Monday, July 30, 2012

172,800 Seconds

That's the wait time until I start stims for this cycle.  For the Mathmatically Challenged, that's two days, y'all.

I still can't believe that I'm crazy enough to do this, and that this is really happening, but here it goes.  I stopped my last BCP on Saturday night, got the Migraine From Hell today, which is my usual main symptom before I journey into Hell get AF.   I go in for a follicle check on Thursday (which is also my mom's birthday) and if I'm clear......away we go!

This cycle feels weird to me, and not just because it's so unexpected.  Part of it is the unfamiliar antagonist protocol (as opposed to the agonist-AKA "Long Lupron") protocol-I've never used Menopur; although it seems pretty straightforward, I'm having a little anxiety in having to daily mix the vials up-luckily I'm only on one vial (or 75IU) a day, along with 50 IU of Follistim daily.  Plus, despite the fact that I'm a regular at the IVF Bar and Grille, the Menopur needles freak me out a little.  At least there are these cool little things called Q-caps that are for the reconstitution of the powder, which is cool and eliminates the whole "OMGWTF I just stuck myself in the finger" scenario that likes to replay in my head. 

I'm also a little freaked out since I'm what you call an "overachiever" in the follicle department-I know that this protocol is typically used for slow responders, and I'm scared that I'll get OHSS again.  Of course, I know that this really isn't going to happen, since they're going to watch me like a paparazzo at the Robert Pattinson/Kristen Stewart residence, but still.....hyperstimming ain't really that much fun.  Especially when you've been busting your ass at the gym and want to enjoy the last bit of the summer without people asking when you're due, when you're not even sure if you're knocked up yet.  Yah.....good times!

At least, as Thalia pointed out in my last post, it's going to go quickly.  The Long Lupron protocol is....well....LONG.  Like you wonder if you're in that movie Groundhog Day long.  This seems so much easier and less time-consuming, since you're knocking about two weeks off the process.  Hopefully with this protocol change I might not only make a good amount of eggs (which I and the RE is certain I will), but that they might more than likely be "good" eggs.  I did a little research on the supplement front, and I've found some data that using CoQ10 and melatonin is showing some preliminary positive signs of bettering egg quality.  Of course you're supposed to start these 3 months before cycling for maximum effect, but I started taking them last week.  The CoQ10 is taken at a pretty high dose (600-800 mg/day) but also has to be taken with a fat for better absorption, which is working out great with that fertility diet that I read.  The melatonin is 3mg/nightly, and both are taken up until retrieval.  Apparently, from what I've read, we lose both as we age, and it affects us from the cellular level, and CoQ10 especially seems supposedly helpful from everything to better heart health to migraine relief, and if it can't hurt, why the hell not try it-I've really got nothing to lose at this point.

But.....we have everything to gain.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Plans and Open Windows say the words "thank you" for all the kind posts in the aftermath of this seems so paltry and insignificant compared to what I've read.  To be honest, I didn't even think that people were still reading this-most of the people.....okay, 99.9% of the people who started this journey with me have crossed over into the Parenthood Realm, so I totally get that it's hard to relate to someone who's still struggling with infertility, because it's in the past.  I'm not saying that to be weird or judgmental in any way, but let's face's pretty much true.  And it doesn't offend me in the least-it's just the way it is.

But, there ARE people reading.  And I feel like the infertility little old lady compared to some of you out there, especially if you're still early on in this madness.  Trust me-not everyone ends up like me or has my story.  The majority of people who go through this end up successful.  I'm just the freak case, so please don't think that if your first or second attempt at ART fails then you're a failure.  Because you're not.

I truly believe that God has a plan for everyone.  It may not be exactly as you've dreamed, it may not happen when you want it to, but it will happen.  If anything on this crazy journey, I've learned not only perseverance, but also patience.


So, what's been going on in the month since our BFN, you're wondering?  Well.....sit down for this one, kids......

Remember what I just said about God having plans for everyone?  Well, I was a hot holy mess the day of and the day after the beta.  Like just awful, which was expected considering the news.  To be honest, Sean and are REALLY GOOD at the BFN Post-Mortem, since we've had them a gazillion times.  My good friend (and fellow IF'er with a beautiful baby girl) called on beta day after I found out and I just lost it on the phone.  She's a Good Catholic Girl and is a big believer in faith, since it got her through the years that they were trying.  She told me that she really feels that God has a plan and that things will work out for us.  Of course, as helpful and caring as she was trying to be, I wasn't really buying it, because I was in negative beta hell.  But, I did (and do) appreciate the support so I knew it was coming from a place of love.

So, Thursday rolls around and I'm sitting at the computer, alternating between looking up job postings and Googling "Why Donor IVF Cycles Fail" when the phone rings.  The number that pops up is main number of the hospital that BIC is affiliated with.  I almost didn't answer it, because I thought it was my friend M trying to check in (she works there now), but something told me to pick up the phone.

When I was Dr. Pipsqueak calling.  WTF....she NEVER calls herself-it's usually the nurse or coordinator calling. So, that in itself was unusual.  She said that she was so sorry that the cycle failed that that everyone in the office and the embryology lab are devastated that we didn't end up with a pregnancy or embryos to freeze.  She told me that she met with the embryologist and went through every one of my cycles in detail, and he (the embryologist) feels that, with the technology improvements in the lab and with the PGD technology, I should attempt a cycle with my own eggs.  He told Dr. Pipsqueak that he felt that I was a good candidate for something called micro-array CGH, which wasn't available yet when we did the cycle with my own eggs 18 months ago.  In fact, the US study results wasn't published until last February, not long after Lone Embryo ended up as another BFN.

Well, of course I had questions, since we were told that my eggs are basically more scrambled than a Denny's Western Omelet special, so it was obvious that we were going to have to go in for a meeting with her and the embryologist.  However, there is that pesky fly in the ointment-namely, that I don't have health coverage right now due to that stupid little detail called unemployment, so a cycle either with my own eggs or Lady Gaga's ain't in the cards for a while, if ever.

Here's the kicker, though.......ready for this?  I swear, you're going to shit yourselves, so make sure you're somewhere you won't be arrested for pulling a Bridesmaids crap-fest.

Dr Pipsqueak informed me that, whether we decide to use my own eggs or another donor's, the cycle, INCLUDING MEDS, will be funded through the clinic.  We would only pay for a donor's compensation fee if we decide that route; if we use my eggs the cycle would be 100% covered through a research trial of the new procedure.

Did you shit yourselves yet???  Check your panties...because I SURE DID after THAT statement.

We went for an appointment on the 10th to meet with Dr. P and the embryologist, who explained the entire procedure in detail, and why he felt that we were good candidates.  I also had to update my Recurrent Loss Panel and a few other tests, since I insisted that if we were going to go through this with my own eggs, I wanted to make sure that there was no other factors going on that would make this not work in our favor, which they agreed with.  They also wanted me to get this book that advocates a low-GI diet which they said that they're finding some success with, and I've done my own research and will try some supplements for egg quality as well (so far, I'm reading about CoQ10 and Melatonin, but if anyone out there has other suggestions as well....bring them on)-I figure that it can't hurt, right?

They're going to try an antagonist protocol this time, which I've never had before.  Even though in past cycles I've been a great responder, I suppose with my age they want to make sure that I get enough eggs for biopsy (even though they're retesting my AMH, which was great last year).  So, that's going to take getting used to, but it actually seems a little easier than the Long Lupron one. So, after talking with them, signing a gazillion consent forms, bloodwork and OCP 'scripts, we got my bag of meds and were on our way.  Literally.

I can't even believe that I'm even SAYING this, but it looks like we're back in the game.  With my own eggs, which is so insane I'm still having a problem wrapping my brain around it.  And, it will be soon, since I got AF yesterday-I go in for CD bloodwork tomorrow morning, and then hopefully will start OCP and get the SHG and we'll get this party started after the lab opens up in a few weeks.

Holy motherfucking shit.

You know how, when shitty things happen that you just can't get, and people say (with the best of intentions, of course), "Don't worry, when God closes a door, He always leaves a window open"?  Well......he sure left a big-ass one open for me.  And it's something that I will always, no matter what happens from here, be grateful for.