Saturday, August 27, 2011

Me, DH, and Irene (Plus 3 cats)

So far, we've only had one hurricane-related casualty: not long after we filled the bathtub, we heard a splash and paws running under the guest bed.  The almost-kitten (over a year old but still acts like a kitten) was at it again.  And yet after DH got her out and was drying her off with a towel, she was purring up a storm.  Silly girl.  :-)

Spent the day mostly doing preparation we didn't get done last night...a few last minute loads of laundry, a few more things to gather for our evacuation kit and my deployment kit.  We definitely do not expect to evacuate, because we're unlikely to get flooded (didn't get flooded during Isabel, which was worse), we're prepared for a power outage, and the one road off the peninsula I live on is probably already flooded anyway.  Not sure if I'm going to get deployed with the MD Defense Force...since I'm on the mental health team, it probably depends on how crowded and thus crazy the shelters get.  Some of our engineering unit is deployed on the Eastern Shore, but no one else can get there except by going the LOOONG way around because the Bay Bridge is closed now.

Tomorrow I'll probably get around to random things.  We did a little bit of random stuff today, like putting together and hanging part of the World's Largest Crossword Puzzle that DH got me a couple of years ago, and he did random organization in the office.  I folded all the clothes that had been scattered across the guest bed, so I feel somewhat accomplished.  The big thing I want to do tomorrow is shelve all the books I got at Borders last weekend.  I know I sound like I work in a library, but I have enough books to seem like one.  I had told DH in January that we needed a new 6 foot bookcase because I had too many stacked in random parts of the dining room.  I think I can keep from overflowing this one with what I have now...

As I looked at my meds to pack them for if I go anywhere, it struck me how weird it is to be taking Pills and prenatal vitamins at the same time.  :-p

Slamming on the Brakes

From cruising down the highway feeling the wind of my passing to...SCREECHHH!!! 

I got a call this morning from the doctor.  Not the nurse. The doctor.  My genetic testing had come back.  I figured I wouldn't be a carrier for any genetic diseases since there was no family history and I wasn't a part of any at-risk group.  So much for that.  Apparently I'm part of the 1 in 50 that is a carrier for spinal muscular atrophy.  So now we have to get DH tested before we can proceed with IVF. 

Under ordinary circumstances, this would take 3-4 weeks: time to order the test, get the kit sent to us, mail back a sample, and about 2 weeks for processing.  However, we aren't sure if DH's insurance covers it.  Which is better than being sure it doesn't...we have a chance because the test isn't necessarily for infertility.  If it's not covered, we'll wait a little longer to see if DH's new insurance covers it.  Yes, new insurance.  He starts a new job on 9/26.  For those that know us in person, you'll have to ask him about it.

I asked one of the nurses whether I should continue taking my Pills until we are able to start the cycle or if I should stop them instead.  She told me that I could do either one and that some people prefer to get off of them as soon as they can because of side effects.  Um, no, I'll keep taking them, thanks.  The worst part of TTC (until it reached the point of IF) was not having the Pill helping to keep me out of pain.  Besides, the nurse mentioned that if I kept on them, we could start the cycle whenever we had the test results since we wouldn't have to wait for me to take the Pills for 2-3 weeks.  Because of that, I don't have to start the cycle at any specific time of the month, which makes it easier to control (in a broad sense) when all the appointments end up falling. 

From what I've been told, it's not that big a deal even if DH shows up as a carrier for the same thing as me.  We would need to use PGD to make sure that no embryos with the wrong genes are transferred.  I shouldn't have any problem having enough embryos to still transfer, given the number of antral follicles I had.

At this point, the main thing I feel is stunned and jarred, as if I really had slammed on the breaks when driving on the highway.  I had a few tears come to my eyes as it hit me that we had to put this off, but I haven't broken down crying or anything.  I don't know if, as it sets in, I'll be sad or angry or what.  What does bother me is that putting off the cycle decreases the chance (already small) of DH's dad getting to meet a grandchild.  He's got a year at most left unless a miracle happens, and a year is with chemo that would be utter hell to go through.

As we were watching hurricane coverage tonight, DH noticed again an ambulance-chasing commercial for people who had given birth to babies with defects after taking antidepressants during pregnancy.  One of the antidepressants mentioned was Zoloft, which I've been told by multiple people (including my psychiatrist) is safe to take during pregnancy.  DH raised the question of whether taking medications at all during pregnancy is a good idea.  Like I told him, it's a very small percentage of people that have problems, but then again, it's a very small percentage of people who are carriers for SMA, too, which makes me less confident about trusting to chance even when the odds are that stacked.  If I was to do it without meds, I could.  I made it through worse than those hormones without meds.  The biggest issue would be DH's reaction to me, though.  He already worries enough about what pregnancy hormones would do to my depression, since a bipolar friend had to be off work for about 9 months after giving birth to get her meds straightened out.  I told him I'd ask one of the prescribers at work what she thought, and we would make a decision over time based on that.  I'm fine with the idea of being off original plan was to try to do it med-free.  I only went on the Zoloft when I felt myself dipping into an episode after losing a friend to cancer.  So, we'll see.

Friday, August 26, 2011

On Pins and Needles...

...when I think about needles going into me.  We had the mock embryo transfer and the injection class today.  The mock transfer actually hurt more than the HSG had, much to the pain of DH's hand.  The doctor said everything was basically normal (there was a blood clot in there, but he said that's normal while taking the Pills). 

After that, we had the injection class.  DH was the only husband there, which he and I both thought was interesting.  Then again, I was the only one there who knew she was way too scared to be able to do the injections herself.  I must say, I was shaking looking at the needles, but we both learned.

When I got to work, the receptionist told me that my box had come.  I was confused at first because the pharmacy had told me there would be some in the box that were in foil bags and needed refrigeration, but there were no foil bags in the box.  I called the pharmacy and found out that one type of one medication needed to be refrigerated, but I had been given the kind that did not need to be kept cold.  My Gonal F will need to be refrigerated once it is reconstituted, but not before.

Two weeks before the shots start...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Warp Zone

All of a sudden everything for this cycle feels like it's going at warp speed.  Like I think I had mentioned, we're doing two weeks of Pills at the start of this cycle instead of three to make the timing work out better.  So on Tuesday, I went in for my day 3 bloodwork (just an LH check).  At the same time, I got my updated schedule, my nurse said she was putting in the orders for the meds, and I scheduled my mock embryo transfer and our injection class.  The injection classes are only done at the Annapolis office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I don't have much time before we're doing the injections, so the mock transfer and class were scheduled for only two days out, tomorrow morning.  Tuesday evening I got a call from the pharmacy checking the numbers of meds and supplies (as if I had any idea what the correct things were!) and telling me I had to have someone to sign for them.  I asked for them to be delivered to my work so the receptionist there could sign for them, and the woman told me that they would be delivered this Thursday.  I had no idea they would arrive that fast!!  So I had my bloodwork and scheduled everything on Tuesday, and now on Thursday I'm having the mock transfer, the class, and the med delivery.  It makes sense to get these steps over with now, but I guess I thought more of them would be next week, closer to when the rest would be starting to happen.  Heck, next week I won't end up doing anything except taking my Pills and worrying about how bad the needles will be!  I know what you said, Katie Z, but I'm not going to be able to believe it until I feel it for myself.  God, I can have faith in...needles not being too bad, I can't.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

525,600 Times 2

I was thinking this morning about how the passage of time has been marked during the past two years.  It feels like it was just a couple of weeks ago that I was hearing about a spate of pregnancies among family and friends, and now the August ones have come and the September ones are about to arrive.  As I was driving the rental car today (since I still haven't had any chance to get a car for myself), "Seasons of Love" came on the Broadway channel on Sirius, and we had a post title. 

Although I don't usually consciously think about it, babies develop and change so fast that it's like I can see the impact of time passing (as it feels fast and as it feels slow) in their development.  We first tried to have a baby almost exactly 2 years ago.  The babies of friends that were born in the first few months of TTC are full-fledged toddlers running around.  A year ago was when we were getting the tests that didn't end up being paid for and around when a baby would have been born if we had been like most couples and conceived in the first few months.  The babies of friends that were born then are walking and talking now.  I don't get into thinking, "If we'd had a baby in X month, it would be this old now," but the ages of my friends' babies still make an impact on me without directly triggering that thought process.

On another note, I'm wishing good luck and baby dust to my friend A as she has retrieval in the morning!!

Monday, August 22, 2011


A friend asked me tonight how I feel with it being day 1 of my IVF cycle.  I told her I wasn't sure, beyond "weird."  It seems like it is the beginning of me and IVF...but not at the same time.  All I did today was take my first Pill (and forget to call my nurse to schedule my mock embryo transfer and injection class; I'll have to do that tomorrow morning).  It's not like I started the hormone shots today.  On the other hand, with the mock embryo transfer and the injection class I will end up doing, I will have things that will make it feel more real before I do start the shots. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What To Expect

About a week ago, I was getting things together in the donation corner of our office for AmVets.  One of the things I came across was a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting.  I had gotten that from one of my friends when I started TTC since she was done having kids and didn't need it anymore.  Around the same time, that same friend had given me some baby things she didn't want to move to her new apartment.  Back in April, I passed the baby stuff back to the friend to give to her pg sister-in-law.  I also gave her the never-opened books about natural childbirth that I had bought with so much hope almost 2 years ago.  I had hidden those books away along with What to Expect because it hurt too much to have to look at them but I don't like throwing things away if they can still be useful to someone.  When I gave away the other books, I threw What to Ecpect into the donation corner because the other mother-to-be was a nurse and so was not likely to need it.  When I went through the donation items last week, I figured it's not worth giving it away after all now that we're trying IVF.  It's currently living in the top of my office closet, though.  I'm still not ready to see it on a daily basis, not until (and if) I need it.  Until then, it's just another reminder.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Next Steps

So, in the ultimate of ironies, this infertile is going to start taking birth control pills in the next week or so.  That, oddly enough, is the first step of an IVF cycle.  Yes, folks, despite being a good candidate for IUI, we are about to start a cycle of IVF because that is what's covered by insurance.  Because my tests came back normal and those for DH came back basically normal, we have a diagnosis of "unexplained infertility."  In order to make sure we use only perfect sperm, we're going with Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) rather than just putting the sperm and eggs in a petri dish and telling them to have fun (see, no one gets to have fun through this, not even individual cells!).

Um, yeah, then we get to the really fun part, the needles.  They tell me that the needles for most of the injections are small, only half an inch or so.  Yeah. I'll believe that when I see it.  They also tell me that I'll be able to do most of the injections myself.  DH and I looked at each other at that point and laughed, knowing that he'll end up being the one to do the injections.  My mom was suggesting I do them myself to prepare for the day when I might have to do insulin injections.  We'll see, Mom.  Maybe by the time I get to the second or third IVF cycle.  The grand total is somewhere in the vicinity of 7 bloodwork visits, 10 gonadotropin injections, and one more major injection (the trigger).  Then I get sedated for egg retrieval and a day on bedrest after embryo transfer (several days later).  The trigger will be somewhere around September 23, with retrieval around September 25.  DH and I were planning on going away that weekend for our 5 year anniversary and his birthday, but instead we'll be hoping to create a birthday present for him. 

I mention "hoping to" and multiple cycles for a reason.  Given my stats, my chances of conceiving in a given IVF cycle are 50-60%.  At the same time, I know that the chance of not succeeding on the first try is thus 40-50%.  I also know that most people don't conceive on the first try or conceive and then miscarry.  However, many people who don't conceive on the first try do succeed on the second or third try. 

The mention of miscarriage brings me to a request that I have for those of you that I know in real life.  When DH and I first started TTC, my intention was to not tell anyone except DH and maybe our parents before I passed 12 weeks, when the chance of miscarriage decreases drastically.  I didn't really think I could handle the additional grief if I had a miscarriage of telling a ton of people there was no longer a reason to be happy for me.  However, there's no real way to write this blog without posting pregnancy results. 

Therefore, I request that, at whatever point I do conceive, you who know me in real life not talk about my pregnancy with anyone unless you know they also read this blog.  I know that people will slip up and word will spread, but I want to limit that as much as I can until I'm ready to announce it to all and sundry.  Don't worry, I'll let y'all know when it is common knowledge, and until then you can gossip with the people who you know read this and in the comments section.

Thank you all for your discretion about this.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Opportunities and Lack Thereof

Well, actually trying this month sure as hell isn't happening.  It would be time to BD around now, but I spent my weekend sleeping off Flexeril and pain pills.  I was able to work today, which was better than Friday (when I went home to sleep off meds after lying on a flat surface for the HSG).  Still, not up for anything active.  I skipped my walking group tonight to come home and write up 3 episodes for SnarkFood because my ankle's doing better but I didn't want to put that or my back to the test. 

On the other hand, I don't really feel like I'm missing an opportunity this month because I don't have any reason to believe at this point that trying in the traditional manner would be effective.  I've gotten to the point of thinking there's a good chance we'll become biological parents, but that comes from putting my faith in medicine, not in chance.  Our next appointment is this Thursday, and we'll be discussing the test results for me and DH and determining where to go next.  Since IUI doesn't seem to be covered, though, it seems like the only real question is when we do our first IVF cycle.  At least in the fall I'm more free than DH is, since he's the one going off and covering football games.  I wonder how long before retrieval his part can be taken care of in case my retrieval is on a weekend.

I am finding that baby announcements aren't bothering me as much as they were for the longest time.  I guess my heart has finally caught up to my mind in terms of knowing that we're making progress and thinking that we might actually be able to become parents.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

More Results

I had my HSG yesterday, and it wasn't too bad.  A little bit of cramping, but what the doctor and nurse said was that most cramping comes from how far they open the balloon that keeps the catheter in place, and they only opened it a little.  The worst part, and the reason I came home after and went to bed, was the effect of lying on a hard flat surface while my back still hurts so much.  As far as the results, so far so good.  Both tubes are open and everything looks good. 

I really appreciated that my best friend offered to come down from Ellicott City and sit with me and to drive me home if I needed it afterwards since DH was supposed to be busy.  DH's morning obligation finished up earlier than he had expected, so he ended up being able to make it as well.  Neither of them was allowed to go back with me because of the radiation, which was not something we had been told ahead of time, but it still felt good knowing they were there. 

When I dashed off the post about my bloodwork and pelvic ultrasound, I didn't have the numbers for the bloodwork in front of me.  Since someone was asking, here they are.  The number on the left is my results and the number on the right in parentheses is the normal range.

Estrogen:                                      48       (less than 50)
Follicle Stimulating Hormone:        5.67    (less than 8)
Lutenizing Hormone:                     1.78    (less than 13.4)
Prolactin:                                      7.61    (less than 25)
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone:       2.86    (less than 4.5)

Friday, August 05, 2011

Again? Seriously?!?

So, my life had been going merrily along when...BOOM!!!  Or, more exactly, CRASH.  Like the last time, I'm relatively ok, but this time I'm a lot luckier to be this ok.

I was driving through Missouri with a friend, on our way to a staff development conference for APO.  I was in the left lane going West on I-70, about an hour East of our destination of Independence, when the car in front of me swerved into the right lane, revealing a tire tread in the road.  I swerved into the right lane and back into the left after the tread, but in the process, I lost control of the car and fishtailed.  There was an embankment to the right sloping down to a frontage road and continuing down on the other side of it.  There was no guardrail between the road and the embankment, and the car went over the side and flipped upside down.  The car flipped right-side up again and went across the frontage road, coming to a stop pointing down the hill on the other side.

We were taken on backboards to the nearest hospital, with me texting people on the way since the police officer had found my phone.  I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that as soon as I could reach a Brother that was in Independence, we would be taken care of.  They did a CT scan on me and let me off the backboard when it came back clear.  My ankle hurt, so they did an x-ray and deemed it sprained when they didn't see a break.  As sprains go, it's not that bad...I've been walking some of the time without the air cast they gave me.  I had itty bitty glass shards in different places, and the doctor told me they would work their way out over time.  The biggest issue there was that I had several shards in the bottom of my feet!  My back wasn't hurting badly at the time, but it definitely has been hurting since.  I have been very glad for the meds he gave me!!  I've been trying to not take the PRN pain medication during the day because it makes me sleepy, but I took one at lunch today and another at dinner.

I was right about my Brothers taking care of me/us.  In an amusing twist, the one who picked me up from the hospital that night (and even held off on the smart-assed comments!) was our Program Director for Risk Management.  One Brother made arrangements for DH to get from the airport to the hotel (he flew in because of work), and 2 others gave me clothes to wear for the night and the next day.  A Region Director took us to empty my car, get my prescriptions filled, and get my friend from the hospital.  While we were waiting for the meds, he suggested going to the craft section of the Wal-Mart and getting an X-acto knife so the surgeon present at the conference could remove my glass shards!  That was the first thing to make me really laugh at the situation. 

We ended up finding a cheap flight home for me, and now I get to deal with the pain while I wait for State Farm to determine how much they will give me for my car so I can replace it.  Yes, the car I got just 3 months ago.  I had put my stickers on it (including one that had been VERY hard to find) just the night that we left for Missouri...almost feels like I jinxed it.  I do want to try to get another Elantra, since I was very impressed with how well it held its shape as it flipped.  I felt my head hit the top of the car when we were upside down, but it wasn't very hard and didn't even seem to leave a bruise.  The main casualties ended up being the car, my friend's glasses, and my engagement ring (the latter two flew from the car and could not be found in the long grass on the embankment).