Fumbling Towards Here

Archive for the ‘ivf’ Category

Freeze Frame

Posted by dakota on September 19, 2008

The Greek goddess of wisdom and war called to deliver the news to us today.
Well, one of the embryologist’ named after this goddess gave us a call, but, anyway I thought it apropos we get the news from her since this process seems to require preparation for elements of wisdom and varieties of war.
Corpuscular combat.
Doctor duking.
Insurance impalement.

Both embryologists I spoke to were kind, very competent, and answered all my questions with just the right amount of humor and compassion.

I started writing this post earlier this afternoon but it felt very technical and jumbled.
So I got rid of it.  Here is the distillation:

We have four embryos.
I am elated that four have made it to today.
A little sad that they are now just frozen in time.
Today they feel like babies somewhere I can’t reach.

We are eleven days away from knowing if we have a pregnancy.
I really want a baby.
You know?

I looked up freeze frame and I found two descriptions:
* An optical printing effect in which a single frame image is repeated so as to appear stationary when projected.

* The image on the screen stops, freezes and becomes a still shot.

The two are related with a nuanced difference– one appears stationary but is actually moving (like a possible pregnancy in a tww) the other is a snapshot of a held moment  (like a cryopreserved embryo).


Posted in embryos, insemination, ivf, waiting | 8 Comments »

Sunnyside Update

Posted by dakota on September 16, 2008

The embryologist called to say we had seven mature eggs– four fertilized normally and one abnormally. The abnormal one had a triploid set of chromosomes. He said this happens in one in twenty. I haven’t really processed any of this (as in focused on the genetic abnormality) but I am going to say that I think four fertilized eggs is damn good news.

Wednesday or Thursday we find out if they decide to grow into embryos.

Posted in ivf | 10 Comments »

Welcome To The Next Day

Posted by dakota on September 16, 2008

Seven eggs retrieved and, bonus, mulberry finally surged so we did an insemination today too!

Although they were extremely Monday morning busy, everyone from the phlebotomists to anesthesiologist to embryologist was very kind and encouraging of my procedure today. Dr. NoCharm had very little time to offend since the anesthesia was so effective I was out pretty quickly. Just as we had hoped. And the medical assistant said I didn’t snore. You have no idea what a gift that is for everyone. Unlike anything resembling hope, we had to charge a whopping $1200 on the credit card as the anesthesiologist was out of network and freezing embryos is apparently not covered by our insurance. Certainly hoping to recoup some of that.

Our original plan included me having egg retrieval followed by mulberry having embryos transferred to her. We had no idea how cycle sync up was going to happen successfully since we were two weeks off from each other. We were also concerned that she may have another anovulatory cycle this month since it was day twenty and our monitor was still reading low fertility for her yesterday. Ironically we sync’d naturally (even though many drugs were involved on my part) and she was ready to ovulate on the exact day of my retrieval. Our slightly new plan has a slightly new twist. We now have three days to finding out what kind of embryos we have and two weeks to discovering if we have a pregnancy.

Thank you all so much for the support and love. It is truly no small thing and I could feel it as we moved from room to room today. Even though I am sore and sleepy now, I have to say, I am also feeling pretty happy about what mulberry is calling our convergence. Two possible entryways to the family we so desire. Not a bad deal after all.

Posted in egg retrieval, insemination, ivf | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

When Tomorrow Comes

Posted by dakota on September 15, 2008

This week had a number of themes which for various reasons have left me exhausted, headachy, happily surprised and horny.   I’m too tired to explore these tonight so for the moment I’ll just hit the headlines as it were.

Mulberry and I have successfully completed nine days of injections with the cherry on top trigger shot last night. The trigger was a bit nervous making — more for mulberry than for me since she was the one administering it.  One needle.  One shot.  One night only.  She did great.  And all in all, it all wasn’t so terrible giving myself the other shots. Having a cute cheerleader with blissfull furry friends always helps of course. Who knew?

Tonight I feel bloated and uncomfortable. For last several days, however, I have felt headachy and more aroused than a three-testicled tom cat. Even with so many things going on, I have not been able to keep my mind/hands off my lovely spouse who has been waiting for me to arrive home from work at one a.m., well past her bedtime, to help me with the injections. Is it just me or have others experienced this heightened state during this process as well? No Dakota, just you. Moving on.

Tomorrow the doctor I dislike and described in a recent post is the one who will do the retrieval. Monday is our REs day off and she will actually not be in town. In her sweet and humane manner she called me and expressed her regret that she couldn’t come in herself because she has a lecture to deliver to residents. We had been hoping for a Tuesday or Wednesday retrieval, but she fears it will be too late by then. She also noted that I will be under conscious sedation so I will basically out of it for the procedure anyway. Between my streams of tears, I heard her to mean you don’t have to deal with him anyway and he’s very good at this technical part so you are in good hands. I have decided to chant for him–for his skillful retrieval of my eggs and for both of us to tap into our highest selves tomorrow. Small steps for big dreams. I have done harder things I remind myself.

So tomorrow it’s seven follicles, two women, one doctor and twenty minutes with no commercial interruptions. I’m slightly nervous but eager to get this part over and hoping for good results. It is again one a.m (my bewitching hour) and poor mulberry is again up waiting because she fears if she goes to bed without me, I’ll just stay in the living room and be up half the night.  She’s right.   I’m signing off.

Posted in ivf, medication, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

The Hokey-Pokey

Posted by dakota on September 6, 2008

You put your right foot in,
You put your right foot out;
You put your right foot in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That’s what it’s all about!

It is done. Day one. The F.ollistim and M.enupur injections have been administered thanks to the lovely mulberry for making sure all the items were out as we fumbled with the instructions at midnight. Shenandoah and the kitties looked on. (The kittens didn’t stay long though. Nothing to attack and destroy) The L.ovenox I had to take last time definitely hurt more than these. I hear the trick is to inject slowly.

I’m happy we’ve started again. Me tonight — next week insemination for mulberry.

Last night I dreamed we were all moving to a new apartment. As we moved through it, it got more beautiful and spacious. We weren’t sure if we could take the place because it would be temporary until we found our permanent home. And someone else was living there who wasn’t completely set to go. She wanted to leave some things there. Then we noticed a lovely view of the ocean from our living room and knew we had to take the apartment.

The other day mulberry was looking at a charm necklace that said “what if the hokey pokey IS what it’s all about?” Made us laugh. We’re just two faggots as Shenandoah would lovingly say.

Tonight I feel hopeful we just might get this family off the ground after all.

Anyone have a large inexpensive beach front apartment you want to unload?

Posted in ivf | 7 Comments »


Posted by dakota on September 4, 2008

On this the week we thought we would have begun our IVF protocol had the insurance company not denied us coverage, Mulberry and I are instead having our own version of the current trend in U.S. vacations — the staycation. While staying in our own lovely apartment that we barely see each other in, we’ve splurged for a cool couples’ massage at a spa, had manicures/pedicures, gotten some loving in, eaten tasty treats from a local chocolate boutique, dined at our favorite gluten-free risotto restaurant, found a new mac and cheese joint, and met, shared a meal and had warm conversation on the steps of the Brooklyn Museum until the late late evening with the unquestionably sweet, fierce, and fabulous L. and H. of babypants.

I am still trying to get my sweetie to a yoga class. First class is only ten bucks. She says she’s game, we’ll see. She’s trying to get me to walk more. It’s free.

My relaxed blissful mood was dampened a bit when we went to our RE’s office and the doctor who I don’t like was the one on call. He is the one who upon meeting me, did not introduce himself, went straight to the computer to adjust something and proceeded to ask me questions that he should have found in my file since I had been a client for over six months. “How many pregnancies have you had?” “Four.” “And how many children do you have?” ” None.” “Ok.” It was the nonchalant reminder of my history he invoked that lit tiny angry embers in my heart and left me in a bad mood for the rest of that day.

“You’ll have to come back on Friday, ” he told us. “We don’t think mulberry will be ovulating yet, but we just want to check again to make sure we’re on track.” He was fine this go round. He introduced himself. Shook our hands. But after leaving the doctor’s office, I still had that feeling of frustration which may be evidenced in my choice of dvds picked up on the way home:

John Q (a man frustrated with insurance company’s refusal to cover his son’s necessary care, basically takes the hospital hostage); Terminator and Terminator 2 (self-explanatory); and finally, Hurricane (a movie based on the real life of a man who at the height of his career, was wrongfully convicted of a crime for which he is incarcerated for twenty years)– the snap out of it Dakota remember the world we’re living in / inspiration movie.

So while we were recapturing the bliss and tasting four different kinds of mac and cheese (who knew?) and having a scrumptious dinner prepared by Shenandoah and her girlfriend, Peppermint, our RE (the one we really like and appreciate) called with the news that IVF has been approved for me but is still under review for mulberry.

I know I should be happy — and I am — there is no way we could afford this out of pocket. This is an important new first step. I guess I am more relieved than anything, but I am acutely aware today that we’ve got quite a ways to go here. And although our plans are altered, we are doing our best.

What am I worried about? Things I have absolutely NO control over. If we get lucky we get a healthy pregnancy/baby and good to great embryos to implant later for another healthy pregnancy/baby.

If we are NOT lucky we need five more rounds of tries for mulberry before an IVF may be approved and we’ve only a total of seven more samples of the donor we’ve selected as my stand-in for mulberry. Only one guy of my ethnicity on the whole cryosperm preserved continent of North America, who is (bonus!) also a musician like me. He’s not giving any new donations. So when we’re out of him, that is it.

If we are NOT lucky, for a myriad of reasons beyond control and desire, we may never get to the embryos we’ve saved for later.

Sigh. I’m re-reading this and I just want to say I am a lot more fun in person.   Really.  I am.

Posted in doctor, ivf, vacation | 6 Comments »

Crossing Borders

Posted by dakota on August 1, 2008

We still have the kittens. Given my allergies, our lives now involve a lot of costume changes, special baths, air purifiers, and constant hand washing as we cross the borders between kitten land and the allergen free zone. But then of course there is all that delicious purring, playing, protecting us from water bugs and the scientific fact that they are just so damn cute. Anyway, back to business.

I am heterozygous for the MTHFR gene. All the bloggers are right. There really is no way to look at that without thinking I’ve got a cursed little mothafu… well you know, gene. Thank you so much for your comments to my last post. Your questions prompted me to refer back to my lab reports. I’ve read that many people are heterozygous for this gene (some statistics state as high as 50%) but I don’t have my anti-phospholipid antibody numbers at hand nor do I know the statistical mix with my hypothyroidism. Although I have been taking vegetarian prenatal vitamins which contain 1 full gram of folate and 200 mcg of selenium for a while now, with exception of the folate, no one has ever specifically recommended any particular dosages of vitamin supplements to me. I was surprised to read on the internet how much these may be essential to managing my condition.

[This is very unusual for me. I am generally quite anal about getting all the background material on all things of interest. On parenting mulberry says that she will probably be scary mom (the-if-you-even-get-in-the-same-room-with-drugs-I-will-kill-you mom) and I’ll be information mom (the-let-me give-you-a-five-part-audio-visual-series-lecture-with-a-field -trip-on-why-drugs-are-bad-for-you-mom). But I digress.]
Our last IUI try in April involved aspirin and later Lovenox and progesterone supplements. Our reproductive endocrinologist kept insisting that the best time to start Lovenox would be with a positive pregnancy test. Both mulberry and I thought that may be too late. It took a while for our doctor to agree that it wouldn’t do any harm to take the aspirin at the beginning of my cycle. After insemination our week one progesterone result number was good, therefore no supplements were recommended. The next week we had a positive pregnancy result but low progesterone levels–that is when we began the suppositories. It was a difficult few days because at the time we didn’t know which way the pregnancy was going.

Mulberry and I are a bit back to the drawing board so to speak on how to start the next cycle. I’ve read that if I tried the complete IVF myself and was successful, my condition predicates an elevated risk to possible problems in the last trimester. One is that there may ostensibly be more preeclampsia result for women like me. We still don’t know how to get sync’d up if we go the route of mulberry not taking any initial drugs and then taking my biological embryos. This weekend we are going to make a chart of all the options we are considering and send more questions to the RE on what it will take to get us there. Mulberry is patiently/impatiently ready to get started again. I want to get on with it again too. We both just want to consider more fully what may give us our best chance. The million dollar answer.

Posted in ivf, last IUI Dakota, MTHFR, next step? sync, vitamins | 2 Comments »

kittens, embryos, and next steps

Posted by dakota on July 29, 2008

So my sweetheart has been back for a few days now (happyhappyhappy) and we still have these beautiful kittens in our home. I am on allergy pills and Shenandoah and I took them to a vet yesterday. The little grey and white one has an eye infection that will take about a week to fully heal. The blond one is just a cute, curious little scaredy cat. They have such sweet rambunctious spirits, it is almost like having two children in the house. We are all falling for them so we will have to find placement soon.

This surprising kitty distraction has temporarily lightened mulberry’s and my conversations about our next steps but of course has not eclipsed it. I am doing the acupuncture for egg health and, now that she is back, she will start her regimen. We are still not sure if we should have her do a stimulation cycle since we have only tried one IUI for her. We are concerned about Clomid’s possibility of multiples and mulberry seems clear she doesn’t wish to try this option. We have seven samples of our donor (the only one of my ethnicity) and there are no more samples from him available. Having her go straight to IVF on her second try seems drastic but it is what we are considering.

We are worried about the effects of the harsh drugs on her body. And since our current plan involves her carrying embryos which are biologically related to me and then those biologically related to her, she would have to go through this process minimally twice. That is only if we are lucky. Sigh.

My own history of quick pregnancy (five tries, four pregnancies), then pregnancy loss doesn’t buttress my faith that acupuncture and lovenox (a blood thinning drug) will help me carry a healthy baby to term. It is why we’ve considered mulberry carrying my embryos. I suppose there is still the possibility of me trying to carry but as I’ve mentioned, I have very little faith in that.

I’ll have to do more reading about the added complications of my hypothyroidism and antiphospholipid antibody condition. Our doctor says I only have “a little” of the clotting issue and that it is not full blown, but I actually don’t know what that really means. I probably didn’t fully want to know, but now time is upon me.

The kittens have completely tuckered themselves out and are sprawled asleep next to me on the couch. Wish I could do the same but am off to work.

Posted in antiphospholipid anitbody, decisions, hypothyroidism, ivf | 4 Comments »