Friday, November 30, 2012

Baby Making Day

Big day today!  In about 30 minutes, I leave to go pick up Sis and we are heading to the clinic for her egg retrieval.  Hubby will meet us there so he can give his sample.  (I know this is immature, but that still makes me snicker.  I can't help it!)  We are driving separate because Hubby will go on to work when his part is done.  We have to pay for all of this some how!

I am crossing my fingers tight that good quality eggs are retrieved, in addition to perfect little swimmers that go on to make beautiful little babies.  Today is the day that our embabies will be given a chance at life.  Amazing!

I will be spending the day with Sis just in case she needs anything.  When I went through egg retrieval previously, I mostly just slept all day.  I didn't experience a lot of side effects.  But I will be there for her to help out in any way I can.

As for the PIO injection last night?  I'm sure we were pretty comical.  Thank goodness nobody else was here to watch!  We did get it done though.  Thank you SO much to everyone that left such encouraging words and advice.  It really did help to calm me down in preparation for it.
At least I thought I was calm and ready for it.  Until it came time to hand the needle over to Hubby.  Then I held it hostage for a little bit. lol  I was so nervous for him to give it to me, but he did great!!  I got it all ready, then of course I had to review with him how to do it.  (I really didn't, but it made me feel better and he humored me).
He didn't want to do it anymore than I did.  Actually, he was quite nervous himself at the thought of inflicting pain on me and the needle is just so damn big!  See previous post for a picture.
We started out in the kitchen at the counter.  I pulled my pants down just enough so he could get to the injection site.  Then I looked over and realized there is a window right there.  It's on the side of our house, so the chances of someone being out there are slim, but just in case!  Nobody else needed to see the show.
So we moved to the living room.  I made Hubby pray with me, which has been my ritual every night before injections.  We got all settled and ready to do it.  Both of us finally built up the nerve, and when he started, I flinched.  I mean my butt cheek flinched!  And he pulled back because it scared him.  Then....we had to start the whole thing all over!  I told him he can't expect me not to flinch a LITTLE bit!!  Plus, he can't start to put the needle in and then pull it out!  He said he hadn't even gotten the needle there yet.  I just flinched when he touched me!  Oh goodness. 
So then we got settled down to do it once again, and we got the deed done.  The needle actually did NOT even hurt at all going in.  It DID take forever for the actual injection.  Because it's oil, it moves slowly through the syringe.  The only part that remotely hurt was when he pulled the needle out.  Hubby said he can do better at that part next time.  He pulled it out too slow because he was trying NOT to hurt me.  Overall, it was pretty painless.  Other than the fact that it DID bleed quite a bit.  Hubby almost fainted over that until I reminded him that we were told that sometimes happens.
However, I think it's still going to take awhile again tonight.  It is just such a big ASS needle!  But now I know it's actually not too bad.  At least not so far....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Sis is doing the trigger shot tonight!  Egg retrieval is set for 9:30am on Friday.  As of today, it looks like she has 12 eggs, but 2 of them are small so most likely will not be mature enough.  They are hoping for 10 mature eggs out of the bunch.  It's not a large number, but it's the quality that matters, not the quantity!

With Sis triggering tonight, that means tomorrow I have to start the PIO (progesterone in oil) injections.  And THAT is what I am absolutely TERRIFIED of!!!!!!!  Have you seen the needle for this injection?  Well.... let me show you.

The little needle is the size of pretty much all the injections that I've done up till now.  The big ASS needle is the one used for the PIO injection!  I call it the big ASS needle because that is exactly what it is.  This injection is intermuscular, so it is injected into the butt.  Or the rear end.  Or the ass.  Or the Gluteus Maximus.  Whatever you want to call it.  I usually don't say a**, but in this instance, I feel it's necessary!  Do you SEE the size of that sucker!??!!?  Oh. My. Garsh.

I know this makes me an absolute baby, but I have NEVER liked shots.  I was one of those kids that my poor mother had to hold down when she took me to the doctor for shots.  It was so bad, my Grandma had to come along to help.  Actually, I don't know why my Grandma was there, but I've been ribbed about this my whole life and I know Grandma was there on occasion.  I just assume she was along because my mom needed help.  I remember crying and screaming and NOT wanting that darn doctor near me.

The few of my family members that actually know about us seeking infertility treatments have been very impressed when they found out about all the injections.  Then, of course, the story was told once again about how awful I was as a kid.  I can't deny it.  I was.

I must say that I feel I've been pretty stoic throughout both IVF attempts, and also this past month of the Lupron shots during our donor egg cycle.  In addition to that was all the blood draws.  When I have to get a blood draw, I just turn my head.  I can't look at the needle at all, but otherwise I actually do pretty good.  I don't pass out, cry, or anything like that.

However, the thought of getting stabbed with that big ASS needle is quite terrifying to me and makes me feel quite nauseous.  Hubby does not inspire a lot of confidence in me either as he is mortified at HAVING to be the one to stab me in the butt.  He says we are going to need to block out an hour for it because it's going to take that long for him to build up his courage.  GREAT!

I actually think I could do one side by myself, but I have no dexterity in my left hand what-so-ever to give it to myself on the left side.  And my right hand just doesn't reach that far.  Ugh!

To top it all off, the nurse the other day told me that the medication itself is actually quite painful because it's an oil.  She's been through the process, so she knows all about it.  Again, GREAT!  Way to make me feel better about it! 

The good news is that I no longer have to continue the Lupron shots.  I also only have to take 2 doses of Estrace/day now and no longer have to take it vaginally.  That is at least something!

I just keep telling myself that if the end result is a baby, I can do this.  We just better get pregnant to make it all worthwhile.  While we are at it, I don't want to just get pregnant.  I want a baby to take home when it's all said and done.  Of course, that would mean 3 MONTHS of PIO injections......Oy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's a Game

I've always enjoyed games.  Actually, I thrive on them.  I love competition.  Hubby and I compete at just about everything.  We even keep records.  Sometimes we'll go on a Yahtzee kick.  We started out like most normal people, playing a game at a time.  But it eventually progressed to where we now play the entire Yahtzee score sheet, which is considered one game to us.  Meaning we don't just play a single game at a time.  We play to fill the entire score card, even if that means we use all our chances all at once, or roll 5 large straights in a row.

We keep track of how many games we've won.  I WAS ahead for the whole time we've been playing, until recently Hubby took the lead and is now ahead 282 to 281 (that's how ridiculous we are!).  We also keep a record of the highest game score, which I currently am the proud owner of, and I am happy to say Hubby holds the record for the all time lowest score.  By the way, this is a lifetime record sheet that we keep.  I'm sure that makes us nerds in some way.

I should also tell you that it is a MAJOR accomplishment for me to beat Hubby in ANY game.  He is annoyingly good at games.  He will complain about how he isn't good, but will keep playing it until he passes everybody and basically is unbeatable.  He did this recently with a video game.  He whined about how bad he was and wanted me to teach him my secrets (I refused), but it took him less than 24 hours to beat everyone.  Now he holds a ridiculous score of 300,000 something and the next closest person is 128,000 (which is MY score).  Sigh.....

All games have a strategy of some sort or another.  In football, you either play a running game or a passing game.  In softball, you either bunt the ball or hit away.  In basketball, you play man-to-man or a zone defense.  In Yahtzee, do you put the score as your full house or 3 of a kind?  Or if it's only your 2nd roll, do you gamble and roll for the Yahtzee?

I feel like going through an IVF cycle is like playing a game.  First, the doctor's choose what protocol (strategy) they think you should be on.  Then, what is your dosage going to be, which by the way, can change at any point during the cycle.  Then, it is a game figuring out which day should be the trigger day.  After that, it's whether you do a 3 day or a 5 day transfer.  And looking ahead, do I pee on a stick, or not before going for the beta test?

Today, I was able to go with Sis for her follicle stim check.  The doctor listed off all the follicle sizes as she saw them.  I tried to keep track and counted 11 myself.  There seemed to be varying sizes with some ready to go and others not quite there.  Wanting to know FOR SURE how many she saw, and not being the quite one, I asked.  Dr. A said there were about 10-12 but they were different sizes so the trick was figuring out how we get the most mature eggs out of the bunch.  The question was, should Sis trigger tonight or go one more day?  Well, just yesterday, the same doctor said it would be one more day.  Now today it might be one more day.  Ultimately, I don't really care just so long as they are getting the most mature (but not over-ripe) eggs out of it, or I should say out of SIS, as possible.

What I find to be comforting in all of this is that the doctors at this clinic don't just randomly make these decisions.  They actually get together with each other in the afternoon and review the information to make the best decision possible.  It's not just one doctor making the decision.  They pool their knowledge together so there is more than one opinion.  I find that refreshing and comforting that they are doing the best they can to make this successful for us.

The decision is to wait ONE more day.  Sis goes back in the morning for another check.  At this point, we are pretty sure the egg retrieval will be Friday.  That means transfer will either be Monday or Wednesday of next week.

This is one game I wish I didn't have to play because the outcome could very well mean that we are childless going into old age.  I don't want to be a TRUE old lady with no baby.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Joining the Race

At Sis's initial suppression check, the doctor told her to think of it as if her follicles were at the starting line of a race.  They were checking to make sure all of the follies were small, and that none of them had jumped out ahead.  In his words they "needed to make sure there were no cheaters."

Sis had another stim check appointment today, but had a different doctor.  I wasn't able to go to the appointment with her today so didn't get a whole lot of information.  This Dr. didn't even tell Sis how many egg follicles were in there.  It sounds as if there was not a lot of dialog during the appointment at all, which was a little frustrating for me as I was dying to get the update!  As the Dr. listed the measurements throughout the check, Sis did count 11 eggs.  That means one more of those little suckers joined the race!  Sis also said they all seemed to be about the same size, so the others may have caught up to the one that seemed to be running ahead.  It will be interesting how many we actually get out of this.

She is going in again tomorrow and I will actually be able to join her for this appointment. We suspect that she will probably be triggering tomorrow and have a Thursday egg retrieval.  That means embryo transfer will be on either Sunday or Tuesday, depending on a 3 day or 5 day transfer.

We are getting down to the wire and I am SO excited and nervous at the same time.  I really want this to work.  If it doesn't work, I'm scared of not getting any embabies that make it to freeze.  And if they do make it to freeze, what if they wouldn't make it through the thawing process.  This is pretty much it for us.  We can't afford to take any more loans out just in the HOPES that we become parents.

So cross your fingers, cross your toes, and say some prayers for us!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Difference a Day Makes

Today was a busy day.  First, I went to Portland for Sis's stim check ultrasound and my lining check.  Then I drove to Corvallis for the Civil War football game between the Oregon State Beavers and the U of O Ducks.  I happen to live in the middle between Portland and Corvallis, which are about 2 hours apart.  I spent a lot of time driving today.

What a difference a day makes!  With the help of those little blue pills (see yesterday's post ).  My lining was at a 7.4 just yesterday.  Today it is at a 9.4!  The extra 2 doses of Estrace made a world of difference.  Dr. Wu said I am ready to go, just need to wait for egg retrieval.  Also good news is that I am NOT being charged for the ultrasound because she was just sneaking me in on my sister's appointment.  Yay!

Now for the update on the eggs.  There are 10 large eggs, but one of them has jumped ahead of the other nine.  So that larger one will probably end up being over ripe since it is so far ahead of the others, but the other nine look good.  In the interest of getting the most mature eggs possible (that are not over ripe) Dr. Wu said we will need to let that one go.  Sis also has several smaller eggs in there as well, but they haven't joined the race yet.

Sis will start the Ganerelix and Microdose HCG injections tonight, along with the Menopur and Follistim she has been doing.  So one injection in the morning (Follistim) and the other three in the evening.  Have I mentioned how awesome I think it is that my sister is doing this for me?  She is putting herself through the torture of giving herself shots and dealing with the hormonal stuff that goes along with that.  Then she will be sedated, so she can have her eggs sucked out with a catheter and a needle.  Her and her husband are abstaining, just in case, so they don't take the risk of getting pregnant during this process.  Especially with so many eggs!  They don't want to end up pregnant with some insane number since she has so many eggs at the moment.  Also, wouldn't it be horrible if they got pregnant right now, when she is actually trying to help US get pregnant?  So with that said, I cannot express my gratitude enough for her doing this for me.  I think it's pretty amazing.  I will especially think so if we do end up pregnant and go on to have a healthy baby!

Her next appointment is Monday.  I am guessing the egg retrieval day to be sometime between Wednesday and Friday.  Gah!  I'm so excited!

Then...the football game.  Hubby and I are huge Oregon State Beaver fans.  We've been supporters even through their rough years.  Last year was one of those rough years going 3-9 (ouch!), so there was low expectations going into this season.  However, the Beavs came out on FIRE winning the first 6 games of the season.  And then we lost to Washington.  And then we lost to Stanford.  Sigh...

While we were suffering through last year's losing season, our neighbors to the South (U of O) were playing in the National Championship.  If you follow college football at all, you know they have been ranked somewhere in the top 3 all this year as well.

There is a HUGE rivalry between Oregon State and U of O.  How could there not be with two major universities within 45 minutes of each other?  There is so much hype going into the Civil War.  Major smack talking takes place all season, but especially the week of Civil War.

Unfortunately, I am sad to say, that the Ducks won again.  For the 5th year in a row.  It started out as a good game.  But then the Beavers totally fell apart in the 3rd quarter, with two interceptions and two fumbles in the second half.  Ugg!  Now, us Beaver fans will have to spend the next year, once again, hearing how great the Ducks are.  Again, ugg.  (heavy sigh)

At least our record is 8-3 this year and we will be going to a Bowl game.  I guess it could have been worse.

Friday, November 23, 2012

You want me to stick it WHERE?

This morning I had my lining check.  The clinic I go to is a little over an hour away with a major outlet mall right off the freeway about half way there.  I have driven by the mall in previous years on Black Friday and seen the traffic backed up for several miles.  One year, cars were actually PARKING on the shoulder of the freeway and walking because the mall parking was so full.  It was insane! 

I had no idea how long it was going to take to get to my appointment today and left really early just in case the Black Friday traffic was that crazy again this year.  I guess there is a blessing in the fact that the stores started their sales late yesterday instead of early this morning, because there was hardly any traffic at all.  I arrived an hour early.  It gave me time to play stupid games on my phone while I waited....

The clinic that I go to is open 365 days/year, including weekends and holidays, which I thought was crazy initially.  Now that I've been through this process a few times, I understand.  When you're going through a cycle, you just don't know exactly what day your retrieval will fall on, etc.  Because they are open so much, the fertility doctors are on a rotating shift so who we see depends on their schedule.  Dr. Wu is the main RE I work with, but she hadn't met my sister until this last Wednesday at an appointment I couldn't go too.

The first thing Dr. Wu said to me today was "you and your sister not only LOOK alike, but you SOUND alike too!"  She was really impressed with how similar we are in looks and mannerisms.  This just helped confirm my decision to use my sister as our egg donor, not that I was questioning that decision, but it is nice to have that affirmation.

My lining is at a 7.4, which Dr. Wu said was good.  She also said the lining is beautiful, showing the 3 lines it is supposed to have.  Even though the number is good, she does feel like it could be better.  It should measure between 7-8.  She said research shows that 7 is the minimum that it should be at.  "If 7 is the minimum, then 8 is better."  Since we have about a week left before egg retrieval, we have time to manipulate the dosage to build the lining.

I currently am taking 3 Estrace (estrogen) pills daily to build that lining.  Now I am supposed to add 2 vaginal doses as well.  I confirmed with her that I would be continuing my 3 oral pills and now adding the 2 more vaginal doses.  I had assumed this meant a trip to the pharmacy to pick up the vaginal version of Estrace (I thought it would similar to the Crinone application), so I asked her where I should pick it up at.  Dr. Wu kind of laughed and said I just use the same oral medication I have been taking already.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Really?

She went on to educate me that pretty much anything can be absorbed through the vagina.  She said "the pill is blue, right?  So don't be surprised if you get a little blue discharge."  I can only laugh.  And she giggled a little with me.  Now I get the fun times of sticking a little blue pill up my hoo-ha.  Oh the fun times we have with infertility.

I do want to say that I really like my doctor.  She is very nice and doesn't mind my ignorance!

FYI she also told me that if you are on birth control pills and you have some sort of gastro-intestinal issue going on with vomiting, you can still continue your birth control by inserting it vaginally.  I never in a million years would have thought of doing that!  Now I know.  When I told my husband about this, he was as ignorant as me!  Of course he had to take it further and ask if it would work with aspirin too.  I told him I would assume so, but I don't really want to find out. 

Tomorrow Sis has an ultra sound to check her egg development.  Since I was planning to be there anyway, Dr. Wu wants to do another lining check to see if the extra dosage has made a difference.  I guess now Sis and I get to be ultra sound buddies.

While I am so very thankful that Dr. Wu is doing everything she can to prepare me for egg transfer, I also can't help but think about the extra $$ this additional lining check(s) is going to cost.  Our ARC package only covers the initial suppression check and one lining check for me.  If my lining isn't where it should be tomorrow, she wants me to come back in again next week too.  I figure since we are in the hole so much already, I absolutely do want to be sure we are doing everything we can to help it be successful.  I just wish it didn't cost so much money.  Sigh.....

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Superman, Batman, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

I was at Fred Meyer yesterday buying my turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, when I saw they were having a HUGE sock sale.  I happen to love fun socks, although I don't actually have very many myself.

Well, I got to thinking.  I've spent an awful lot of time at the doctor's office being told to get undressed from the waist down, but you can leave your socks on.  I always make sure on ultrasound day that my legs are shaved and my socks don't have holes in them.  haha

Seeing all the fun socks, I thought now, wouldn't it be great to wear a pair of FUN socks to these appointments to help lighten the mood.  I find myself always nervous for these appointments, PRAYING for enough eggs to continue with the IVF.  Now I'm experiencing the same thing with my sister, going to her appointments.  How many little eggs you have in there Sis?  In addition to that, I have my OWN appointments during this process to check my lining.

Okay, so anyway, I'm at the store checking out the socks and see Elmo, Cookie Monster, and other fun ones.  But I was drawn to the Superman, Batman, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle socks.  I wanted to get a pair for Sis for her egg retrieval day and a pair for me to wear on egg transfer day.  I thought we could use some extra super human powers for those days and maybe the doctor and nurses would get a kick out of the socks as well.

I was leaning toward Superman myself, but thought I'd better check with Sis to see which she would choose.  So I called her and asked, if you could choose who would it be?  Great minds think alike.  She chose Superman.

Here's a picture of our socks.  I can't WAIT to wear them!  I really do hope they help bring us strength.  If anything, maybe it will just help make the whole thing a little less stressful.

I also asked my husband the same question, not that he is getting a pair of socks, but just for fun.  (Although, maybe he SHOULD get a pair of socks considering we kinda need his little swimmers to be Superman-like)  Who would you pick?  Superman, Batman, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?  His answer: "Well if it's for Halloween I'd be a Ninja Turtle because that would just be a cool costume.  But if I was actually going to BE the character and have his powers I'd have to pick Superman.  Could you just imagine what I could do in sports if I were Superman?"

I love the fact that I can have these types of conversations with the people in my life.  It just makes life more interesting and fun.

Now, with all that said, if SPIDERMAN were an option, I would have definitely gone with Spiderman.


Update on where we are at:  Sis started the stim injections on Sunday.  Today was her first follow up appointment to see how she is responding.  She has 9 eggs that have started the race and are right where they should be and 12 little ones that hopefully, maybe a few will join in and catch up with the others.

Side note: When we were at her suppression check prior to stimming, the doctor explained to Sis to think of it as a race.  All her follicles were at the starting line and they just needed to see if there were any cheaters that started early.  Nope.  They all were behaving nicely.  No cheaters!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Found Them!

Just yesterday, I wrote about how I hadn't come across very many blogs addressing egg donation.  Well, I found them thanks to STIRRUP QUEEN'S extensive blogroll!!  All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you for pointing me in the right direction!

I am really looking forward to reading these blogs from people that have decided to move forward using donors.  I am mainly interested in learning:
  • How they came to their decision to use a donor
  • How did they pick a donor
  • What have they told their family and friends and what was their reaction
  • How did the process go
  • Will they tell the child and if so, at what age
  • Have they experienced any issues as the child gets older and how others react if/when they find out how he/she was conceived
A lot of these questions may not even be talked about in these blogs, but I am excited to find out.  I feel a little guilty even asking these questions because they are incredibly personal.  Whether these questions get answered or not, I am simply just excited to potentially have someone to learn from and communicate with that has, or is, experiencing the same thing I am going through with using an egg donor.

Don't get me wrong though, I SO appreciate all the blogs that talk about infertility in general.  I have read through a few blogs entirely from start to present, following their journeys through IVF.  Mostly I enjoy reading the success stories, because that is what I hope my story becomes.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Losing my Mind

Okay, so we are in the midst of our egg donation/IVF cycle.  Sis just started her injections yesterday with Follistim in the morning and Menopur in the evening.  When we get closer to egg retrieval, she will also add in Ganirelex and Microdose HCG - so 1 injection in the morning and 3 in the evening at that point.

Can I just say that I think it is absolutely amazing that my sister is willing to go through all of this in the hopes that it will work and she will become an Auntie and I will become a Mommy?  Since I've been through 2 IVF attempts already and have done the shots, I know exactly what she is going through!  I have been to all of her appointments so far, with the exception of her appointment with the fertility counselor.  That was for her and her husband as part of the screening process to make sure she was psychologically ready to do this and to talk about any concerns they might have.  We were very excited when she passed the psychological evaluation!  Not that we doubted she would, but we thought it was funny.  After that, she had to complete the rest of the screening process which told us whether she was a good candidate as an egg donor.  She is 32, so her egg production isn't maybe as high as we would like, but she has had 3 babies and the youngest just turned a year old.  She has about 10-12 follicles as of her suppression check.  We do know that her egg quality is high though, and Dr. Wu feels like we have a good shot at success here.

As for me, I am currently following a Lupron/Estrace protocol to build up my endometrial lining in preparation for the embabies (embryo's).  This is the part I am losing my mind!!  I can't remember if/when I take my Estrace pills!  The first 5 days weren't bad as I only had to take one pill every morning and I remembered to actually take it.  Then came 2 pills every day, which started last Thursday on the 15th.  Well last night, I remember thinking about needing to remember to take the evening pill but when the actual time came, guess what?  I forgot!!  I woke up this morning and couldn't remember for SURE if I forgot because I know I remember THINKING about taking it.  Okay, one missed dose maybe won't mess up the cycle too bad.  I emailed my doctor just to double check.  She said we were probably still okay, and just continue as planned, adding in the 3rd pill starting today - one with breakfast, one at lunch, one at night and I continue all 3, plus the Lupron injection until retrieval.  Okay, I can handle that.  So guess what?  At lunch, I remember thinking about taking the little pill, but I don't think I actually did take it!!!  So I counted all the pills left in the bottle, trying to figure it out, counting from day 1 and how many should be left.  Well, if my calculations are correct, I did NOT take it at lunch, so just now took it as it is only a few hours later.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Can I make this ANY harder than necessary??!!?

I should note that I counted them the other morning too, when I couldn't remember if I had taken it that morning.  I was fine so didn't think anything about it.  Now that this has happened 3 times, I feel like I am absolutely losing my mind, or at least my memory!  And I desperately pray that my lining is thickening just like it is supposed to be and that it will be ready to accept those embabies soon.  Now, right this second, I am going to set an alarm on my phone to go off every day at the time I need to take it so I can stop worrying about it and actually remember to take it when I'm supposed to!


I have been a regular blog stalker for the past couple months, never making any comments or actually blogging myself until now, but really trying to learn from everyone else's experiences with infertility.  It's been thought provoking, scary at times, and I've found some humor in it as well.  The one thing I haven't come across very much is the subject of egg donation.  I sort of feel like it is a taboo subject. I've only come across a few blogs (literally only 2) that talk about it as being part of their journey.  I'm sure there are more.  I just haven't found them yet.

One reason for that is because when I get interested in a blog, I start at the beginning of their story and read through their entire journey, even if it starts several years back!  It's like I'm reading a true life book and I really enjoy it.   So I really haven't read through an extreme number of blogs, although it feels like it.  I have found lots of things that I can relate too and I really appreciate that.  But as we are taking this next step into using Sis as our egg donor, I am craving finding others that have undergone the same thing or even better, going through it at the same time.

A common thread that I read in many blogs is the support that these women have found from others going through the same thing.  This is what has prompted me to go from a stalker to an actual blogger!  First, I crave that kindred relationship.  Second, maybe my story will help someone else.  And third, I have always loved writing and I find this to be therapeutic.  Maybe I can help make this aspect of infertility not so taboo...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Known or Unknown. That is the Question!

We made the decision that our next step would be to us an egg donor.  It just didn't make sense to me to spend so much money on another IVF attempt using my eggs if it was SO unlikely to work.  The odds were just not in our favor.  Dr. Wu said that my uterus appears to be perfectly capable of carrying a baby.  I just don't have the eggs to do it.

So then the only decision to make was do we use a known donor or an anonymous donor?  When we first started the infertility treatments, my sister had told me if it came down to it, she would be a surrogate for us.  My thoughts were, if she is willing to be a surrogate, she would probably be willing to be an egg donor.  I didn't talk to her right away about this, but Hubby and I did talk about it.  At first, we thought that would be the only way we'd be willing to consider it.  But the more Hubby thought about it, the more he thought it might be weird.

We got some info on anonymous egg donors, including a small list of potential donors.  I studied each one and thought about which one I would use if it came down to that.  The clinic warned us not to put too much into it though, as the donor list is constantly changing based on people's cycles.  If I got my heart set on one, that person might not be available by the time our cycle were to come around.  I kept a very open mind through all of it and just gathered as much information as I could.  I just needed an idea about how picking a donor would work.

At some point during the summer, I did finally talk to my sister (I'll just call her Sis) about being a donor.  She talked it over with her husband and they both agreed to the plan.  It would be MUCH less invasive to her than actually carrying a baby for us.

Hubby and I both had moments of doubt, not really sure whether we should use a known or unknown donor.  His biggest concern was family gatherings.  Would it just be really weird knowing that our baby was a part of Sis?  How would we deal with that?  He's also afraid he won't be able to get attached to the baby (which I KNOW this concern won't be the case just because I know how he is with little kids).  I could see his point, in addition to some other concerns I had such as how would we handle all this if it doesn't work?  Would I be angry with my sister?  Will it effect her ability to have more children?  They already have 3 but would like one more.

In August, we had an appointment with a fertility counselor, which was a required step by our clinic to go forward using an egg donor.  We used this appointment to talk about the pros and cons of using a known vs. unknown donor.  We left the appointment feeling excited and accepting of using Sis as our donor.  This was a HUGE relief to me, as this is what I ultimately preferred for the following reasons:

*Our baby will still be a part of me genetically
*The baby will have a strong chance of looking like me.  Sis and I look VERY much the same.  In fact, we grew up getting asked if we were twins.  We STILL get asked that a lot even now.  I actually am 5 years older!
*Her kids actually look a lot like me (probably like her since she is their mom, but I prefer to think they look like me haha!) so again, our baby will have a chance to look like me.  When people say things about our baby like "oh she looks so much like you!"  I won't have to grin and bear it because it will actually be true.  Of course, this is assuming that this all works and we DO get pregnant and have a baby.
*I will always know what my child's family history is.
*This is something that Sis and I get to do together.

One of our biggest questions about using a donor was how we are going to tell the child and our families?  The counselor really helped us in this matter as well.  Bottom line is, families with secrets usually end up with problems and eventual blow ups.  She really encouraged us to be upfront.  This backed up all the research I have found as well, so I tend to agree.  From what I have read, children/adults conceived from a donor usually have anger issues about it if they find out later in life.  Those that know from an early age, just grow up knowing it and thinking it's no big deal.  That's just the way it is.  I read from one woman that also used her sister as a donor - she tells her daughter that she is a part of her mommy, her daddy, and also a part of her Auntie.  I like that.

Hubby, Sis and her husband, and I have talked about every scenario and have decided to move forward.  Her husband is extremely excited and supportive of all this.  If for whatever reason, they don't end up having another baby themselves, they are looking at it as if it just wasn't meant to be then.  If a baby results from this for Hubby and I, that baby will 100% be ours and Sis will be the best Auntie she can be to it, just like I am the best Auntie to her kids.  If it doesn't work at all, then of course I will be GREATLY disappointed, but I know it won't be her fault and well, it's kind of a last ditch effort anyway really.

I know that people have all sorts of opinions about what is right and what is wrong.  I think most that think IVF and using egg donors is wrong, probably have never had to struggle with infertility themselves.  There are those that say adoption should be the chosen path for those of us struggling with infertility.  Yes, I agree that there are a LOT of children out there that need a safe, loving home.  But I also know that adoption isn't for everyone.

While I worry about the reaction of people more than I should, ultimately the only people that matter are my family.  Only a limited few know at this point what we are doing, and each of them have been very supportive and pray for success. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Little White Lies

Hubby and I are big Oregon State Beaver fans.  We have had football season tickets every year we've been married (15 years) and he actually grew up going to the games.  Yes, I realize they have not had the success of the Oregon Ducks these last few years, but let's not go there.

Tonight's football game has a start time of 7:30pm.  I currently am doing Lupron injections which started on Oct. 26th, so it's been 3 weeks so far.  The late start of the game conflicts with my injection time.  There was a late game a few weeks ago and I just sucked it up and took my paraphernalia with me to the game.  I wasn't too excited to give myself the shot in the very public bathroom of about 15 tiny stalls.  There is always a long line waiting for a stall.  So I first went in the exit to wash my hands, knowing that everyone in line probably thought I was cheating and getting in front of them.  I washed my hands (gotta be sanitary!), then went back out the exit to get in the line to wait my turn for a stall.  They do at least have hooks in the bathroom stall so I could hang my backpack.  Then I just prayed not to drop anything and did the deed (injection, not bathroom deed lol!)  I capped the needle and put it back in my bag to take home so I could properly discard it.

I should probably tell you that I absolutely hate shots!  I have my whole life.  I was one of those kids that had to be held down when I was little.  It was awful.  I have had no choice but to deal with it, given the number of injections required while going through infertility treatments.  I actually feel like I've now become a bit of a pro at stabbing myself.  I've learned how to handle the injections in a public restroom if it's a single bathroom with counter space to work with, but the bathrooms at the football stadium are not so easy to work with.  And really, being able to do it at home is just the most comfortable (and comforting) place to do it.

I decided the other day that I was not going to go to the game tonight.  Big sacrifice for me as I LOVE going to the games!  Especially with Hubby.  It's just something we really enjoy doing together.  But knowing I'd have to go through the whole injection in the tight, unsterile bathroom stall again, and the fact that my family is coming over in just a few short days for Thanksgiving and I REALLY need to clean my house, I told Hubby he needed to find someone else to go with him.

So this is where my little white lie comes in - today we had Thanksgiving dinner with Hubby's family.  Yes, it's only the Saturday before the actual holiday, but his brother's family lives 3 hours away and today was the day we could all get together.  Hubby's brother and wife, and Hubby's aunt and uncle all have tickets to go to the Beaver game tonight too.  Well, they all thought I was going to the game and didn't understand why I wasn't!!  I used the excuse of needing to get our house cleaned up for Thanksgiving, which they thought was lame!  They all know I would never miss a game unless I really had to.  But what they don't know is that we are in the midst of TTC, and I didn't want to tell them the real reason why I didn't want to go to the game, so I just told a.... little white lie. 

Decisions, Decisions

After our last failed IVF turned IUI attempt, we had some decisions to make.  Our chances of success with IVF are very slim, but not impossible.  If we were to move forward with IVF, Dr. Wu wanted me to try an over the counter medication that might help increase our chances.  I can't remember the exact name of it, but I do know that it was testosterone.  hhmmm.... That sounds scary.  She said females actually do have some testosterone and this would potentially help my egg production.  Side effects would include acne and possibly some extra hair growth, but I wouldn't grow a beard or anything like that!  Really?  I wasn't thrilled about this idea, but not opposed to trying whatever might work.

The other route we could go is using an egg donor.  I used to think that this was not an option for us, but if that is the ONLY way I could become a parent, then well, maybe....

Friday, November 16, 2012

First Blog!

I've been addicted to reading blogs for several months now and have been thinking about joining the band wagon but not knowing where to start!  Well, here goes!

My fertility, or should I say INfertility journey started about....12 years ago?  Hubby and I have been married for 15 years and together for 20!  Which brings me to my title of Old Lady and No Baby.  I'm not really old, only 38, but in the baby making business that IS OLD!  And to top that off, I have low ovarian reserve - or in other words, I have (or will have) premature menopause.

Everyone in the infertility blogging world seems to have EXACT dates for EVERYTHING along their journey and have such wonderful timelines.  I honestly can't do that.  I can only give rough dates to when we started everything.  It will take me a long long time to catch everyone up with our story, but I will do my best over the course of what will take many posts, I'm sure.  I don't even know if anyone will be interested in reading my story.  All I know is that I have been living on the computer looking up everyone else's stories.

Here is a VERY quick update to our infertility journey, which I will try to fill in the blanks later:

roughly about 12-13 years ago, I went off birth control pills.  We weren't going to actively try getting pregnant, but weren't going to prevent it either.  About a year later, I talked with my ob/gyn about TTC (trying to conceive) and my hubby had a semen analysis done.  Turns out, he has a low sperm count and his little swimmers are low in mobility as well.  Sometime in there, it was discovered that I had a cyst on one of my ovaries.  Dr. said it would need to be removed either now or later and I thought I should just get it over with since it would need to be done sometime anyway.  Was told I have a bit of endometriosis.  I spent several months charting my temperature and what not, but turns out it was just a big waste of time.  We were told that it wasn't IMPOSSIBLE to get pregnant, but highly unlikely. 

So....we went on about our lives.  Doing IUI's or IVF at that time was not feasible for us and our finances so we just put it off.  We both coach high school softball, which is really what defines us.  It's just what we do.  We coach.  Softball.  The girls we coach and the game has been our passion.  I have been coaching for going on 20 years now.

Fast forward to October 2011 - I turned 37 and 3 days after my birthday, I had the honor of watching my sister give birth to her 3rd child.  I got to watch both of my nephews being born (her 2nd and 3rd babies).  Pregnancy, is such a miracle really.  My sister (and her husband) let me be there for the births of my nephews (would have been there for my niece too, but...our softball team qualified to go to Nationals!  Which would have been fine, but baby decided to come early).  They let me be there because, well, I'm her sister but also because she knew that may be the closest I come to experiencing a baby being born.  Both of those events, me turning 37 and watching 2nd nephew being born, prompted me to thinking.  I did NOT want to get into my 40's/50's and look back and regret that we didn't try absolutely EVERYTHING within our power to TTC.  I talked to my husband and he said "let's do it!"  So we made an appointment to see a reproductive specialist.

November 2011 was our first consultation.  We did one IUI, which was a BFN.  Nobody really expected it to work because there just was not very many swimmers to work with.  We did our first IVF at the beginning of the year in 2012.  Got 5 eggs at retrieval, 3 of them barely made it.  All 3 were used.  On the morning of beta #1, I started spotting and knew I was starting my period.  Hubby asked me why I was still planning to make the hour drive for my beta appointment if AF was visiting.  I told him I was going because that is what I was supposed to do.  At the clinic, they said spotting sometimes happens so keep your fingers crossed.  That afternoon I was called and told I was pregnant!  I was in shock!  Called my husband and he started crying, took off from work early (which I didn't know), stopped and got me flowers.  This was on a Friday.  On Monday, I went back in again for another blood draw.  Called that afternoon to tell me I was NOT pregnant.  Sigh...that hurt, going through the emotions of not thinking I was pregnant, and then I was, and 3 days later I wasn't again.  Chemical pregnancy.

I went through the woe is me and why doesn't God answer our prayers and all that stuff.  Then I realized, maybe God IS in fact answering our prayers.  We had been praying for a HEALTHY baby.  Chemical pregnancies are usually a result of something not being quite right with the embryo.  Sigh...

Then 2 cycles later, we were on our IVF #2 attempt.  I did not even make it to retrieval.  At my suppression check, I had 8 little follies in there.  After the injections, I only had one that decided to start the race.  So it turned into an IUI, which, we all knew wouldn't really work.  And it didn't.

So fast forward to today...I will have to continue this story later....