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Lucky Number Seven

30 Sep

We got good news today!  I tested positive yet again.  This time I skipped the POAS and just went straight to the blood test which showed my hcg has a strong start with a count of 508.   What a welcome phone call that was!   I am trying to contain myself.  I know the odds were against us as we only implanted one, so I am counting myself very very lucky.

We still have a long climb ahead of us, but for now I am just that our little “perfectly chromosomally normal” embryo is happily growing along.  I can’t believe it made it all the way to implantation after all the poking and freezing and thawing it’s been through.  So grateful, so hopeful.  This time little one, I believe in you.  :  )

Back in the game

30 Jan

Thank you all so much for your support on my last post.  It just means the world to know that I am not the only one who feels alone in this.

After a cycle that was a complete bust (unclear if I ovulated at all, abnormal early bleeding) I am happy to report that my hope is renewed. We have a clean slate this cycle and a good start.  We got the clear to try again with Femara last week and we saw two big follicles on my right ovary on Saturday at our mid cycle checkup.  I know an OPK at home is really all you need, but there is something about actually seeing the follicles on the screen that just boosted my confidence.   After so many bad pregnancy ultrasounds these mid-cycle scans are the only ones I can honestly say I look forward to, proof that my body can do something right.  On a more optimistic side, I like to hope that if things work out I can have memories of my child before they were even conceived!

My RE said they looked ready to go any minute now, and sure enough the next morning my OPK gave me the double lines to confirm the surge.  I could even feel some aching down there in the ovary zone confirming something was definitely going on.  With three days in a row of trying, I’d say we’ve done all we can and now it is just up to time, fate and some higher power to decide if this month will grace us with a positive pee stick.  There is a lot of pressure on this cycle because we decided to move ahead with IVF for our next cycle.  I think it is the right way to go after four years of trying this naturally, but it’s a whole new ball game and not one I thought I’d  have to get into after having being able to conceive naturally five times already.  It’s not clear that we would have better odds with IVF to prevent miscarriage, but it would just (hopefully) speed up the rate at which I am getting pregnant.  Hopefully between the immunology treatments, the natural cycle and the IVF we’ll have a healthy normal pregnancy sometime soon and if we are really lucky it makes it out alive.  Two week wait here we come!

…..

Post Continued>

Thanks guys.  Just when I thought I had it all together I just got hit with another giddy pregnancy announcement at a group dinner.  Forcing a smile hurt as much as ever.  Do those announcements ever get any easier?

Back from Nogales

9 Oct

We’re back!  We made the trip in less than 24 hours for our first round of LIT.  We need to have our second treatment in 3-5 weeks.  The treatment itself is not a big deal.  I got two injections which took less than 5 minutes.  The overhead was another story.  Crossing the US/Mexico border, visiting a random border town in Mexico, meeting all new faces may of whom spoke only broken English, definitely edgy and out there.

Here is a step-by-step of how it all went down:

1. We waited in Arizona for the van at the McDonalds at the scheduled time (11 AM).  (I skipped the whole fast food thing as I had an AMAZING breakfast at our hotel before we left.  I am still thinking about those waffles.  Mr. Star was fasting, but he never eats breakfast anyway so he wasn’t bothered)

2. We met Cesar our driver.  He was our guide for the day and picked us up in a Honda Odyssey.  He was a few minutes late so we were a bit nervous.  That particular location has zero cell service which didn’t help.  Mr. Star used GoogleTalk via the internet roaming to call the clinic and confirm he was coming which was reassuring.

3. We drove across the border through the gates.  We got some glances by the security but noone stopped us.  Apparently Mexico doesn’t check passports or IDs for people coming in.  The border itself is a fence over 30 feet high with rough terrain on both sides.

4.  We drove through the town of Nogales to the clinic.  When you enter you definitely feel like you’ve left the US and are now in a much lower income country as the roads are suddenly much crappier and the phone and electrical wiring is exposed and appears to be hung everywhere.  There is a lot of foot traffic and brightly painted cement buildings closed together with signs in Spanish.

5. We arrived at the clinic which is one of many offices that share the building. Cesar our guide walked us up through the lobby to the clinic on the second floor and we waited in the waiting room looking at the many photos of babies on the wall.

They smiled at us and told us to wait.  It seemed like we were the only non-Mexicans there and everyone was speaking Spanish.  We waited a good thirty minutes before the receptionist asked us to come back.  In the meantime I burned through their magazine collection including old issues of National Geographic and an issue of the local paper (in Spanish) including an ad for the clinic.

6. We meet Dr. Quiroga who asks us if we speak Spanish.  He is relieved when Mr. Star pipes up fluently, but then I let him know that I only speak a little.    In my attempt to practice my Spanish I answered some of his questions in Spanish, but it was weird.  It felt really odd to be turning a conversation about miscarriages into a Spanish lesson.  Fortunately it was just a screening and he got all the information he needed from our paperwork.

7. Mr. Star did his blood draw in the room next door which went smoothly.  He chatted away with the nurse in Spanish (lucky because she doesn’t speak English) and then we were done.  They took the blood and started the cleansing process to make the injections which takes about an hour.  It looks like the blood vials just get processed in the giant machine that was in the same room.

8.  Our driver, Cesar picked us up right afterwards and drove us to lunch across town.  He took us to a really nice restaurant called “La Roca” that had white table cloths and waiters in white jackets and bow ties.  It was a bit out of the way for walking so I was grateful he drove us there.

 There was even an old guy taking polaroids you could by, as if you were eating there to celebrate a special occasion.  I couldn’t resist the cheesiness so we got one.  The food was great and it almost felt like we were on vacation.

9.  Right at the end of the hour and after lunch Cesar picked us up and whisked us back to the clinic where I had the injections.  The needles with the cells were very small and the injections just went below the skin.  It was weird but not too painful.  Still, I was SO relieved it was over as I had really worked myself up about it.  The last visit for the injections was so quick Cesar just waited out front in the car and he was ready to take us back right away.

10.  We made our final cross back to the US sitting in the van watching the carnival atmosphere.  People were walking up and down the line of cars selling popsicles, music CDs and statues of the virgin Mary.  I wish I got a photo of the last one because it looked really funny.  When we got to the border the US agent asked what we were doing in Mexico.  Cesar said we were at “the clinic”.  I wondered if he knew what that meant.  He asked us then if we worked with “an agency”.  Mr. Star and I looked at each other not sure what he meant.  We answered “yes” and the agent seemed satisfied and moved us along very politely.

That was pretty much it.  We spent the rest of the day just killing time before our flight geocaching, site seeing at the national park and taking funny photos of cheesy road sign animal art.  I will let you all know how it goes.  Ultimately time will tell if this adventure amounted to anything more than a bizarre experience.

Tumacácori National Historical Park

Random Rooster Road Sign

Thanks, Mom (I know you at least meant well)

22 Jul

Is it me or have we all become magnets for fertility and pregnancy horror stories?  Now that I am in this select group my friends and family turn to me to talk about all the horrors they’ve heard happening to other people.  I think it is actually intended to give me hope, but I don’t know what to make of it.  Recently my mom told me how my sister knew someone who had had ten miscarriages and then had two healthy pregnancies followed by an extra they had by mistake.  Fuck!  Is this suppose to make feel better?    Actually what resonated to me from this was that the two of them are talking about me behind my back which just made me feel all the more pathetic.  Next I focused on the ten miscarriages.  I can’t even imagine.  I thought five was enough and I can’t bear the thought that I’m only half way there.  When stories like this are supposed to lift you up, you know you are in trouble.

*Update: Sorry to be so negative.  I think I need a massage.  Check out this kitten video which made me smile.  Aw!*

Waiting for ultrasound #3

29 Jun

It is getting down to the wire now.  Tomorrow morning at 9:45 AM I have my third u/s.  Which way will it go?

  • Option A: No heartbeat = Game over (schedule D & C)
  • Option B: Still going, but weak = Wait and See, come back in a few days.
  • Option C: Everything is going to turn out fine!
    This last option is a completely made up one as it doesn’t exist until you are at least 12 weeks along, so no hope for hearing this tomorrow.

Before getting my verdict I just want to say that this has been my best pregnancy experience so far.  It all happened really fast and it included the first (and only) normal u/s I’ve ever had.  In addition it really felt like a gift.  I had accepted that we would move on to injectibles for the month, and dragged myself to it full of anxiety.  That late BFP (after three BFNs) felt like a get out of jail free card.  For a while I thought maybe this will be the ONE and I can actually avoid all this (how lucky would that be)!  It was a pretty awesome feeling and combined with the positive u/s gave me the most feeling of hope that recharged me for the whole month.

In addition I’ve opened up to a lot of people about this pregnancy this time.  Usually I follow the cardinal rule of saying nothing and lying low until I hear something definitive.  This time it felt like, why wait?  These few weeks of pregnancy may be all I get!  After the second u/s I could tell time was ticking and things were likely to go south.  Bringing people into my experience while I am still pregnant felt better to me than waiting.  Because of this I have family and friends hoping for me and able to connect.  Exposing myself felt so much better than my usual approach which was to hide in fear and shame waiting until the mythical 12 week mark to say anything to anyone.    After tomorrow we’ll see if I am still happy I went this route.  I swore after my first loss that I would tell almost noone about anymore pregnancies because I was SO upset having to report back about the loss, embarrassed even, as if somehow I’d been too confident and foolish for sharing.  With four pregnancy losses behind me, noone I’ve told is going to be totally shocked if I lose yet another, so it feels like less of a risk and more of a request for support at a time when I typically feel the most vulnerable.

If it is indeed a confirmed loss I expect to go through another silent period managing my feelings of being a total freak.  While pregnant I feel so normal.  After a loss, I feel like I’m contagious and want to keep my gloom and sarcasm and general negative attitude away from those I care about to avoid potentially burning anymore bridges.  With the exception of the elite group of ladies (like you) who are on this hell road of infertility and pregnancy loss, most people just don’t know what to say and act really weird when you report you’ve had a loss, or worse, start playing problem solver suggesting that I sign up for adoption or hire a surrogate.

If I do lose this one I REALLY hope to get some information in the test this time.  It is ridiculous that only one test on my lost pregnancies came back with any real information.  The first two don’t “count” and so they weren’t tested and the last one was normal female, aka probably ME and not the pregnancy.  Either way, I do want to try IVF and so am planning on ramping up on the injectibles (the ones already sitting in my vegetable drawer).  If we learn my eggs are crap I want to try egg donor, or even donor embryo.

On a totally different note, last weekend was our seventh wedding anniversary.  Despite the weight of all this I was able to really enjoy it.  We stayed at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, ate at their excellent restaurant Murray Circle and the next morning hiked the Golden Gate bridge in both directions.  It was a really relaxing getaway.

Me on the Golden Gate getting some "safe" exercise- a two hour walk.

Cavallo Point, Historic homes by the Golden Gate (former US Navy), Amazing location!Dessert at Murray Circle. Despite having to skip the wine and the local fresh cheeses, it was an amazing dinner and a lovely way to celebrate.

Dessert at Murray Circle. Despite having to skip the wine and the local fresh cheeses, it was an amazing dinner


First ultrasound

15 Jun

I thought this day would never come.  Today was my first ultrasound (u/s) and there was NOTHING WRONG!  It actually looked on track for 6 weeks!  Given how early it was I wasn’t expecting to see much but we actually saw a heartbeat.  Not just a heartbeat, but a “normal” heartbeat.   I couldn’t believe it!  The last time we saw a heartbeat was back in ’09 for pregnancy #2, but it was at 7 weeks and they reported that it was too slow so we already knew something was wrong.  It was 80-90 bpm which is not fast, but apparently ok for 6 weeks.  I am scheduled to go back in a week to take a look.

My last 4 pregnancies all looked odd at the very first u/s.  I had no idea what a “normal” u/s looked like until today.  Even if it all goes downhill I’ve definitely hit a new milestone and I am feeling cautiously optimistic.  This fluke pregnancy that snuck up on me after 3 negative tests and a mental ramp up and investment in an IUI round has taken me by surprise.  I should be sticking myself with needles at this point and instead I got another chance doing exactly what we did the last few times- Femara + timed intercourse.  Right now I am just taking progesterone suppositories, prenatal vitamins, DHA fish oil supplements and baby aspirin and staring at my injectibles in the fridge afraid to move them.  To cover the Eastern medicine side I am also doing acupuncture and my daily moxa.

Mentally I am so happy and still absorbing this news, while also being too afraid to be really excited.  We have to wait a week before we get to have another look.  There is still plenty of time for things to go wrong, but for now, no bad news = excellent news!

First Beta = 625

6 Jun

I am still in shock from the positive test results.  Thrilled, but also a bit confused.  What was up with the pack of pregnancy tests that all came back negative?  Will the fact that I stopped taking progesterone for the 5 days I thought I wasn’t pregnant have an impact?  At this point there’s not much I can do but hope for the best.  My hcg came up as 625 and the progesterone was 54.  I’ll get another test in 2 days.  Hoping that maybe this is it, maybe!