Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No Expectations

For the first time in many years I am looking forward to the New Year with no expectations. It's hard to believe, but it is true. I have plenty of hopes and dreams for 2009, but I am so over expecting any one outcome. These past few years have taught me there are just no guarantees for anything in life. People get cancer, people get sick, sometimes they heal and sometimes they don't, cycles fail, businesses fail, economies collapse, people die, there is birth, there is death, women miscarry, couples divorce, miracles happen, there is prosperity, there are hard times, holidays come and go, the seasons change, people lose their jobs, lose their homes, people land the job of a lifetime, build their dream home, move, buy, sell, lose weight, gain weight, there are storms and catastrophes, friends are made, friends are lost, life goes on...

2008 was a hard year for us and many of you. I can't pretend to know what 2009 will bring, but it is foolish to believe it will all be better just because it is a new year.

I am ready to put 2008 behind me and welcome in 2009, but I refuse to put a mountain of expectations upon it. I have learned the hard way and had my heartbroken too many times. I have spent too much time doing 'fertility math' and thinking when this happens or that happens I will be pg, have a 'x' month old, etc...

A new year is a wonderful new beginning, full of hope, but it is in no way a cure all. 2009 will arrive and I will still be infertile, Sean's dad will still have cancer, life will go on. A new year is not a guarantee that this will be "my year." I hope it will, I pray for it, I dream about it, but I no longer expect it.

Happy New Year my friends! May 2009 be a blessed year for you and your families. May your hopes and dreams come true!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Story of Us ~ December 22, 1996

December 22, 1996. That is the day that changed my life forever. I was 17 years old and it was the first weekend of Christmas break of my senior year of high school and my friends and I had a full weekend of partying on our calendar. Friday night was a 'private' party at a coffee shop that led to all kinds of mayhem including me in a cute little cocktail dress on my hands and knees in the snow puking my brains out. Saturday was our usual round of bars that we knew we could get into underage. On Sunday, Liz, Aimee and I decided we were still in the mood to dance and have a beverage or two, so we decided to check out a bar we had been hearing ads for on the radio, Fat Cats. They were known for their Sunday night dance party and they were near the college campus so we knew that increased the chance of being able to get in. We hunted down an ID for Aimee, dressed to impress and decided to check out Fat Cats. It was one of those nights where everything just fell into place.

We got past the bouncers with no problem, and settled in for a long night of dancing and drinking- bars in Buf.falo are open until 4am! Soon after we arrived, I ran into some friends of one of my ex-boyfriends. We chatted for a few and I was secretly hoping that Dan (ex-boyfriend) might show up at some point. Why not? Some fun and free drinks to boot! Dan never showed (THANK GOD), but Corey and Brian did come back over to find me and tell me that someone was asking about me. I made my way across the crowded bar and there stood the hot, red-headed, 21 year old goalie from their hockey team. I remembered him right away! When I used to go to the games with Dan, the goalie with the amazing blue eyes and sparking smile had always caught my eye. He introduced himself as Sean and commented about how he remembered me from hockey and just had to talk to me. We ended up talking for awhile and before long I was itching to dance with my girls. He followed me to the dance floor where we 'danced' to "Let me clear my throat" and "Pony" (it was 1996 after all). We got pretty close and I believe we may have kissed once or twice. I also spilled my sex on the beach all over his really nice cream colored Tommy Hilfiger shirt and he made some dick comment about how it had cost $80. I let it slide, I was intrigued.

Liz decided she was ready to go, see she was dating a MUCH older man and she wanted to go find him at another bar. I was not ready to leave, so we broke the cardinal rule; she left the bar alone and Aimee and I stayed and accepted a ride home from Sean in his purple Mustang! Liz ended up having a pretty crazy night of her own, so I don't feel too badly looking back. Sean was a perfect gentleman and even took Aimee and I to breakfast. After he dropped us off, we spent the few remaining hours before daylight on the phone. He revealed that he had always been interested and thought it was a shame that I had been dating a loser like Dan. I confessed that his blue eyes had captured my heart a long time ago. His shirtless appearance in the locker room after the games never hurt either. We never acted on our instincts at the time, I was with Dan and he had a girlfriend, Heather that I used to chat with at the game. Little did we know that Dan would turn out to be huge loser, Heather a psycho stalker and Sean & I would end up living our happily ever after.

We spent the next few days hanging out whenever we could and talking on the phone the rest of the time. We went Christmas shopping for our first real date. He took me to Ruby Tuesday's afterwards & I did not order anything. How stupid! Did I really think I was impressing him? Too bad I am not closer to that girl today, see I can overeat Sean on most days. Oops!

When I went to work a few days later, I was on Cloud 9 and I told the older women I worked with that I had met the man I was going to marry. I just knew.

Christmas was supposed to be the first chance for us to meet each other's families, but we got a wicked storm and my Mom was not comfortable with me driving around with a near stranger in a hot little sports car. We ended up talking the night away and he asked me to be his girlfriend on Christmas night, just before midnight.

He met my parents at a holiday open house a few days later and this photo was taken - our first ever:

The rest, as they say, is history. 12 years and 13 Christmases later, here we are. We have had our share of ups and downs. We had a long distance relationship from 1997-2001. I was away at school and Sean spent every other weekend driving 7 hours to visit me. He proposed for the first time in December of 1997, you can read about that
here. We have survived my Dad's cancer and his heartbreaking death, my mom's cancer diagnosis, surgery and survival, the loss of one grandparent, his Dad's cancer diagnosis, countless surgeries, a college 'infidelity' (a stupid kiss in a bar), a few minor breakups (I call them growing pains now), high school graduation, prom, college graduation, a few weddings and a funeral or two along the way, vacations, hard times, prosperous times, 7 moves, building 2 homes, remodeling a home, a few career changes, raising a puppy, a big huge Irish/Italian Catholic Wedding, family disagreements, a car accident, a family crisis or 2, and we opened a business and closed a business. Of all of that, I believe the hardest thing we have been through, the thing that defines us the most is our infertility. This past year and its 3 failed IVFs has been the toughest of all our 12 years together. I do believe like everything else that we have been through that it will strengthen our relationship and bring us closer together.

Sean is my best friend. My soul mate, my missing piece. He is my strength, my rock, my safe harbor. He knows me inside and out, he loves me unconditionally. He makes me feel beautiful. He makes me feel safe, and loved and protected. He spoils me rotten. He is the most selfless person I know. He lets me take up 3/4 of the couch and the bed and the blankets. He loves my crazy family as unconditionally as he loves me (well, almost). He is laid back and easy going and the perfect compliment to my type A personality. He is the best Daddy to Libby in the whole world and it makes me realize just how lucky our children will be to have him as a Daddy. We have grown up together in so many ways and fallen more in love every step of the way.

In many ways, I feel like Sean saved me. I was prone to partying and heading down a rocky road when I met him. I was dating losers and generally being a foolish 17 year old girl. I feel so lucky to have met him when I did and been able to share the last 12 years growing and learning and loving with him.

On this Christmas, I still feel he is the greatest gift I have ever been given...

*edit - I am still earning how to use the scanner, obviously! Need to learn how to get rid of white space and crop!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Plan

I know it has been a little bit since I had anything worth while to say. I have been doing ok, I guess. I am not in the Christmas spirit, not even a little bit. We did not even decorate the house this year. We had very little shopping to do, which was good. I am going to make homemade candy this weekend and I did do holiday cards, but that is about it. My kids are finished with exams and I am finished tutoring until January and am looking forward to the little break. We head up to Bu.ffalo on Tuesday.

I had my WTF appt on Monday with Sh.ady Grove and while it was somewhat informative, I found myself walking away feeling frustrated. Dr. M was compassionate and asked us to keep trying. He agreed that the Ganirelix protocol did not do what we were hoping (more eggs) and that we would go back to a long Lupron if we ever did another fresh. He seemed kind of stuck on the fact that we are "new patients" to him and we "only" had one failed cycle with him and we were hoping he would look more at the big picture. He totally dismissed immune issues, beta 3 integrin (sticky glue), and basically did not see the need for anymore testing. Overall, he suspects a chromosome problem and said we are more prone to one because of the severe male factor. However, he doesn't think we are candidates for any type of genetic testing at this point. He said we don't make enough embryos to risk sending them out. He is not a big fan of PGD and said that they are still in the learning stage of CGH. They will be offering eventually, but no time soon and in his opinion, we are not making blasts, so no CGH for us. This is where I was getting frustrated because I felt he wasn't offering us anything new to get us over the hump. His overall plan:

1. Join their shared risk program - $22K 6 fresh cycles, unlimited FET, 100% refund.
2. Bring our 6 frozens over and include them in shared risk.
3. Try to thaw all embies and grow to blast.

That's it. He wasn't very optimistic about an FET - puts it around 20-25%. I was frustrated. I felt like he was kind of dismissing our frosties and putting more emphasis on shared risk and more fresh cycles.

Our consult at our old clinic with Dr. P was really, really great. Everyone was so happy to see us - it is so warm and friendly. We got hugs from the nurses and receptionists and billing and everyone was sorry to hear we had another failed cycle. I thought I was over needing the warm and fuzzy, but it felt so good to feel so cared for.

Dr. P was completely understanding about us seeking a 2nd opinion and doing IVF elsewhere. I was nervous about that and he put my mind at ease. We talked about the failed cycle and he also said no more anatagonist protocol for me. For another fresh he said long lupron or possibly microdose. He said he was going to pretend that all three cycles failed with him and treat us accordingly, which made us happy because any way you slice it, we have still had 3 failed IVFs. He thinks we are still very good candidates for IVF and have a good prognosis. He also feels that we have some great frosties and is much more optimistic than Dr. M about it. He is excited about doing an FET because he thinks I might just be one of those people who responds well to an FET.

Dr. P is a little concerned why I am so prone to polyps and is wondering if it indicates a possible lining issue. He agrees there could be chromosome issues, but is hesitant to jump right to genetic testing. He said PGD is a very flawed science. It misses a lot of abnormalities, there are a lot of false positives and false negatives and PGD has not been found to increase pregnancy rates in IVF patients. He thinks it has its place if there is a known genetic issue that they are screening for. He admitted to not knowing much about CGH, but would be open to genetic testing under the right circumstances. He thinks we need to focus on getting some blasts before we worry about that though. He also dismissed immune issues/testing and beta 3 integrin. Dr. P doesn't believe there is good science or data to justify testing or treating either. Supposedly, after more than a decade of research on both, there is no increase in PG rates for those undergoing immune therapies or Depot Lupron for Beta3. He also feels there is a huge conflict of interest that only one lab in the country does the beta 3 screenings and they also publish all the studies. He discussed how results can vary wildly cycle to cycle and he believes if it worked and truly increased success rates, every RE in the country would screen for these 2 things. He doesn't believe in testing for the sake of testing or "going fishing" as he put it. I just don't know what to believe in this department as there are so many varying opinions in the field.

Anyway, without further ado, his plan:

1. Repeat SIS on Tuesday to check lining. B/W to screen for insulin resistance and check my prolactin.
2. Order a DNA karotyping for me. Revisit genetic testing pending results.
3. Do a mock cycle before my FET. This means prepping my lining for an FET using Estrace and Endometrium, but instead of doing a transfer, he will do an endometrial biopsy instead to check my lining. I am not sure exactly what he is looking for, but he said "abnormalities" and to see how my lining responds to meds. It always looks great on u/s, but he wants to see it under the microscope. He said tweaks can then be made and if there are abnormalities, they are treatable. I have never really heard of this before, but if it means learning more, then I am all for it.
4. Do an FET cycle after mock cycle. Thaw all 6, culture to blast, transfer 2 or 3 blasts. He feels confident we will get some blasts. Fingers crossed.

Overall, we walked away feeling much more confident about Dr. P's plan. He seems more thorough and more optimistic about the success of this FET. Plus, I feel good knowing my embryos were created there, frozen there, and were the result of 2 good cycles. I walked out feeling like my questions were answered and like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders.

I have b/w and SIS on Tuesday and I will do my mock cycle in Jan. FET in Feb pending results all the testing.

I feel like my mood has improved slightly since meeting with him and as I have said before, I do best when I have a plan. Now, I hope we get some answers!

Whew, that was loooooooooong. The end.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I've been tagged!

Not much new to say. I am in TOTAL denial that Christmas is two weeks from today. More on that in a future post. Time for a meme!

Lisa tagged me a few days ago and I thought I would participate. So, 7 random facts you have been dieing to know about me! Ha!

Rules:1. Link to the person who tagged you.2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about you.3. Tag 7 random people at the end, and include links to their blogs.

1. I am an 'only' child with 1 half brother, 5 half sisters and 8 brothers and sisters-in-law. I am very close to my in-laws, but I do not know all of my half siblings. I have only met some of them once or twice and it makes me kind of sad.

2. Since I graduated from college in Dec. 2000, we have lived in 7 different apartments/houses etc... We built 2 of them and owned 3 of them. Back and forth between Buffalo and Baltimore a few times too! I feel like a professional mover. It's not over either, because the house we currently live in is a rental! We love it, but know we can't stay forever. I thoroughly enjoy renting though - never more so than when my landlord comes over to fix something expensive like the furnace or does fall yard cleanup ;)

3. I love date night with my husband. Barnes and Noble is a favorite destination. Once or twice a month we head to BN, look around forever, gather reading materials, grab a coffee and a treat and sit in the cafe and read and chat for a couple of hours. Love it!

4. My best friend, Amanda, and I had a huge falling out after my wedding. We did not speak for over a year. We 'got back together' (as we like to say) in 2005 and our friendship has never been stronger. She is my chosen family and I can't imagine my life without her ever again. Infertility has given me a new perspective on the circumstances surrounding our breakup and I see it through a totally different lens today.

5. I have struggled with my weight since college, but being diagnosed with infertility has brought it to a whole new level. I am a total emotional/stress eater and this experience has wreaked havoc on my health and eating habits. I have gained over 50lbs in four years. I hate it. I need to make some changes.

6. Sean & I will celebrate 12 years together this Christmas. I can hardly believe it. I was 17 and he was 21 when we started dating. It feels like yesterday. He first proposed when I was 18. I said yes, my parents FLIPPED and we decided to wait until after college. He waited 4 more years to pop the question again - he was a little gun shy! We finally got married in 2004. Sean is the best thing that ever happened to me.

7. I did not love college. I was homesick and lovesick (see #6). Sean spent every other weekend driving 7 hours to visit me and I lived for those weekends. My college was not a great fit for my personality. I received a wonderful education, but socially - eh. I put my nose to the grindstone and worked my butt off to graduate in three and a half years, I couldn't wait to begin my life with Sean.

Ok, I know you were riveted! Prepare to be riveted 7 more times, by visiting the blogs below! Now, I tag:

1. Amanda @ piecemeal people -of #4 fame!
2. Michelle @ In Pursuit of Parenthood -her blog inspires me & I want to know more!
3. Jennifer @ Mommy Wanna-Be -she needs a distraction!
4. Jill @ Desperately Seeking Spawn- every time we chat we realize we have more in common & I wonder what her meme will reveal!
5. Mo & Will @ Life and Love in the Petri Dish - they need a 2ww distraction!
6. Leslie Lane @What you're not expecting when you're trying to expect - we think alike!
7. Lisa @ Wayward Stork - she is getting ready to wind down her blog and I must know more before she leaves the blogosphere.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Decisions, Decisions...

After many tears, a great deal of soul searching, and many conversations with each other, friends and family, I *think* we have come to some conclusions about what our next steps might be.

We are very lucky to have 6 frozen embryos from our 1st two cycles. For whatever reason, our old clinic did things kind of backwards and if you had any good looking embryos on day 3, they froze them with the thinking that they can be grown to blast when they are thawed. Here is what we have in the freezer: (scale 1-4 with 4 being the best)

1 @ 10 cell grade 3+
1 @ 9 cell grade 3+
1 @ 8 cell grade 3+ - fragmented
1 @ 8 cell grade 3+
1 @ 7 cell grade 3+
1 @ 6 cell grade 3+

Not bad, right? So, we are going back to our old clinic where these embryos were created and have a consult on 12/17. Our ideal plan (which has been proposed by my docs before) is to thaw all 6, hopefully get a few to grow to blast and transfer the best ones. We have no guarantees that anything will make it to blast at all, but we feel strongly about giving these embryos a chance to grow and thrive. I feel great that some of these embies are from the batch that created a blast or two from the crappiest among them.I also learned they can be refrozen if they look good! FCOM's FET success rates for 2007 were 42%, which is certainly enough to be hopeful about!

Now, I know this plan is not perfect. I know we run the risk of wasting time, energy and resources on something that may never work, but isn't that true of all ART cycles? I am not convinced that there aren't possible immune issues, chromosome issues and maybe even a lab issue, but I am willing to give it a shot regardless. What if it is none of the above? What if it has just been bad luck? What if I am one of those people whose body hates stims, but does much better with an FET?

We feel committed to using these embryos that we created. If it works, not regrets, obviously. If it doesn't, no regrets then either because we will still have options and even more answers.

For now, phone consults with CCRM and SIRM have been postponed indefinitely. If this FET is a bust, we will take that step, but for now, we are trying to muster the energy to give this FET the best shot possible. Honestly, another fresh cycle with all the anxiety and stress that accompanies it, is not appealing to me at all right now. It is not easy and I am not ready for that. I wouldn't cycle again locally and traveling for one day work ups and for almost 2 weeks for stims and ER adds a whole other element of stress to the mix and I want to be 100% sure of my decisions before taking that on. I need to walk through this door first and see where it leads me...

I know I mentioned the possibility of FET with PGD and I think that is off the table for now, unless our dr. feels strongly about it. That is money we don't want to have to spend and would rather hold onto if CCRM or SIRM end up being in the cards. We also decided not to move the embryos to Shady Grove. We think that it is a little risky to move them and they were created at FCOM and did really well in their lab, so why take a chance. Besides missing my polyp, I was very happy with my care at FCOM and to be honest, if feels a little like coming home.

We are not in a big rush, it has been a long year. We may opt for January or February for an FET. We are going to *try* to enjoy the holidays as much as we can handle and try to rest and heal. I am still having a tough time, I am feeling very raw and emotional and broken. I do best when I have a plan though and we are well on our way to one!

In other news, you should head on over to my dear friend, Jill's blog , and celebrate with her! She FINALLY got a BFP on IVF #3! Go wish her congratulations.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Thank you all a million times over for your support and kind words.

I started spotting and AF should be here full force by tonight. Can't wait. Post IVF period is painful torture.

I did get my beta moved up by one day, but not before my nurse said, "I'm sorry you are bleeding and getting negatives and you probably don't want to hear this, but, we have seen people in your position still get betas over 600." You're right, I really don't want to hear that, excuse me why I go throw up in my mouth a little.

Despite how I sound, I am doing a little better today. I have been thinking about why this failure hurt so badly. It shocked me a little. I wasn't exactly optimistic after hearing my fertilization and embryo quality reports and thought I was more prepared for a BFN. I think it had to do with all the other changes we made like using assisted hatching, removing my GIANT polyp, lining looking great, new clinic/lab, transferring 3 etc... might me enough to overcome a few crappy embryos.

More than that though, I think it was cumulative effect of all the failures in the past year. 3 failed IVFs is pretty fucking serious and it feels pretty grim. It is beyond the usual explanation of "wrong side of the numbers." I am not giving up, not even close, it is just a stark reminder of how much of an upward battle we still have ahead of us.

I need answers though and I am willing to do whatever I need to in order to get them. We are looking at a few options right now including:

1. Moving our six 3day frosties over to S.hady Grove. Thawing them, doing PDG and growing them to blast for a FET. I know PGD is not perfect, but it is an option.

2. Getting a 3rd opinion -possible phone consults with CCRM and/or SIRM and/or Cornell.

3. Examine possible immune issues, chromosomal issues etc...

Our insurance company has cut us off - 3 IVFs and no live birth = sorry you are shit out of luck. We are no longer investing in your broken body.

So, we need to consider the best use of our resources at this point. I know we are lucky to have any insurance at all and believe me, I am beyond thankful for it...

I also plan to have a WTF with my current doctor ASAP, but beyond letting them do my FET, I am not sure I can risk another fresh cycle without more answers.

That is where I am at the moment...

Sean has been my rock in spite of being pretty heartbroken himself. God, I love him and I cannot imagine any other life than this one, with him by my side through good and bad. He has offered to whisk me away for the holidays, but I think our money needs to go to pursuing our IVF options. He is my best friend and my heart and soul and my vows have never meant more to me than they do right now...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Heart Broken

IVF #3 is over. 11dp3dt - BFN.

Devastated doesn't even begin to describe it.




Searing Pain.

Broken Heart.

Pain in my body and soul.






The words seem empty. Empty like my arms. Empty like my heart. Empty like the 'nursery'. Empty like my womb...

I preferred the paralysis - at least there was a glimmer of hope there.

What might have been - it breaks my heart wide open to even think about it.

3 IVFs. 7 embryos, 7 little babies - gone. My body took them in, chewed them up and spit them out. What could have been...

A handful more arrested in a petri dish dark and alone. All those little lives... What could have been...

6 frozen. Waiting. What might be...

What if this is it for me? What if embryo transfer is the closest I will ever get to being pregnant?

How many more attempts will they allow me? How much more can I take? I am not done, not ready to throw in the towel, but oh the pain and the heartache and the anxiety.

3 failed IVFs. I can't believe this is my life, my pain, my reality. 3 failed IVFs. It has hardly begun to sink in. It barely seems possible.

How does this happen? Why? WHY?

It takes my breath away to even think about the month of December. Not just the holiday gatherings, but all of it. The music, the commercials, the mall, Santa, Christmas cards with adorable families and newsletters, the visiting, the kids, the food, the merriment. Is there any worse reminder of how much this hurts???

I want to run away. I want Sean & Libby & I to disappear to a place where it is warm and sunny and IVF and infertility are all just a nightmare from another lifetime. Where Christmas doesn't exist. Where it is adults only.

PIO after a BFN - could it suck any more? Icing on the cake tonight. Maybe my bloody mess of a post IVF period will start and this shitty day will be complete. A girl can dream.

What a day for a BFN - dark, cold, and rainy.


So here I sit 11dp3dt, pregnant or not, and I cannot decide if/when I want to know. I have not tested since Thursday.

I have never been so paralyzed in my life.

I can't stop thinking about it. Am I? Aren't I? The best news of our lives? Or another broken heart?

Sean & my mom both say they can't take the pain of seeing me so devastated. Maybe that is adding to my anxiety level?

I feel normal. I feel hopeful. I feel dreadful. I am scared. I am excited. I want to know more than anything. It is the last news I want to hear. I am anxious. I am obsessed.

Can I make it 3 and a half more days? Should I put myself out of my misery today?

It could all be over, for better or worse inside an hour... Don't know if I can do it.

Are you ever ready for the news that changes your life?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Livin' on a Prayer

Well, I lied. I said I would not test on Thanksgiving, but of course I did. I could not shake this stupid vision of getting a BFP on Thanksgiving and being able to share the news with our entire family in person on such a special day. So, mid afternoon on 8dp3dt, I tested. BFN. I know, it's still early, but now I am gun shy. I can't take another BFN.

Originally, I wanted to test tomorrow - 10dp3dt- but I am out of tests and can't bring myself to go buy any more. My old clinic would have been doing a beta tomorrow, my new clinic waits and waits and waits. My beta is Thurs 15dp3dt. Tomorrow is my last opportunity to test and be able to tell my mom in person, it's also my last opportunity to get bad news and be able to wallow in my sadness for a few days. We drive back to MD in the afternoon. Sunday - I have to work 1st thing in the morning and then it's Monday already and the weekly routine begins. I don't know what I am going to do.

Truthfully, I am terrified. I know if I get a BFN tomorrow, it is all but over. If I wait it out, I get to believe in this dream for 5 more days. I was quick to test early when I knew it could go either way, but now it's too real.

Sean & I went to the Sabres game tonight and they played Bon Jovi's Livin' On A Prayer & we looked at each other and laughed. It's our new mantra.

I still feel pretty normal. I was weepy & blah today, but I think that is the stress getting to me. Everything was making me tear up. Families at the game, the National Anthem, songs, when Sean told me I was glowing at dinner...

Boobs - eh - mildly tender. Some cramping and throbbing going on.

I do have hope and I feel like I am just waiting for the 2 lines to pop up at any second. At the same time, I know it could just as easily go the other way.

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. I don't even know if I can bring myself to test...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Still Hoping

Today was 7dp3dt. I caved. I knew as soon as I brought those damn sticks in my house I was done. It was a BFN. I am not upset. A teeny-tiny bit disappointed, but not upset. My reason for testing was simple - there was an off chance it could be + and if so, I knew I could head up to Buf.falo much more relaxed. If it was BFN, I looked at it as a wash - no harm, no foul, still hopeful. So, here I am still waiting, still hoping, still praying for a miracle...

It was a quiet day. We drove up to NY and I had 7 hours to focus on my uterus. It has been kinda throbbing all day. Not really crampy, but twinges and throbs.

I am now officially pooped and it has nothing to do with symptoms and everything to do with getting ready for Turkey Day. Since we got in this evening, I baked Trader Joes Pumpkin Bread, made icing, peeled 15lbs of potatoes, made 2lbs of stuffing and the fresh cranberry sauce.

I won't test tomorrow, maybe Friday. My beta is still a week away, but Shad.y Grove tests late. If I was still at my old clinic my beta would be this Saturday - 3 days away! Knowing that, I will be pretty confident in my results by Saturday either way...

I am trying to keep perspective and remember that there is still a great deal to be thankful for this year. A wonderful supportive family, an amazing, loving, caring husband who also happens to be my best friend, the best dog in the world, great friends whom I consider my chosen family, a job I love, the ability to hope and to dream, an amazingly supportive network of bloggers and friends that I have met through the internet and so much more...

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!!! I'll be thinking of each and every one of you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Strange Bedfellows

Ah...Hope & Despair. Has there ever been such strange bedfellows? I am vacillating between the two daily. Welcome to the world of the IVF 2ww!

After yesterday's funk, I am flying pretty high today. I had lunch with my best friend, Amanda. We had a nice day - talking, laughing, eating - pretty typical for us! We also spent some time playing with color combinations for her super cute creations @ piecemeal people. She made my niece this monogram for her 16th b-day and I can't stop smiling every time I look at it. How cute is it??? It is even cuter in the white frame that we picked up. I hope Victoria likes it as much as I do! I also hired her to make 3 more sets for my other nieces for Christmas gifts. I'm addicted!

After our visit, I headed to Target and bought myself a sweater set for Thanksgiving. Target always makes me feel better, but I had to show some restraint. So many cute things. I did pick up a deadly weapon while I was there - pregnancy tests! Downright dangerous for me! Let the obsessing over testing begin!!!

In a little bit, I am off to get a haircut, manicure and eyebrow wax. I am so looking forward to that, I cannot even tell you.

I still need to pack and pick up the house a little before we leave for Buf.falo tomorrow. I HATE coming home to a messy house. Since I might walk right through the door on Saturday night and crawl into bed for several days due to depression over another failed cycle, I figure I better prepare. I guess the upside is that maybe I will be pg and need to crawl into bed out of sheer pregnancy exhaustion. Either way, clean house it is!

I am looking forward to going home, sorta. It is going to be an emotional week no matter how this turns out...

Overall, today I feel fantastic. Some cramping late last night, vivid dreams and VERY, VERY thirsty. Other than that, I just feel like myself. Yesterday, well that was a different story.

See, I told you - Hope and Despair - strange bedfellows indeed. Hope I enjoy, Despair - not so much!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Moody, Irritable, BLAH

I am 5dp3dt and I am in quite a mood today. I do not know what is wrong with me, but I am short on patience, extremely irritable and so emotional. I am guessing I have the PIO and Estrace to thank.

As far as symptoms go, there are none. With my past 2 cycles, I had to do the HCG booster shots so I was having major side effects, but I feel close to 100% normal this time around.

I have had a few twinges here and there and my boobs are mildly sore, but nothing like when I had the boosters. I do not have much of an appetite at all, but I am thirsty. Trying not to obsess - too much!

I was feeling hopeful and peaceful, but today I am just BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. I need to shake it off...

I think a hot shower is in order, then maybe I will cook a yummy dinner to take my mind off of things.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

You'll Be Blessed...

The next few days are do or die for my little chipmunks (Alvin, Simon, Theodore, of course!) and I have been thinking a lot about that. In some ways in seems inconceivable to me that I could be pregnant in just a few days. I have been dreaming about pregnancy and children for so long, for so many years and here I am on the eve of a possible pregnancy and I don't know what to make of it, but at the same time I cannot imagine it not being so.

The last few days whenever I look at Sean, I can't help but imagine what our children will look like. Perfect infants with red hair, porcelain skin, huge blue eyes. It takes my breath away and brings a tear to my eye. Then, the tiny voice of doubt in the back of my head whispers, "Don't dare to dream it!" That voice breaks my heart & paralyzes me with 'what ifs.'

What if I am never pregnant? What if IVF fails us? What if we are never parents? What if I cannot give my husband a child to carry on his name, his legacy? What if I cannot give my mother a grandchild? What if I never hold my infant in my arms and whisper in her ear? What if I never look in my child's eyes to see his Daddy's baby blues or his Momma's soft green looking back at me?

I have so many hopes and dreams for these children of my heart. They will have blue eyes, or maybe green. They will have red hair. They will be fair and prone to sunburn like their Daddy. They will have fine, thin hair like their Momma. We will take family vacations to the beach, to Disney, to California. We will visit family in Buffalo. They will love to read. The boys will play hockey. The girls, well they're just a little uncoordinated like me. They will be smart and love school and bubble over with excitement on the first day. There will be Halloween Parties, Birthday Parties, Skating Parties and Slumber Parties. There will be dress-up and singing and tea parties. There will be football games on our lawn and floor hockey in the basement or garage. There will be laughter and love and some tears too. There will be practices and lessons and games and school plays and talent shows. There will be skinned knees and maybe a broken bone. They will fight with each other, but be each other's best friends too. There will be amusement parks and ice cream and popcorn. There will be pizza and movie nights. There will be crayons, finger paint and sticky fingers. There will be lunches to pack and homework to do and plenty of whining to go around. There will be kid's artwork on my walls and family pictures on every table. There will be stomach flus a'plenty, chicken pox, runny noses, sore throats and fevers. There will snuggling and jumping on the bed. There will be Christmas mornings, Easter Egg hunts and Trick or Treating. There will be toys and sporting equipment and backpacks and books strewn about my once tidy house. My laundry basket will run over with tiny socks and onesies. The house will never be quiet again and Mommy & Daddy will be my two most favorite words in the English language...

Please, oh please stay with me little ones. I cannot envision any other future for Sean & I. You are already loved so very much. You are our hopes and our dreams and our hearts...

Blessed by Elton John

Hey you, you're a child in my head
You haven't walked yet
Your first words have yet to be said
But I swear you'll be blessed

I know you're still just a dream-
Your eyes might be green,
Or the bluest that I've ever seen...

Anyway, you'll be blessed
And you, you'll be blessed,
You'll have the best
I promise you that
I'll pick a star from the sky
Pull your name from a hat
I promise you that, promise you that,
promise you that
You'll be blessed

I need you before I'm too old
To have and to hold
To walk with you and watch you grow
And know that you're blessed

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Triple Threat

We are home from transfer and we have 3 embies safe and warm!!!

It was a long day. We made sure we were scent free (per lab instructions, embryos cringe at scent), we left the house at 1:45pm and arrived in DC around 2:45. I was told to arrive with a full bladder and then had to sit in the waiting room for 1 hour! I thought my bladder might burst.

We were brought back to the transfer room and the Dr. went over our Day 3 report.

1 @ 8 cell, grade 1 - "perfect"

2 @ 5 cell grade 3 - slow growing/mid grade

1 @ 3 cell - don't know grade. I assuming a 5 - poor.

Dr. Transfer and the embryologist initially recommended tx 2, but Sean & I had already decided that if our report was still less then stellar, we were not settling for 2. Given the 2 embryos at only 5 cell (they should have been between 6 & 8 today)- we requested transferring 3. We explained that it was our 3rd cycle, (which this dr. and embryologist were not aware of) and that we were disappointed in our fert. report and embryo growth/quality.

Dr. Transfer said she understood and then gave us the spiel about risks of triplet pregnancy and asked if we conceived triplets, if we would be willing to consider selective reduction. We said we could not make that decision now, but if that ended up being the case we would seek out the best doctors and take everything under advisement. Dr. Transfer said she wanted to speak with the embryologist and fill her in on our history and see if she could contact our Dr.

The embryologist thought it was more than reasonable to do 3 given our history and Dr. M said to remind me that I was young and to make sure that I was given all the facts, but that he was ultimately ok with it, if it was what we wanted.

Dr. Transfer asked us to consider which outcome we could "live with". #1 - not tx 3, cycle fails, we are devastated and always asking ourselves if we made a mistake. OR #2 we get pg with 3 and have to weigh our options. Sean & I looked at each other and both knew the pain of another failed cycle would just bring too much pain and too many 'what ifs.' If it were to transpire that all three implanted, we will take one day at a time and seek out the best information we can.

3 it was! Assisted Hatching was performed and the embies were transferred into my beautiful triple striped uterus with a whoosh!

We just couldn't imagine choosing between the two 5 cells and having to leave one behind to likely arrest or be donated to science.

There seemed to be a theme of 3 today. It was IVF #3, a 3dt, we were scheduled for 3:15, we were put in room 3 (which we realized on the way out), my triple striped uterus, the artwork in the room was arranged in threes, & the 3 embies. Three was everywhere! We are big on symbols so we of course took it as a sign that we made the right decision! :p

Speaking of signs, one of my IVF anthems is Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" and it was the last song on the radio when we got the the clinic and the first song on when Sean flipped the channel when we got back in the car! Too funny.

I am on strict bed rest for 24 hours and then have to take it very easy for 2-3 more days. My beta is scheduled for December 4th which seems late to us, but one day at a time!

There is no better feeling then having your embryos back home safe and warm. I am hopeful. I am at peace. I am more than content with our decision.

I am warm and toasty on the couch. Sean is spoiling me and the embies rotten and Libby is snuggled up keeping us warm. I have fresh pineapple from Whole Foods, a pomegranate, & pomegranate juice all on the menu over the next few days. I bought Breaking Dawn this morning and plan to crack it open in a few. Looking forward to the next few days!

Thanks for all the wishes and good vibes today. I felt the love!

For now, I am thoroughly enjoying being "pregnant until proven otherwise!"

A New Day

It is the morning of transfer and I am feeling much better. I needed to work through my emotions, anxiety and disappointment yesterday, but today I am ready, I am hopeful and I am exuding peace and trust.

All of your kind words and understanding helped me get over the worst of it. I did my IVF meditation and it helped me let go of the negativity as well. Dr. M called me at home to see how I was doing. He told me that there has been a lot of good things about this cycle and asked me to trust and have faith at this point. He said I have age on my side and hopefully a good embryo or 2 to work with...

I am usually one of the most positive people you will ever meet and I hate being in the dark place I was yesterday.

Transfer is at 3:15! For now, I am off to Barnes to pick up Breaking Dawn and B.lockbuster to pick up movies for bed rest. I will meditate one more time and Sean & I will get on the road. I am ready to being my embies home! Dr. M mentioned that if there are 2 good ones, he will be a big advocate of only tx those 2, Sean is pushing for 3. We'll see when we get there and take everything into consideration before we decide.

Thank you again for all the positive, supportive, hopeful words.

"Anxiety is space between 'now' and 'then'." ~ Richard Abell.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not the news I was hoping for...

The bad news just keeps coming. There is no hope of a 5 day transfer for me, in fact, I am a little nervous that there is a possibility of no transfer at all. My Day 2 report is awful:

1 @ 4 cell
1@ 3 cell
1 @ 2 cell
2 with no growth - possibly arresting.

I have never had anything like it. I know I can't keep looking back, but I also cannot deny that something has not worked with this cycle. Sean & I have always made amazing embryos. Embryologists oooh and ahhh over the beauties we make. We always have many to choose from and some to freeze. This time, not so much!

I am guessing my eggs hated the Ganirelix. Everything else was the same, except for that. I knew early on when I was stimming too fast that this protocol may not have been the answer.

My nurse said they will likely be able to do the Assisted Hatching and that they will discuss the option of putting back 3 given the crappiness of the situation.

I am mad, sad, angry, disappointed. I cried and sobbed and yelled and proclaimed my hatred for infertility.

I know it only takes one.
I know that some of the ugliest cycles produce beautiful happy endings.
I know I should not give up.
I know that each cycle is different.
I know this is the chance you take when you switch clinics and change protocols.
I know that I am "ahead of the game" because my polyp was found and removed by this clinic and no longer taking up a 1/3 of my uterus.
I know that even though this cycle is crazy, I am still at a wonderful clinic.
I know that this is not the end.
I know that I could have beautiful 8 cell embryos tomorrow.
I know if it is bad news in the end, we will try again.
I know that right now, this hurts like hell...

Tomorrow, I will put my hopeful, positive, optimist hat on and walk into transfer with a smile. I will welcome my embies home and try to provide them with the best possible environment and hope and pray for the best, but for today, I need to work through this.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fert Report

9 out of 11 were mature and 5 fertilized with ICSI and are growing and dividing normally.

There is no way to hide it, I am very disappointed. I have always had 95% fertilization reports before so 60% is a big drop for me. It makes me question my protocol all over again.

It also makes me doubtful for a 5 day transfer. I had 7 embryos with IVF #2 and they all made it to my 3 day transfer, but the remaining 5 arrested before making it to blastocyst. They will have a better idea tomorrow, but I am going to be a WRECK...

My nurse was very positive and said they are very happy with my numbers - anything over 50% is great, apparently. Too bad everything I have ever heard suggests fertilization rates with ICSI are typically 70-80%. She wasn't too helpful, so I called the lab directly and asked to speak to an embryologist and was told they "do not speak to patients. call your nurse."

Sean doesn't think getting answers right now is necessary. His theory is that it really doesn't matter - we can't change anything now anyway. "Knowing" isn't going to give us a different outcome. He thinks we just focus on what we do have, write down our questions and concerns and if this cycle fails, then we can voice all questions and concerns. He is right, I guess.

We did get some good news. It seems that Sean's varicocele repair and vitamins are making a difference. The biggest jump came in his motility. He began with 35% motility and it was 70% yesterday!!! His post wash numbers have always been less than a million and he had over 2 million yesterday. His count is still extremely low, but it is on the rise! This was the earliest possible time to start seeing improvement and we are, so I am happy. He could continue to see changes for a year.

Sean 's vitamin regimen is Conception XR and 200mg of CO Q 10 per our RE's instructions.

I know I have reason to be optimistic and I am, but I am also disappointed. It may all turn out to be undue worry and stress and we could very well have beautiful blasts to work with, but it is day by day, hour by hour right now. Even if we go on day 3 again, I know I still have reason to hope!

I think part of what is going on is that by switching clinics, I put unrealistic expectations on them. I expected everything to be perfect - better than any cycle we have done before and that is not fair. Every cycle is different. I have to remember that they have a state-of-the-art (no pun intended) lab and this is where the magic happens. I know that we are still going to employ assisted hatching and that we do have a chance to get to blast. I know I am already better off because the huge polyp is gone from my uterus. I have to trust that we are in good hands and that even messy cycles lead to beautiful results.

Thank you for all your support!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Home from Egg Retrieval

We are home from ER and they got 11 eggs! I am thrilled. I was hoping for 8+ so 11 is wonderful. I am nothing if not consistent. I have had between 9 -11 with each cycle so far. I do not know anything about maturity at this point.

I will get my first fertilization report tomorrow between 12pm-3pm.

We are excited to hear about Sean's semen analysis results as well. This is his first one since the varicocele embolization. The lab tech knew we were nervous so she popped her head in and said, "The sample is looking great!" I have no idea what that means, but we'll take it.

My in-laws were on the road before we got home, so I was relieved. Sean is making me some eggs and toast for breakfast. It is a chilly, windy day and we are looking forward to snuggling up on the couch and resting. I am also hoping to finish Eclipse today!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

That's Our Story And We're Sticking To It!!

Sean and the guys are playing cards and having a few beers. Sean decided to casually ask what time they are thinking about getting on the road. They said 9ish. Sean dropped his voice and said, "Well, Emily is having a little procedure tomorrow -you know 'female stuff' -and we have to get on the road kinda early. Not sure when we'll be home or how she'll be feeling, so I hope you don't mind seeing yourselves out. Em feels really bad about not being here and she didn't even want to have to tell anyone she was having another procedure, so let's not bring it up at all..."

Something to that effect anyway. They bought it hook, line and sinker! They are men after all and they are drinking beer and any talk of "female stuff" freaks them right out. Hopefully they don't run home and tell the wifeys because then it will be 20 questions. Oh well, buys me a few days anyway! Thanks for all the ideas!

They had a fantastic time at the Navy vs. Notre Dame game today and a great visit overall. I, on the other hand, am ready to have my house back. From left to right - my father in law -Chuck, my hubby, my nephew -Vinny and brother-in-law- Dave

I am feeling ready for tomorrow. Feeling hopeful and optimistic. I have fingers crossed for at least 8. The most we have had is 11. We have always had all but one or two mature and our fertilization rates hover around 95%, so I am hoping for more of the same. Is that asking too much!

I feel really good today. Usually the day after trigger is terrible for me - sore, bloated, nauseous, but I feel damn near 100% today. Sleepy though. I have always done Novarel in the past and this was generic - I have no idea if that is making any difference or if my e2 being lower is playing a part, but I will take it.

I have been really wanting to post something more heartfelt and emotional, but I think all the testosterone in my house is killing my creativity! I can't truly let myself feel everything going on in my head or heart right now; it's a slippery slope and I am trying to create the appearance of normalcy for tonight. More time to reflect in the coming weeks.

In other news, I hope you will join me in welcoming my best friend, Amanda, to the blogging world. She launched her blog today and could use some positive feedback. Her blog, Piecemeal People, is her forum to introduce the super cute mosaic art she creates. Her work is original and adorable and 100% customizable. I hope you will visit her link and be inspired. One warning - she is a mom and children are mentioned on her site. Also, her work on display right now is very "child" orientated, but she does other stuff too!

I have already hired her to make a monogram for my 16 year old niece and nursery artwork for my goddaughters' Christmas gifts. I had the pleasure of receiving a portrait of Sean & I for my college graduation gift and everybody comments on it when they see it for the first time.

Amanda is my chosen family. She is as close to a sister to me as I've ever known. She is an ENORMOUS source of support for me and I hope to be the same for her as she ventures into a new exciting phase in her life. Thanks for taking a minute to visit her link and browse her work.

I am off to have a cup of peppermint tea, read some of Eclipse and head to bed. 4am comes awfully quick. I'll update tomorrow!!! Thanks again for all your support!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Trigger Tonight!

Triggering tonight at 8pm! ER on Sunday - we have to be to DC @ 6am - YUCK! Still working on a story for the in-laws. Hmmm...we have to be up and out by 4:30am on a Sunday because...???

Seems like everything should go off without a hitch. My nurse even gave me permission to have a glass of wine tonight! Mmmm! We are heading to F.ogo De Chao for a late dinner and I can't think of anything better to compliment my steak than a nice glass of red wine. Yay for wine! Yay for steak! Double yay for wine and steak and maybe even dessert!!!

I had a wonderful nurse today and she put my mind even more at ease. She said again that they are really happy with my cycle. It is looking like 8ish eggies and possibly a couple more if some smaller follies kick it up a notch.

Oh, and guess what??? I am a math genius and today is Day 9 not day 7 or whatever the hell I thought it was! I have no idea how I did it, but I somehow lost time and had myself all worked up about timing for NO REASON. Day 9 is wonderful - I have triggered on day 9 before. Silly me! I think the hormones are messing with my brain power ;)

E2 was 1611 today. Lower than it has been historically on trigger day, but I am done obsessing for today.

I plan to write a "real" post tomorrow. You know, something thoughtful and not filled with numbers and stats and freakouts and dosages.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Feeling Better

My nurse called and the follies will grow another day!!!! Whew! She said everything is looking good and no reason to freak out (yeah - easy for her to say!). She said the right side was looking beautiful and my E2 was 1589 - higher then it has ever been at this point before. My Follistim and Menopur have been cut back for tonight. Tomorrow will likely be trigger!

I am going to have to come up with some tale to tell my in-laws about why we are getting up and driving to DC at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning... Oh well, better then ruining the football game. They'll have to lock up and see themselves out- a little rude of us, but what can I do???

I am feeling better and I think this was just a pre-ER freakout. Thanks for your support and hopefully and I will have a more insightful post sometime soon.

Talk Me Down

I just got back from my stim check and my anxiety is sky high. My u/s tech, Hope, (isn't that a perfect name for u/s tech at a fertility clinic?) said things looked great and I would possibly trigger tonight or tomorrow. What??? Trigger tonight? It has only been 6 days of stims! Then, I go have a sit down with some random nurse that I did not particularly care for and she tells me the same thing! I ask about my 16 follies and she says it looks like 8 are ready to go. 8? WTF??? What about the other half? What about the fact that this protocol was supposed to boost me to the 15ish mark. I have a sneaking suspicion that the antagonist protocol is not for me. She did say my bw will be determining factor and she would like to see me go one more day.

You may be wondering why this all has me freaking? Well, I think it is too fast, but the real anxiety factor is that I have my father-in-law, brother-in-law and nephew arriving tomorrow for the entire weekend. They have tickets to the Navy vs. Notre Dame game on Saturday!!! If I trigger tonight, ER will be on Saturday, Dh won't be able to go to the game and the whole weekend will be ruined. Not to mention, we haven't even told family we are doing IVF #3! I was already stressed about their visit and now my anxiety is sky high.

Please, please, please, let me go one more day!!! That would still be soon and a little complicated, but it would be better. So much better.

I know I need to take a deep breath and probably go meditate to the wonderful IVF meditation that
Gretchen raved about during her last cycle. It really is wonderful and you can find it here. I should go do that now and just relax until I get the phone call this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stim Check #2

Well, things are looking good. I have 14 follies on the right and still only 2 on the left with none hiding. The largest are measuring 13-15 and that my friends, means we add Ganirelix to the mix tonight!

My E2 was 595.

Follistim stays at 225 - evenings only

Menopur increased to 225 -whoa!

1 pre-filled Ganirelix syringe

I checked my records from IVF #2 and I am up by a couple of follicles this time and my E2 is a smidge higher. My nurse said I am "right on track" and looks like I will trigger on Saturday for a Monday ER. That would be 9 days of stims and one less day than usual. So far, this new protocol is not really shaping up to be that different from my usual Lupron protocol. As long as the outcome is different, I am ok with that!

Back on Thursday for next stim check!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Quick Draw McGraw

First stim check was the morning and it seems the new protocol is working, perhaps too well. I had 14 measurable follicles - 12 on the right and 2 on the left (left always lags for me). That would explain why I am already feeling my right ovary!

The nurse called this afternoon and said that my E2 was, "way over 300" and I would not be taking any Follistim for 24 hours.

I have to do the 2 amps of Menopur tonite, skip my follistim tonight and in the morning and then resume follstim tomorrow night - dosage 225.

I was so busy making sure I had all the directions correct that I never asked for my exact E2.

Back for stim check #2 on Tues! In the mean time, I coast and hope this did not eff up the entire cycle...

Friday, November 7, 2008

IVF #3 and Unwelcome Visitors

I am a little late in posting this, but IVF#3 is underway!!!! I took last BCP on Sunday, had my suppression check on Monday and started stims on Thursday morning. I am doing an antagonist protocol this time and here it is:

225u Follistim in the morning

75u Follistim at night

150u Menopur

1 baby aspirin
1 prenatal vitamin with DHA/EPA

Ganirelix when my follicles start to reach the 14mm mark. No Lupron for me!!!

ER is tentatively scheduled for 11/18, but I am betting on sooner by a day or so.

5 day ET with AH (assisted hatching) tentatively scheduled for 11/23
I will be doing PIO and Estrace starting on day of ER.

My first stim check is Sunday morning.

This protocol is brand new for me:
higher stim doses
stims 2x per day
antagonist protocol
5 day ET

It is exciting - sort of. I said before that the one word that summarizes my feelings about this cycle is apprehension and that is still very much the case. When it was time for the 1st dose, I had to refrain from running screaming the other direction. When it was done, I felt a little, tiny bit better. I am hopeful as well, but that is definitely not the overwhelming feeling.

We have not told anyone (minus the entire blogosphere) except my best friend & my mom. We are very leery about sharing every aspect of this cycle with our family and friends. At this point, we have opted to keep it (mostly) to ourselves. If we have good news, they'll be the first to know. Otherwise, it is just too painful to have so many other people disappointed and sad along with us. Telling the story over and over pretty much sucks!

In other news, we have unwelcome visitors in our neighborhood. 30+ turkey vultures have ascended into our yards. Even worse, they gave us a special wake-up call this morning.

At 6:30 we heard a tapping and scratching sound coming from the master bath. We went in to find 3 HUGE turkey vultures on our skylight very captivated by something. They wanted in and they were going to work on the glass pane. It was freaky!!! We felt like we were on the set of a horror movie. Sean tried to scare them off, but they were unfazed. They finally got bored after awhile and took off to the tree tops where they look like the harbingers of doom.

I stepped out a few hours later to snap some photos. They are down right CREEPY and I hope they will be on their way soon.

For your viewing pleasure - the scavengers!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Day

I woke up this morning feeling like a new day had dawned for America. I am over the moon about the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America.

Yesterday was incredibly emotional. I was all misty while casting my vote, then I swelled with a sense of pride as I knew I just helped make history. I spent the next five hours phone banking at the Obama headquarters. I called hundreds of voters in PA and the calls were so uplifting. I spoke to many, many people. I even helped get Florence, an 83 year old, partially blind African American woman, a ride to the polls to cast her vote for Obama. It was an amazing feeling. The atmosphere at the campaign office was electric and for the first time I allowed myself to really believe this might be happening.

The rest of the day felt like "the day that never ends" and I was anxiously awaiting the results to begin rolling in. Sean, a recovering Republican, kept insisting it would be a landslide for Obama, but I didn't believe it until I saw it happening before my very eyes. When they called Ohio for Barack, I broke out the tissues.

At 11pm when the election was called and Barack Obama was President-Elect, the floodgates opened. Tears of joy spilled from my eyes and I was filled to the brim with hope and pride and optimism. I am so proud to be an American today.

As I listened to Obama's acceptance speech, so somber and yet so inspiring, and I saw the faces in the crowd, young, old, black, white, Asian, Indian, Hispanic, male & female, I knew a new era had dawned in this country. YES WE CAN, YES WE CAN, YES WE CAN!

This morning as I watched the news, the words of Martin Luther King rang out loud and clear,

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character...

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day...

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true." MLK 8/28/63

Martin Luther King's dream has come true today. We are a great nation and yesterday we elected a man based on the content of his character, not the color of his skin.

Now I am not naive enough to believe the nation is healed over night, but I do believe this is one giant step in the right direction.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

Ah... Halloween is here again. "Goblins, ghouls funny faces walkin' 'round familiar places! This is a day called HALLOWEEN!" So went the words of my favorite elementary school song.

Halloween is one of those days for me, a day like The First Day of School . It has always been one of my favorite holidays. It is a day full of happy childhood memories of costumes and carved pumpkins and parties and candy. Today it is a day of hope and sadness; fear and optimism.

Hope & optimism burn within me like a candle in a Jack-o-Lantern on the eve of IVF #3. I envision Halloweens of the future with 3 little ones all dressed up, a house decorated to hilt, pumpkins carved on the front porch, hayrides and caramel apples, classroom parties, treat bags and ghost stories.

Fear & sadness rear their ugly heads as I envision a host of other Halloweens just like today -empty house, empty arms, broken dreams. Smiles through tears. A reminder of all the Halloweens I thought, "Next year I will surely be pregnant, have baby..." Seasons change, time passes, and yet here we are clinging to same hopes and dreams as the last year and the year before and the year before...

When Sean & I first got married, we used to go to the pumpkin farm and dress up and go to parties all the while dreaming of our future, but then it just got too painful. I still decorate inside (if you build it, they will come mentality, I guess) and go to the local farmers market for a pumpkin, but we don't carve it. We don't dress up and we don't go live it up at any parties any more. We hand out candy and ooh and aah over all the little ones. We smile as our hearts ache. We turn off the porch light and retreat to the safety of each other.

The chill of the ghosts of Halloween future linger in the air tonight as the fates decide our future. Trick or treat?!?!

Friday, October 24, 2008


I am spotting, gearing up for AF. Normally, this would be a very exciting thing for someone on pins and needles to start an IVF cycle, but, my calendar is all based on Sean starting a new sperm cycle on November 20th. Once AF comes, I am supposed to go for suppression check and start stims, so I am about 2 weeks too early with the bleeding...

Did I mention it's only cycle day 20? I have not had a normal period in months & I think my body is protesting.

I have no idea what this is going to mean for this cycle...

In other news, while phone banking for the Obama campaign, I ran into my the woman who lives across the street. We were chatting for a bit about life and laughing how we never see each other and then run into each other while working for Obama. She has 24 month old twins and sure enough, IVF! We traded war stories for a little bit and bonded. Who knew?

Speaking of Obama, I can't wait for Election Day. We have been obsessed with this election. I think I may have post-election let down when it is all over! Obama/Biden '08!

Just heard from the nurse and she thinks it is "normal, breakthrough" bleeding. I go on Wednesday for another mock transfer, just to "check things out." Should be on track to start stims on Nov. 6th. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I BIG PUFFY heart you!

The amazingly strong and inspirational, Lisa, author of the amazing blog, Helping Make Sense has honored me with the I Heart Your Blog Award. Thanks Lisa!

Now, the way this works, is I answer the following questions with single word responses, and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers:

1. Where is your cell phone? Charging
2. Where is your significant other? Work
3. Your hair color? Highlighted
4. Your mother? Amazing
5. Your father? Passed
6. Your favorite thing? Vacation
7. Your dream last night? Forgot
8. Your dream/goal? Parenthood
9. The room you're in? Family
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Failure
12. Where do you want to be in six years? Buffalo
13. Where were you last night? Work
14. What you're not? Mommy
15. One of your wish list items? BFP
16. Where you grew up? Buffalo
17. The last thing you did? Read
18. What are you wearing? PJ's
19. Your T.V.? CNN
20. Your pet? Libby
21. Your computer? Lifeline
22. Your mood? Apprehensive
23. Missing someone? Yep
24. Your car? Passat
25. Something you're not wearing? Contacts
26. Favorite store? Wegmans
27. Your Summer? OK
28. Love someone? Many
29. Your favorite color? Pink
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Week?

Now, I'd like to pass this award to 7 bloggers who excite me when they publish a new entry (8, if you count the fact that I'm unofficially giving this award back to Lisa!!):

Desperately Seeking Spawn

In Pursuit Of Parenthood

Will They Have His Eyes

Maybe Baby

Forcing Seeds

And even though they have already received it, I would be remiss not to tell you that I Heart these blogs too:

French Family Journey

Between The Lines

Thank you all for being my companions on this crazy journey. You rock my socks!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cancer, Calendars and Company

Wow! I can't believe how long it has been since I posted! My apologies. I have been so busy recently and feel out of touch with my blog, the boards, email and life in general. The family I tutor for has been keeping me busier than usual and time is flying by.

IVF #3 is underway and I can't even believe it. More to come on that below...

In other sad news, cancer has managed to creep back into our lives. My mom is a cancer survivor, my gramma is a cancer survivor, my dad passed from cancer in '01 and my mom's best friend (another "mom" to me) was claimed by lung cancer many moons ago. On Friday, she eyed another target, my father-in-law :( Can I just say that it is no coincidence that my husband is a good man? His father is one of the best men I have ever known in my life. I love him like my own Dad and I am so sad. For more on my father-in-law's story, see Family Tree.

Chuck has an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is very common in men, in fact, experts believe most men will have it at the time of their death, but may not even know it. Typically, it is very slow moving and has a high rate of cure. Chuck's is a rarer form. They "grade" prostate cancer with the Gleason scale which goes from 1-10, 10 being the most aggressive form. Chuck's score is a 7. 60% of men are a 6 or less. The good news - they believe it is Stage 1 which means it is contained and has not spread and they caught it very early. As soon as we heard the news we jumped in the car and headed straight to B.uffalo.

Chuck met with an oncologist yesterday and they would like him to start 8 weeks of radiation ASAP. Today, he is going for a 2nd opinion at R.oswell Park Cancer Center in Buf.falo. They are a cancer center for excellence and are rated top 10 in the nation. They are beyond lucky to have such a wonderful place in their backyard. Roswell saved my mom's & my gramma's lives. I wish I could say it was easy to convince them to go for a 2nd opinion though. Boy, were they stubborn about it. They "like" their current urologist and they "trust" him and give him a lot of credit for catching what another urologist missed. While we are thankful for that, we have learned our lesson the hard way about trusting doctors and know the value of 2nd opinions. I am especilly leary of any dr. who tries to dissuade you from a 2nd opinion and tells you to "tell your family to back off and stay off the internet." Yes, their current urologist really told them that. Way to bully 70 year old people. I wouldn't be heart broken if they leave him in the dust. I am anxious to hear the latest update today. These are the times when it is difficult to live so far away...

Speaking of 2nd opinions, IVF #3 is underway! I started BCP on 10/6. Here is my "Lupron Free" calendar, dated from that point:

1. Take last BCP on 11/2

2. 11/3- b/w and u/s

3. 11/6 - start stims - follistim and menopur

4. Once follies reach 14mm - begin Ganirelix

5. 11/18- estimated ER - begin Estrace and PIO

6. 11/23 - estimated ET

With the absence of Lupron in my life, I do not feel like we are really underway. I guess I really won't until I start stims. As you can see, I am rounding out my year of holiday cycles - Easter, my b-day (yes it is a holiday and also Memorial Day weekend) and now Thanksgiving. At least I won't know anything by Thanksgiving and can be hopeful instead of devastated. Christmas, that's another story...

If I could only use one word to describe my feelings about #3 it would be, 'apprehensive'. I have had so much else on my mind and I don't feel like I am even processing that this cycle is starting. I got my big 'ol box of meds weeks ago and it is still sitting in the same place. I probably wouldn't have even opened the box if I did not have to refrigerate the follistim. I am not even consulting Dr. Google about the Ganirelix protocol, although the good "doctor" has come in handy breaking down prostate cancer and gleason scores for me.

My mom arrives in town today and I have piles of laundry to get through, dusting and vacuuming to do, floors to wash, shopping and lasagna to cook. I think I need a shot of caffeine or two to light a fire under my butt.

Speaking of lighting fires, please remember that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Please light a candle at 7pm tonight to create a Wave of Light in honor of this day.

I will be at work and unable to light a candle until later, but I will be thinking of all the families whose lives have been forever changed. May your tiny angels bring you comfort tonight as the world remembers them...