Monthly Archives: April 2012

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Well shit. They retrieved 13 eggs. 12 made the thaw and 5 actually survived the next hour. Those 5 were ICSI fertilized and of those, 2 are showing signs of normal fertilization. And given my history, there’s almost no chance these two will make it to day 5. And even if they do, then they have to be frozen and thawed again. Which we also have a poor track record with. So, it was a nice opportunity and gesture, but it’s probably over almost as quickly as it started. Let’s hope the IUI takes.

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Full Circle

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It is almost exactly 2 years now since we started trying.  2 years ago, I had an IUI just a few weeks prior to the conference my company puts on every May.  I POAS in my hotel room, by myself, and got my BFP at that conference.  And then I miscarried on Mother’s Day.

Here we are, 2 years later.  It’s about a week and a half before the big conference my company puts on every year, and I had my IUI.  I will POAS while I am away.  Yet another hotel housekeeper who is going to find a pregnancy test lying on the sink.  It must seem scandalous.  Last time I was so excited I tested every day and I left my tests on the sink to come back and see throughout the day.  2 years later, my excitement has been tempered by a big, painful, dose of reality.

 

Today’s IUI was anything but uneventful.  Dr. Z had mentioned that when we went in today to do the follicle reduction, they might be able to freeze the eggs they remove.  And then later if we needed/wanted them, they would thaw them and try to fertilize them.  I agreed that we would like to do that if it was possible, and he said they would not charge us because they do not typically freeze eggs, so they would view this as a chance to practice.  From my perspective, if we get an embryo out of the deal, then great.  If not, there’s nothing to lose.  The other option was to just throw them away anyway.

So, when we got there today, they got me ready for anesthesia – a follicle reduction is the same as an egg retrieval, so anesthesia is necessary!  Then the embryologist came in and explained that they were going to do the egg retrieval.  They would then freeze them and about an hour later, thaw them.  At that point they would ICSI them, using a bit of sperm from the vial that was thawed for our IUI today.  And from there, it’s just like IVF, you wait for fertilization reports, embryo growth reports, etc.  They would also leave several follicles intact in me, and do the IUI while I was under anesthesia.

So, because we allowed them to freeze the eggs, we basically got a free IVF cycle out of this.  They retrieved 13 eggs, and left in 4 follicles for the IUI.  I had 17 eggs on half the meds I was taking with IVF – and I have never had that many before.  This was our last try to get a genetic sibling for our son because it’s the last vial of sperm from our donor, like anywhere.  But because they decided to fertilize the eggs today, in conjunction with our IUI, if anything comes from it, we will have some additional chances.

I need to send them a card or something and thank them.  Everyone was so incredibly nice today.  Beyond nice.  Nicer than nice.  And they gave us this awesome opportunity to maybe get some frozen embryos to use in the future.  So, now we get through the 2WW and see if anything comes from the frozen eggs.

So, it was an eventful day.  I guess this cycle ended up being a combo IUI/IVF?

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Sometimes being in management baffles me.  I always rate well on anything regarding emotional intelligence and dealing with people.  I always get the highest scores from my team in areas that relate to they way I treat them and work with them as a manager.  I am proud of all of this.  I generally do very well in the human side of management.

Lately though, I have been left wondering if I am doing something wrong.  I asked someone in a different department to work on a project (with her boss’ blessing), and 2 months later it’s still not even started.  I finally have a bid from the outside contractor who will actually do the work, but it’s not started.   I asked someone on my team for a report today and she replied with a one sentence email telling me to ask someone else.  It took 4 people getting this request, and saying no, before I just asserted my authority and said that I did not have time to discuss this further and that someone needed to get me the report and that I needed it in the next 15 minutes.

One person at my office gets everything she asks for right away because people are afraid of her.  Because she can be mean.  She’ll make your life hell.  She’s made mine hell and she’s my peer – she has no supervisory authority over me.  But she gets what she needs and wants from people.  I’ve always been very much against leading by fear and authoritarianism, but I am wondering if there is some merit there.  I’ve tried being nice and that’s not working.

Who tells the VP to go ask someone else????  I never pull that card – EVER – but when it takes me an hour to get something that should have taken 5 minutes, it makes me wonder if I need to pull the card more often.  I have results and outcomes for which I am accountable and if I can’t make it happen because I am not able to get people to respond appropriately, then I am doing something wrong.    There’s got to be some sort of line where you are more firm, but at the same time still do well on the human side.  I have to sort this out.

So many follies

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When I was spending $20,000 on my cycles for IVF,  I did not get a lot of eggs.  And here we are, having spent half the money on meds and WAY less on the procedure with IUI, and I have 13 mature follicles.  13.  Which I cannot use.  But, rather than cancel the cycle and lose all of the money we have invested, we are going to spend a little more and have some of the follicles aspirated.  It’s basically just like an egg retrieval – they will go in and suck out some of the follicles.  But since we are still doing IUI, they will leave about 6 in there to ovulate normally, and they will do the IUI.  I’ll go under the anesthesia and such, just like a retrieval, and we’ll have a much more sensible number of eggs for an IUI.

I saw Dr. Z today and he said their lab is starting to experiment with freezing eggs and fertilizing them later.  He’s not sure if they will be set up for it, but if they are, they can freeze the eggs that they take out, rather than just throw them away.  Then later, they will try to thaw and fertilize them, and if they make embryos, great.  If not, then that’s fine too.  They don’t charge us for it either way because it is an experimental procedure and they view it as a chance to practice.  If we benefit from it, even better.  I figure we’re just going to throw out the eggs otherwise, so I am all for it.  Hopefully they will want to do that.

So, here we go.  Aspiration and IUI on Wednesday.  This is our last chance in the world to have another child that is fully a genetic sibling to our son.  That’s less important for sure these days, but it’s still significant.  

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So, now I have too many follicles.  My first IVF cycle, I took a whole lot more drugs than this, and spent a whole lot more money and had half as many follicles.  My ovaries have been uncomfortable though, so I knew it was going to be a lot.  There are like 15.  That’s too many for an IUI for sure.  But, they are not ready yet, so I drop my gonal-f dose for the next few days and we check again on Monday.

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I have a follicle check ultrasound today.  And due to a manhunt for a shooter/carjacker, the ONE road (it’s a major road)  that leads from my city to the city where the ultrasound is, is completely closed.  Police are out on the highway with dogs and all sorts of bad guy tracking stuff.  Hopefully the road will open again in the next hour or we’ll have a bit of a situation to figure out since I am on day 7 of stims for an upcoming IUI.  

I am on hold with the clinic to see if they know of any alternate ways to get there because based on the local news and their helicopter coverage, that road I need is not going to open any time soon.  They just told me that every road leading into that city is closed.  They will just see me whenever I can get in today – that’s really nice at least.  They understand they are going to have a long day, and I understand that when I can finally get there, I am going to have to be patient and wait nicely.  They’ll be doing their best today.

In other news, the friend whose friend was considering putting her baby up for adoption decided to keep the baby, so that is no longer a possibility.  I was never really engaged with that prospect because it seemed as unlikely as it has turned out to actually be.  But at the very least, it was an overwhelmingly kind gesture from a good friend, to try to put that together if the opportunity was there.

And, I got a call from the IVF clinic yesterday that a couple who has some extra embryos available has finally followed up with them to contact us about potentially donating them.  This would be an open donation, so we would know who they are and they would know who we are.  They may have requests, such as wanting to be sure that an children we might have from the donated embryos are able to meet their siblings later in life.  A request which we would support.  I don’t know what other kinds of requests they would want in order to donate them, so we will see.  They were given my name and email address yesterday, so I am just waiting for them to contact me.  So, maybe that will happen.

Today, just looking to get to that ultrasound follie check.

 

 

I have a follic…

Ego

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I would like to take a moment to point out that I am a frickin’ rockstar at my job.  And I feel the need to point it out because it goes so terribly unnoticed sometimes.  I work for a non-profit with a gross revenue of around $2.5 million.  Of that $2.5 million, I bring in $2 million.  Every other department is losing revenue, bleeding revenue, really.  Not me.  I increased my revenues by 25% last year.  That’s right.  While everyone else is bleeding money, I keep hauling it in.  AND I am hauling it in for other departments, too, because I have the opportunities to do so.  Because I am an effing rockstar.  I am the queen of innovation in this company.  And because everyone else fears change and innovation, and I thrive on it, my department is slamming out incredible new ideas and programs and no one else is.  

Now, we are a non-profit, so revenue isn’t our key driver.  But I assure you, if you have no money to offer programming, you have no nonprofit.  I believe the phrase is “No margin, no mission.”

I appreciate my co-workers and their talents, but this post is an homage to me.  So if it sounds a little self centered, that’s because it is.  I’m feeling under appreciated and a little taken advantage of, so today is my day to not let myself get down.  Today is the day I remind myself not to feel inadequate just because I am not appreciated.  

I am seriously really, really, really good at my job.  And if I worked in a more progressive organization where people weren’t so afraid to try new things, I could really contribute so much more.  Which is sometimes frustrating.  But, right now – today – the thing to know is that I am fairly incredible at what I do.

Inadequate is Best

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We haven’t told very many people about our infertility struggles.  It’s awkward and uncomfortable and really, there’s not much anyone can say, so why bother putting people through that?  But we have told some people along the way and recently I have told more.  A fairly universal response seems to be, “Well, at least you have your son and he’s one of the greatest kids ever.  I bet this makes you love him even more.”

I know people are trying to be supportive and there’s really nothing to say other than, “Wow, this sucks.” And that somehow seems inadequate.  I get it.  But, I sort of resent the idea that I could possibly love my son any more and that he somehow makes it easier to not be able to get pregnant.  It took a lot of time and work to get him, too.

What I can say is that I am tremendously lucky to have overcome this once.  And I DO have an incredible kid.  And somehow, I do think that makes it a little easier for me than for people who haven’t had a child at all.  So, yes, if we are comparing, I am more fortunate than some and I never forget that.

But I do really cringe at the thought that I could possibly love my son more, or appreciate him more, just because I can’t have another baby.  As if he were somehow replaceable.    Or as if I only mostly loved him and had a little bucket of love I was reserving for some unborn child that I was withholding from my son.  But, now that it looks like I won’t be able to have another one, I can go ahead and empty that bucket and give him that love, too.  Or maybe it’s about appreciating him.  And people want to point out that he’s a great kid and he should and could be “enough” for me.

I DO already have a great kid, and I don’t want him to grow up alone and be alone having to deal with us when we are old, and be alone when we die – oh trust me, my quest for another child is for him as much as it is for me.  He will make friends, he will likely fall in love with someone, and have whatever kind of family (or not), that he chooses.  He’s social – my guess is that he will have a large chosen family surrounding him for most of his life.  But even if you don’t get along, siblings are irreplaceable.  You share a lifetime of experience and you take that with you into the world.  You can roll your eyes together at your parent’s quirks.  You can text ridiculous inside jokes from 20 years ago.  You will have someone who gets it…someone who you love, even if you don’t like.  Someone who will, in most instances, eventually forgive you even your worst behavior and still be there for you.

A note to folks out there in the impossible position of trying to find something comforting to say to folks like me:  Do not try to have us take comfort in the fact that we already have a great kid.  We KNOW we have great kids.  And having them does not make it hurt less.  It does not make losing a baby/pregnancy any easier.  It does not make the rounds and rounds of hormones and injections and mood swings and encounters with “the wand” and the waiting and the roller coaster of good and bad news – any less stressful or emotional.

Just say, “Wow, that sucks.  I’m really sorry you are going through this.”  As inadequate as it may seem – it’s all there is.

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Ok, Dr. L. also said no surgery. I emailed the podiatrist to see if they can do it with a local, and if not, I guess we wait.

I also Googled the coordinator for my IUI since I have never heard anything about this woman in the 2 years I have been at the clinic and something about her just isn’t right. She has a very public LinkedIn profile. It turns out that she has only been there since August and she’s not a nurse. As a matter of fact, her experience prior to this job has only been front office medical work and billing/coding. Which explains why she has NO IDEA how to answer any of my questions and why her demeanor is somewhat short and rude. Her experience is working with insurance companies trying to get the doctors paid, so she’s used to being short with people and expecting them to just accept what she says without questions.

Now, for me, when it comes to making medical decisions, I want to know why I should make decision A or decision B. And if you can’t tell me, you either need to get the information or get me in touch with someone who CAN tell me. And not give me attitude when I want to understand. At least now I know what I am dealing with – someone with zero medical knowledge and only 9 months of fertility practice experience. *sigh* If I am stuck with her in the future, I may have to switch fertility clinics if we do more IUI. I don’t think I can work with her.

In the meantime, I am going to start running again and just deal with the foot pain. I figure it can hurt and I can sit around and gain weight and be miserable. Or, it can hurt and I can try to work through it and gain less weight and be physcially miserable, but maybe a little less mentally miserable.

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BARGH!!!!  It doesn’t look like I am going to get my foot surgery!  The nurse from my IVF office called and said she talked to the other doctor and he said the general anesthesia could impact the egg growth and either no surgery or cancel cycle.  Of course, she hadn’t bothered to look at my file and had no idea I was already on lupron and was starting gonal-f on Friday.  I don’t trust her one bit – I would much rather have been able to talk to the doctor myself.

And because of that, I told her that I wanted a second opinion – and I wanted her to talk to Dr. L about it.  I KNOW Dr. L knows where I am at in treatment and I don’t trust that this nurse told the other doctor because she didn’t know.    The response will likely be the same, but at least I will know the doctor had all of the relevant information to provide the feedback.

Maybe the podiatrist can use a local or block anesthetic…but I doubt it.  She said it would be general.  This is really a disappointment – I won’t cancel my cycle, so no foot surgery, I guess.  Next opportunity is in September, so it looks like I am living with the immobility and pain for a lot longer.

I want to know why they can use general anesthesia to retrieve eggs in an IVF cycle, but I cannot use it to have foot surgery in an IUI cycle.  And that nurse cannot explain anything to me – and I can’t talk to a doctor because I cannot get through the nurse.