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Thursday, May 11, 2017

34 and on stims and needles....

34 and on stims and needles....
Thursday, May 11, 2017
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Today is day 6....
My estrogen at my first follicle check was 237!
My last 2 retrievals they were 5 & 11 respectively. Dr. W said that t was possible that my weight was cause the meds to not work like they were supposed to. So my response was always anywhere from slow to almost non-existent.

For those who have no idea what any of this means let me try to explain.....
So the purpose of the medications that you take during IVF is to grow a good number of follicles. The hope is that all of those follicles actually contain mature eggs. The rule of thumb tends to be an estrogen level (e2) of around 200 per mature follicle. While I'm not a Dr., I think this tends to vary the farther you get in to your cycle, since I've ladies with an e2 of around 1800 end up with 10+ mature eggs. As for the follicles themselves, your Dr. will want them to grow to around 18+mm before having you do the trigger shot. The trigger shot is the last stim medication you use and it promotes ovulation in around 36 hours. At that point, you go to the clinic for the retrieval which is the procedure in which they aspirate the follicles and retrieve as many eggs as possible.

Yesterday, I had my second follicle check and as you can see from the picture below, the difference between last yer and this year at the same time is crazy. Not only do I have more follicles but my e2 is SO much higher.

My ovaries hurt this time around which never happened before. I'm so very thankful because I know that this means that the stims are actually doing their job, however, sitting at my desk all day sucks.

Tomorrow, I go in for my 3rd monitoring. My GUESS that trigger will be Saturday and retrieval Monday. Dr. S won't be around so hopefully all goes smoothly with her backup. I'm still super disappointed that she won't be doing the retrieval but I'm trying to look past that and focus on all the positives this time around.

I'm actually excited. Stims and everything that went along with it have in the past been a very difficult time for me. Not responding to meds is super discouraging and as made apparent by my 4 previous failed cycles, what I got from them wasn't great.
Tuesday was my 34th birthday and I spent most of the day just reflecting on this last year. A fresh that resulted in an ectopic that had to be terminated and a failed FET.
Dr. W wanted me to try to get healthier and so I set out to do that. Around that time I met Dr. S, she motivated me to everything I could to put myself in a better place both physically and emotionally.
#optimization
I had no idea that it would help make such a difference in my response.
Dr. W said it would but it's hard to really imagine what that difference will look like when you're in the dark aftermath of a failed cycle.
There were many times that I wanted to say fuck it and give up.
But I didn't.
No matter what happens, I'm thankful that this journey has shown me my strength and will power.
I firmly believe that God brings certain people in  to you life at the perfect time, just when you need them and this past year I have met so many amazing women...the feeling of gratitude is overwhelming and brings me to tears.
So here I wait, on stims and needles, hoping that this is it.



Friday, May 5, 2017

Catching up!

Catching up!
Friday, May 5, 2017
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So after the Endo scratch I stayed on the Lupron 10units per day.
I was supposed to start stims on April 28th but my baseline u/s showed a cyst and my e2 was a little elevated so Dr. S didn't feel great about started that day. Instead, she had me stay on Lupron for another week.
Never a dull moment!

Today I went back for my second baseline and everything was good :)
Cyst is gone and my e2 was 47!
Now, I'm not sure if that's good or bad but my e2 my last 2 retrievals have been 11 & 5.
I'm hoping that this is a good sign but we'll see.

So, tonight is Stim Start!! :)
First follicle and e2 check is on Monday morning!
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Endometrial Scratch = Complete

Endometrial Scratch = Complete
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
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I'm not sure who decided that stabbing a woman's uterus repeatedly with a catheter would make it more receptive to implantation of embryos. That being said. You best believe I signed up for it as soon as I read that it can increase IVF transfer success rates by 70%

Today went well!

Dr. S called me a baby for asking for pain meds. Ha.
I told her it was her fault for calling it "torture".

In the end, it wasn't so bad. I told her that it was no where near as bad as my first IUI and that was pretty terrible.

I didn't have any spotting throughout the day and by the time my Percocet finally kicked in, I was at work which made the day go by very quick and chill.

Next appt. is in 9 days to start stims.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Here we go.....

Here we go.....
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
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The last 36 hours have been interesting.

Yesterday I had my physical and pap with Dr. S. I've been there 4 times in the last 2 weeks and each time something has gone in and come out of my hooha.

Exciting times.

Anyway, everything was going well until Dr. S went over my bloodwork from the lab. It all looked good with the exception of my A1C levels. They were a little bit higher than she would have liked. Definitely lower than the last time I did a fresh cycle, but a little high nonetheless. She told me that she didn't that she wanted me to start Lupron today. She promised she would check with an MFM that she knows and call me later. 

At this point I was epic-ally devastated and more than anything super disappointed in myself. I have been trying to get as healthy as possible before this cycle and clearly I had failed.
2 hours later while I was at work Dr. S called. After speaking with the MFM, she decided that I was good to go ahead and start Lupron. MFM only recommended that if I do get pregnant that I schedule my GD exam a little earlier than usual. 

I asked Dr. S to check what my A1C was in 2009 when I got pregnant with J and turns out it was higher. This made me feel a little bit better. 

Later in the day, I scheduled my Endo Scratch and that's happening tomorrow. 

Today, I stopped by the office to pick up my rx for Percocet.

Tonight, I gave myself my first Lupron injection.
Looks like I'm doing 10 units per day.

Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m., nice and drugged up, I report for torture. 

My Nurse A told me I needed to come in on April 28th with or without a period for what I can only assume will be a baseline? She requested that DH attend that appointment with me.

So.... WE'RE OFF!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

WE.

WE.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
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Danielle LaPorte truthbombed it best; find your tribe. love them hard.

One of the things that I dislike most about myself is that I feel everything so very deeply. 

Joy, love, hatred, gratitude, sorrow, rejection, disappointment....all of it. 

This process is filled with so many emotions all the time that I find that whenever I'm in the middle of a cycle, I find myself drifting away often.
I'm in my thoughts and feeling 80% of every single day.

The last few days I've been thinking a lot about how different this cycle has been than the rest. Not just before of my personal milestones, but everything else

I  have been swimming in the depths of  gratitude and realizing how lucky I am to have this amazing tribe of absolutely incredible women in my life.

At the time of my last cycle I had just started the Ladies of IVF Florida a couple of months prior and it was still a small group, now it has over 100 members and these women.... they're amazing. 

They give me strength and remind me to have faith in the process and to believe that good things can and will happen. They make this road less lonely. They are the reason that I don't feel like I have to go thru this alone because WE will do it together. I don't think any of them truly know how grateful I am to have them. [note to self: tell them]

In the past, I have always just gone along with whatever instructions I was given. I never asked any questions and realized that in retrospect, I felt completely out of control of everything that was going on. This time it's very different. I knew going in to it that I needed to advocate for myself better. This was going to be round 5 and I needed to do something different in hopes of a different outcome. 


Dr. S gives me all the information I could possibly want. She is not just my doctor,she is also my biggest cheerleader. She always makes sure that my voice, opinions and concerns are considered. She makes me feel like she and I are a team and WE will do this together. I wonder if she knows how many women she gives these feelings to? I hope that she knows just how incredible all her patients think she is what a positive and calming force she is. [note to self: remind her]

My boss who never asks too many questions, just enough to know what's going on and gives me the time and space to do whatever needs to be done during this process and feel however I need to feel.
It does not escape me how fortunate I am to have someone as understanding as she. I don't tell her this because she's not the mushy sentimental type but one day I will [note to self:plan embarrassing heartfelt thank you for the Boss Lady]


The hardest part about this journey is that there are never any guarantees. You can hope, wish and pray and the reality is that anything can happen. You can have the world one moment and it can all be taken away from you the next. We go thru this always expecting and hoping for the best.
Faith > Fear.
Your tribe doesn’t isn't always made of of the people you expect. They do not have to be within walking distance or even driving distance. They just need to be willing to be vulnerable right along with you and help make you strong when you cannot do it for yourself. They are what help you make it to the other side. They are what make the journey less lonely. They turn that "I" in to "WE". That’s what makes them so special.






Saturday, April 8, 2017
Saturday, April 8, 2017
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Let's catch up....

SIS was on Monday and that went well. After a minor freak out in the morning because I was worried I would need another polypectomy, Dr. S gave my uterus an all clear!

HSG was on Friday. Notes from that visit: Waiting room prior to going in to HSG room is tiny.





















Today, I met the Acupuncturist! She was wonderful. The experience was interesting. I'm definitely doing it again. Felt super high when I left and still feel very chill now. I should have done this ages ago!





















I'm noticing now that I have spent the majority of the week out of the house with no pants on. WTF. #thisiswhatinfertilitylookslike
Sunday, April 2, 2017

Poking, Proding and more fun....

Poking, Proding and more fun....
Sunday, April 2, 2017
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Baseline ultrasound and bloodwork complete. RE says ultrasounds looks great and hormones are on point! Next up: 4.3 - SIS 4.7 a.m. HSG 4.7 p.m. Bloodwork @ Quest 4.8 Meet Acupuncturist! 4.10 DH gets bloodwork 4.17 Physical and PAP 4.18.....Pending start of Lupron #holyshitthatsonly16daysaway
Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Let's get this party started!

Let's get this party started!
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
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Or so said my RE tonight when I told her I started spotting and CD 1 would most likely be tomorrow. But first, let's back that ass up and let me tell you about yesterday's consult.

Thanks to the support group I started, I've been friendly with Dr. S for a while now and absolutely adored her as a person. She's young, ambitious, brilliant and I hope if I ever have a daughter, she grows up to be just like her.

Anyway, yesterday, I totally fell in love with her as a Dr.

This was my longest consult ever.

Words can’t even begin to describe how grateful I am to her for being so through. Us IVF chicks are nuts, I feel like you can never give us "too much" information. PSA: to all REI's it's better if you just tell us all the things. Otherwise, we're just gonna google the hell outta that shit and well, we all know how that goes.

She basically started from scratch and asked me all the "new patient questions" then she asked me for my questions. I had told her in advance I had "a list".

We went over them all.

She took all my thoughts, apprehensions and concerns in to consideration and I felt like I had a say in things.

Since SART says my % of a live birth is 71% after 3 cycles and I've already done 4, she wanted to change things up.

So the plan is as followed:

-Repeat all bloodwork for me and DH
-Repeat HSG + SIS
- on CD 21 start Lupron
- once on Lupron have Endo Scratch (this was one of my questions and I was glad to hear she was on board with it)
- wait for AF
- baseline appt.
- start stims on the max dose 3+3 (225iu Menopur + 225iu of Gonal F)
- retrieval
- transfer
- get pregnant
- have a baby

Also in that list was to lose about 13lbs before stims. I've already lost 25 pounds since my last FET in October. If I make it to my goal weight, which coincidentally is what she was hoping for also, I will weigh almost 40 lbs less than I did then.

13lbs to go!

Tomorrow I will call to schedule my next few appts.
Blood work is scheduled for the 8th (me) and 10th (DH)

So here we go!

She made me promise to go in to this positive and thinking it will work.

She says she feels good about our plan and I do too.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
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I’m a bad blogger.

I realize I have an incredibly terrible habit of neglecting my blog when infertility sucks and my cycles fail.

I apologize.

I started this blog 8 years ago and I feel like I should start over.

So that’s what I’m going to do.
So.....

Welcome! My name is Justine. I’m 33 (almost 34) years old and I live in South Florida. I am the wife of a pretty cool guy that I met at work 13 years ago and a mom to the most amazing kid I’ve ever met.
Amazing kid is the product of my first IUI (you can read that story here) and was a pretty awesome bonus considering it was a pretty terrible first IUI. There were needles and tools and a lot of people looking at my lady parts in a very short amount of time. 

Side note:
If you’re a modest person, infertility will throw that shit right out the window. Be prepared. 

Back to business…
Let me give you a little timeline. Grab some popcorn, it’s a long one.

>>2007
November 2007: Got Married to aforementioned Pretty Cool Guy.

>>2008
May 2008: Let’s make a baby!

June 2008: Realized I stopped birth control sometime in 2004 and never had an oops. Time to see the OB. Try for 6 months and if not pregnant come back.

December 2008: Mayday! It’s not working.

>>2009
January 2009: Appointment with new OB for PCOS Testing. 

March 2009: Dx with PCOS, OB basically says I’m too fat to get pregnant lose 50lbs and come back in 6 months.

May 2009: Officially depressed and blaming my body on its inability to perform its most biological given purpose.

June 2009: Despite exercise and dieting weight loss is not happening. Decide waiting is nonsense, and book an appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist.

July 2, 2009: Meet Dr. W who is an ANGEL gives me hope and sends me for testing. Blood wrok

July-August 2009: Husband and I undergo basic testing. Ultrasound and blood tests for me, blood tests and semen analysis for him.
Side note:  If you hate needles….let’s just say you’ll soon thank infertility for making you besties.

August 2009: Dr. says tests look good. We’ll move forward with IUI.

September 2009: IUI Cancelled due to cysts


October 2009: Ovaries are good!

IUI #1 Baby Making Kit includes:
5 days of Clomid
[1] 150iu Injection of Follistim
Ovidrel Trigger

October 25 & 26, 2009: B2B IUI’s

November 5, 2009: Tested at home. +
November 9, 2009: PREGNANT! Beta 102 14dpiui 
November 13, 2009: Beta 714 18dpiui
November 19, 2009: 1 Little Sac growning in the right place
December 3, 2009: 1 Perfect Little Baby 


>>2010

February 2010: We’re having a BOY!



July 8, 2010: Best. Day. Ever.
Jose Antonio | 6lbs 8oz 20” long


September 2010: Mom dx with MDS


>>2012

January 2012: Lost Mom :(

December 2012: Let’s have another baby!

>>2013

January 2013: More testing. All good.


February 2013: IUI 1+2 Failed


Clomid + Follistim + Trigger

April 2013: IUI 3+4 Failed


Clomid + Follistim + Trigger

May 2013: IUI 5+6 Failed
Clomid + Follistim + Trigger


June-August 2013: Mental Health Break


September 2013: IUI 7+8 Failed
Follistim + Trigger



October 2013: IUI 9+10 Failed
Follistim + Trigger



November 2013: IUI 11+12 Failed
Follistim + Trigger



December 2013: Taking an extended break. Dad has cancer and won’t make thru 2014 :(


>>2014

August 2014: Lost Dad :(

August 2014: Started a new job


>>2015

March 2015: Let’s give this another shot. 

April 2015: Visit with Dr. W. More testing. 

May 2015: Results came back.
Me: Tests came back alright. Put on Met since insulin levels were a little high.
DH: Morph and Motility are both down significantly.
Dr. says: She doesn’t think we should keep investing time, money and emotions in to IUIs.


May 2015:

IVF/ICSI Fresh Cycle #1
My baby-making kit includes:
BCP (Reclipsen)
Menopur
Follistim
Ganirelix
Pregnyl (HCG Trigger)
Crinone (Progesterone Gel)
Doxycycline (Antibiotic)
Oral Estrace



June 2015: Start Stims

July 6, 2015: First Retrieval
11 Eggs Retrieved
4 Mature
4 Feritlized

July 11, 2015: 1 “Fair” 5 day Hatching Blast Transferred

July 22, 2015: Negative Beta


July 27, 2015: Baseline for FET

IVF/ICSI FET Cycle #1
FET Medications:
Doxycycline
BCP (Reclipsen)
Lupron
Estrogen Patches
Crinone (Progesterone Gel)

September 2, 2015: Transfer of 2 Thawed “Fair” 5 day Blasts


September 11, 2015: FET Failed


Sept. 2015-Dec.2015: Break due to no more IF money left in insurance

>>2016

January 2016: Husband’s new insurance has coverage! Let's do this!


March 2016: Round 3 Consult. 

Plan: Leave the frostie we have left in the freezer and do another retrieval.
IVF/ICSI Fresh Cycle #2
My baby-making kit includes:
BCP (Reclipsen)
Menopur
Follistim
Ganirelix
Pregnyl (HCG Trigger)
Crinone (Progesterone Gel)
Oral Estrace
Doxycycline (Antibiotic)

April 2016: SIS shows a bunch of polyps that need to be removed

April 15, 2016: My first surgery in the history of ever.

April 30, 2016: Start Stims


May 12, 2016: Retrieval

7 Eggs Retrieved
5 Mature
4 Feritlized

May 15, 2016: Transfer of 2 “Good” 3 Day Embryos

May 28, 2016: A little bit Pregnant! Beta 13

June 1, 2016: Beta 125. Progress.

June 3, 2016: Beta 264. Doubled.

June 7, 2016: Beta 620. Nurse says look out for signs of Ectopic.

June 9, 2016: Beta 852. Dr. W says ultrasound tomorrow. Pregnancy most likely not viable.

June 10, 2016: Hardest day to date. Ectopic confirmed. I was alone. All I heard was “We need to terminate this pregnancy”. The rest was a blur. A lot of crying and self loathing. I went across the street after appointment to get Methotrexate shot. The crying and self loathing lasted for weeks. There is no crueler punishment for an infertile than to be told that you basically need to abort the baby you been trying to have for years. It also comes with an immeasurable amount of guilt.

July 2, 2016: 3 weeks later, beta s finally negative.

July 28, 2016: Post Ectopic HSG to confirm tube is still intact.


August 2016: Start BCP for FET to transfer last 2 embryos.

IVF/ICSI FET Cycle #2
FET Medications:
Doxycycline
BCP (Reclipsen)
Lupron
Oral Estrace
Crinone (Progesterone Gel)
Progesterone in Oil

October 17, 2016: Transfer of 2 “Fair” 5 day Blasts

October 30, 2016: Cycle Failed. 4 Transfers, 7 embryos, still no baby.

>>2017

And here we are. 2017. If you made it this far, you're awesome.

After my (what went wrong, what the fuck, what’s the plan) follow-up call with Dr. W back in November, I decided I would wait before doing anything else. By the end of my last cycle my weight had gotten up to 289. Terrible.

I’ve been trying my best to lose weight since and at 264 now, I’ve lost around 25lbs. 

A few weeks ago, after learning that the office is so booked up that appts. are being schedule 5 weeks out, I decided to make my return appointment. I wanted to give myself a deadline.

March 27th it is.

Sadly, and those of you who know me know how much I LOVE her, Dr. W is no longer visiting the office I always went to. ::queue tears::
They also now have a new office 15 minutes from my job. With her blessing, my next appointment is with the “New Kid On The Block”.
Dr. Sueldo is incredible. She is the newest doctor at the practice and absolutely brilliant. From the moment I met her I knew she would be an amazing asset to the practice and I feel fortunate that she was brave enough to take me on as a patient. 

As I mentally strap myself in for another ride, I’m flooded with emotions (and I haven’t even started the meds yet!). I’m feeling many things…excitement, disbelief, hope, happiness, caution, insecurity…some more prominently than others.

26 days.

See you then!
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