I'm trying to remember that no matter how unbearable it feels right now, I won't feel like this (with this intensity) forever. And if I stay in each moment, I find that grief ebbs and flows, so that in between feeling like I want to die, I also have moments that don't quite hurt so much...when I can breathe a little.
Today is the focus. It's the only place we can be. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow will sort itself out.
I'd like to thank all of you for your responses, phone calls, and emails. I appreciate your support, well wishes, and prayers.
Anyway... back to what Soo said on the phone. She told Jerry that we're really special to her; she even calls us family. And then she told Jerry to be there for me, be strong. She also told Jerry that she is really proud of me and wished that I was her daughter. She even wished that she could pop one out and give the baby to us. And all through the conversations, Jerry told me that she was crying. But that's not what choked him up. What choked him up was what she said.
Seriously, how does one move on from this? In the back of my mind, I know that we have 2 frozen embryos. That's potentially two children. But how can I get my heart to stop hurting so bad to even think about going on?
After Mass, as we were walking into Albertsons, I told him. His face just sunk. We were quiet during the whole grocery shopping, each in our own world letting it sink in and deal.
I feel like I'm in a daze. We've just tabbed up the money spent on trying to have a baby (starting with the first IUI back in 1999), and we've just crested the $100,000 mark (we're 100% out-of-pocket).
We are toying with the idea of moving to Denver to get a fresh start. Don't get me wrong. I love our house. I designed it from scratch, and I put my heart and soul into this place. But maybe we need a change of scenery, a new perspective? I wish we could keep this house AND have one in Denver. But we have bills to pay. Know anyone who wants to buy a house?
* cul-de-sac, 1/4 acre lot in a recorded subdivision w/ homeowner's association
* custom built in 1996
* 2,000 sq. ft. brick house on concrete slab
* 2 car garage
* 2x6 walls
* air conditioning system where if you run the air, it'll heat the water so rarely use the hot water heater to have hot water
* 9 ft. ceilings in all rooms, except 12 ft. cathedral in living room, kitchen, and dining room
* Marble wood-burning fireplace
* Brazillian cherrywood in living room and hallways
* Oak hardwood(mosaic pattern in bedrooms)
* new shatter-proof low-e/argon Pella casement windows, 9 lite prairie design, wood casings
* All windows have custom vertical blinds with center split
* Mstr bathroom: travertine tile floors & shower, quartz countertops, cherrywood cabinets, Kohler porcelain sinks, Delta 3 piece faucets, Hansgrohe shower head, garden tub w/ wide stream faucet, separate commode room w/pocket door plus Kohler one-piece toilet, octagonal window in commode room
* 2nd bath: travertine tile floors, quartz countertops, cherrywood cabinets, Kohler porcelain sinks, Delta 3 piece faucets, shower/tub combo, Kohler one-piece toilet, octagonal window
* 8 ft. all-wood French backdoor (Pella) with in-between glass cellular blinds and multi-point lock door handles
* Baldwin lever exterior/interior door handles
* Soffit lights outside
* Gutters w/gutter guards
* sprinkler system with 100% yard coverage
* professionally landscaped yard
We're not greedy. Some money leftover for a downpayment on a new house in Denver would be nice but not necessary.
Nothing is for sure until the beta tomorrow. Maybe the urine test is wrong (hey, it can happen - but it has never happened to me). We're trying to hold out hope, but it is so hard when all we've known is disappointment. I hate this infertility rollercoaster ride from hell. I don't want to ride it anymore. I'm emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted. I just want to get the blood test over and done with so we can figure out where to go from there. I'm still going to keep taking my meds until they tell me not to. We still have 2 frozen embryos in Denver, and that'll probably be the first thing we do. But we'll have to talk with the doctor first and see what he recommends. He might recommend that we do another fresh cycle and add the frozen embryos with that. I don't know. I'll post the reults of my beta tomorrow.
I know I'm impatient - but you have to understand - I've been waiting almost 15 years!!
I'm not having any of the "symptoms" (period-like cramping) I had with my last 2 embryo transfers although they were done in Pensacola and those cycles were the frozen embryo cycles with unexpanded embryos. So those symptoms don't count in my book.
I am usually not a nap person, but ever since Saturday I've taken naps every day around 2pm for like an hour or so. Also, I've been feeling a bit dizzy at times. Are those pregnancy symptoms or just the side effects of the progesterone suppositories and the estrogen patches and pills? I'm not having period-like cramping although the nurse did tell me that some women do experience that. I guess right now, I'm just looking for ANY symptom.
I told Jerry that I want to do a hpt this Saturday, but he's still hesitant. We'll see. I've been told by the other women on the IVF boards that First Response is the most sensitive, so that's the one I'm going to use.
Jerry said that he's so not looking forward to going home only because of the weather there in Pensacola. He said that he may just put a FORE SALE sign on the front lawn after he mows it Saturday. I joked around with him saying that if he doesn't stroke out first. He's gotten so used to the weather here, and acts so shocked when the people here say it's so hot. He said he'd take this kind of hot over Pensacola hot anyday. He's not the only one. I totally love the weather here as well. Plus there are so many things to do here. I'll post about that in another blog. But right now, I am obsessing about whether or not I'm pregnant or not.
The doctor called me Saturday morning and asked if we could go in a bit earlier because the genetic results are back. He also said to be thinking on the way to the clinic as to how many embryos - two or three - to transfer.
When we got to the clinic, we were brought up to the second floor waiting area. A nurse came right out to bring us back behind the double doors into an embryo transfer room. She took my temp and my vitals. She also explained to us the do-s and don't-s after embryo transfer. Then she said that she would be right back with a valium for me to take. I was hesitant, so she explained what it's for - to relax me and my uterus. So I agreed to take it.
Then a phlebotomist came in and took my blood. Once again, one prick and done. She explained that the doctor wants my baseline hormone levels.
Then the doctor came in and asked me how I was feeling. When I told him that I felt great, he gave me a high-five! He then asked us if we've decided how many embryos we wanted transferred. We asked him the qualities of the 7 fresh embryos, and he said that he'll get the paper with the results. He came back in a few minutes later, and he said that 2 embryos were AA quality, meaning that they're the highest grade the embryos can get. He said that the other 5 embryos were so-so quality, one BB and the others lower quality. We asked him what are the chances of triplets if we transferred the 2 AA quality embryos and the one BB quality embryo. He said that given my age and fertility (he said that I was VERY fertile), the chance of triplets is roughly 20% for me. Well, 20% is too high of a percentage for me, as I am afraid to have triplets - too many complications and I want the babies to have the best chance. So we said we'd just transfer the 2 AA quality embryos. The doctor said, "Good choice" and left. I assume he left to tell the embryologist how many embryos to bring to the room.
Then the embryologist came in and brought in his equipment. The equipment looked like a premie baby incubator, except inside had a microscope and stuff. There were two holes with doors that the embryologist sticks his hands through to get the embryos. Jerry wanted to take a picture with his camera phone, but he didn't want the flash to bother the embryos. The lights in the room were very dim.
The doctor came back in and got me ready to receive the embryos. It was like being at my GYN's office getting a pap, except the ultrasonographer was there pressing with the ultrasound want on my very full bladder. The whole process was a bit uncomfortable, but I just went to my happy place. Then I saw the embryologist remove a long thin straw that had the embryos in it and hand it to the doctor. He explained what he did every step of the way. I felt a little twinge, like something pushing past my cervix. Jerry got to look at the ultrasound screen the whole time and saw the embryos being injected into my uterus. This is his 3rd time seeing this, so he sort of knows what to look for. Then it was over. The whole process took like 15 minutes.
Then the nurse inverted the bed, where my head was lower than my feet. And she said that she'll be back in 15 minutes to see if I need to use the bedpan. Both the doctor and the embryologist wished us luck and left. So it was just me and Jerry in the room.
Then 15 minutes later, the nurse came in and asked me if I needed to use the bedpan. I was so embarassed to use it, but I knew if I didn't I'd explode. She got me set up and told Jerry to push the red button when I was done. Then she left me to my business. I was very embarassed, especially with Jerry looking at me. So I told him not to look at me. So he took out his cell phone and was fiddling with that. Then I told him I was done and he pushed the red button. The nurse came in and got me all fixed up. And asked me if I needed more warm blankets. She was very professional about all of this. I know people use bedpans all the time at this clinic, but still I was very embarassed.
Then the embrylogist came back in and told us in further detail about our embryos that we didn't transfer. He said that the 5 other fresh embryos weren't that good of a grade so he's going to let them grow another day to see. Then he would freeze the ones that were "good" and would call us on Monday to let us know how many he froze.
Then he told us about the 5 frozen embryos that we had shipped here from Pensacola. He said that when he thawed them, one of them immediately was dead. Another one died within the hour. And the third one died shortly after that. So two out of the five survived the thaw. The ones that survived, he had biopsied and sent for genetic testing. The genetic tests came back as 1 out of the 2 being normal, meaning not having an unbalanced Robertsonian translocation. So there you have it. The Pensacola fertility doctor messed up, and we now have proof. Anyway...
We stayed there for about an hour, and I had to use the potty. So the nurse accompanied me to the bathroom and told me when I was done that there would be a wheelchair waiting for me. So I got changed and did my business in the potty, and she wheeled me out of the clinic where Jerry had already pulled up with the Yukon. I stretched out horizontally in the back seat for the ride back to the hotel.
So I've been on complete bed rest ever since Saturday afternoon. That's why I haven't had the chance to post an update. Today, I'm allowed to get up and sit up a bit. I can do more and more each day, but I'm not supposed to do anything strenuous, including exercise or even picking up Buttercup.
On Monday, we received the call from the embryologist saying that out of the 5 fresh embryos that we didn't transfer, only 1 was good enough to freeze. We were a bit sad about the news. The one that he did freeze isn't that good of a quality though. So as of now, we have two embryos that are frozen here in Denver. One is from this fresh IVF cycle. The other is from the IVF cycle in Pensacola - not as good quality as the two that were transferred to my uterus.
My beta (blood pregnancy test) is July 28th. Pray for us! I'm hoping we have twins!!
My embryo transfer date is set for this Saturday. I have to be at the clinic at noon for a 1pm embryo transfer. However, the nurse said that we may have a 2pm embryo transfer depending on if we have to wait for the genetic test results.
I am to take 1 Prometrium at 7am on Saturday. I can't wear any perfumes or lotions. I am supposed to have a partially full bladder, so I need to bring a bottled water. The nurse will tell me when to start drinking.
After the embryo transfer, I will have to be on complete bedrest until Monday, only going up to go potty. We are going to stay in Denver for a few more days just to make sure. So we won't leave here until Thursday. We will stay overnight in Dallas Thursday night. And then be in Pensacola Friday night. Yay!
I can't wait for the results of the genetic tests. Going by what the embryologist said today, we have a good solid 20 embryos to work with. It would be a bonus for us if the 3 embryos that are at 4 cells today start catching up. Because 65% of the sperm have the genetic defect, we're looking at roughly 33% of these embryos to be normal. So let's say we have 20 embryos. Roughly 7 of them should be normal. It'd be great if there are more, but by playing the odds and statistics we figured on 7. So when you think about it, I really needed to have that many eggs to begin with - just to compensate for the genetic defect. I've had people ask me why we needed so many eggs to begin with, and now you know why.
Here is the report:
1. There are 3 embryos that are just at 4 cells.
2. There is 1 embryo that have 7 cells.
3. There is one embryo that have 10 cells.
4. The rest of the embryos have 8 cells.
So he said that 20 out of 23 embryos are "developing nicely."
At this point, all of the embryos have been biopsied, and the cells have been sent to Shady Grove Genetics in Maryland to test for the translocation.
Remember that we have transferred the 5 frozen embryos from my 1st IVF in Pensacola to this clinic in Denver. These 5 frozen embryos have to be re-tested because the Pensacola fertility doctor didn't do the genetic test to check for the translocation correctly. Knowing that Jerry has a Robertsonian Translocation of the 13th AND 15th chromosomes, the Pensacola fertility doctor tested only for the 13th chromosome. So when he tells us that 8 out of the 17 embryos that we had at our 1st IVF were normal, in reality we have less than 8 that were normal. So that's why these 5 have to be re-tested. There's a question if the Pensacola embryologist had done the freezing correctly, because we did 3 frozen embryo transfer cycles with him. None of them worked. And when we insisted on an explanation, he told us that the embryo did not re-expand. In other words, they did not make the thaw. So if they didn't make the thaw, why put them in my uterus and give us a false sense of hope? I will never understand that. So we have 5 left, and if these 5 make the thaw (which no one thinks will be likely) then the cells will be biopsied and sent for genetic testing. Even though there is little hope for these 5 embryos, we have to try. We need closure.
Anyway, the embryologist said that a nurse will call us this afternoon with instructions about the embryo transfer that's coming this Saturday. I can't believe it! I'm actually going to make it to a fresh transfer!!
We are on cloud 9.
The nurse brought Jerry back to where I was. I could tell that Jerry was very nervous, but so was I. I mean, I know it hurts him to see me having to go through this knowing that the fertility issue lies with him; but I was preparing myself for the worst to happen. In my mind, with my 1st IVF in Pensacola that doctor got 23 eggs and look how that turned out - I ended up in the hospital for 8 days! And now here, they're telling me that I have at least 25 eggs...well you know what I was thinking - I hope the hospital across the street is good!
The anethesiologist came in first and talked with us a bit. He just went over what we talked about the night before and asked us if we have any more questions. We didn't, so he said he's going to get my "happy juice" ready and left.
Then the doctor came in. She sat down next to the bed and looked very cheerful. She said, "It looks like we got a lot of eggs we have to get out." I nervously said, "Yep." She could tell that I was really nervous, so she said that they're going to do everything in their power to make sure that I don't hyperstim again. She assured us that she will aspirate every follicle that she finds and drain out all the fluid. Jerry asked her how long the surgery will take, and she replied, "About 15 to 20 minutes." Jerry told her that that's what the Pensacola fertility doctor said and it ended up taking more like 40 minutes. Then she said, "We do a lot of these and we're good at what we do." Jerry and I still thought it would take longer than what she said (but only because we had that one past horrible experience in Pensacola). I had to sign a consent form, and then she left to get ready for my surgery.
The nurse said that the anesthesiologist will be in shortly to give me my "happy juice." Within a minute, the anesthesiologist came back in and gave me my "happy juice" right before the nurse wheeled me out to the surgery room. All I remember is looking down at him giving me something in my IV and then the doorway and then I was out.
This part of story is from Jerry. He said that after I was wheeled to surgery, he was escorted back out to the waiting area and that someone from embryology would come and get him. He went to the bathroom and not longer than a minute after he sat back down in the waiting area, someone from embryology did come and get him. He was escorted down the hall and then into a room so that he could give his sample. He said that everything was "top secret" kind of stuff - he had to fill out the paper work and write his information on the collection cup. And then there was a red phone in there for him to use when the sample has been collected and that he was to stay in the room until embryology came to get him. He had to peronally hand the collection cup to the person (not leave it in the room until someone came and got it like with the Penscola fertility clinic) and the person signed that she received it. He even had to show ID and everything. I guess all that's good so there wouldn't be any mix-ups.
Then he went back to the waiting area. It was like 15 minutes before the doctor came out to talk to him. She said that there were 20 eggs and that they're still counting the tubes and that I did fine and that the nurse will go get him shortly. Then about 30 minutes later, the nurse came out and told him that I during the surgery I was wiggling around and the anesthesiologist had to give me more anesthesia and that I'm still groggy from that, so she wanted to let me sleep for another half-hour. And then she'll come get him after that. Then another half-hour passed, she went and got Jerry and brought him to my recovery room.
The first thing I remember after waking up was the nurse putting my glasses on me. Then I saw Jerry's worried face and heard the nurse tell him that I was a still a little groggy. Then she took my temperature, using one of those ear thermometers. Then she waited until I was more awake and told me that I would be feeling a little crampy, like menstrual cramps and to let her know if I would need tylenol. I told her that after my last hyperstim, I can handle any pain (as long as it wasn't the hyperstim pain like before). Anyway...I was a bit more awake and she moved me from the bed to the recliner. After I got settled in the recliner, she gave me ginger ale and some crackers. Not five minutes after I ate a couple of crackers and took a few sips of ginger ale, I was very nauseous. She gave me one of those barf buckets and Jerry held my hair as I barfed. She left us for a little while and when she came back and checked on me, she saw that I was still very nauseous and gave me more Zofran (the anti-nausea medicine) in the IV. She told me that it was probably due to the effects of anesthesia, but she went and asked the anesthesiologist just to make sure. Yep, it was most likely that I was suffering from the effects of anesthesia.
A little while later, the embryologist came in and talked with us. He told us that I produced a lot of eggs, 30 to be exact. Jerry asked him how many were mature, and the embryologist said that he won't know until the next day (Tuesday) with the fertilization report. He said that we will get a call Tuesday morning with the fertilization report. Jerry and I both reveled at the fact that they got 30 eggs from me, and I wasn't feeling the sharp pain (like a bunch of knives in my belly just slicing and dicing my internal organs) like with my 1st IVF. OMG - I thought it would kill me, that's how bad the pain from my 1st IVF was. But this time, it was so much different for me. I felt the occasional menstrual-like cramps and a little bloatedness and besides the nausea, that was basically it.
The nurse came back in and changed out one of my IV bags. Jerry asked her what it was, and she said that they give it (basically and electrolyte solution) to the patients who have the potential of developing OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome). Jerry and I looked at each other and thought that the Pensacola fertility doctor should've given me that in the first place to try to stave off hyperstim. But then that's the difference between a crappy fertility doctor (Pensacola) and a world re-known one (Denver).
Then the nurse sat down and went over the discharge instructions and the medications I'm to take.
1. Estrace pill - 1X/day
2. Medrol pill - 1X/day
3. Prometrium vaginal suppositories - 3X/day
4. Vivelle patches - 4 patches on lower abdomen, change patches every other day
5. Tetracycline pills - 4X/day
6. Baby aspirin - 1X/day
She also told me to drink lots of fluid, especially Gatorade, and eat lots of salty foods. I don't like Gatorade, but I will drink it - anything to avoid hyperstim. She said that this may be the one time that it's doctor's orders to eat high salt foods. I usually don't eat high salt foods anyway, so it's hard for me to find something salty. We had to read the labels and choose the ones with the highest salt content.
After a few hours, we were given the ok to go "home" (the hotel). The nurse walked me to the changing room and waited for me to change. Then she put me in a wheelchair and wheeled me to the front of the clinic, where Jerry was waiting with the Yukon.
I had such a better experience with this fertility clinic than the one back in Pensacola. It's like night and day, that's how different my experiences between the two have been.
Now here's what happened with my 1st IVF in Pensacola. Got to the clinic in the morning and waited in the general waiting area. One of the nurses came out to the waiting area and put EMLA cream on my left hand. She said it will ease the pain of the IV going in. She left us in the waiting area for a few minutes. Then another nurse took us to the prep room, which was actually just an ultrasound room. She left the room so that I could change into the hospital gown, and I sat on the examination table (not a hospital bed like here in Denver). Then after a few minutes, she came back in to put the IV in. (BTW, the EMLA cream didn't work.) She had to try to put the IV in twice because she kept missing the vein. By this time, my sister-in-law arrived and was in the room with us. Then the doctor came in and talked with us a bit. He didn't explain anything, just joked around a bit. Then he left and the anethesiology nurse (not a doctor like here in Denver) and his wife (who was his nurse) came in and didn't explain anything, except that they will write on my right hand how many eggs were retrieved. Before I knew it, he injected something in the IV (I'm assuming the anesthesia) and I felt very dizzy. My sister-in-law later told me that as soon as he finished injecting, my eyes glazed over. Keep in mind that I was still sitting on the examination table. Then the husband and wife team helped me WALK down the hall to the surgery room. I remember the anesthesiology nurse helping me on the surgery table and strap my legs in the stirrups. I remember during the surgery, I wiggled and kicked the doctor on the side of his head and him telling the anesthesiologist to give me more anesthesia.
The next thing I remember is waking up on a couch (not a recovery room) in the ultrasound room. Jerry and Carol said that I woke up long enough to say "ow" and then passed out again. The doctor nor the embryologist came and talked with us after the surgery. The only person was the nurse, and she was trying to wake me up enough so that I could be released. They said that I was on the couch recovering for about 20 to 30 minutes. Jerry and Carol both said that they wanted to rush me out of the clinic very quickly, probably to make room for the doctor's next patient. Jerry and Carol both helped me WALK out to the car, walking past the waiting room where the other patients were waiting. Jerry said that they looked up at me walking in the shape that I was in and he said that the look on their faces were sheer terror...Like 'OMG what happened to her' kind of look. I left the Pensacola clinic in the most pain I've ever felt in my life and a number written on my right hand (23 for the number of eggs they retrieved).
It was such a horrible experience, totally different from the experience I just had here in Denver. In Pensacola, there was no follow-up as to how I was doing. It was Jerry that kept calling the doctor's emergency number, but no one picked up. The next day when we insisted on a follow-up appointment, the nurse said that she's sorry that she didn't get our message - Apparently, she said that she slept through her beeper. Disgusting. There's more to the story, and I'll probably talk about it at another time.
26 were ICSI'ed (meaning that they injected the sperm into 26 eggs).
23 fertilized. Today is Day 1.
We will know more results this Thursday, as to the quality of the embryos.
Tired, so I'll give more of a detailed update tomorrow. Thank you all for your prayers.
Ugh. I'm nauseous. So what else is new. It must've been from the Lupron trigger shot. I've taken Lupron before, but it was like 20 units for 2 weeks. Since yesterday evening, I've had 160 units (two Lupron trigger shots, 80 units each time).
I'm getting really nervous about tomorrow morning. I already know that I don't fair too well with any kind of surgery, even though I've only had 2 - the first one was the egg retrieval in July 2006 and the second one was the gall bladder surgery in December 2006.
With the egg retrieval surgery, what was told to us would take 15 - 20 minutes actually took more like 40 minutes or so. Jerry and his sister Carol were in the waiting room at the Pensacola fertility clinic. After the surgery, I was brought to a "recovery" room, which was literally a couch in one of the ultrasound rooms. I don't know how long I laid there, but it wasn't long. I vaguely remember saying ow ow ow and then passing back out. Jerry and his sister felt like the doctor wanted me outta there ASAP, so that he could use that room for the next patient. Apparently, he schedules his egg retrieval surgeries one hour apart. Knowing that I had a lot of follicles to aspirate (34 total), he should've scheduled me last. I had to have help walking out of the clinic. I couldn't even walk upright; I was hunched over and had to lean on them for support. Jerry said that he looked in the waiting area, and I really scared the people waiting for their surgery. He could tell by the looks of their faces. Anyway, I was oblivious. All I felt was excrutiating pain. Anyway, when I got home and was helped out of the car and standing in the garage, I remember Carol holding my hair back so that I could vomit in the barf bucket that they gave us to take home. I will never forget Carol doing that for me, especially knowing how she feels about vomit. Carol stayed with me while Jerry went to the Albertsons to get some Campbells chicken noodle soup. Did I tell you that I have the best sister-in-law in the world? Anyway...
So I just got a call from the anesthesiologist. He asked me a few questions and told me what to expect. He said that he will go over it one more time tomorrow morning before surgery. But basically, I am not to eat or drink anything after midnight tonight.
It seems like we've lived in this hotel room forever! I'm starting to get cabin fever. I can't wait to get back home to my comfy bed. There's is just so much of luxury I can take.
We were riding around Lone Tree this morning after my ultrasound appointment. We rode with the windows down, as it was 70 degrees and windy. Jerry said that it's going to majorly suck to go back to Florida weather, and I agree. The day after we get back home, Jerry's going to have to mow the lawn before the neighbors pitch a fit. He's not looking forward to sweating again.
Tonight, we're going to Elway's as a celebration of my getting the trigger shot! http://www.elways.com/Downtown/Default.asp
Gosh, has this been a long ride so far (with many ups and downs in a given day)! Thank you all who've commented, emailed, and called me to lend your support. It really means a lot to me. God bless you all.
We had to go to Todd's Pharmacy this afternoon to get another syringe of Cetrotide. Cetrotide is the medicine that will keep me from ovulating. Because I normally take the Cetrotide injection at 4:30pm, and we didn't get to Todd's Pharmacy until 4pm, Jerry had to give me the injection in the Yukon right there in the pharmacy parking lot!!! How crazy is that? So after we left the pharmacy, I hopped into the middle row of the Yukon (luckily we have a big SUV). Mixed the medication. And Jerry gave me the injection in my belly. The whole process took like 5 minutes, but it was weird because people were just outside the car. After the injection, we laughed about it and made jokes. It's a good thing that we are still able to laugh throughout this whole stressful process. I called my sister Sofia and told her. She told me that we're going to get arrested one day because the cops would probably think that we're doing drugs. Ha!
Anyway... after Jerry gave me the injection, we went to Cherry Creek mall. It's supposed to be a high-end mall with Nordstroms and such. We walked around there for a little while and saw Sbarro's. Yummy! After dinner, we walked around the mall.
Tonight, I have to get the Follistim injection. Let me tell you...Todd's Pharmacy is making a killin'! He's a little bit more expensive; he knows he has the corner on the market here, as all of the infertility patients go to him to get their meds day by day. I usually get my fertility meds from Schraft's Pharmacy (online), but since we're basically taking things day-by-day, we're having to make a trek to Todd's Pharmacy every afternoon now.
Hopefully, I'll trigger tomorrow evening. I'm ready to go home already!
Also this morning, we had to pay $1000 to thaw the frozen embryos (3 boys & 2 girls) from our first IVF, so that they can be re-tested. Remember that Jerry has a Robertsonian Translocation of chromosomes 13 and 15. The Pensacola fertility doctor only checked for 13 in the embryos and neglected the 15. So that means that what he deemed normal, may not be. With our first IVF, we had 17 embryos that were checked. As the Pensacola fertility doctor only checked for 13, that means that whatever he deemed normal, only half of that, at most would be considered normal. So according to him, we had 8 out of 17 that he deemed normal. In reality, at most, only 4 out of the 17 would be normal. So that's why we're having them checked again. My new fertility doctor doesn't have much hope in these frozen embryos due to the fact that the freezing process that was used was "old school." And if by some miracle that these frozen embryos make it through the thaw, they all might be abnormal being that the Pensacola fertility doctor didn't completely check for the translocations. Yes, I'm bitter that he did this to us. How unethical.
Well, I don't want to dwell on that now. I'm just glad that I found a better doctor, but then anyone else would be better than the Pensacola one. My new ferility doctor is great. http://www.colocrm.com/ Also, if you are thinking about going through fertility treatments, I suggest that you look up that doctor on the CDC web site. http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/ART2005/clinics05.asp I just wish that I had done that in the first place. But you live and learn, right?
Here's the CDC stats for the Pensacola fertility doctor:
Here's the CDC stats for the Denver fertility doctor:
What a difference!!
Anyway...The shot count will be 30 after I get my Follistim injection this evening.
I will have another ultrasound/blood work appointment tomorrow morning at 8am. I am not to take any medications until I hear back from the nurse. I might be triggering tomorrow evening or Saturday. And the egg retrieval surgery would be either Sunday or Monday.
We're on our way! I'm so excited. I'm not feeling any of the bloatedness that I felt with my first IVF. (What a world of difference between a nationally known fertility doctor and my first fertility doctor.) I've just been getting very tired, and the nurse said it's probably due to the hormones and possibly also the altitude.
Jerry and I went to lunch today at P.F. Chang's - a Chinese bistro type restaurant. There is one in Destin also. It's really yummy. We ordered shrimp dumplings (steamed), hot & sour soup, wonton soup, beef lo mein, and beef fried rice. It seems like a lot for just two people, but our eyes have been bigger than our stomaches lately. At least we have leftovers for tonight. We're going to celebrate wtih a fancy dinner at Elway's (the restaurant that's off the lobby area of our hotel) on my trigger night. So I'm looking forward to that, as well as getting my trigger shot.
So as of now, all is good here in Denver!
Last night, we spent like 2 hours chatting with a couple of people we had met at the Club lounge. Apparently, they just adore dogs so Buttercup got a lot of attention (as if she never got any lovin' from us). The subject of alcohol came up. We told them that we didn't like the taste nor the smell of alcohol. We even told them that we tasted everything from red wine, white wine, champaigne, etc. Then one of the guys asked if we tried a drink called Baileys. We told him no, so he got the concierge to get us one. Jerry took a swig of it - nobody told him that he was only supposed to sip it - and started coughing. It was so funny. Then the guy said that it's meant to be sipped. It turns out that Jerry liked it. I smelled of it, and it smelled yummy. Because I'm taking all these meds, I didn't take any. It was those gentlemen's last night here, so Jerry exchanged business cards with them and bid them a safe trip home to Sante Fe, NM.
I went for my ultrasound/blood this morning, and the nurse called me with the results. Apparently, I'm just a slow egg grower. I have lots of them though. Maybe the reason they're slow growers is because since I have so many the resources have to be divided out. I don't know. Anyway... my hormone levels are perfect according to my nurse. My estrogen is 986. At this time when I was with the local fertility doctor, my level was 3500. Big difference! I have to take 150u of Follistim tonight. Tomorrow morning, continue with 2 amps of Menopur. Tomorrow evening, 150u of Follistim. On Thursday, I don't take any Menopur. I will go in for the ultrasound/blood and then the nurse will call me with further instructions.
So it looks like my doctor is winding me down, so that means egg retrieval is just a few days away (possibly as early as Friday). So in total, I've had 24 injections, not including tonight's Follistim injection. My belly area is bruised up, even more so than with my 1st IVF. I guess Jerry has no problem finding my veins.
We had to make a trek back out to Todd's Pharmacy during rush hour this evening. The traffic here in Denver is somewhat better than in Pensacola. At least here, the traffic moves right along - just a lot of cars. In Pensacola, traffic seems to stand still, especially getting off at Davis Hwy. Anyway... We were going to go out to dinner near the Park Meadows Mall area (really nice part of town) but we forgot to bring the cooler. My meds have to stay cold, so we had to come back to the hotel. We'll probably just order room service tonight. He really likes the bison burger, so he'll probably get that. As for me, I wouldn't mind another grilled cheese sandwich.
So I'm feeling extremely jealous and bitter this morning. I'm jealous of all the people who have kids. I'm jealous of all the women who are pregnant. I'm especially jealous of women who already have kids and are pregnant. Don't take it the wrong way - Although I'm happy for them (and I have a couple of friends that have been wanting another child get pregnant - I'm glad that they got their dream come true), I still feel jealous. I'm jealous of all the people who can decide how many kids they want to have to complete their family. I'm jealous of all the people who can decide on just when to conceive and then conceive within a couple of months. I feel left out because the majority of my friends have kids already and can talk baby lingo, and I'm sitting there wondering what Gymboree is.
We're going on almost 15 years trying to conceive. That's a heck of a long time, if you ask me. For the last half of it, we've been going to see doctors. Unfortunately, we wasted two years with the local fertility doctor. So that's why we're here in Denver. We don't want to waste anymore time. We're not getting any younger, and my biological clock is ticking gosh darn it! I know I won't be this fertile forever. Who knows what all the fertility meds are doing to my body. But that's a chance I'm willing to take.
And I'm bitter of those that have kids and then abuse them. I'm so bitter that crack whores can pop out as many babies as they want and they don't even care what the drug does to their babies. It's so not fair!
Is God telling us something? Are we meant not to have any kids? Would we be bad parents? But then, why if God thinks we'd make bad parents, why would He allow others who already are bad parents have more kids? Is it just not time for us yet? If not, then when? We're not getting any younger. Jerry said that when he went to elementary school and his mom would pick him up, he'd be embarassed because people who ask him if that's his grandmother. Maybe this is God's way of karma (should God bless us with a baby)?
And then there are those who ask us the most insensitive question: "Why don't you two just adopt?" Just adopt? How do you 'just adopt'? Do they think adoption is a cure for infertility? Maybe that's their way of trying to help, but unless if you've been through years and years of trying to conceive, shut it! Adoption is not even an option for us now.
Or what about this: "Just relax!" Um, relax? Was the woman who got pregnant as a result of rape or incest relaxed at the time? Besides, for the first half of our marriage, we couldn't be more relaxed. And that's like 7 years of relaxation!
Or this gem: "In God's time." Yeah, it sounds nice and all, but it doesn't make me feel any better. Why did God choose for a teenager to get pregnant? Or a woman who's in the midst of a divorce? Is that God's timing? Is God trying to tell us that it's not time for us yet? If so, I wish He'd give us a sign so we'd stop spending all this money on infertility treatments!! Or maybe he already has and we're not willing to listen? Then why does IVF work for some and not for others?
We've thought about living child-free. Heck, we've sampled it for almost 15 years now, charging our disappointments on high ticket items. It would scare you how much we've spent trying to fill that hole in our heart that only a baby could fill. And that doesn't even include the clinic fees or the meds (tack on about $50K on top of the $50+K we've already spent on the local fertility doctor)! Yup, add it up. Insane, isn't it? All this for what? I'll tell you what. For what the average regular fertile person can achieve for FREE or maybe a cheap bottle of wine!
Seriously, this just sucks.
So we get to the hotel feeling depressed. We planned on going to Mass, and we heard that the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is breath-taking. We didn't make it back in time for the 10:30am Mass, so we went to the 12:30pm Mass. Jerry didn't feel like driving, even for that one mile to the church, so he called the concierge to see if the Phantom Rolls Royce was available to take us. Unfortunately, Sunday is the driver's day off so we didn't get to ride in that. Maybe the Rolls will be available one day during the week when Jerry and I have to go somewhere. So we drove to the church and had to park on the street.
The church is beautiful! It is a huge church, with lots of stained glass windows. The altar was fit for a king.
After Mass, we both lit a candle. It was our first time lighting a candle at church. We've been meaning to do it at Nativity, but we keep forgetting. Today, it's like we were drawn to do that.
Not 10 minutes after Mass, the nurse called me. We had already had our car taken for valet parking when we had to turn right around and go back out to the clinic. She said that she talked with Dr. Schoolcraft and that he wasn't concerned just yet. My estrogen is 543 today, so that was increased by about two times from Friday. He upped my dosage of Follistim to 225u, and I'm having to take 2 vials of the Menopur tomorrow morning. I told her that I had only 1 vial of Menopur left, and that I didn't have enough Follistim. So that's why we had to go back to the clinic this afternoon. They have emergency supplies for things like this. So she gave (after we gave her our credit card) 3 vials of Menopur and 300u of Follistim, just enough to tide us over until we can get to Todd's Pharmacy (a local fertility pharmacy) to pick them up. So guess where we're going tomorrow...
Anyway, Jerry gave me the Cetrotide injection. And I just received the Follistim injection, making it a total of 3 injections that I got today. So in total, I've had 19 injections (not that I'm counting or anything).
First we went to the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colorado. Here's an interesting tidbit: Professionals were hired to look for water in Mount Vernon Canyon, which was very scarce. None was found until Mother Cabrini's last visit to Colorado in 1912. During a walk with the Sisters, she pointed to a red rock and indicated that they would find water there. In that dry spot, a spring trickled forth which has never stopped. You can read more about Mother Cabrini and the shrine here: http://www.den-cabrini-shrine.org/ Simply breath-taking! We had to walk up 373 steps to get to the top. The stations of the cross and 15 mysteries of the Rosary are represented in an ascending order on the right side of the steps. At the top, there is a great statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Our next stop was the town of Evergreen. It's a small town with maybe about 400 residents. We didn't go into town, just to the lake. We ate lunch at a restuarant called The Aspen Grill. They had both indoor and outdoor seating. We opted for the indoor seating right next to an open door. The temperature was perfect, with a little bit of a breeze.
There's another game tonight, and I'm sure there will be fireworks as well.
Today, we drove around Lone Tree and Littleton. We really like the area. Everything is so brand new and all the stores are just right there near the interstate. We even drove through some nice neighborhoods. We found a neighborhood in our price range with a mountain view. Jerry got the papers for that. He wants to buy property here and then later on build. So sometime next week, we'll probably be talking with a realtor. He's still saying that he wants our children to grow up with 4 seasons. I grew up with 4 seasons, and it was fun, especially building snowman or having snowball fights. Jerry talked with my mom and I think he's convinced her to move if we move here. So we'll see what happens.
We're going hiking in Evergreen tomorrow. There's supposed to be a quaint little town, and we're going paddle boating around the lake too. Fun! The concierge at the hotel said that we have to try the famous Colorado pizza and the buffalo burger. Jerry wanted to try a bison burger tonight, but we got too tired to even order room service. However, he said that he wants to try as many new things as he can while we're here. And for those that know Jerry, it's something that he normally would not do. I guess he's expanding his pallet, which is a good thing. He always said that when we have children, he wants them exposed to all sorts of food so that they wouldn't turn out to be picky like himself. But he's been so open to trying different foods and even got away from having his steaks and burgers well-done. Now, he enjoys them medium rare (the way good, quality steaks are meant to be eaten).
Here's a comparison from my old doctor's results to my new doctor's results for me. After 4 days of stim meds (was 225 units of meds versus now with a total of 150 units of meds), with the Pensacola doctor my estrogen level was 634 (7 follicles) whereas on Tuesday my estrogen was 71 (18 follicles). After 6 days of stims, with the Pensacola doctor my estrogen was 1548 (18 follicles) whereas today my estrogen is 131 (20 follicles). Wow! What a difference! The estrogen level is key to whether or not a woman hyperstimulates or not. This new doctor is monitoring me every day now, including July 4th and on the weekends. (In Pensacola, that doctor doesn't do holidays or weekends.) I'm just going to have to "cook" my eggs a bit longer, so our stay here in Denver may be extended at least a couple of more days. Even though I am homesick, I know my new doctor is doing what's best for me unlike my old doctor who only thought of his schedule and had to do egg retrieval on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.
I had my physical this morning as well. My blood pressure was 110/70, a bit higher than my normal of 100/68. My pulse was 70, still a bit higher than my normal of 60. I don't know if it's due to the altitude or nervousness. The nurse also weighed me, as a baseline for monitoring fluid retention.
We sat down with the nurse to discuss the results. She stressed again that they are keeping a close eye on me due to the fact that I had severe hyperstimulation before. The nurse said that the doctor personally told all the nurses that I have a history of severe hyperstimulation - so my chart is flagged all over the place. The nurse told me that the last case they've had of hyperstimulation that required hospitalization was about 5 years ago. That woman was an egg donor, and had 80 eggs! But the nurse re-assured me that Dr. Schoolcraft has customized my own special protocol, triggering me with Lupron instead of hCG. They've never had a case of hyperstim triggering with Lupron, and that's usually done for women who have a history of hyperstimulation like myself. But she did say that even though they will try to prevent severe hyperstim, it's not a guarantee, which I totally understand. It's one of the risks involved, but at least my new doctor's number one priority is his patients and not the bottom dollar like my old fertility doctor. Anyway... Below is a picture of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine.
Here is a picture that I took coming back to the hotel. We're on the 11th floor and so we can see practically the whole city of Denver from our room. I took Buttercup to the window to look out, and her little head was moving around following the cars. I wonder what she was thinking.
We took Buttercup for a little walk around downtown this afternoon... Well, it's more like we walked and Jerry carried Buttercup. There is no way I'm letting Buttercup set foot on the dirty concrete outside. She wouldn't know what to do! We didn't want to venture too far away from the hotel though. We got back to our floor (11th) and let Buttercup down to stretch her legs. Jerry stood on one end of the hall and I stood right in front of our door. We kept calling Buttercup to come to us, so she was running back and forth between us. One time, she ran past me even though I called out her name. She turned around and looked at me but still kept going. I had to chase her down at the end of the hall, where housekeeping was cleaning a suite. Buttercup stopped in front of the lady hoping to get some lovin'. But I scooped her up and scolded her. I don't think Buttercup paid any mind to me.
Jerry has been telling me to drink Gatorade practically every 30 minutes. After all this is over, I'm not drinking it anymore. So if you ever offer Gatorade to me, don't be offended if I give you a dirty look.
Tomorrow morning, we go back to the clinic for ultrasound and blood work. I'm anxious to find out how many follicles I have and how big they are. I'm just hoping that the 18 follicles that I have already have grown big enough for me to start the Cetrotide injection. I can't believe I want to add another injection to the list. But that just means that it's getting closer to egg retrieval, fertilization, PGS, embryo transfer, and then home!
We arrived in Dallas, the half-way point, about 10 hours later. We checked into the hotel, and Buttercup got all the attention. Of course, I dressed her up in her pink dress and her hair tied up in a pink bow to match.
We left Dallas an hour later than what we wanted. Jerry had to do a few things for his work. I was getting really nervous about the time because we knew it would take at least 12 hours to drive from Dallas to Denver. I didn't want to get my evening shot in the car at some rest area in the dark. But Jerry got us to Denver in time. All we saw was farmland from Oklahoma through Kansas and the eastern part of Colorado. Let me tell you, Jerry drove the Yukon like he drives his TransAm.
The first thing that we did when we got in our room was to take Buttercup potty. She had been holding it for the whole trip, even though we tried to get her to go potty on her wee-wee pad that we had put in the backseat of the car. Then Jerry gave me my evening injection. After lying in bed for about 5 minutes, we went upstairs to the Club Level lounge, where they had all sorts of evening goodies. Then we went back to our room and went to bed.
Tuesday morning, I had an ultrasound and blood work done. The ultrasound showed 18 follicles, ranging in size from 6mm - 9mm plus lots of tiny, unmeasurable follicles. I was told that a nurse will call me later in the afternoon to give me directions as to how much medication to take in the evening. After the appointment, we needed to find a car wash to get all the bugs off the windshield and front of the SUV. We found a good car wash for like $15, near the clinic. Jerry and I were a bit antsy because we have never had anyone else wash our cars. Anyway, I am happy to report that our car is bug free! Then we made the trek to a nearby Target to get some supplies - Gatorade. I was told by Jerry's cousin's husband (a retired fertility doctor in Gulf Breeze) that Gatorade may help stave off hyperstimulation (if taken before egg retrieval). When I was going through my first IVF, our local fertility doctor told me to drink Gatorade AFTER the egg retrieval. Now I understand why I still hyperstimulated. He should've told me to drink it BEFORE egg retrieval. But anway... The only thing is that I absolutely detest Gatorade. Jerry's brother, Don, suggested that we try the grape flavor. Out of all the flavors, grape seems to make me less nauseated. So I've been trying to chug down 1 liter of Gatorade a day.
So that afternoon, I get the call from my nurse, who by the way is extremely nice and knowledgeable and caring. She told me to keep on my current dosage of medication. She added that I was to take 0.5mg of Dexamethasone right before bed. I forget what she said about the Dexamethasone. I'll ask her the next time I see her (which will be on July 3rd). So she called in a prescription for Dexamethasone to the Target Pharmacy near the clinic. So we brave the 6-lane highway after rush hour to get the medicine. The drive took us about 25 minutes crusing at 65mph. While we were there, we went shopping at a nearby mall called Park Meadows. Let me tell you, WOW. It makes Cordova look ghetto. We couldn't stay long, as we had to get back for my evening injection. On the way back, we got stopped at a train track. It's one of the scariest places to stop, I think. Just imagine. Under a highway bypass bridge, at night. No one around. Downtown. Dark. Ghetto. We were stopped for what seems like forever.
So we get back to the hotel just in time for my evening shot. Jerry had to do some work on the computer. I got on the computer for a little bit, just to check email and such. I took my pill right before bed. Luckily, we had brought some pretzels so I could take that with my pill.