Wednesday, August 24, 2005

So Far, So Good! And Bile to Boot!

Well, color me happy and tickle me pink. Everything is moving along...Really well. What a tremendous relief! Aside from waiting 1.5 hours for my ultrasound (new doctor who likes to spend time with his patients), everything was great.

My progesterone was good: 25, and my hCG was 93,359 (I really just ask out of habit, now). The heart rate was 146, and the length was 13 mm, although the doctor said he might be a mm long, which is still fine. I have finally been cleared to have decaf coffee, chocolate "in moderation" and sex. That's right - I have been not just without sex, but without orgasm since July 26th. I can't remember when it's been that long, if ever. My poor dh, he was quite happy to know we can finally get back to a little fun, but I was happier; after all, his "special moments" don't contract my uterus and risk threatening our little wee one getting all snug as a bug in a rug. So now that's no longer a risk apparently.

I'll stay on the 1 cc of progesterone until Monday, when it will drop to 1/2 cc and I'll discontinue the estrogen and baby aspirin. Then just one more visit next Wednesday and I'll be free to go to my OB. I've already e-mailed him (including the pic) and asked him when I should set up an appointment. I just love that I can communicate with my doctor via e-mail. He's a sole practitioner and has a small staff - everyone is just lovely there. When he induced labor with Ben, I was on a liquid diet. I was jonsing for a lemon ice pop, but they were out. He went down to the cafeteria and actually bought me a lemon ice pop. He's a kind man, and a great doctor. We're lucky to have found him.

So. That's all the good stuff. Now I would like to take this time and space to do a little venting.

Here's the background: my brother is 33 and recently married to K, 38. My brother has adult onset adrenoleukodystrophy, known as adrenomyeloneuropathy. He is in a wheelchair, has no strength or sensation in his legs, has complications with bed sores due to his diabetes (which he has as a complication from taking cortisone, because his body doesn't produce enough). He is incontinent, but so far is resisting catheters. This means the ammonia from his urine doesn't help his ulcers. Now, reading all this, I'm sure you will immediately feel bad for this person. I would. Growing up, he was a really sweet kid, a little goofy, funny, kind and generous to a fault. His choices were always a little iffy, and he could get compulsive and throw tantrums, but he was a good brother. Unfortunately, this is not the person who currently occupies my brother's wheelchair. The person he is now is mean, angry, aggressive, combative, rude, obnoxious and has told me in no uncertain terms that he feels he should be able to treat anyone however he wants and they should just take it. As soon as he tries this with my DH, Ron immediately puts him in his place. This he seems to accept. People who don't want to say anything back, however, are treated to constant berating and belittling. He and my mother also have a symbiotic relationship. When my mother misinterpreted something I said (which is pretty constant), my brother called and threatened "to make my life miserable" if he even thought I was being a bitch to my mother. First of all, I would never say something deliberately mean to my mother. Although I don't like her, it's just not a nice thing to do. Besides, I have a therapist I can discuss that with. Second of all, why is he mom's champion? When my dad left in 1999, my mother sounded on the verge of a nervous breakdown for about a year. My parents were miserable together for 9 years prior to this - it certainly didn't come out of left field. The constant brainwashing from my mother to my brother of what a horrible man my father was definitely stuck. My bother was always a weak minded individual, easily susceptible to suggestion. And my mother? Manipulation queen. There you go. Now you have background.

Anyhoo, my brother and his wife were married in Vegas this past May. They begun trying to have a child immediately. The options my brother has in passing this disease on are as follows: he could have a healthy boy (free and clear of this disease) or a carrier female. They are not trying IVF. They are not trying gender selection. They are just trying. (Apparently my brother injects medication which helps him perform). Their view? "Well, if it's a girl she'll just be a carrier." What disturbs me is not that their daughter might be like me (asymtomatic carrier, blog full of our efforts to have a healthy child), but like my mom, who has had to live with this disability since she was 24 years old. To me this is incredibly irresponsible, but not surprising. As of this date, they have not yet succeeded, and I don't plan on sharing my news until after my first trimester. So I just find it all a little whacked... All we have been through to try to give our child the best chance not to have this disease and going so far as to have completely different eggs (well, mostly different - thanks cuz)! The fact they have no regard for what their child has to go through is just astounding. Needless to say, I'm really hoping they have a son.

Well, this post is certainly long enough, and when I return, I promise to fill in the gaps on my dad, who I promise is a warm, loving and fabulous person. Enough bile for one day. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Coming Off the Progesterone...

***Disclaimer: The following post contains comments about pregnancy, including symptoms. If you are feeling adverse to such information at the present time, kindly skip the post below. No offense taken. Be well. Disclaimer over.***

So... I found out later that my hCG was 30,394. It's now at the point where I don't even know what that means, except the nurse said it was "fine." And my friend who's a nurse said I am VERY pregnant. Which makes me feel a bit better. I'm still concerned that this might go away - just because we want this doesn't mean it will happen. My consolation is that everything seems to be alright.

Starting Wednesday the 17th, my progesterone injections would change from 2 cc's to 1.5 cc's. On the 22nd we go down to 1 cc. My estrogen will be 1 tablet twice a day instead of 2 tablets twice a day. Then I go back in on Wednesday the 24th to check my levels and see how our little chickpea is coming along. (Speaking of chickpeas, we're going to a barbecue next weekend and I'm bringing chana masala. Mmmmmmm...)

One thing I find just a bit odd is a few of my friends telling me not to worry, that I will soon be throwing up and suffering morning sickness like every other healthy mother-to-be. This is because the most I have ever felt in that department is mild, passing queasiness...As in "Hmmm, I feel a little icky. Hmmphf." That's it. No nausea, no vomiting, no over salivating. To hear the way they talk about it however, the sicker you are the healthier the baby. So what are they implying? That out little wee chickpea is doomed or unhealthy? They keep telling me, "Oh, it's coming - just you wait." Really, it's a misery loves company thing, I swear. I never had morning sickness with Ben. I feel pretty much the same way I do now, although I don't have the chocolate or goat cheese aversion I did with Ben. (Not necessarily these two items combined).

What most people fail to realize is that not only does misery love company, but so does joy. People who are truly happy want others to be that happy, too. It just seems that the world would be a nicer place if we tried to share more of our joy when we're up instead of trying to bring others down when we're miserable. Just food for thought.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Be Still! My Beating Heart!

No need to panic (today)! All is well! We do indeed have a single heart beat at a rate of 117 bpm. At 6 weeks & 3 days, our little lentil is 6.1 mm (about the size of a lentil... get it?).

Incidentally, I had Dr. Ass today (the one with the bedside manner of a mushroom), who was actually very pleasant (I'm sure Mr. Right's presence in the room had nothing at all to do with that). This is really getting exciting, but the doctor mentioned something about coming back next week. I did kind of a double take (on the inside), as I was under the impression that once they detect a heart beat, we're released back into the wild, so to speak. Like the condors they're breeding to prevent extinction. I imagine that when Margaret calls this afternoon with the results of my blood work, she'll let me know. I'll certainly ask. Among other things I want to know is, will my body become dependent upon the progesterone I'm injecting? When will my body step up the production so I can stop introducing this hormone into my ass? These are the things that concern me. I'll probably also inquire as to when I may resume eating chocolate... I do have all these wonderful chocolates my DH brought home from Belgium. No rush, you know... Just curious.

What's interesting is when I was pregnant with Ben, the thought of eating chocolate turned my stomach. I could, however, enjoy chocolate flavored things - such as tootsie rolls, which I devoured daily. Hence my weight gain of 10 pounds in the first trimester. I just lost that weight two months ago. I am eating much healthier this time around, no sweets, veggies, fruits, zucchini lasagna... I did partake in a tiramisu the other night when we went out for dinner - it was just divine.

My in-laws were so thrilled when we called them on the way home that they bought me some flowers (just beautiful, including a sunflower, which is just such a happy flower). They've decided that they want to be called Oma & Opa (Granny & Grandpa in German). I think that's so sweet. I just love that. I had asked my dad a while ago, and he'd like to be called Grand-pop. Also great. (His partner has yet to figure out what he would like to be called - did I mention that my parents are divorced & my dad is gay? Oooooh, that's another story for later). I asked C, and she's still thinking about it. So, C? What do you like? Only eight months to go here! EDD, by the way is April 10, 2006. Aires - our little fireball! Mr. Right and I already decided that my cousins will be addressed as aunts & uncle. I only have one brother, and he's a total mess, so I'd like to have some nice, positive stable aunts & uncles for my child.

Okay, don't want to get too ahead of myself here... must take things one day at a time. I'm just so happy and excited to see our little lentil in progressing right along. Just keep growing, just keep growing...

Monday, August 15, 2005

A Rose by Any Other Name...

Ah, my in-laws have started already with their baby name suggestions. The top of their list? Eusebio and Ulysses. They are joking, of course, in their own little odd way, but they are really cute about it. Until they joke that if they don't like the name we pick, they'll just call our child by their own name. I banter back that I know they would never do something as selfish as giving our child an identity crisis because they don't like their name. tee hee hee. They are funny people. I know this journey has been difficult for them, because they keep getting their hopes up of having a grandchild, and they have to ride roller coaster like the rest of us. They don't know about Ben; they'd never be able to handle the stress and heartbreak so at least they were spared that.

They do, in fact, laughingly ask how little Eusebio is doing today, which I think is pretty funny. Mr. Right and I have names picked out, but we'll probably wait until (God willing) the baby is born before disclosing such information. Everyone seems to have an opinion about why every name sucks except the one they have in mind. I haven't told my mom yet. When/if I clear the first trimester, then we'll make the drive and tell her. We're not close, and she's an incredibly negative person so I don't tell her when I'm going though a cycle. Just need to surround myself with positive energy and good vibes; my mom is not the source for that. My aunt C, however, absolutely radiates positive energy. She called me this morning (like she does almost every morning) just to see how I feel, how Mr. R feels and what's going on. She's the most amazing woman I've ever met. She is a fantastic mom and I'm grateful she spent so much time with me as a kid - she really rubbed off (much to my mother's chagrin). When we first started trying, she asked if she could be an honorary grandmother. I said "What's with the honorary thing? You'll be a grandmother, fair and square!" And if this works, she really will be.

You know, I just want to make sure they're healthy and actually cross the finish line. That's my big concern. This Wednesday we'll have another ultrasound to check on the heartbeat. I know it's pretty early, and although they said it will definitely be there, everyone is different. Our little lentil could be a late bloomer, or could be fast for all I know. I've been drinking 20 oz. of vegetable juice everyday, loaded with vitamins, calcium, iron, beta-carotine - that's gotta help somehow.

I've felt slightly more queasy today, but it's really too mild to complain about. I also feel guilty especially with what Suspended is going through. Poor girl - I'm thinking about you and rooting for you. Hang in there. Besides, if I'm queasy, that's fantastic... Anything to confirm that I've got a wee one percolating down there.

Must go now and intake nutrition. Had homemade zucchini lasagna for lunch, and I'm craving more Italian for dinner. Mmmmm.... dinner. Bon Appetit and Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

To Freeze or Not to Freeze...

That, apparently, is not the question we will have to entertain. NONE of our embryos made it to freezing. Out of 25 eggs, and 10 embryos, the only one that made it is currently residing in my uterus. Not that there's any pressure for the little sesame seed, or anything... It's just kind of mind blowing, because these primo eggs are from an unbelievably healthy 22 year old. "A" is an A student and in school on a soccer scholarship. She's been playing soccer since she was five! She's fit, she's funny, she's pretty, we were thrilled that she volunteered to donate for us. It's particularly nice because we both have the same grandparents on my mother's side.

My question is, if this can happen with eggs from a fertile 22 year old, what hope is there for me? Or for anyone who's fertilely challenged? I guess it's just a shot in the dark, really. Sometimes we have great cycles. Sometimes they leave a lot to be desired. How on earth could we possibly know when is the right month to proceed? How do we know if our ovaries are going to cooperate? And if our ovaries cooperate, what about our lining? Sometimes all of our elements are just not on the same page. Really, it's an absolute miracle that children are conceived and born at all. Some will be successful, some will not. Some of us will chose adoption, donor eggs or sperm or surrogacy; there are others still who will decide that a family of two will have to be enough. Gosh, this is a slippery slope. And I was never that great at skiing (after a particularly fine day with friends and having a blast, I retired from skiing, going out on a high note and can thus still recall the memory fondly. Which is just fine with me as I really don't care much for the cold, preferring to stay within a cozy home and read, have sex, or anything not involving frostbite).

Which brings us back to freezing. As we have no other players is the bullpen, we have, literally put all our eggs in one basket. One seems to be making a go of it, for which we are extremely grateful. Whether or not this will continue remains to be seen, specifically on Wednesday. August 17th. Until then I'll keep doing what I have been: no aerobic exercise, no orgasms, no caffeine (which includes the two boxes of delectable chocolates Mr. Right brought home from Belgium -what a dear boy), and no stress. Which is fine. I don't mind avoiding any of these things as long as it means that in April we will have a healthy little baby bee. I'm no stranger to sacrifice and I'm thrilled to be in this situation to make this sacrifice. I'm ecstatic to even have gotten to this point. I'm reassured to have a husband who delights in pampering me and makes me fresh vegetable juice in the mornings (spinach, carrot & celery, which is actually yummy - all 20 oz. of it). We so want to have a little wee one join our family of two. We will continue to prepare and hope for the best. As for the worst, we'll cross that bridge should it present itself to us.

As for you, dear reader, thank you for continuing to read our journey. How lovely it is to have you along for the ride.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

One down...

Had our first ultrasound today, where we were treated to a wee dark spot in a larger grey blob that had a tiny white spot inside of the dark spot. First visual confirmation of -*gasp!* - a singleton pregnancy.

This was good, 'cause I sure don't feel pg. Okay, my boobs are a little firmer, sometimes they're sore (and sometimes they're not), I pee more (but I'm also drinking a lot more H2O), and I am having really weird, vivid dreams.

Here's a dream I had a few nights ago... Mr. Right & I were at the doctors' having the ultrasound to look for the sacs. The image was in color, like a badly drawn illustration, and my uterus was large and much like an aquarium: there was sand at the bottom, coral, plastic weeds and fish. The fetus was floating in a little sac attached to the wall of the uterus by a thin little umbilical cord. As we were observing all this, the doctor approved, said he was very happy - everything looked great. Then a fish got startled and changed direction abruptly, cutting right through the umbilical cord. The unattached fetal sac started drifting around the uterus and the doctor, saddened, said "Ah, that's a shame." We said "What just happened?" The doctor replied "The umbilical cord has been severed, so there's no way the baby can get any nourishment. It will just die now. I'm so sorry. There's nothing we can do. Gee, everything looked so good, too." I awoke with a start, panicked. And then I remember there was also an AQUARIUM. In my UTERUS. So I felt better and went back to bed after a quick trip to the loo.

So far I'm 2-0. I keep having dreams something will go wrong, and it's actually fine. I guess I don't have to worry until I start having dreams that everything will be peachy.

I've actually decided to be happy and excited about this. Because it's always touch and go, especially with problems in the past, it's easy to worry and wait until the results are back from each test. If something should go wrong (which lets face it - the only guarantee in life is death), then I will have spent whatever time I had being pregnant worrying. We tried to do that with Ben, too. We tried not to get our hopes up in the even we would have to say good-bye to him. Eventually we gave up and couldn't help but feel excited, wondering about all the good what-ifs. When it turned out that Ben was affected and we had to end our pregnancy, we were grateful later that it was a good experience, and we enjoyed the short time we shared with him.
So there you go. All my levels look good, my hCG is 4,438, which they said is good for size and age. And I can keep up my injections and estrogen tabs. Next week it's back to the clinic to check for the heartbeat...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Food is Always Good...

Thank you all for your kind words and support - I can't even begin to tell you all how much it means to me, so thanks.

Next Wednesday we go for an ultrasound where "they will be looking for placement in the uterus, gestatinal sac and yolk sac. They want to make sure everything is growing correctly." As per my nurse. A went for her final check up today and she's doing just fine - she can finally go back to unrestricted activity. I still can't believe she volunteered; we will be eternally grateful. As I only have one brother & Mr. Right is an only child, we're going to refer to our friends and cousins as honorary aunts and uncles. This way our child(ren) will always have lots of family!

My neighbor the nurse has been doing my injections and is fantastic at it - I barely even notice the 1 1/2" needle! I think she should give Mr. R lessons; I know he'd be happy to learn a better technique.

He called today from Belgium - all is going well, although he was mighty exhausted. He didn't get to sleep on the plane, but went from airport to hotel and to work after a quick shower and shave.

NME, in response to your query, my favorite restaurant in the area is The River Grille. The food is always creative and delicious, the service is professional and ever so friendly and it's got lovely decor. It's also right around the corner from the Crayola factory, so it's a great place to eat after bringing the wee ones for a colored wax filled experience! It's also kid friendly! In Philly, I really like Cuba Libre. It's just wonderful, and has a festive atmosphere to boot.

I also adore the name Amelia. Can you guess what name we have chosen for a girl? ; )

I want to head over to the library and check out some books (oooh! and maybe a movie!) and then I look forward to a dinner of hot dogs and asparagus. Before you wig over the hot dogs, let me add that these have no nitrates or artificial ingredients; they're white (no coloring) and made of pork, lamb and veal. They're incredible, and we picked them up at Wegmans. I wish you all could have a Wegmans.

Signing off, as the thought of dinner is making me very, very hungry.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What, Me Worry?

Well, the anxiety has certainly been creeping back in. I am not used to things going well, and as optimistic as I have sometimes been in this trek, worry again raises its ugly head. What ifs pop up, and I have to tell myself that I'll just wait for the call and we'll see what happens. I have no control over this; there is nothing I can do. Which of course is just aggravating in itself.

Dinner was divine last night - we went to our favorite restaurant and had a delightful meal, including cold melon soup with crabmeat and prosciutto.

When I went in for my bloodwork this morning, I asked the nurse on duty to confirm the precise location for my progesterone injections. She strongly recommended that I not inject my thighs, as sticking myself with a 1 1/2 " needle would be extremely painful and would cause me pain and difficulty walking. So, after I get the results today (God willing all is well), I will call my neighbor (who is a nurse) and ask her if she would mind doing it. If not, I have another neighbor who is also in the medical field. And if that fails, I have a retired nurse aunt who lives 30 minutes away and I'm sure she would be happy to help me. She's my dad's oldest sister, very sweet, and they're very close. She practically raised my dad, as my grandmother was a real piece of work. That's a story for another day.

So that's it. I should be working, but I've been reading blogs and in between trying to actually get some work done. And worrying about my hCG levels. Yes, I know as my dear great Aunt Amelia always said *(worry is like a rocking chair - it gives you something to do but doesn't get you anywhere).

* Just before I typed that, Margaret my nurse called - we have doubling! 322 is today's magic number. Holy cow - what a relief! It feels almost too good to be true, but then again the eggs were from an insanely healthy 22 year old, not my crap eggs. (It's okay, I can face that). I have to go back next Wednesday for bw & ultrasound, but clearly it's too early for heart beat. I was too excited to ask; I'll e-mail her later to find out. And I still do 2 cc's of progesterone! Hey - I don't care. If this works and I can have a healthy baby, then stick away.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our 4th wedding anniversary, which is nice, considering we received the best present ever yesterday. We're still so happy, and it's just hard to stop smiling. Even when rendering a bra*chial plex*us ne*uroma.

Just hopeful to see the appropriate doubling tomorrow. I'm optimistic, the first number seemed pretty good for 10 days after transfer. As soon as I know, my update will be posted post haste.

I asked my nurse today to ask her if I can do my progesterone injections somewhere else other than my white butt, because Mr. Right will be hopping on a plane tomorrow for Brussels until Sunday afternoon. He's working on some medical storyboards for an upcoming film and must assist the animators in Belgium. I am envious, but must hold the fort down here. And he can always bring me back something cool. As I will be unable to effectively shoot myself in the ass, I'm glad to know my thighs are my second option. So I'll go solo for the next few days; I'm sure I can handle it. (We shall see...)

Tonight we're going out for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, celebrating not only our happy union, but the wee baby bee(s) I'm hosting. Then I'll be up early tomorrow and off for more blood work. Tune in tomorrow for the next saga in this continuing adventure!

Monday, August 01, 2005

Okay, so I guess I'll need that Progesterone Refill

I can't believe this. Anxiety has been mounting, and close friends started calling to see if we'd heard anything yet.
We did. Ten days after transfer, and the level is.... 117.

I cried when the nurse told me and Mr. Right, who happened to be next to me when the phone rang, wondered how bad it was. I wrote the number down and circled it. He exclaimed "What does that mean?!" I told him as soon as I got off the phone. I'm so excited, and I know the worry will start up again - Just want to see appropriate doubling on Wednesday. My progesterone was okay at >40. At least we're still in the game.

I still can't believe this. I am so ecstatically happy, just enjoying the moment. 117 seems pretty good. Certainly much better than the 45 I had the very first IVF cycle. I remember my MIL telling me before we started not to worry - everything would work out. She knew someone who tried IVF five times, and then got pregnant with twins. At the time, I remember thinking, well, we're certainly not going to have to go that far...

So, in this 5th IVF cycle, I'm now a bit hopeful. Just want to see those numbers double. Thank you all for our kind attention and support. I can't tell you how much it means to me. I'm fairly new to the whole blog arena, but reading your innermost electronic thoughts has taught me a great deal in a short time. You're all fantastic, and I wish the best for all of you. Thank you for being there for me as well. I promise to keep you posted...

ACK! The Waiting...

Trying desperately to concentrate on work and not count the seconds until the results of my beta. It's clearly not working - so I blog! I met a woman who I've seen and chatted with a few times. In April and May, we were cycling together, give or take a few days. I'm now on my 5th cycle; she was there because her last cycle worked. When she went in last week to check for a heartbeat, she was told the baby's heart had stopped beating a few days prior to the ultrasound. She had a D&C over the weekend and was in for hCG level monitoring, to make sure it gets down to zero.

This just shows me how incredibly fragile this whole process is. That any of us manage to get pregnant and actually give birth to a healthy child nine months later is an absolute miracle.

So here is to wishing and praying for miracles for us all.