Wednesday, May 31, 2006

5w2d If HCG Is To Be Believed

I’m still pregnant.

Today’s blood draw showed an HCG level of over 11,000, which calculates as a doubling time of 1.65 days (or 39.6 hours). PHEW.

I guess I’m doing okay. For most of the past week, I’ve been really, really happy. I spent the weekend in Boston with my family, and my parents are really, really – bursting from the seams - happy. I’ve shared the news with them obviously and my brothers, and my closest girlfriends who all knew the IVF schedule. D’s told his best friend and that’s it.

What’s surprised me the most is how optimistic and positive I am about this turning out okay. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a shock, as before I encountered infertility I was a glass-is-half-full kind of girl. So while I’ve been qualifying any talk of due dates or later stages of pregnancy, I’ve found it much easier than I ever anticipated using the “p” word. I think I’ve been waiting SO long that now that I can I almost always do.

On the other hand, I’m not without worry. Last night I woke up at 3:30am for my typical bathroom trip and couldn’t fall back asleep. I tossed and turned convinced that the few symptoms I do have (bloated abdomen, gassiness, hungry alot) had disappeared and that today’s blood draw would show bad things. Part of my fear may be because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Thalia (if you haven’t already shown her some love and support, please click on over), and how none of this is fair or logical or makes any sense. And part of the fear is because I am so much more aware than I would have been if I’d conceived three years ago of all the terrible, terrible things that can happen.

So, overall, I’ve just been waiting patiently for someone or some sign to give me the all clear to move ahead. I’ve been too superstitious to call my ob/gyn for that first appointment and I haven’t yet called my mother-in-law or sister-in-law with the news. I think that, if, knock on wood, Friday’s ultrasound is promising than I can proceed.

While I was in Boston, I visited with one of my closest friends whose son will be 2 in July. Her husband cooked me a fabulous meal and they admitted that they were completely excited about my pregnancy and wanted to talk all about it. It was fascinating, because I’d always heard that once you’re pregnant every woman wants to regale you with the stories of their pregnancy – and here I was, a mere 4 weeks 4 days “with child” and already they were treating me differently. It really was like they’d been dying for me to get admitted to their fancy-country club and now that I had they couldn’t wait to talk about how perfect the water in the pool always is and which cabana boys they prefer.

I was a bit at a loss. I was so grateful for their enthusiasm and joy, but I don’t think they’ll ever understand how this is going to be a different experience for me. I told them how my first ultrasound is Friday and my dear friend started talking about how great they are, and how she didn’t even have to undress, but just rolled the waistline down a bit. I had to smile and explain that, “yeah, um, that’s not what this one will be like.”

On the other hand, I really don’t know what this one will be like either.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Where Do I Go From Here?

Officially I’m 4 weeks, 2 days pregnant. Holy. I don’t really know what to do with that fact! I felt so informed and knowledgeable about the ttc process, and the various ARTs – but what do I do for the next (knock on wood) 9 months? I’m surprised that I feel so hopeful and sure. I expected to have much more anxiety. Granted, I worry about bad things going down, but NBHHY and I have no reason to expect it to.

I’ve been lucky with this IVF cycle. It seems to have gone according to textbook. I haven’t had any spotting or bleeding (again, knock on wood). Any symptoms I had I thought/think are really progesterone side effects: bad abdominal cramping and gassiness, mainly. I’ve been hungrier than usual, but I think that just might be psychosomatic.

Monday, while I was waiting and waiting and WAITING for the phone to ring with the results, I had worked myself up into thinking it hadn’t worked. That day I started having bad menstrual-type cramps. I had maybe had a couple here and there over the previous weekend, but on Monday they arrived in full force. When the nurse finally called after 4pm, I honestly was scared. It would have been much better if she had started the conversation of with a “Congratulations!” Instead the call went something like this:

Me (knowing exactly who was calling thanks to the wonderful technology of caller ID – and thankfully in my office alone since my assistant had stepped out for an appt): Hello?

Nurse: Is Melanie available?

Me: This is. (Simultaneously thinking –“Just tell me – tell me – yes or no? tell me!!!!”)

Nurse: Hi Melanie, I’m……..calling……….from………Cornell…….with………the……..results……….of……………your………….pregnancy…….….test. A long pause for response.

Me: Okay.

Nurse: Well………….your…………..HCG………… came………. Back………… ………………251. Which is a nice high number, so congratulations!

Me: (In a fair amount of disbelief) Thank you! Thank you!

The nurse then went on and gave me the estadiol and progesterone levels – which I wasn’t expecting at all. And she mentioned how the progesterone level was good, but on the high side so she was going to check with my doctor to see if I should reduce my nightly PIO dosage. She then asked who my doctor was and when I told her she said:

“I can’t believe it. He’s going to be SO mad that I called another one of his patients.” I then offered to pretend that she hadn’t called me – and secretly I’m glad the nurse called, because I had it in my head that a nurse would be calling if it was good news and my doctor if it was bad.

So, what’s next? I called my doctor’s assistant and scheduled an appointment for Friday, June 2 for a blood draw and my first pregnancy ultrasound. On Tuesday I’ll have another blood draw to make sure the numbers are doubling appropriately. After that, I don’t know what to do.

D is doing okay. He wasn’t particularly lovey-dovey or excited by the good news. He’s “happy that I’m happy” and I’m sure he’s majorly relieved that he doesn’t have to deal with a mopey Mel in his state – and that it finally worked. But as for the being excited about the result in itself – not so much. And that’s okay. You all are so sweet and encouraging with your kind comments, that it makes me feel supported. As have my real-life friends and parents who are thrilled beyond words.

Thanks for sticking with me this far. I hope all you fellow IFs who are currently pursuing treatment or are continuing to reach this moment soon.

Monday, May 22, 2006

It’s A Whole New Ball Game

HCG: 251
E2: 942
Progesterone: 79 (after googling I'm changing this - even though I swear the nurse said 179)

I’m overwhelmed at the moment. Relief. Excitement. Pure joy.

I know it’s only the first inning, but the score looks good to me.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Passing the Hours

I stole this from Spanglish to help pass the time...

20 years ago I . . .
1. was a freshman in high school.
2. got my first period.
3. pegged my jeans and wore my socks over them.

10 years ago I . . .
1. moved to New York City to get my MFA.
2. started speaking with D regularly on the phone again after having not done so for three years.
3. gave up my career as a stockbroker.

5 years ago I . . .
1. won a 7 day all expense-paid vacation for 2 to Europe.
2. made D still go on the vacation even though he had just torn his achilles tendon and was on crutches.
3. married D on the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend.

3 years ago I . . .
1. started trying to get pregnant.
2. watched my little brother cry as he married his wife.
3. got to swim with dolphins while on vacation.

1 year ago I . . .
1. started this blog.
2. realized that we were going to do IVF. And I found out that, fortunately, if we switched to D’s health plan 80% of the costs would be covered.
3. bought our first apartment.

So far this year I . . .
1. have had 36 eggs harvested from my ovaries.
2. learned that my husband has Celiac Disease and that there’s a 10% chance our children will have it.
3. crocheted my first baby blanket.

Yesterday I . . .
1. saw Tarzan – The Musical. (All I can say is – don’t.)
2. got to eat lunch with D after I picked him up after he had an endoscopy.
3. gave myself the PIO shot again and ended up with blood spouting like a Saturday Night Live sketch as I withdrew the needle.

Today I . . .
1. talked to my Mom for the first time in 3 weeks – since my parents just returned from their trip to China. I’ll make sure to catch up with Dad tonight.
2. had to get up at 5:45am to head back to Cornell for a luteal phase blood draw. They test progesterone on days 24 & 26 (assume retrieval day as day 14) for possible use in future cycles. No one will call with the results of the test.
3. have to call my cousin to tell her that D won’t be able to attend her daughter’s Bat Mitzvah with me next weekend because he’ll have to work.

Tomorrow I will . . .
1. have my last full Friday of work for the summer! Summer hours start the following Friday, where we get to leave at 2pm for each weekend!
2. either get my hair cut or have dinner with some cousins who are expected in town (I made the hair appt. but forgot that I might be meeting up with the girls).
3. only have 2 more days until I find out if this IVF worked.

In the next year I will . . .
1. be a mom – damn it.
2. hire an interior decorator to help me figure out what to do with our living room and some other places in the apartment that need help.
3. turn 35, oy.

In the next minute I will . . .
1. Post this to blogger.
2. Check to see if the Yankees are still losing.
3. Think about actually doing some work.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Plus 3

I got a call from an IVF nurse last night to tell me that they had ended up freezing 3 more of our embryos at the blastocyst stage on day 7. So that's 7 total frozen. All this good news is only making more hopeful of our current chances - and therefore, if Monday brings bad news it will be all the more devastating.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I’m feeling optimistic. Excited. I don’t want to jinx this thing, but I think this just might work. An added benefit of a 5 day transfer is that the 2ww is pretty much cut in half. I go in for my beta on Monday. MONDAY! I don’t plan on testing before then.

So I’m in a good place. The happiest place I’ve been in in a LONG time. And D is “happy that I’m happy,” but other than that not so interested or invested in what’s going on. I can’t understand why he doesn’t stare at the picture of the blastocysts with the expression of awe that I do. Or why he doesn’t (when we’re actually in the same room – which isn’t happening very often now that his work has monopolized him) want to put his hand on my stomach and tell those embryos to implant and grow and divide, like I am constantly doing. But what actually upsets me is that he didn’t understand how nice it would have been for him to say he wanted to come to the transfer procedure with me on Saturday. It would have been nice if he could have offered some moral support, since obviously I was quite capable of handling it solo physically.

And there’s probably a part of me, if I’m completely honest with myself (and you), that’s proud of myself for not needing him; for being able to do this all on my own (well, maybe not all – but definitely the majority). The past 2 nights D has had to stay at the office well past our designated 11pm PIO shot time – so I’ve given myself the IM shots. It actually hasn’t been so bad in the physical sense, and I’m proud of myself for being able to do what needs to be done. But if D could have been there, it certainly would have been easier. And I think that about sums it up.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Transfer Day

It’s done. Two are in. And that’s all that matters.

It all went pretty smoothly. I had acupuncture done before I left for the hospital and as soon as I got back. I think I walked into the OR at 3:10pm, saw the picture of the blastocysts on a big video screen, and was being wheeled to recovery at 3:22. For me, the transfer procedure itself wasn’t very different from the plethora of IUIs I had.

What was surprising to me is that no one discussed anything with me first. I got up on the table, the doc said we’re putting in 2, the embryologist brought them over when the doc was ready – told me they were “beautiful” (what parent doesn’t think its kids are beautiful?) and that was that. I got the souvenir photo to take home. I wish I understood better what I was looking at in the picture. There seems to be a thin white veil covering parts of each embryo – what is that exactly?

D did not accompany me to the transfer. Sure, he had to do some work from home, but there’s no doubt he could’ve come if he wanted. He just didn’t want to. I actually think that dealing with him this week has been the hardest part – well, once I got the fertilization results. And that’s saying a lot. I think I’ll write more about D later, because for now I still want to concentrate on the good that’s happening.

Right now I don’t know if any of the remaining embryos made it to freeze. Next to the picture of the blastocysts they gave me, there’s a chart of transfer information which states the following:

Oocytes harvested: 19

Mature oocytes: 18

Normally fertilized: 17
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Transferred: 2

Cell Stages: Blastocysts

Cryopreserved: 0

Will be watched: 15

Unsuitble for transfer, freezing or observation: 0

And that’s all the information I have right now. It appears that all 17 fertilized eggs made it to yesterday? Is that even possible? They said they’d call today with how many, if any, would be frozen, but I’ve yet to hear. But this information makes it awfully hard for me not to be excited and optimistic. This should just work, don't you think?

updated: I just got word that they were able to freeze 4 blastocysts. That's comforting too.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Blasting Off.

Tomorrow is scheduled to be transfer day. I got the call from the nurse yesterday to show up at 2:30pm and to keep taking the tetracycline. No other information. I have no idea how many of the original 17 fertilized embryos are still growing, dividing and thriving. I’m just hoping that at least 2 of them make it ‘til tomorrow afternoon.

They should right? I figure, even if 50% failed to make it to day 3, that left 8 on Thursday – so if another 50% fail to make it through tomorrow, that should still leave 4 to choose from. Of course I know that things could still go horribly awry and I could still end up with nothing to transfer. But NBHHY.

The main advantage for me, as I see it, in doing a blastocyst transfer as opposed to a three day embryo transfer, is that my embryos will be entering the uterus in the same developmental stage as they would have been had we conceived through sex. I just figure my embryos will be coming in through the garage instead of the front door. Either way, they’re still coming home. Please let it be for a long, long stay.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


All last week when I’d leave work and walk across the plaza I’d have to stroll by the spectacle that was David Blaine and his silly “Drowned Alive” fishbowl. Last night in an attempt to break the world record, he apparently held his breath for 7 minutes, 8 seconds. People might think this is a daring feat, but I say p’shaw. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for 2 weeks straight.

A few minutes ago, I finally exhaled. The IVF nurse called me with fertilization results. Yes – a nurse called me – not my RE. And, she called with actual fertilization results. Relief, hope and maybe some excitement seem to be washing over me. It’s pretty promising: of the 19 eggs retrieved, 1 was immature. They used ICSI on the 18 remaining and 17 fertilized. The nurse said I could open my own kindergarten.

So now, I wait. They won’t call me until the morning of the designated transfer day. It may be a day 3 transfer (Thursday) or it may be a day 5 transfer (Saturday). But surely there should be 2 transferable embryos. This is the closest I’ve ever come to being pregnant. I don’t know about David Blaine, but right now I feel like I’ve performed the biggest magic trick of them all.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Retrieval Redux

I made it through another retrieval. They got 19 eggs. And should be ICSI-ing all of them. I don't remember being in this much pain and discomfort last time around.

Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, I share with you the special underwear I bought last December to wear to retrieval and transfer (I bought 2 pairs). I know it didn't help last go 'round, but we're thinking optimistically here:

For the goyim out there, the front shows the hebrew letters which are on the 4 sides of a dreidel. They stand for the saying that's printed on the back:

And I wore purple fuzzy socks (under the ones the hospital made me wear). Anything to make me feel special, I guess. My RE was the one actually performing the retrievals today, which was nice. I especially liked that he chose Green Day's American Idiot as his O.R. music.

So....I'm waiting. Waiting to see if fertilization happens. Before my turn this morning (because I'm always last) while I was waiting the other 2 women (there were only 4 retrievals scheduled today - last time I think there were 12!) were lamenting the upcoming 2 week wait and the IM shots. And all I could think was "I hope I get there."

I'm so hoping this IVF cycle is like The Empire Strikes Back. You know, better than the original.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

One Year Later

It’s my blogiversary.

One year ago I created this space so I could become part of the IF community. I hoped that I’d have some readers who followed my story and helped me along. I didn’t expect to be here, where I am, a year later. But I’m so glad I decided to jump in the fray of the blogosphere. You’ve picked me up in my worst moments, offered advice when needed and made me laugh when I didn’t think I could. I’ve learned much from all of you – about infertility, sure, but also just about relationships and life. The different perspectives and outlooks you all provide are enlightening. I truly thank you.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Good News.

Well here’s something: D’s urologist called me at home last night at 9:30pm to give me the results of D’s semen culture. No signs of infection; No white blood cells. Now there's nothing wrong with D's sperm. So, hopefully ICSI will work. And hopefully we’ll have two perfect embryos to transfer. And hopefully at least one of those will implant. And grow. And become a real, live human being. Hopefully.

My RE did the wanding this morning, and as I anticipated, he thinks Monday will be retrieval day.

I’m starting to get scared and nervous and excited. Please, oh please, let this cycle turn out differently.

updated to add: today's instrux - reduce follistim to 75iu. E2 is 1316. Even the nurse said I'm getting there...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Daddy’s Little Girl

I realize that I haven’t been blogging much about this current IVF cycle – especially as compared to the first round where I gave pretty much daily updates. The upshot is that things are progressing ostensibly like they did last cycle – just stimming a bit more slowly. I’m about one day behind where I was last time around – which I think is what my RE was aiming for by cutting the Repronex and having me on bcps for a month. I’ve got a bunch of follicles between 10 and 15mm and yesterday’s E2 level was in the 500’s. I expect to make it to retrieval around Monday or Tuesday – maybe Sunday.

Physically I’m doing okay. My stomach feels kinda “full” or “tight” at times. I get headaches – but if I drink enough water they seem to go away or not appear. And giving myself the shots has gone smoothly enough. So, on the outside this IVF stuff is going along great.

Emotionally, well, is a little different story.

Darling D is still hibernating in his cave. Except now, work seems to have added a boulder to the front opening, making it even harder for him to emerge. He had to work both days this past weekend and so far this week he’s not gotten home until well after I’m asleep. When I do see him, the last thing he wants to do is discuss what’s bothering him, so I still don’t know what it is that’s driving this deep depression he’s landed in. It’s frustrating for me and isolating. I feel alone and excluded since he is unwilling to share with me what’s troubling him.

I’m not angry with him for this, but I do resent that there’s nobody out there right now looking after me as I go through the shots, the monitoring and all the rigmarole of an IVF cycle. Isn’t there someone who can ease my burden right now?

And that’s where my dad comes in. He and my mom are currently vacationing in China so it’s not like they can come over and make me dinner. But yesterday morning I checked my e-mail and there were 2 messages from him. The first was to the extended family and friends group detailing their arrival and their plans. The second was to his children (children in-law included) and just said:

Hi, hope you guys are all well and esp in NY; Don't be afraid to write; We love you and will communicate again soon. Love Us

That silly little message means SO incredibly much to me. I cried when I first read it, and I’m crying now as I write this. The “especially in NY” reference – the acknowledgement that we’re in a tough place at the moment, the hope that we are doing okay. All of that I need. I want it from D, but he can’t provide it right now, but my Dad comes through all the way from another continent. What my father does for me better than anyone else in the whole world is make me feel loved unconditionally. I am so lucky.

Monday, May 01, 2006


I got tagged by waitingline last week to write 6 weird/unique things about me, and I don’t want her to think I was ignoring it. So, even though I gave you 100 previously, here are 6 more – starting with some changes to the original list:

1. (Based on the original #7) I stopped volunteering reading to kids at the homeless shelter after my first IVF cycle failed. It was very difficult to be around those mothers and the kids.
2. (Based on #57) I had to stop watching The O.C. – although I still adore Adam Brody. My new favorite show was Arrested Development, until the stupid executives at Fox Television thought it wasn’t worth renewing. If you haven’t watched it – you must. It’s the funniest show that’s ever been on television.
3. (Based on #73) I’m no longer a registered Republican. When we moved to the new apartment and I had to update my voting records, I couldn’t check off the box and say I believe in either political party right now.
4. (Based on #80) So, now D and I both own ipods. What’s strange is that some of my favorite things to listen to are the old mix tapes that people had made for me back in the day, and which D spent an inordinate amount of time transferring onto the hard drive on our computer. There’s also a tape of my last college radio show which I love listening too; but hearing all these tapes also causes waves of nostalgia.
5. I think Bob Costas is the man. He knows something about everything. If I had that fabled dinner party where you could invite anyone in the world I’m inviting him and Steve Martin.
6. I’m having a really hard time coming up with that which is weird about me. I don’t know that anything I’ve written is weird – yes, it’s part of what makes me, me but is it weird? I’m not sure.


Okay - this morning I thought of 2 weird things I do:

1. When I blow-dry my hair in the morning I combine it with the Pada Hastasana yoga pose. I get a good stretch AND my hair feels more bouncy!

2. When I brush my teeth I get bored just standing in front of the mirror - so I tend to walk around the house doing little one-handed tasks or go all the way to the living room to watch t.v.

Those are weird, right?