All done but the waiting

So it’s all done, with some bumps along the way.

Prior to starting the IVF medications I had to go on the pill for a month. The pill makes me crazy. At the same time, I had to go off of my anti-depressants. The anti-depressants make me not crazy. So, to recap, ON the crazy pills and OFF the anti-crazy pills. I knew this was going to be a bumpy ride.

On November 6th, just after discontinuing the pill and while on vacation in Ojai, I started taking the “stim meds” (forum-speak for stimulation medications) which are meant to stimulate my ovaries into making a shitload of follicles and, thereby, a shitload of eggs. The stim meds consisted of 350 mg of Gonal-f, 2 vials of Menopur and 2cc’s of micro-dose Lupron. I took one Lupron shot in the morning, and one Gonal-f shot, one Menopur shot and another Lupron shot in the evening. There is a lot of complicated measuring and mixing and I feel qualified to be a biologist at this point. Note: these are all hormones that make a person (at least this person) totally crazy. So these crazy-making hormones in incredibly high doses were now added on top of my lack of anti-crazy pills. I would also like to mention that having gone off of the anti-depressant Lexapro so quickly caused me to feel like my brain was being teased with a cattle-prod whenever I moved. This lasted for about two weeks.

So, to recap, cattle-prod to the head + mass doses of hormones shot into my belly = not very reliable at work (which requires a lot of multi-tasking), crying at EVERYTHING including Jennifer Gray’s rumba on Dancing With The Stars and my husband’s thoughtful re-heating of my decaf mocha, plus also wanting to kill everyone who called me at work and didn’t state immediately and succinctly the purpose of their call.

My first few ultrasounds showed high levels of estrogen but slow-growing follicles–9 in one side and 10 in the other–so they upped my Gonal-f to 450.

Ok, so I may have been overstimulated just a bit. By the end of the 2nd week I could not button my pants and walked around literally buttonless and zipperless. My belly was so big that my pants stayed up just the same.

By my last check-up, I had extremely high estrogen levels and 30 follicles. The day of the egg retrieval, last Friday, they harvested 27 eggs, 19 of which were mature enough to use. Because I’m opposed to freezing embryos when future “discarding” is a possibility, we had the doctor only fertilize 4 eggs and freeze the rest.

Following the egg retrieval is when the fun started. I quickly e x p a n d e d in the belly-area and looked like I was already 6 months pregnant. This was because of all the follicles inside my enlarged ovaries, which are now, 3 days later, the size of 2 grapefruits. I’m having a hard time breathing, eating, sleeping, moving. I was worried they might not go through with the transfer today.

This was a pic of me I took last night just so you know I’m not exaggerating:

And FYI I normally do NOT look like that.

But when they examined me this morning, they said I have a little fluid in there (from “sweating ovaries,” ew–but a great band name) but mostly it’s just a whole lotta ovary. Because I haven’t been throwing up and have been able to continue breathing they decided it was a GO for the transfer. Four lovely little embryos graded 8BC, 6AB, 6BC and 6BC. They have the most hopes for the 6AB but said all of them look awesome. Here, see for yourself:


Aren’t they so pretty? So it’s back to bed for me (where I’ve been since Friday anyway, very hard to stand up straight…and walk) for the next three days while the little guys (and/or gals) hang on for dear life. Wish them luck.

Blood test on 12/1. I promised I wouldn’t buy a home pregnancy test 🙂


Change of plan

I decided to stop taking my antibiotics. I’ve also stopped taking the Lovenox. Clearly, neither helped me keep a pregnancy, so what’s the point?

Since Saturday (the day of the stopped antibiotics) I’ve eaten all manner of sugar, bread, dairy and caffeine. It’s somewhat out of control, actually. But it’s been several months, so I’ll give myself a break on this one. It will even out after I see my herb guy tomorrow and admit to my failings…he’ll guilt me back into shape.

I saw a general internist-type doctor for the first time. My husband is convinced I need a captain of the ship, as it were…someone to oversee all the specialists. This Dr. spent a lot of time with me, reviewing my medical history, examining my reflexes, heart, etc. He ordered some blood tests and referred me to an allergist because, get this, he thinks my allergies to our cat (who I adopted just before marriage) is the source of my immune system problems and miscarriages. Interesting theory, but after a search on the interweb (which, as we all know, is the definitive medical source), I found no such link. Appointment isn’t until first week of January, so will have to wait to find out.

In the meantime, I’m in the middle of the two week wait, sans Lovenox :O

Here’s a question for anyone who feels qualified to answer it: How can you trust your doctors when they all give you different opinions?



Again, my impatience got the best of me. I went in yesterday morning for a blood test instead of waiting until Sunday for a pee test. Really, if I can avoid 3 extra nights of Lovenox shots and progesterone suppositories, how can that be bad?

Took the test in the morning and got the results at 3:30 the same day (yes, it is amazing). She said my HCG was 4.5 but they are not sure whether it means I’m pregnant or it is residual HCG from my shot two weeks ago. I did the math and if I ovulated on the Saturday between IUIs, then add six days for travel, then considering the HCG doubles every 48 hours, I would be right around 4.5 yesterday. On the other hand, it could just be from the shot.

So I have to go in on Sunday morning for another blood test, but this time I have to wait until Monday at 3:30 to get the results. I’m looking for anything above a 4.5.

Cross between jello and scrambled eggs…this is my brain on conception.

Also, saw the hip doctor about my, yes, hip. He said a cortisone shot should fix me right up. Problem is, I can’t have cortisone because of the Lyme Disease. Then he said he could take an MRI to see what’s what, he thinks maybe the pain on the outside of the hip might be caused by a tear of something on the inside of the hip because of my lack of range of motion. Problem is, I can’t have an MRI if I’m pregnant. So, if I am pregnant, I’m living with this hip for a very long time. If I’m not, I’ll have a fixed-up hip with no baby to carry on it.


More drugs

Had the second IUI on Sunday morning. This one did not hurt as much for some reason, much to my delight. But the doctor said I need to take the progesterone…so I get to add that into the daily drug mix. Now we wait….

Also drove out to Malibu Sunday afternoon for my follow up lyme appointment with Dr. Harris. It’s been two months since I saw anyone and I’ve been having some crazy stomach problems, just an ever-expanding belly. Nothing fits me.

Dr. Harris said I’m not meeting expectations, meaning I’m not getting better which I should be after three months. He also had some thoughts about why my legs were bothering me so much, said it might be a coinfection (even though I tested negative for all of those earlier). He said negatives are not as reliable as positives and my symptoms point to a coinfection. That could also explain why my legs are getting worse, not better, with treatment. He said that because I might be pregnant and the coinfection antibiotic is a Class C drug (not safe for pregnancy), we will have to wait until I am not pregnant to start treatment. In the meantime, I have to up my dose of Magnesium…more pills, yay.

He also told me to add a few things to my daily drug regimen to help with the stomach: Saccharomyces, acidophilus and something else I can’t remember the name of that I have to order. I’m also taking Diflucan for 3 days starting yesterday. I go to the herb guy, Majid, tomorrow. He has worked with lyme patients before and I think he’ll be able to help me with what food I should and should not be eating. For the time being, I’ve been ordered off of potatoes, rice, pasta, sugar, bread, all the things I love the most. I’m eating a lot of salad (no croutons). No more Starbucks cafe mocha, no more sandwiches, no more of my favorite Thai food, no more french fries.

Did the crew thing for the Avon Walk on Saturday and I’m paying for it today…my legs and hip are REALLY sore. Every time I have to get out of my chair I groan like an old man.

Did I mention that Receptionist is having a girl? The whole mail area is decorated with “It’s a Girl!” signs and pictures of ultrasounds. They’re starting to paint the nursery tomorrow. And when I hear all of this I’m so jealous and it makes me feel really bad 🙁

But what makes me feel worse is that not only are my lyme symptoms still bad, but the medicine to make me feel better is causing a whole host of additional problems on top of everything else. In essence, I feel worse after being treated for three months and now I can’t eat anything I like.


Still Waiting

I left a message yesterday at 2pm, and again at 3:30pm. By 4:15 I couldn’t wait any longer and spoke to the receptionist who was having none of it. Then I told her that I just wanted to know whether I would get a call that day so I could go on with my life. She put me on hold, then came back and said that the results are on the doctor’s desk but the doctor is gone for the day. I asked if someone else could possibly read the results to me. She said the doctor has to “sign off” on them first so I wouldn’t know until tomorrow.

THAT is f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.i.n.g.

They open at 9am.


Blood Tests

I took a blood test at Dr. Park’s office yesterday…I just couldn’t wait any longer. The nurse said I’d find out the results “tomorrow or the next day.” Don’t they know I can’t think of anything else until I get the results? “The next day” just will not do. So I pulled out the old stand-by, “well….I have to take daily injections of Lovenox and if I’m not pregnant then I stop the Lovenox, so the sooner I find out the better.” That seemed to work. I’ll call today after lunch to harass them. Of course, I dreamed about it last night–trying to get the results at the doctor’s office, which turned into a vet clinic…and there was wedding cake. I think Jeff Lewis from “Flipping Out” was there.


Waiting and IUI

So I’m in the middle of the infamous TWW, or Two Week Waiting period, which is the time between ovulation and finding out whether or not I’m pregnant. I can get a blood test on Wednesday. My breasts have been sore for about a week now which historically was an indication of pregnancy, but one time out of three it was just related to my period so I’m not counting on this symptom. But I’m also dreaming up a storm. The dreaming and the breast soreness usually doesn’t happen until the week before my period and this time it started almost 2 weeks before. I could go on and on with all the reasons why I’m hoping I’m pregnant but really it doesn’t mean anything, as I’ve learned. I just have to wait and see.

It was almost two years ago that Dr. Stein told us that if we want to have a baby, we must start immediately if not sooner. After all of the miscarriages, Dr. Beer testing and treatment and lyme testing and treatment, it’s now almost two years later which, in someone my age, can make the difference between getting pregnant and no longer being able to get pregnant. Long story short = there’s just no more time to waste. Therefore, we’ve decided that if I’m not pregnant this cycle, we’re moving on to IUI, or Intra-Uterine Insemination. The doctor will monitor my cycle and right when I ovulate, will inject my husband’s sperm directly into my uterus. I talked to Dr. Chung’s office at USC Fertility and it will cost somewhere between $1k and $2k depending on how much monitoring I need. At least the office is very close to work.

The receptionist at my new job has just started telling people she’s 13 weeks pregnant. The ultrasound pics are up on the wall, and every time I go to get the mail (about three times a day) I get to hear about her OB appointments and her complaints about how she can’t eat anything because she gets sick. I’d like to say “I don’t want to hear about your good luck and outstanding abilities to procreate, please stop talking” but instead what comes out of my mouth is “that’s so exciting! Congratulations!” which is a good thing.

I also like to torture myself with the TLC show Deliver Me, which I love. But today I watched one where the woman was complaining about how she doesn’t like being pregnant. I want to reach through the television and punch her in the face.

My Mom gave me all of our family photos along with her diaries starting from before I was born. She was depressed a lot of the time, extremely self-centered and not a very attentive or kind mother. She left my brother and I with a nanny while she worked and went out most nights to the bar with my Dad. There is a diary entry when I was four that reads “[me] will be home all week. I guess it will be ok.” She also mentions how she had to spank either my brother or me to sleep to get us to take a nap when we were about 18 months. How do you spank a child to sleep? It’s amazing to have all these diaries but at the same time it makes me very sad to think that my Mom was such an unhappy person and to learn that she really didn’t like me very much. It took me until I was 39 (after two years of therapy) to believe that I won’t be like her when I’m a mom. I just hope I didn’t wait too long because I think I’ll be a great mama and that my husband will be such a great daddy. But it’s hard not to believe that the universe is trying to tell me something after everything that we’ve been through. And it’s hard to have hope and faith when at the same time I need to know for my own sanity that I won’t die if I don’t ever get pregnant.