will have) and they removed them. Shortly after that, she became pregnant. Of course this just fueled the flames of hope for me. My doctor doesn't think I have fybroid cysts but she won't know for sure until she goes in there.

Maybe when my ute is all cleaned out, I'll have a better chance. Not a great chance but a better chance. I'll take it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I had my first acupuncture appointment yesterday. It was interesting. I went there and had an interview about my general health and reproductive system. I also filled out a very thorough questionnaire. He had my lay down on a table and then he listened to my pulse on both arms for about a full minute on each side. He looked at my tongue with a flashlight.

Then he proceeded to put 20 little tiny (and I mean tiny especially compared to the ones we give ourselves shots with) needles in twenty places around my body. 3 on my belly (one over each over and one over my uterus), 3 on my head (one in the middle of my forehead and one in each ear) and then on my hands, arms, feet, and legs. I barely felt them. Only a few did I really feel going in.

Then I lay there with a heat lamp over me for what seemed like 30 minutes. It was relaxing, I'll give you that. I am not sure what else it was. I liked being warm and listening to mellow music.

When he came back to take the needles, he told me I was blood deficient. I'm not sure what that means but he says he can fix it. He sold me some Chinese herbs and supplements after the session. He tried to sell me more but I didn't want to spend $100 on stuff that I am not sure about so I only bought a few items. Do any of you take the Chinese herbs and supplements? What do you think? I have to be honest, I am a little wary. I'd like to hear about the experiences of anyone who has taken them.

He said I should go every week and then by my IVF cycle in two months, I should be in good shape. I can't go next week as I'll be out of town but then I will probably go again. He charges $75 per visit. I don't like spending the money but I know this may be my only chance at IVF so I should give it my best shot.

And I can't go around being infertile and blood deficient... maybe they will both go away together.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Just what I was not hoping for: the sonohysterogram showed a polyp or something is in my uterus. Boo. The sonohysterogram wasn't bad - I was anxious about it all day - first time I have been nervous going to the RE in a long time. I had it done in February so I knew what to expect. If anything, this one went smoother. The doctor took about 12 photos as she honed in on the offending polyp. Said it could be a skin flap or a fibrous cyst. They won't know for sure until they go in. They will have it biopsied but she said these things are almost always benign. She said that it may or may not have impeded pregnancy and it wouldn't necessarily improve my chances for a bfp. It's just that they won't do ivf with it in there - they need the uterus to be in tip top shape when they put the embryos back in.

Probably I'll have the surgery in early November. It will be hysteroscopy - something like a D&C but they'll use a little tiny camera so they'll know exactly what to remove. It doesn't sound like complicated surgery but I will be put under for it and won't feel a thing. The doctor said that there are rarely any complications from the surgery and I can resume my normal activities the next day.

Easy surgery or not, I did not want this news. Ugh. It's always something. I will have the surgery in early November and then will hopefully, start the IVF cycle in December. She offered to put me on birth control pills and then I could start the IVF cycle a week after the surgery but that would put the egg retrieval and transfer some time around Thanksgiving and frankly, I'd rather enjoy the holiday fully and not be worried about the timing of everything. We are planning to drive to dh's sister's for thanksgiving so it would be nice to be able to put that in ink.

I know I'm getting older and should try to do everything as soon as possible but what would be nicer than a stress free Thanksgiving and then a bfp for Christmas?

I'm trying to look on the positive side of this:
- This polyp would have had to be removed at some point anyway so might as well get it over with.
- it I did get pregnant, it could cause a miscarriage if the implantation was near to the polyp
- I have two cycles to get my body in great shape for ivf.

I also went to acupuncture today which was interesting; I'll write about that separately.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Things I do that I didn't used to do

Since I started the fertility treatment roller coaster about 10 - 11 months ago, I have taken up all sorts of new hobbies (and I am not including giving myself shots, giving blood, or getting wanded). Mostly these hobbies are to help me sleep on sleepless nights or keep me occupied during the day when my mind starts obsessing on the latest cycle.

Here's is what I have taken up and added back into my life:
1. Swimming - nothing like the tired from a good swim. I found a place near my office where I can swim on my lunch hour. If I swim hard, I will sleep through the night.

2. Listening to the news on my Ipod. I got an Ipod right around the time I started treatments. I thought I would use it for music or books on tape but I have found the free npr podcasts on I.tun.es. Each night, I download the news and listen to it. Nothing puts me to sleep faster. If I wake up in the middle of the night and start stressing out, I listen again and it puts me back to sleep. It's a crutch but I need my sleep!

3. Crossword puzzles. I was never into crosswords but now I do the one in the paper every day. I start it in the morning and if I can't finish it quickly, I leave it for after work. It takes full concentration. With tv, my mind wanders and I don't find that an enjoyable way to spend the evening.

4. Sewing. Lately, I have taken out the old sewing machine and have been sewing little purses with remnants of upholstery fabric that I buy at the fabric store for $1 or $2. Like crossword puzzles, this takes my full concentration and I have a cute bag at the end.

5. Blogging. I never had a blog before and actually never read one. I wish I had read all the infertility blogs 2 or 3 years ago. I might have gotten myself into treatment sooner. I didn't know anything about the world of infertility treatments and when we couldn't get pregnant, we went to our normal doctors and they weren't much help except finally, one day, dh's doctor gave him a slip of paper that said "Intrauterine Insemination". I called my doctor to see if she could do such a thing and she laughed and said "no, you have to go to an RE". Oh, I had no idea. That's what led me to my RE. And that is when I started googling IUI, etc. and I found all the blogs - which have helped me so much. And obviously, eventually, I started one of my own.

Tomorrow, I will take up acupuncture.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Wednesday Appointments

On Wednesday, I have two fertility related appointments.

1. Sonohystogram AKA the water test. I have had this test done before, in March 07 and everything was fine. But in some of my ultrasounds lately, they have noticed a little something (or maybe a little nothing - they aren't sure) in my uterus. They haven't been concerned for IUI as it shouldn't impede implantation, etc. But as we look towards IVF, the doc said that they want to make sure my uterus is in tip-top condition before they place an embryo in there. So, I am going to have the water test. I am scared. Not of test - I've done it before and it's not bad (easier than the hsg, mostly because those performing the test know their way around women's parts). I'm scared of the results. What if there is something there? Does that mean some kind of procedure to remove it? Does that mean I can't do IVF? I really want there to be nothing (naturally, that shouldn't surprise anyone) and be able to proceed with IVF in the next cycle. I guess I will have to wait. The good news is that I will get the results right away.

2. Acupuncture! I made an appointment and I am proud of myself for doing so. It has been recommended by so many and I have told myself that one day I will do it but I never got off my butt to research a place and make an appointment. So finally I did it. I go right after the water test. I think I put it off as it is hard to imagine scheduling one more dr appointment in the mix of all the other appointment. But with IVF looming, it was now or never. If acupuncture can help me create a few extra follicles, it will be worth it.

So, Wednesday is a big day. In the meanwhile, I am trying to eat right and exercise and generally get my body and mind in shape for what's to come.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What did we decide?

After a long discussion, we came up with our next decision (no doubt not our last).

We are going to try for IVF next cycle. We will start out as IUI and hopefully (please!!), I can come up with a big litter of follicles (more than 10 good sized ones) and then we can convert to IVF. If the follicles are not up to the doc's standards, we will do an IUI again. I am going to take the maximum amount of gona.l f (450) each day. If I don't get a lot of follicles at that dosage, there's no hope for me.

Our thinking is that if we can get to egg retrieval, at least we will learn more about my gosh darn eggs. Maybe they are all bad. Maybe not. The doc said that in older women, often the shell of the egg is too hard for either the sperm to enter or for the embryo to hatch. With me, assuming we get that far, they will do assisted hatching. They will break the outer shell of the egg at day 5 and then put them in me. At that point, they should be ready to implant right away. This is exciting to talk about.

If the eggs are all bad, then we will make that egg donor decision and not keep doing IUI's, etc. If the eggs are good, maybe we'll be blessed with a pregnancy. Stranger things have happened. At least we'll be operating with a little more information.

I feel good with this plan because we'll get some information and there is an end to it. Not just endless IUI or IVF cycles.

How to prepare for this? Well, next week I have a sonohystogram on Wednesday and then right after, Chris, you'll be proud of me, I have my first acupuncture appointment. If I may only have one chance at this, then I'm going to do everything I can to improve my odds. Suggestions at to how to do this are welcome.

Decision made. For now. And it feels good.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Went to the Doctor and the Doctor Said...

I had a great conversation with my doctor. She spent 50 minutes with me discussing my situation and going over my options. She was really nice and really thoughtful. I so appreciate her.

Here's the facts:

- She will only do 3 more medicated IUIs on me and then I am cut off.

- IUI and IVF probably have about the same chance at this point but we will learn more about my eggs with IVF. She is willing to boost my meds and see if I can create at least 10 eggs and if that happens, we can convert to IVF and take a look at those eggs. If there are not 10 eggs, she won't do an egg retrieval.

- Donor Egg is a good option though I can wait to make my decision about that - she says I have until age 47 for the donor egg option. Donor egg will cost about $25,000!!! Jeez, that changes my excitement about donor egg a bit.

- They have two donated embryos that she offered. It will cost about $3,000 to put them in but obviously, they won't be related to me or mh.

- She feels if I went to donor egg at this point (and skipped IVF on my own eggs) I could still feel that I gave it a thorough try.

- She also wants me to do one more sonohystogram next week because there is something very small on my uterus that keeps showing up on the ultrasounds and she wants to take a look at before we try anything else.

That's where I am. I feel like I am in good hands. I don't know about $25,000 for a donor egg. It does have about a 80% chance but it could still be money down the drain. Holy crap that's a lot of dough. I had somehow gotten to accept the idea of $15,000 but $25,000 seems like a whole lot more money. Maybe I should look at it this way: I borrowed $20,000 to go to grad school and I am about to pay that off and we just borrowed a smiliar amount to buy a car so what's another $25,000????? Is that a good way to look at this?

That's the update. I'll talk with dh this evening and let you know what we decide.

Out of Plimbo - on to ???

AF arrived yesterday. Whoopee.

I have an appointment with my RE today to go over my options. I want to get some educated input so I can make an educated decision. I don't want to just keep doing IUI after IUI without a plan.

I appreciate the comments about the egg donor. The one thing about the egg donor option is that it can wait. Also, my insurance covers all by $500 of the IUIs so those are manageable financially (especially if we do them every other month). The egg donor option is appealing but it seems like a way to end this part of my life - the trying, waiting, failing part. It seems like the fastest way to maybe have a baby. It is very expensive and it is not guaranteed to work. But it has a much higher success rate than round after round of IUI....

Hmm. What to do. Well, to start off, I'll talk with the doctor today and get her input on the situation. Then I'll be right back to the decision making mode.

I'll update later. Take care.