Friday, December 28, 2007

Have I mentioned how much I HATE insurance companies??

M and I are having an issue regarding insurance. She currently has BCBS insurance and had checked into adding maternity coverage which is done in the form of a rider. It isn't the best insurance for pregnancy - costing $150-200/month for the coverage, then a $2,500 deductible, after which they pay 80%. But we need something in place just in case she has to have a c-section and ends up spending 3 or 4 days in the hospital, or if she has some other medical problem like M's sister did with the ruptured aneurism that required major surgery the day after they delivered her son. I'm scared to go into this uninsured... I don't need to end up with $40,000 in medical bills!!!

So, we're checking into alternatives - but apparently you aren't allowed to have babies in NC!! BCBS says that you can only add the maternity rider in November, to take effect January 1. If we start a new BCBS policy for her, they will cancel the existing one, which will be a problem because she currently has her kids grandfathered in - she's only paying for 2 of them and on a new policy she would have to pay for all 3 - a difference of about $150/month for the next 13 years!! So, we started checking into other insurance options, but many companies do not offer maternity coverage in NC!! WTH?!? Guess they feel that we're overpopulated here!

Right now I'm not sure just what we're going to do... we have to get something in place to cover her... wish I could just add her to my Tricare.

Monday, December 24, 2007

It's Christmas-time again...

... and I'll be SO glad when it's over! I know it sounds awful to say that, but I'm ready to say "goodbye" to 2007. 2008 is going to be a much, much better year for us - I know this. So many things are just feeling "right".

B and I just got back from 4 days in New Orleans - it was plenty of time to spend there and I think we were both ready to come back home. We're just NOT partiers, and we were staying on Rue Dauphine which is just 1 street over from Bourbon in the French Quarter so while we weren't getting crazy and drunk at all hours of the night, we WERE hearing a lot of it. I'm not complaining - it was actually interesting to stay IN the city - it's amazing how noisy it is at 4am with the delivery trucks and street cleaners. Those of us who grew up in the suburbs aren't used to that - so I slept even less well than usual. But, it was an experience. It was nice to be away. We left our laptops at home, so we did a lot more talking, which was nice. We're hatching a plan to fulfill a moderate-term "dream" of mine - he doesn't seem to think that it's too far out of reach. I'm not going to get into details right now, but it's a business endeavor that I've been contemplating for a few years and we're going to see if we can bring it to fruition. If I can swing the increased bonus the Army is offering... it might be within reach in the next couple of years - and that would be wonderful!!

R called me on Thursday, just after we got off the plane. To be honest, I thought she might be calling because she tried to use the Visa debit and it was rejected; she had told me that her recheck appt was on Thursday. At the start of our vacation, I just didn't want to deal with it, so I let it go to voice mail. Turns out her appt was on Friday, not Thursday, but she had called her doctor's office, I guess, about the path results. They wouldn't let her authorize a release over the phone, but told her that the results came back "normal female." Now, the issue with this is that the cells they analyzed COULD have been hers, if there wasn't sufficient fetal tissue obtained to be SURE that they were looking at fetal tissue and not at uterine lining. But, they saw nothing alarming, and since that's all we have to go on, that will have to do. I did email her again and tell her that she needs to have the report forwarded to NCCRM so they can "advise me as to the frozen embryos" so hopefully she'll do that next week. I told M that all looks good (at least as far as we can know at this point) so we'll talk more tomorrow, and after Christmas, but the next step is to get all of her screening done and get her cleared as a surrogate. Then, as long as everything looks good, we can work on insurances and then head for transfer. I'm not sure WHY, but I'm "feeling" late February for transfer... we'll see...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It's been a while -

- since I've posted... not that anything has happened really. Nothing earth shattering that is, though I've certainly been busy.

I came home from work the day after Houdini died and Middle Child was waiting for me... "where's my Houdini?" was the first question he asked. I had my hands full so I asked him to give me a minute; I put everything down and took a deep breath, took the little box I had placed him in and went into Middle Child's room. "Is he in there?" he asked... now, stupid me, somehow I was thinking "he found out that Houdini died and he's already recovered" - don't really know why I thought that, except I was holding a small cardboard box with the lid all folded shut tight and I couldn't think of a reason, I guess, that I would have a live critter boxed up like that - but then, I don't think like a 13 year old and I had information that he did not. I handed him the box and he plopped it into his lap, pausing to complete some maneuver on the computer, then reached down to open the box. I placed my hand on top of the box to stop him and said, "No." He looked up at me, "huh?" I knelt down in front of him and said, "you don't want to open the box?" Of course he comes back with "why not?" I started to cry at this point and I said only, "I'm so sorry, baby." He started shaking his head back and forth and saying, "no, no, no, no" and then he burst into tears. I held him until he calmed down and then asked if he wanted to bury him in the yard. I dug a hole under that huge tree that's right out front - had to use the pick-axe to get thru the tree roots, but I was determined to bury the fur-baby right where my son wanted him buried. He's had a few episodes since then where he just walks up to me, puts his arms around me and starts crying - but all in all, he's doing alright. I promised him that when Binki and Twinkle have a baby (they've been REAL chummy since I took Houdini out of the cage), I will NOT make him get rid of it - male or female, I will spay/neuter it so the inbreeding isn't an issue and he can keep him/her. We also had a long talk about positivity and visualization, which has helped him as much as it has helped me, I think.

On a positive note, I did call F'ville to check on the shih-tzu - the owner gave Benedryl thru the night and she was doing fine the next morning; a bit sluggish (not a surprise really with all the Benedryl she was receiving) but no further reaction, so that was a load off of my heart.

We're still waiting on the results of the testing done on the fetal tissue obtained from R's D&C; yesterday was 2 weeks, so today I sent her an email asking her to call her doctor and see if the results are back; I may be paying for the testing, but no one is going to call me or send me a copy of the results. M is waiting to hear what's going on so that she can get her testing done. I think, at this point, it's a "given" that we won't be doing anything before Christmas, but we are all ready to get started as soon as we get the tissue results (assuming, of course, that they do not find a significant genetic problem there). M can get all of her stuff done in one day - the blood work, the saline ultrasound, the "education" session - and as long as we get the OK from the RE, there's just the insurance to take care of. I know with R, that took a few months to get in place - hopefully we can get it done a little more quickly this time since we'll know what companies to go with - I know one of the issues last time was finding a company that would do a disability policy that did not exclude pregnancy - but now we know who to go to for that, so it's a non-issue... or should be. M has already checked with her health insurance about adding a maternity rider to her policy but she said she was having trouble figuring out what it covers, what has co-pays vs deductibles, etc. I guess maybe she was on the website... I told her that she should give them a call and tell them that she is probably going to be adding the rider and needs the information - I'm sure there's some type of "exclusion" period to insure that women don't add it AFTER they're already pregnant, but I wouldn't expect that to be very long; same with the disability policy - it has to be in place BEFORE she gets knocked up.

I'd love to be able to transfer in February... but that may be a little unrealistic given the insurance stuff. She can get cleared to go right after Christmas, as long as we have the test results back; I did talk to our coordinator about M's IUD, but there's no waiting period because of it... she can get pregnant with her first cycle after it's removed. Of course, I also don't know how long it takes after you remove an IUD before you have a period - if it's pretty quick, then we could conceivably transfer as early as 3 wks after it's removed. However, I'm not going to hold my breath - for some reason February "feels" good to me - but I'm thinking "late February"... but any time this spring will thrill me to no end.

We've been surprisingly busy at work - apparently the girls have been getting in trouble for not making their phone calls - they have to schedule appointments for all pets that are overdue, and then they call and inform the owners when to show up... surprisingly, many of them do!! At any rate, we've been very busy for the last week. I have to work tomorrow and then I'm off until Dec 26th (well, except for the staff meeting on Weds, which of course got scheduled on my PTO day - though I think because I'm officially on vacation, I could not show up, but I think I should go.... it will look much better if I do, kwim?); we leave for New Orleans on Thursday -- I'm really looking forward to that. We agreed to leave our laptops behind, so that will give us some "real" time together. I'm looking forward to it, though I'm sure I'll have moments of "internet withdrawal"! LOL

I guess that's about it. We're having a lazy, lazy day today and B wants some popcorn :) This morning he had me remove the big mole that was in his left armpit - he couldn't get in to the dermatologist until the end of February and it was really bothering him - so now he's playing "invalid"! He's so silly...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I want a smaller plate!

I have heard, and really try to believe, that God will not put more on our plates that we can each handle, but it feels sometimes like I've got a damned platter here while others are carrying around saucers... now, I know that I have been blessed with great inner strength, and I have been through some things that would have pushed others over the edge - and I've become a better person for what I've endured, but come on... where does it end??

I found out that I didn't get the deployment to Hawaii - they opted to use the LTC who is already going to be in Oahu, 'cause then they don't have to pay travel expenses (which B says is a huge thing when you're looking at TDY), but the LTC out at Ft Shafter said that I'd be at the top of his list in case the LTC cancels or has his plans changed, or if they need someone in the future, so maybe... I might just get there after all, just not this Christmas (which is fine anyway, because Little Man was upset at the idea that I may be gone for Christmas and - more importantly - his birthday).

Since the 2nd miscarriage, when I started reading The Secret and working on my visualization journal, I have been having this internal monologue about remaining positive, having tolerance and understanding, etc. Perfect example was yesterday - I was at the UPS store for over an hour getting the motorcycle parts wrapped, boxed and sent off to Robbie's shop... I remained pleasant and cheerful during the entire ordeal (not that it was THAT unpleasant, but still, standing in place for over an hour for much of anything - especially when it's going to cost you $200 - gets old pretty quick); by the time I got out of there, it was time to go back to work (I was working in F'ville) and I was starting to get hungry... I haven't had much of an appetite the last couple of weeks, but my tummy was growling so I figured that I'd just pop in the Food Lion next door and grab some crackers or something. Well, there were at least 8 customers waiting to check out and all of 2 lines open - a "regular" line and one with a huge sign that said, "Express Lane 12 Items or Less" - so I got in the express lane, since I had 3 things to buy. The couple in front of me had 4 items; the lady in front of them had at least 30 things in her cart. Guess she didn't want to wait in the proper line... now, usually, this would piss me off and I would be shooting icy stares (ok... to be honest, I did give her the ol' evil eye a time or two before I got control of myself!) and mentally cursing her out - but instead, I had this mental dialog and managed to calm myself down nicely and even feel pretty good.

Then, one of my last appointments of the day was a 6 month old shih tzu puppy - she was a runt and the breeders apparently gave her away. The owner's in-laws got her as a gift for the girl when her husband was deployed - to keep her company. She had had her 1st vaccine from the breeder, but that had been back in Sept, and she'd not been vaccinated again. With it being Christmas and all, money was tight, so we were only doing 3 vaccines - distemper, corona and rabies. This little pup weighed all of 3.5# but was cute as a button, all playful and sweet. I gave the vaccines and was chatting with the owner for a few minutes - she was gathering up her stuff to leave and the pup was lying sternally on the table, and I noticed that she kinda swayed sideways... that's NOT normal... I picked her up and tried to get her to stand - she wouldn't. She acted like she was drunk. Not good! Then she started retching... so I took her back into the treatment area and gave her a shot of Benedryl and some Reglan - she puked up some mucous and then collapsed. Her gums went a pale greyish color and her heart rate dropped; she never had any difficulty breathing, nor did she have any facial swelling, but it was definitely a vaccine reaction - I've never had a dog do this before!! We got her onto oxygen and finally managed to get an IV catheter in... she got epi (when the girls finally managed to find it - yep, that's right... they didn't know where it was - finally had to call the office manager, come to find out it was in the fridge... WTH?!), Dex and more Benedryl IV, and we started fluids. About 10 minutes later, she was sitting up and trying to get away from the oxygen; she seemed tired, but that could have been from the Benedryl. The owner didn't have the money to take her to Urgent Care for overnight monitoring, so I gave her instructions to try to get thru the night (she's a medic in the Nat'l Guard so at least she had some supplies at home and some basic medical knowledge). I'll have to call today to see how she did overnight.

I didn't get home until 8:30pm, and I was just worn out - this emotional stuff is really draining! I went to give Houdini his Baytril and he was cold and very lethargic; he didn't fight me at ALL which was unusual. I started checking him over and he seemed very thin and terribly dehydrated. How could I have missed this?? I've handled him at least twice a day since he got hurt!! How did I NOT notice that he was going downhill? Yes, I know, like I tell clients all the time, animals are great compensators, but still... I tried to force feed him but he wouldn't swallow, so that was difficult at best. I warmed him up and gave him warm SQ fluids, but it didn't help. He died in my hands last night about 10pm. The worst of it is having to tell Middle Child what happened. He's going to be devastated... I know that kids bounce back, but still - he loves that little furbaby and Middle Child is by far my most sensitive child! And then there's the whole issue of the little girl who is supposed to be getting Houdini for Christmas! I don't know WHAT to do about that!! I guess I'll be calling the unidentified numbers in my cell phone and hope that one of them belongs to them. This is just NOT FAIR!! But, then, I guess no one ever promised me that life would be fair.

With all of the negativity, there HAS also been some positive stuff that keeps me going. I got an email a couple of days ago from my sister offering to be our surrogate. I was absolutely stunned. Of course, I had been praying that she'd volunteer, but didn't really expect it. I remember that she had awful morning sickness with Little T (though I think it was less with the others), but she's been thru a lot lately, and has a new bf, etc. Even so, I HAD responded to one of her emails with a statement that we were going to look for a new surro and I wish I knew someone who could carry the baby for us - and, yes, that was designed to make her think about it - but i didn't hear anything for several days, so I figured she was letting it pass on by, which was fine... and then she offered. Turns out, she tells me, that her "knee jerk reaction" was to volunteer but she forced herself to think about it for a few days and do some research into what is involved! That's just like her! Unlike me who just follows my heart and jumps in without much consideration for the consequences, she doesn't volunteer to do anything unless she knows what's involved. Anyway, we're obviously waiting on the results of the genetic testing of the fetal tissue before we do anything, but if/when that comes back ok, I guess we'll go through the initial testing stuff with M (the blood work screening, the saline u/s, the psych eval if they insist on doing one) and if that's all wnl, we'll move forward. As she said, there are about 4 million details to work out - most importantly insurance and protecting her business, but I had already worked through that one in my head - but we'll get to those in time. The cycle for a frozen transfer is short... about 3 wks from the start of her period - so I'm hopeful that we might be able to transfer in March or April if all goes well.

One thing The Secret "taught" me... if you worry about how you're going to get to your goal, you will keep getting more reason to worry - focus on the end results; "how" you get there is not your job - that's up to the Universe to figure out. I read that Sunday night before I went to bed, and after I put the book aside I lay there visualizing the baby in the bassinet, holding her, feeding her, etc. Monday morning, my sister's email was in my mailbox.... so in the face of these trials, I try to push past it and focus on the positive. But, damn, sometimes it's so difficult... like with Houdini - there's just no sense in it. I know it's not my job to make sense of it - and test me all you want to 'cause I can handle it - but this is testing Richard, too. And that hurts me even more. I've always said he's just like me, and he's already been through quite a lot for his age... he's going to be the strong one. I just kind-of wish he didn't have to be... not just yet.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Having a very lazy (well deserved and much needed) day today!!

Unfortunately it doesn't seem that I am qualified for the assignment in Hawaii - I only had a portion of the information, but have since learned that it does involve some food inspection for which I am not yet certified. Oh, well... that would have been a primo assignment!! B is encouraging me to volunteer for something soon, before I pull another crappy assignment - he says that I'm "on their screen" now with this whole Iraq thing and they're going to find somewhere for me to go. I still volunteered for the Hawaii gig - the LTC in charge said that they're reviewing their options and would be making a decision soon - assignment start date is 20 Dec so they're fast running out of time! I can still hope, but it doesn't look too promising.

I've been working on my visualization journal and really enjoying that. It's getting easier and easier for me to let go of negativity and/or replace it with something positive and that's very important!! I met a girl some weeks ago (on SMO) who happened to mention today that she's looking for IPs - she's in SC which might not be too bad, not sure exactly where in SC she is yet, but at least it's not MI or IA!! Who knows... that might just work out! She's young, a SAHM to 2 kids, volunteers at the local animal shelter and fosters a lot of animals so I know she has a caring heart... I think this other girl, in Edenton, is just gonna be too long of a wait for us, and the one I really like, in Wilmington, is wanting to carry for a gay couple (she's meeting with a potential couple in the next couple of weeks), so that might not work out either. SC is doable, even if it's not ideal - though I was thinking today that maybe it would be a good thing. I mean, I want to be involved, but I have SO much else going on right now, if my surro were 5 or 6 hrs away, I wouldn't feel like I had to be there for every pre-natal visit, but could make it there if I really wanted to...

Last night B and I were talking and he is really convinced that it's a bad thing that R works night shift. There was just a study discussed on the news this past week about the increased rates of breast and colon cancer in people (primarily women) who work night shift. I guess it's just not "natural" and while you can adjust, maybe it does screw up something in your body!! I don't know... but I DO know that B wants our next surro to have a day job, or be a SAHM like this lady in SC.

I was planning on doing the outdoor Christmas decorations today, but just can't get into it - it's gray and overcast and I'm being lazy. I'm not sad or depressed... just want to be lazy!! I think that I'll drag myself up now (since it's afternoon and I'm still in pjs) and get dressed - and at least do the yard trees and the reindeer - maybe that will make me feel like getting up on the roof and doing the icicles - though I doubt it! I'm thinking that's REALLY a 2 person job or a LOT of climbing up and down a ladder... what really worries me is that I don't have a tall enough ladder to get up there without standing on the very top (right up there where is says "this is not a step") and then still getting on my tip toes and stretching to climb onto the roof; I may break down and buy an extension ladder next week. I'll be home on Friday - B and I can do the lights then!!

Alright... time to get the laundry done! Somehow, looking at the piles here on the floor, I think I skipped laundry last weekend!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

When it rains, it pours

So, was it not enough that we lost the baby and lost R as our surro?? Sunday night I got an email informing me that I'm on notice for deployment with a 90 day BOG group to ...... IRAQ!! Report to MOB station on 2 Jan, estimated REFRAD 14 April. Welcome to the sandbox! Oh, B was so angry! I hardly think that 6 days of active duty (you really can't count OBLC as active training) makes me ready to go into a combat zone. I've never fired an M-16 for God's sake, though I am qualififed as a "sharp shooter" on the M-9 so if you get that close to me... watch out!!

I was pretty bummed out, to say the least; lots of things have been dumped on my plate. Anyway, Monday was difficult for me at work. Dr. V sensed it and came in on her day off so that I could leave - she didn't even ask why I needed to go... I emailed the MAJ about this and his response was basically "WTF??" So, he talked to the COL on Tuesday morning and by Tuesday night he called to say I was off the deployment - I'm supposed to get some type of email confirmation of that, which still hasn't come, but I'll give it a few more days before I inquire again. I've been bugging him so much for things lately!! He did also mention a potential deployment to Hawaii, which I immediately applied for - the only problem is that part of the deployment involves food inspection and I haven't gone thru the C9 course yet. Damn it! That would have been SWEET!! Oh, well...

I started reading "The Secret" on Monday - it totally changed my attitude and my feelings - when I got home Tuesday, I got the call from the MAJ about not having to go to Iraq and about maybe going to Hawaii instead - so now I've started a visualization journal to carry with me everywhere! I am going to keep a positive attitude 24/7. Good things will come to those who think good thoughts!! I believe that whole-heartedly.

So, tonight I was just playing around on SMO and checked out the classifieds. I found 2 girls in NC - 1 in Charlotte and 1 in Edenton - looking for IPs, so I wrote to both of them. Depending on whether or not I get deployed, we may be looking to transfer again in a few months - B said that we can do "whatever you want to do" and I just feel that we have totcicles for a reason - we can still have this baby. I love R like a sister, but I really think that the 1st m/c affected her so profoundly that she worried non-stop about it happening again - and it DID. Now, in no way am I blaming her... what she felt/thought is completely natural and I was no better - but anything that you dwell on and put too much energy into WILL come to pass...

Monday, November 26, 2007

I've been very despondent tonight -

I REALLY wanted this baby and my heart is broken right now. I talked to B and asked if we could perhaps take a few months to get things back to normal,take time to regroup and think things out, then consider using the frozen embryos.

R did send me an email telling me that she thinks she's done with surrogacy - the m/c have been too hard for her to handle emotionally - she doesn't think she can go through it again. So, trying again will also mean finding a new surrogate, and that part I don't particularly care for, but I certainly am trying to understand what R is going through; I've never miscarried myself, but those WERE my babies that she lost. So, I figure we'll get through the next 2 or 3 months then see how we feel. B says we'll do "whatever you want to do." Right now, I'm not entirely sure what that means...

I need some time to think, to pray, to reflect... my heart is broken, again - how many more times can I stand to go through this?? But, there's also the possibility that we'll have our child, and then it will be well worth the heartache I've endured. At the top of my list of things to do... find a new church. I am so disillusioned with the Catholics right now, that I don't want to be a part of that -thank you so much Ms. K!! - but I need to get back to God because I feel that hole in my life. That will be at the top of my list...

Who knows what is to come in 2008. There's still the chance for a baby, but maybe we'll decide that this ISN'T what we need to pursue... I'm trying to keep an open mind and yet still follow my heart.

Excuse my rambling... I've taken valium - all I want to do right now is sleep - and it's kicking in at last - mercifully...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bad news... again

I didn't look at my cell phone until this evening - was too busy cleaning and organizing, I guess... just as well - if I had looked at it earlier, I wouldn't have gotten a damn thing done today.

When I did finally pick it up, there was a single message, from R; she'd called about 5:30 am, but it was on vibrate, so it didn't wake me up... the message said simply "I need you to call me as soon as you get this." She was obviously upset. I called the cell I gave her, but she didn't answer, so I called her cell phone. S answered and told me that she had miscarried... apparently she was having cramps last night so she paged the OB on call, who just happened to be her personal OB; I guess they did an u/s and there was no heartbeat. By measurements, they're estimating that the baby stopped growing about a week ago.... shortly after our first u/s, I guess. All of this I got through S; R was so upset she wouldn't even come to the phone. S said that R feels that she's done something wrong.

I don't know if we're going to try again. We have 7 embryos on ice, but I don't know if B's heart (or mine) is in it to go through another cycle. We'll have to see what happens in the next few months - at the very least, it will be that long before we could try again. Honestly, I don't know if R's heart is in it to try again. That's 2 miscarriages this year...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Why can't it just be EASY??

I called R today because I still hadn't heard anything from her OB - she was supposed to call us with the "official" ultrasound interpretation and I just wanted her reassurance that everything was on track. Apparently she and R were playing "phone tag" today, but R had gotten the message that the u/s showed a small SCH. The OB said not to worry, I guess it's not too close to the baby; she just told R to take it easy. Well, wanting more definition as to what "take it easy" means, she had called the OB again. While we were talking, her OB called back, so we hung up after she promised to call me as soon as she was done.

That was a LONG 5 minutes, waiting for R to call me back!! She finally did, though, and she seemed very comfortable with what she was told - I have no reason to think that she would sugar coat anything for me - not after what we've already been through. She managed to schedule her first OB visit for November 30th at 4:30 pm; they'll be doing a repeat u/s on that day, to check the cuke seed and recheck the SCH. If it is no larger, or perhaps even starting to reabsorb, then all is well; if it is getting larger, then R may end up on bed rest, but it shouldn't cause us a problem as long as it stays small and away from the baby.

Today we tried to pick up B's Jag - they finally finished painting it. I came home to get him at lunch time and dropped him at the shop; the owner's wife took him out to his car and I drove off; about 2 minutes later, he called and said, "come back and get me." Uh-oh... this couldn't be good. It meant that he was refusing to take the car as is... I could tell he was fuming when he got into the car, but I give him credit for maintaining control. He said that they didn't bother to patch the crack in the bumper - just painted over it; they also didn't fix the chips in the door - just painted over them. There's trash in the paint on the trunk and drips on the sides of the car... apparently they sprayed it with an enamel as opposed to a base paint and clear coat. He's furious. He says that it's now a huge paperweight and basically valueless... the only way to "fix" it properly is to strip it down to bare metal then paint it the right way. I told him that he should NOT pay the $1,800 bill; I emailed M since this is "his guy," asking him what we should do now. If we have to pay the bill to get the car back, we'll end up going to court. This shitty of a job is NOT worth that kind of money; Maaco could have done better for less than 1/2 that much!

Anyway, B needed my car, so he dropped me off at work and came back later to get me. We stopped for Chinese on the way home. After dinner, I was explaining the SCH to him, just thought that it was best that he knows everything that's going on. He was so freaked out by what I was telling him that he went 'round the traffic circle and took the wrong exit. I let him drive for a couple of miles then said, "where are we going?" He said, "I always go this way." "To avoid the hospital?" I asked. "Huh? What do you mean, avoid the hospital?" He thought that he'd taken the right exit and was just going down to come in the back way by the grocery store. "We're half-way to Carthage, baby." I told him. He said, "Oh, shit! I got so caught up with the baby I wasn't paying attention." He told me not to "start any shit" about the baby because he's "just gotten used to the idea." It seems that SCH is fairly common with IVF and rarely causes a problem. The majority of them are reabsorbed, some bleed out, very few can cause the placenta to separate from the uterus, resulting in miscarriage or premature delivery. That's why position is so important and why it's imperative that the SCH stay as far away from the baby as possible, until it reabsorbs.

On a sad note, K called today to tell me that Damien passed away... he was lying cutely by the hearth, one foot on top of the bricks, and she ran to get her camera - but when he didn't react to the flash she knew there was a problem. That's the 2nd of them that have died unexpectedly and without much explanation... we lost Crystal to pneumonia that she shouldn't have had and now Damien, too?? Of course, it's quite possible that Buck is too big of a pain in the ass to just die, but I know that K will be worrying about that from here on out. They're just 3 1/2 yrs old!! I don't understand it... I would have thought anything genetic would have emerged before now...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

We have a cucumber seed!!

I practically had to drag B to the car to get going today!! He was doing some kind of crap on the computer and making calls - honestly he was starting to piss me off, so I hung my purse on my shoulder, put on my sunglasses and stood by the front door, lightly tapping my boot on the floor. I gave him a final "we need to go" - he said, "ok, I'm just shutting down the computer". I let Fifi out to pee before we left, and when she came in, I walked out and closed the door behind me. One of the smurfs this a.m. suggested I give him an AIS warning - as in "I'm leaving in 5 mins and if your ass isn't in your seat, you're going to be left behind!! We actually had a good conversation on the way to G'boro, and got there about 12:15 or so. We met R in the parking lot of the OBs office and took her to lunch at Macaroni Grill. She hardly touched her food - she said that the nausea is pretty consistent - not enough to make her vomit, just enough to kill most of her appetite. She's lost 3 lbs in the last week! Hey, can I get some of that?!?

So, we got back to the OBs office a few minutes before our scheduled appointment time of 1:30pm, and she got checked in. When they called her back, she stood up, turned to us and said "come on guys". We went through a series of corridors (this place is HUGE) to an ultrasound room; the tech seemed a little perplexed that there were 3 of us in the room... she asked R a couple of questions that I answered - that didn't help to clarify things!! LOL Finally, R said "These are the parents" - gesturing towards us - "I'm a surrogate." That seemed to clarify things for the tech...

So, the u/s room had it's own bathroom, which was pretty dang cool, plus on of those little areas in a corner with the curtain on a sliding rail that hangs from the ceiling - a little dressing room... We stepped out in the hall when R went to empty her bladder and get situated on the table, then the tech called us back in. The u/s had the attached screen, like they all seem to have, but this room also had a flat screen monitor hanging on the wall opposite the exam table that was hooked up to the u/s. When we came back into the room, B quickly walked to the back corner - actually into the dressing area - and leaned against the wall. He stayed there the entire time - I think he was scared that he might accidentally see R's hoohah if he came away from the wall!! LOL

The ultrasound was AWESOME!! I thought that B was going to chicken out on me at the last minute, but he hung in there - the tech put the weenie wand where the weenie wand has to go and *pop* - there was our little one on the monitor!! I saw the flicker right away and ran right up to the screen so I could see it better. She measured at 3.3 mm and the heart rate was 117; the tech said that's right on track for her stage of gestation. We could see the yolk sac, too and that was pretty cool - it's 4 or 5 times as big as our little cucumber seed (she's too small to call a bean or a peanut just yet - and as CA once said "she's a girl until someone proves to me that she has a penis!"). Back on topic... everything looks great so far - and the tech printed out a nice little picture with an arrow indicating the baby's location (as if I wouldn't be able to pick it out myself!! But I thought it was sweet.) The whole time she was measuring, etc. I kept running back and forth - to the screen, to hug B, back to the screen, back to B. It was the most amazing feeling.

Here's the pic the tech gave me - our little cuke seed!! That light line to the right of the baby is actually the top of the yolk sac - it shows up much better on the original, of course. The yolk sac is at least 4 times as big as the baby, but I guess that's "normal" for this early on.

R's primary OB was hung up in surgery at the hospital and couldn't make the appointment; she's supposed to call us both with the "official" ultrasound findings, but they're not overly worried because everything looked good. She didn't call today - maybe tomorrow?? I feel so good right now!! I'm still a little worried, but not like I was before today - and in another 3-4 weeks, I'll feel MUCH, MUCH better... just get us past that 9-10 weeks of gestation, where miscarriage is most prevalent, and I'll be okay. I really want to tell everyone at Christmas - I'll have to work on B on that one - he wants to wait 'til 15 weeks which will be January sometime. We'll see how it goes.
Richard is still playing the "recovering from surgery" card. M left this morning to go to Milwaukee - his grandma died yesterday at the ripe old age damn close to 99. I'm just glad that it was after Middle Child's surgery - M really would have been torn, though I believe he would have stayed at home, since he was originally scheduled to fly out Saturday and changed that (apparently they had already scheduled the memorial service for Monday, but she was hanging in. If it weren't so tragic, it would be funny...). so, Middle Child went to school this a.m. but came home after 2nd block 'cause he wasn't feeling well. He really isn't interested in going to school tomorrow, but we'll see...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Today is our "official" ultrasound!!

We'll be leaving in a couple of hours to head to G'boro for our first ultrasound - they'll check for placental placement and evaluate for a heartbeat, measure the fetal pole, etc. I've been so very nervous for the last few days!! I know this is a new pregnancy, but I keep flashing back to the ultrasound we had after our first transfer. We shouldn't compare, but it's so hard not to base current experience on the past!! I think that's human nature.

R called at 11pm last night - I couldn't tell if she was just excited or if she was crying - or maybe a little of both... she talked one of the resident OBs into doing an u/s. They used the abdominal scanner then the doc said, "let's go find a weenie wand" and THEY SAW A HEARTBEAT!! She was SO excited and called me right away!! I believe that's what she saw, and the u/s WAS done by a doc, but I'll feel better when I see that little flicker for myself!! It's going to be a LOOONNNGGG morning until I can get on the road! I have some cats to do this a.m., but I'd rather go to G'boro! Of course, waiting around there wouldn't be too much fun either. I've made it this far... I suppose I can survive for a few more hours!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I didn't wake up this morning thinking "what a great day for one of the boys to have surgery!"

I know that's hard to believe... thankfully I was off work today! M called about 9:30 am to see if I could take Middle Child to the doctor - seems he woke up about 4am with a belly ache. I could hear him crying in the background - really sobbing; but, he's a little dramatic. I figured he was probably vomiting and stressed about that. But, no vomiting per M and he was running a low grade fever - he's like his parents... his "normal" body temp is just a bit over 97 so "normal" is a little bit high for him.

I called Premier and got him an 11:30 appt. I really thought that it was gonna be a BS appt - constipation, intestinal flu, etc. They were backed up and we didn't get called back until after 12:30, then it was another 20 minutes before Dr. R made it in to check him. She did a brief exam and then had him lay down so she could palpate his abdomen. She asked him to show her, with one finger, where it hurt most - lower right quadrant; she asked him where the pain initially started - right below his navel. She turned to me and said, "I think it's his appendix." I called M and B to fill them in, and promised to call again when I had more information.

That was SO not what I wanted to hear!! Dr. R decided to do a white count and a strep culture - apparently sometimes strep can mimic appendicitis (who knew??). WBC was 13,000, rapid strep test was negative. She called over to the hospital and talked to Dr. F, the surgeon; he said for us to head on over and have the ER page him when we got in - he'd come down and check Middle Child out. We headed straight to the ER. They didn't seem all that busy to me but the bitch volunteer at the front desk set me straight right away! She asked me for Middle Child's name and my phone number. I gave her both but then added that that wasn't the phone number that was probably in their computer. She said "well, THAT'S not going to help me then, is it?" and proceeded to scratch thru the number as if she were trying to go through to the page underneath. I told her that the pediatrician had already called over and that we needed to page the doctor. She told me that I needed to sit down and wait like everyone else. I told her, again, that the doctor was waiting for the call and she told me, basically, that she didn't care. I would have to wait like everyone else. So, we sat...

A few minutes later, a couple came in and she wouldn't even let them register. She told them that they were backlogged and that they should just sit down, when the front desk got caught up, then she would get their information. I didn't see a name badge on her, but then I was more worried about Middle Child at that particular time. Tomorrow, maybe I'll try to find out who she was...

After a time, we went from the "waiting room" to the "sub-waiting room" (yes, the sign actually said "sub-waiting room") which is through the double doors to the triage department. I could hear the nurses in triage talking and after a couple of minutes, they were talking about my son. Seems that the surgeon had been waiting on us to arrive and he was calling down to see if we were there yet. They finally called us back to get checked in. The nurse immediately paged Dr. F and he showed up just a couple of minutes later.

First impressions... clean cut, nice looking and about 28 years old!! LOL He's probably actually in his early to mid-30's, but he looked a bit like a Doogie Hauser to me just the same! He asked Middle Child to stand up and then pressed on his tummy. Apparently he got the rebound response he was expecting and he told me that it looked like appendicitis. Well, that was SUCH a high tech test, I had no reason to doubt him, right?? So, I asked... you aren't going to do any imaging or anything?? Well, he told me, we can do an xray or a CT scan, or even an MRI, but we might not even see the appendix. Generally the abdominal palpation is definitive. He looked at Richard and asked, "You're not on your period, right?" That made Richard laugh! He said that he'd already pretty much ruled out pregnancy and figured that Middle Child's ovaries weren't bothering him, and that left appendicitis. "At this point," he told me, "it's an appendicitis until I prove otherwise." So, he called down and added Middle Child to the surgery schedule.

We were taken back to a room in the ER where he got to change into a hospital gown; they put in an IV catheter and the nurse drew a bunch of vials of blood for whatever pre-anesthetic work-up they wanted to do. M showed up about that time.... he had gotten worried because he hadn't heard back from me, and I didn't answer my phone when he called - no cell signal in the ER. He had called Dr. R at the ped's office who told him that she had sent us over to the ER, so he showed up there. He had taken one look at the bitchy volunteer in the lobby and had bypassed her for the lady behind the computer - probably wise.

We walked along as Middle Child was wheeled back to the pre-op ward. Dr. F (he pulled his name badge out on its little retractable cord and said, "call me Dr. John" then let it >snap< back into place) came and talked to us again. He asked Richard if he had any questions. Middle Child asked him what the appendix does - the doc's answer... "not much, except put my kids through college." The anesthesiologist came by, as well as the surgical nurse; they introduced themselves to my son, and to us, and reassured us that our boy would be well taken care of. They dosed him with Versed and we waited while he got loopy then they wheeled him off to the OR.

M and I walked out through the ER - he had to go back to work and pick up some things; I wanted to go home and get clean clothes for Middle Child and also my laptop since I had every intention of staying the night. There was my hubby, standing in the ER waiting room. He had also gotten worried when he couldn't reach me, so came by to check on things. He drove through all of the hospital parking lots until he found my car, then came in the ER. Ms. Stick-up-her-ass told him that we had been discharged and sent home. Obviously he knew this wasn't so, so he just waited... figuring that I'd show up or call him eventually.

We were at home for a few minutes, and B said we needed to head back over. Thank God for that.... we hadn't been in the surgical waiting room for more than 10 minutes when the phone rang. It was Dr. John telling me that Middle Child was in recovery and that things had gone well - it can't have taken him more than 20 minutes!! He said that my son's appendix was "huge and meaty" but hadn't perforated; the surgery had been straightforward, no complications or concerns. About 15 minutes later, a nurse came to get us from the waiting room to go to recovery. Once he woke up, he started crying for me... I don't think they usually bring family members back to recovery - we were the only ones there - but I guess they make exceptions for children. He was very disoriented, nauseous and crying. Dr. John came and gave me pics of my boy's innards... Middle Son was crying about being in pain and the doc said, "If I stabbed him with an ice pick, it would hurt; I stabbed him with three 5mm ice picks - it's going to hurt a little bit." but then he ordered additional pain meds for Middlel Child and he stopped crying after the 2nd dose of them. I'm sure part of it was the anesthesia wearing off!

M and I sat with him until they moved him up to the pediatric ward at about 5pm. Michael had shown up during that time, but they wouldn't allow him to come back to recovery so he waited in the room. The guys went home about 7pm; Middle Child has been in and out in terms of being awake.... he's sleeping now. He's handled things very well, especially once the anesthesia wore off - he was a little whiny at first, but I guess he was really hurting!! It tore me up, though, seeing him hurt like that. I'd have a dozen surgeries if it would save him from ever having another one!!

But, all is well - they caught it really early and it's out now. They did the surgery laproscopically so he'll be up and around in a day or two. I talked to K and she told me that Dr. John is the best surgeon we could have gotten, so I am thankful for that as well. I'm going to try to get some sleep on this funky pull out chair/bed thing they have here in the room... it was a chore getting it all set up, but it is almost flat and nearly the size of a twin bed, so it should be much better than sleeping in a recliner like I had to do when J was in the hospital. Middle Child will be discharged tomorrow, so we'll be back at home. God I love this kid, and I am SO glad that M took him seriously and was concerned enough to get him to the doctor this morning!! It's scary to think about the times that the boys have had belly aches that we dismissed as gas!! I'll certainly think twice from now on!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The LAST beta!

As B keeps saying, at some point we have to just let go and figure that it will happen as it's meant to happen, you know?

R had her blood drawn at about 5pm yesterday - she said that the phlebotomy at the lab that's open on Saturday leaves something to be desired and wanted to get it done before the weekend - the lab was open 'til 7pm and told her that the results would be in the same day. By the time they could get it done, NCCRM was closed, so we figured that it would be today before we heard anything.

At 11am, I was still "beta-less" and decided to call. I managed to get one of the nurses on the phone and she told me the results -


17dp5dt ~ beta 2986

That is a doubling time of 55 hours, but it's normal for the doubling time to decrease as the beta increases. Most of what I've managed to find online says that "normal" doubling time for a beta below 1200 is 48-72 hrs (ours has been 30-34 hours); once the beta goes above 1200, "normal" doubling time decreases to every 72-96 hrs. Ours is currently 55, which should be just fine. Since I'm a nervous-nelly, after our last experience, I checked on SMO for other doubling times this far out from transfer. B says I've done "too much ciphering". Maybe he's right.

We spent several hours today wandering around the flea market in Raleigh; it was nice spending time together, just looking at things. If this baby is a girl, I'm going to get a chandelier to hang in her bedroom... I can't wait to find out if we're having a son or a daughter! I can't wait to meet our child.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Holy moly.... how many are in there??

We were feeling pretty confident that we're expecting a single baby - until we got today's beta.

15dp5dt ~ beta 1965

Our coordinator called me at 11:30 and was laughing - first she said "Congratulations!" then she gave me the value - and THEN she said, "We're wondering if there's more than one." Well, needless to say, B didn't want to hear that!

R was amazed that it's increased so much; our doubling time is down to a little over 30 hrs; we've got a little butt-kicker in there, I guess. Last beta will be drawn tomorrow afternoon, though we won't get the result until Saturday a.m. I can't wait for the u/s!!! I'm dying to know how many we're growing!

I've been all over SMO checking out the betas; with our first 2 values, we were dead center for a singleton and always below the values for twins; with this latest number, we're high for a singleton and middle of the road for twins. Geez... they're just so damn variable, that there's no way to really predict multiples unless the number is just crazy, crazy high! We'll just have to wait until the 14th to find out for sure.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Still looking good!

R had our 2nd (un)official beta drawn Friday evening at 5:15 pm (34 hrs after the 1st). She was hoping to get the results back on Saturday - the lab IS open on Saturday, not on Sunday - but it didn't work out that way and we ended up waiting until Monday (today) for the results. Even then, she had to call the lab to get them! Crazy!

9dp5dt ~ 94

That's a doubling time of 34 hrs! I went back and checked... never in our 1st cycle did we have such a great doubling time. We did have one time that the value doubled in less than the "normal" 48 hrs, but generally it was significantly longer than that. So, this is GREAT news.

I found a study on the internet with published values - at 9dp5dt, the "average" hCG value is 95, with a low of 33 and a high of 233. It's nice to fall right into place that way! The likelihood of multiples is very, very small at this point - Bill continues to be very pleased with that!

The "official" beta will be on Thursday the 1st... supposed to be on Halloween, but R's insurance kicks in on the 1st, so she'll have it done in the a.m., after she gets off work. I took the values from the betas we've had done and calculated the "daily rate" - based on that, the 3rd beta (at 14.5dp5dt) should be between 800 and 1500. I know that's a crazy wide range, but I calculated based on both a 34 hr interval and a 48 hr interval (the internet calculator asks the number of days between betas, so I put in both 1.5 (actual) and 2 (calendar difference) which gave very different daily rates!). I can't wait to see what it actually is!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Looks like just one

R called at midnight last night - she was working and had finally gotten a break - it seems that every pregnant woman in a 100 mile radius had decided to go in to be checked!! LOL Anyway, she had checked her email and had the results of our first (un)official beta...

8dp5dt ~ 46!!

Before she called, she hopped on SMO and checked out the "Epic Beta Thread" (woo-ooo-ooo) - okay, so the sound effects are lacking in a silent forum, but I had to give it a shot - anyway, it appears that we are right in the middle for a singleton pregnancy. I looked a bit this morning before work and, while I found a few who had values this low and were carrying twins, the vast majority of multiple pregnancies were at least double this. My IM buddy, CA, got a 43 at 5dp5dt with her twins. So, it's a good bet that we're only cookin' one.

That made B happy. He called this morning on the way from his brother's up to NY and I gave him the information. I can't wait to see what we get on Saturday. I'm sure it will double, but am hoping that it will triple!! I want this to be a good, healthy baby!

Anyway, on another front, he got the bike without too much incident. Apparently the guy lives in the city, so they had to load the bike in the driveway and the ramp slipped as the rear wheel was coming into the van - so the bike crashed down on top of the tool box and that other thingy I can't remember the name of - and broke the screws or something. Then there was some sort of imperfection in the paint on one of the fenders, but his uncle's "guy" at the shop managed to buff that out (AND they fixed the thingy) so B's happy. B and his uncle were out "chasing wrecks" tonight when I called him. He's beat and has another long day ahead of him, but I guess he can sleep it off on Sunday.

I have to meet A at 7:30 at the Day's Inn here in town for the K9 Down course tomorrow. We have to go over the slides before the class starts (which I'm assuming will be either 8 or 8:30). We were talking this evening and he suddenly asked me if I'm comfortable with public speaking!! What would he have done if I had said, "Hell, no!"? I started laughing and told him that I could survive it - it's not my all time favorite thing to do, but when he approached me 2 years ago about helping teach this class, I kind of figured it would involve TEACHING! He's a trip!

Well, I've got to get up at the butt crack of dawn tomorrow, since I'm on my own here, so that I can get everything taken care of before I have to go to "work". I'm hoping that R will get the beta drawn early tomorrow and maybe, just maybe, we'll have our 2nd beta by tomorrow evening!

Friday, October 26, 2007

What do you take for a patience deficiency??

R was supposed to have her 1st official beta yesterday, but THANK YOU SO MUCH NCCRM FOR SCREWING THINGS UP AGAIN!!

She really only wanted to have 1 stick for the blood draw, which makes perfect sense to me. She and I only have so many good veins, so we like to limit the sticks whenever possible! Her progesterone level was due to be checked, so she planned on handling both of the tests at the same time. She's on 12 hour overnight shifts all week, so she got off work yesterday and went to the lab that she had asked our coordinator to fax the order to. Well, after waiting for them to open up (she got off work a little early), she found out that they didn't have the order. Thinking that perhaps they had faxed it to the other lab she used last time, she drove over there. Nope... not there either. So, she called our coordinator, who - of course - was not available at that time. Well, she's now tired and understandably cranky, so she leaves a message and heads home - takes E to daycare and crashes, thinking she'll deal with it after a few hours of sleep.

When she gets up, I guess the clinic had called and left her a message that the order has been faxed again. So, she picks up E and head back to the lab. Nope - they didn't get anything for her. WTH?! So, she calls back and gives her the phone number and fax number for the lab and tells her that WHEN she gets the fax sent AND confirms that it was received, she can let her know and then R will go back over there. That finally got worked - at 4 freakin' 45 pm when the lab closes at 5. Brilliant... just brilliant.

After working another 12 hour shift, R ran by the lab on the way home from work and had the blood drawn (luckily they had managed to receive AND hold onto the order) - but because it was ordered through a west coast lab, it will be run here locally, then they will send the results to the lab who will eventually email R with the result. "Usual" turnaround time - 24 hrs. Which would mean tomorrow morning - but you have to factor in that it's Pacific time we're talking about here. They probably don't get in until damn near NOON our time. By which time, sweet R will be sound asleep after yet another 12 hour shift! LOL! I just can't win here!

Ah, well - in the grand scheme of things, what's another 12 hours? I have more fingernails to chew! LOL I'm confident (ha!) that she will have the answer by the time she wakes up tomorrow afternoon. I may have only bloody stumps of fingers left, but she'll get the answer.

B asked last night what we're hoping for, in terms of a value. I told him that I'd be just about as happy with a 17 as I would be with a 70, but that he'd better hope it's under 100 - otherwise he may be in for some SERIOUS trouble! Seriously, the range for "normal" varies so widely... it's all but impossible to predict based on numbers unless you get something crazy high like in the tens of thousands! We won't really know until the ultrasound.

B left this morning to get the new bike - he's staying with his brother tonight and will head up to NY in the morning. He may stop in at his uncle's house on the way back, which would be nice. We don't get to see them that much. It would make Saturday's drive longer (coming home from Jersey), but would shorten the day tomorrow. It's about 6 hours, I think, from D's up to where the bike is, and only about 90 minutes back down to his uncle's place. He could get there mid-afternoon and hang out with them, then get up early Saturday and had back, and still get home at a reasonable hour. Their house is no further from here than Tuskegee is, and after the last drill, I left there at 3pm and was home before midnight.

It's finally 10pm, so I think I'll go to bed. I hate sleeping alone... I hate it when B's not here. Tomorrow I won't even have the boys here with me - just the furry critters!! But, I've got a house full of them!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Woo hoo!! It's "official"!

We have passed the "digital test". R gathered her courage and peed on a digital stick late this morning - and it said "PREGNANT"! She sent the photos through the phone, but I can't figure out how to download them yet (damn it!). I guess I'm not computer literate enough!

She has a class to go to in G'boro on the 14th of November, and is going to try to schedule our 1st u/s that day - we'll be 6w5d so hopefully we'll see a heartbeat at that time!! And I guess we'll find out just how many beans are growing in there... 1 or 2! I'm a little concerned only because we got a BFP just 4dp5dt!! Poor B will likely fall over if we see 2 sacs on the u/s!

Monday, October 22, 2007

OMG!! OMG!! OMG!! OMG!! OMG!! OMG!! OMG!!

I got a call from R this morning... message said only, "Call me. Bye!" So I called her right back. She sounded happy, so I figured that she'd peed finally!! I had sent her a text this a.m. that said, "Dontcha wanna pee yet?? This is killing me!" Anyway, when I called back, she told me that she'd caved and peed on one of the old expired OSOMs that she had from last cycle, figuring if it was a BFN, she could blame it on the test being out of date!! Well, it was very faint, but it was positive nonetheless!

When I got home, I got this email from her -

alright i have a confession to make...insert sheepish smile...i peed last night also. the line was so faint and i had to hold it to light and turn it and squint and hold my mouth just right. i thought i was imagining it or it was an evap line. so i peed again this morning and again the line was painfully faint, but if i squinted just right and tilted the stick i could see it, but not quite as hard as last night's test. so i was a little hesitant to tell you until i was sure, besides i was using the old expired tests that i had left over. so, forward to about an hour ago, i peed again-yes, it is addictive- now the line is actually visible without any special maneuvers!! it is still light, though. so to finish my confession, I will pee again in the morning with a new test!

I caved, what can i say? but we had a very faint BFP at 4dp5dt..OMG!! YOU GUYS are having a baby next summer!! I can hardly wait to see what our beta is!

So, she's been testing since Sunday!! Just 4dp5dt!! She didn't want to tell me until she was SURE, but she's sure now. I told her to pee on one of the digitals that I sent her, but she's too nervous to just yet. Afraid that it will say "NOT PREGNANT"... maybe tomorrow...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I swear this is the longest week ever!

We're officially 4dp5dt or 3w2d pregnant - B is having trouble wrapping his mind around that - how can we be 3 wks pregnant if the transfer was 4 days ago and the retrieval only 5 days before that? That's just the way we figure things, honey.... don't strain yourself trying to figure it out. I've already convinced him that there's "real" time and there's "S" time, now there's "pregnancy" time!

The 2ww SUCKS! Let's get that out of the way right off the bat. I'm dying here, waiting for confirmation of what we're confident is true - R is preggers. I saw a post on SMO today that she's found the pregnancy sticks. Guess S didn't do such a great job of hiding them, huh? She's still resolute about waiting until next Wednesday to test. How come she's got all of this self control all of a sudden?? LOL

Well, honestly, whatever works best for her, is best for us in the long run. Stress and/or worry wouldn't be good for the little bean, so best that she hold off until she feels sure that she'll get a positive. She's going to have a quantitative drawn that day, since they have to draw blood to check her progesterone anyway - but she had better pee on a stick that morning, 'cause we won't get the beta number until Thursday. Bad enough that I have to wait 3 more days!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Today was the BEST day ever!!

Well, I'm not even going to get into the story of the surprise birth of the chin baby when I didn't even know Twinkle was pregnant. No wonder she beat the crap out of Binki yesterday afternoon. My 13 yr old son now considers himself a grandfather (LOL) and has named the new little beasty (we think it's a girl - that still remains to be seen) Myst. He's decided that we don't have to sell her because obviously Binki is not her father (as we've only had Twinkle a month so she came to us preggers) so it wouldn't be "wrong" if Binki decided to do them both! OMG, now he's a chinchilla breeder!

And then there was the havoc in the fish tank - apparently that bitch of an angel fish decided that she wanted to eat the frog we just bought... he got away, but we saw him later with that little silver fish that stays at the top of the tank all the time, with an entire rear leg in this little fishy's mouth. The fish didn't do much damage... when B separated them, the frog swam away, but he saw the damn thing holding the froggie again later. I fear he won't last much longer. NO MORE fish. This is crazy. It's like high school clique in there - anyone new is beaten down and/or eaten!!

Now for the good news... well, yesterday I couldn't get ANY information out of the lab regarding my embryos. My biggest fear, of course, is that they had all died on the magical, mystical day 4 where they "don't disturb the embryos". I got up at 6am to get ready for the transfer and get the boys off to school.... all morning I was carrying my phone and praying it wouldn't ring. I did NOT want to hear "Dr. H... we're sorry, but all of your embryos are dead. Don't bother coming in today."

I left about 9am to head to Winston. We needed to allow at least 2 hrs to get from there to Cary and wanted to allow time to stop for lunch along the way. I turned up the radio, but then got paranoid that I wouldn't hear the phone, so I kept looking at it to see if the display was lit up - all the while praying that it wouldn't ring. About 1/2 way there, it did ring, and I suddenly got the urge to vomit. It was just R, wondering where I was! I got to R's shortly after 11am and we hung out chatting for a bit. Her hubby's new bike is just like mine, except it's an 1800 and black - but it's nice. She got me a beautiful bouquet of flowers that smell absolutely heavenly, and a kit to make a heart-shaped hand print keepsake when the baby's born!

Shortly after 11 we headed out to pick up E (her 4 yr old daughter) from preschool 'cause she was coming with us. She was so excited to be coming to the "special doctor's appointment" where they were going to "put B and S's babies in mommy's tummy."

On the way to the preschool, I hear my phone ringing. It's after 11 now, so I figure I'm in the clear as far as the embies are concerned. Certainly they've checked them by now and would have called if there was a problem. By the time I get the phone out of my purse, which is in the back seat, it has stopped ringing, but the screen says that the missed call was from B. I figure he's just checking on me and didn't worry - I was just going to wait for the voice mail to come through then listen to it before calling him back (it drives me nuts when I leave him a message and he just calls back without listening to it, so then I can repeat it all again!!). But, what I get instead is a text message that says "Call! 911".

Again, there's that strong urge to vomit!! So I fumble with the damned phone, and all kinds of thoughts are running through my mind... I had seen some type of incident in the parking lot of the high school this morning - assumed that either someone's car caught fire (turns out that WAS what happened) or 2 cars collided, so maybe First Born was involved and M was calling to get me to the hospital ASAP - maybe something has happened to one of the animals (like the time B knocked the top of Fancee's cage down inside and cut off the tip of that toe so that she damn near bled to death) - or maybe the clinic decided to call the house phone even though they generally call my cell... (yes, I know I have an overactive imagination! Always have, always will.) and, of course, since I need to make a call NOW, the phone is too damned complicated and I can't seem to hit the right buttons.

I finally hit the right combination of buttons and it begins to ring - he answers immediately. "What's wrong?" I demand to know. "You need to call the clinic right away" he tells me, "they just called." Oh, God... there is is again - that urge to vomit. "What's wrong?" I ask again. "It's something with my blood work" he says - and now I can breathe a little... He says that they just got the results today - he's positive for CMV and for Hep B antibodies (not the virus, just the core antibodies). He's been informed, by someone who's name he can't remember because he was panicking as they talked to him, that we will need to be counseled regarding this and R will have to sign an "informed consent" or we cannot proceed with the transfer - due to FDA regulations.

I hang up with him and call NCCRM. I get routed to several different people before a familiar nurse finally comes on the line and explains it to me. 75-80% of people in the US (and/or possibly the world) will test positive for CMV, which is an illness similar to mono. Then there's the issue of the Hep B antibodies - she has apparently questioned the laboratory and they cannot distinguish antibodies produced as a result of exposure to the virus from antibodies produced as a result of vaccination, and I know that B's been vaccinated - he spent 24 years in the Air Force!! They don't seem too concerned with it - but they have to comply with the federal regulations. We just need to talk to each other and to Dr. T before we can proceed.

All of this is occurring while I'm driving towards Cary. At some point, approximately 1/2 way there, we stop at a McDonald's to feed E. While she's playing, we start talking. R is vaccinated against Hep B because she's in the human health field. She figures she'd probably test positive for CMV also because she's been a nurse for over 10 years and has surely been exposed to it by now. I tell her that we'll ask Dr. T about any risks, complications, implications, etc. and if, for ANY reason, she is uncomfortable with this, then we will cancel the transfer, and I will NOT be angry with her. She has to do what is best for her, first and foremost.

We get to the clinic exactly at 2pm, but NCCRM is never actually on time. We are called into a consulting room at 2:30 and Dr. T arrives around 3pm. He asks if we understand what we've been told and if we've discussed it amongst ourselves. R asks if either of these is a risk to the pregnancy. No. Can she "catch" either disease from the embryo? Again, no. Dr. T says that not even HIV is transmitted from an embryo to the carrier. There's no risk here, but according to FDA regulations, she has to be informed. She answers, "let's do it." Now, nervously, I ask how many we've got. The lab tech consults her sheet - tells us that we're transferring 2 grade 4 "expanding" blasts today - there are 7 others she says, and those will be frozen. OMG!! 9 of the 10 made it to blasts?? Not only that, but 8 of those are "expanding" blasts (which is the highest level, and according to Dr. T, the BEST you can get!), the last one is simply a blast (which is pretty damn good anyway).

They send us back into the waiting room because they're not ready - it will be another 20 minutes we're told. Well, I guess 60 minutes is kinda like 20 minutes.... they finally call us back, into the same room as the last transfer. They show us the 2 embabies and I get my little picture... aren't they gorgeous??

Another 20 or so minutes and Dr. T comes in to do the transfer. While he's "prepping" R for the transfer, he asks about our last transfer... what day, how many, what quality? I give him the basics... 3 8-celled day 3 embryos, positive betas but not a viable pregnancy; all other embryos stopped developing after day 3. What was different on this protocol? he asks. Nothing, except that we used lupron as a trigger instead of hCG. This time, he says, we didn't cruise any days (skip meds on any given day). We didn't do that last time either... This time we did ICSI. We did it last time, too... So what WAS different?? he wants to know. I did acupuncture and took Chinese herbs this time... that's it. I can tell he's skeptical, but I don't care. I KNOW that made the difference. "You're 39?" he finally asks. "No," I answer, "I'm 40." He pauses for a minute... then says, "35 year old women rarely get embryos of this quality." Kudos to S at Acupuncture Center!! I am a believer in the power of Chinese medicine! I KNOW that she made this difference!

Anyway, he puts the 2 embabies in and then R has to lie there for an additional 20 minutes before she can get up and pee. Poor girl... she kept hearing the toilet flush, but she couldn't get up - it's like they were taunting her! Finally she is able to get dressed (and pee), then we come over to the good ol' Comfort Suites where she's going to finish out the day on bed rest. E and I went to McD's again (I promised her whatever she wanted 'cause she was SO well behaved today) and then pick up Chili's for R and myself. E is so wound up that it's nearly 10pm before we can get her to calm down and go to sleep. I had to get this written out, but now I think I'll turn in myself. It's been a crazy, hectic day! But, man!! It couldn't have been better!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The embryos are still dividing

This morning the lab let me know that we're growing the embabies out for a day 5 transfer!! All 10 of the embryos are still dividing - 5 of them are 8 celled and the other 5 are either 7 or 9 celled. That's SO exciting! To me, it means that the embryos are of better quality than last time - in May, by day 2, they had already decided that they needed to do a day 3 transfer - so this is GOOD news!! The only issue is that I'm working Wednesday and Thursday... now I've got to get out of that. It's more than a bit rude to cancel last minute, and can mean professional suicide for a relief vet, but I'm not planning on doing any relief work in the near future anyway, so what's the worst that can happen?? They won't hire me again? Oh, well.... this is MUCH more important as Wednesday could well change my life!

I'm feeling much better today, as compared to how I've felt over the weekend. I made cinnamon rolls for B this a.m. and started the laundry. I was waiting on that call from the lab to plan my day, but now I can take a shower and do whatever it is I want to do. I really need to go to Fayetteville and get my Class A jacket to the alterations department so they can add the braid. I've got to have my official photo up online by next month, I think, to make the promotions board in January, and I don't want to miss out on that because of something stupid. It took them 6 months to get the jacket here! It had BETTER fit!!

I'm trying to catch up on some housework today. There's a ton of laundry to be done - I've been a slug these last 3 days. To be honest, I've felt AWFUL - today is the first day that I've really felt human. My belly is still a little sore, but there aren't the shooting pains that I've been dealing with the last couple of days, so that's nice. I guess I'm getting back to "normal" whatever in the hell that means.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

We've still got 10 little ones -

- hanging in there with 4 cells each. The 11th was only 3 cells this morning and they aren't holding out much hope that he/she will continue to develop, though it's not completely outside the realm of possibility.

On the GREAT side... the lab technician said that they want to discuss the possibility of doing a day 5 transfer instead of a day 3 transfer. To me, this says that the embryos are looking better on day 2 of this cycle than they were looking on day 2 of the last cycle - by this time in May, they had already determined that we would need to do a day 3 transfer. Statistically, I believe that the chances of success are higher when day 5 embryos are transferred. As Dr. Mulvaney told us at our initial consultation, after day 3, the embryos have to stand on their own, which means that they're stronger and more likely to survive. Not that that means a day 3 embryo can't make it - certainly they can... K and Amanda are living proof of that. They told Amanda that her embryos were dying, so they transferred the 3 of them on day 3 and K gave birth to twins! Whatever day we transfer, I still have good feelings... we'll just have to see what tomorrow brings. I'll be sending divisional vibes to the little embabies today!!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I got "the call" this morning

- as of 10am, we have 11 embabies. Dr. H himself called and said that they were able to do ICSI on 12 of the eggs that they retrieval yesterday, and that 11 of them had fertilized normally and were looking really good at this point. The lab will call back tomorrow to give us an update and let us know if we'll be doing a 3 day or a 5 day transfer - and that depends on how the embryos are dividing/growing. B says they're "percolating"! LOL

As for me, I've felt like shit today. I think it's just that I've been doing too much. I went to the Fall Festival last night, which made me very uncomfortable. This morning, I took the Shadow down to Steve Jones to have the oil changed and get it inspected - of course it couldn't pass inspection because I have rear turn signals, but not front ones. Apparently, in NC, you have to have all or none. Since First Born is riding this bike, I'd rather have 4 than none - so now I have to get turn signals for the front of the bike and have them installed.

At any rate, I'm afraid that I'm running a fever - at least I FEEL warm to myself. B says that I feel warm to him as well, so I'm lying here on the bed resting now. It's boring, but I think I've just done too much. Hopefully I can spend all day tomorrow just relaxing. Even though I've got tons of stuff to do around here! I've got laundry and cleaning to do - but I just don't feel up to it. I'm getting too damn old for this!

Lucky number 13

We got 13 eggs today! Not a fabulous number, but twice as many as last time. Dr. H said that it was EXCELLENT for me. However, on the down side, B's sperm count was low in this sample today (5 million) - that's because it had only been 36 hours - so we're doing ICSI on them all. I talked to Dr. H briefly about doing some of them naturally, but he said with the low numbers and the terribly thick zona around my eggs, that he didn't believe any of them would fertilize naturally and he didn't want to lose any of them. So, I guess we're doing all of them with ICSI after all :(. Someone from the lab is supposed to call me tomorrow with a fertilization report. Unfortunately, with it being Saturday, I can't call THEM to find out how my eggs did. I hope that they follow his instructions and call me. It's gonna kill me to have to wait to find out how many we have!

They're also supposed to call me on Sunday with a schedule for the transfer. Since we're only staying in Cary one night, B said he didn't think R should be driving (because it's stressful, she would have to sit upright, etc.), so I'm going to pick her up in Winston on Monday, drive her up to the retrieval, and then bring her back home on Tuesday. I think that will be nice... we'll get to chat on the way. It will mean a little extra driving for me, but she says that driving stresses her out, and we definitely want to reduce the stress.

I took the boys to the Fall Festival tonight, which was a little tough on me... I took a long nap after I got home from the retrieval - dragged out of bed at 4:30 and ran through the shower. We stayed until almost 8pm, and by the time I got home, I was really uncomfortable. Now I'm laying in bed and hoping that my insides will stop aching soon. B has been great about waiting on me - he's such a doll.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Retrieval today!

Oh, I am SO bloated/puffy this morning! I can't wait for them to deflate my ovaries!! I know that it won't relieve all of the symptoms immediately... the edema will take time to resolve - but it WILL alleviate some of the discomfort, while, of course, causing some of its own! LOL I don't have to carry this baby, or go through labor, but there is a price to pay for my contribution. Of the 3 of us who are "actively" involved, B has it the easiest by far!

I can't wait to see how many eggs we get this morning. I know that we won't get as many as CA (30) or as many as the IM in the posts I read last night (40) - but I AM hoping for significantly more than we got the last time. An even dozen would be WONDERFUL!! We'll see...

We're off to Cary!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oh, my achin' ovaries!

So, today's u/s showed 18 huge follicles - 10 on the right and 8 on the left - with a couple of stragglers... no wonder I can feel the damn things!! Sometimes, just standing there, they start "pulsing" and they just ache!! Of course, with my ovaries being larger than baseballs, my entire belly is swollen. Don't get me started on the generalized edema!! Jus' call me "Sponge Bob-ette".

Today, my E2 was 1441 - so it's dropped just a bit from yesterday. I was instructed to do the ovidrel, follistim and ganirelix ASAP - then tonight at 10pm, I do 20 IUs of Lupron and the other 20 IUs tomorrow morning at 8am. No blood work or u/s tomorrow, just show up at 8:30am on Friday for a 9am retrieval.

I spoke with Dr. H today as well, regarding the ICSI. He's agreed to call me on Friday, after we get the eggs and he has a chance to look at B's sample - so we can discuss it before he does anything, and make a final decision at that time.

I talked to R today - she's psyched!! Tonight is her one "shot-less" night before she starts the big injections for the pregnancy. I get extra shots today... she gets none. I told her to enjoy it because she's in for daily injections for the next 12 weeks.

Just about ready to go

Today I had another u/s - my first since Saturday. My ovaries were just bundles of black bubbles separated by thin white lines - no wonder I can feel them at night; they've got to be the size of baseballs!! They measured 14 follies today - 7 on each ovary - and they were all "greater than". The nurse said that Dr. T may have me go one more day, or he may have me trigger tonight. When I finally got my instructions, they were to go ahead with the microdose ovidrel, the follistim and ganirelix and return for another u/s and estradiol tomorrow. Oh, BTW, my E2 today was over 2400 - it's nearly doubled since yesterday!! No wonder my boobs are so sore!

R & S came home from the beach today; they called from Rockingham to see if I was free for a visit - but I had to go do cats before I picked up Little Man so they went on home. Poor R said that her butt will never be the same!! Crazy chick - riding all the way to the beach on the back of a bike like that...

I really had NO free time today - I went from one obligation to another, starting at 7:30am and ending when I got home from the grocery store to cook dinner at about 7pm. It was a crazy day! Well, 2 more days of work and then I'll get 5 days off! Of course, it looks like my retrieval will be Friday am and we have the Fall Festival Friday evening. I've promised Little Man that I'll take him and he's SO looking forward to it, so I figure I'll get a nap after the retrieval and then suck it up and go to the school for a few hours.

We'll see what tomorrow's results/instructions are - here's hoping that it will be trigger day!! I don't think they can let me go too awfully much longer - some of my follicles were up to 25mm in diameter today. I'd hate to lose them to some type of spontaneous rupture from delay...

First Born came by tonight and we got out the bikes; I told him that I'd feel much better if I could see how he rides - other than viewing him from the driveway as he whizzes by!! Since my new bike doesn't have tags yet, I told him we couldn't leave the neighborhood - don't really feel up to getting a ticket! I rode in front up the street, then when we crossed over Gun Club, I had him go ahead so I could watch him. He is actually very focused - both hands on the grips the entire time - or maybe that's just because he knew his mom was riding behind him!! I let him take the bike back to his dad's tonight so that he could ride it to school tomorrow. I know how much he enjoys it - wish he could understand how nervous it makes me!!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Bumps and bruises...

I started the Ganirelix injections 3 days ago and now have some lovely bruises to show for my efforts. It's a 27 gauge needle, so that doesn't bother me - and the stuff doesn't hurt on injection... but I guess there's some tissue reaction because shortly after injection it begins to ache at the site. Within 10 minutes I have a hot, red lump on my leg at the site. It will be gone by morning, but I sure know it's there in the meantime!

I've been keeping track of my estradiol levels (as if I know what they mean)...

**on Day 1, before I started stims, it was 62; Eman said that they want it to be under 100
**on Day 4 it was 291 and I had 6 mid sized follicles and 5-6 "less than"
**on Day 5, my E2 was up to 601 and they decreased my meds slightly
**on Day 6, it was 1062, with about 10 mid sized follies and another 5-6 "less than"
**on Day 7, my E2 was 1138, and they upped my Follistim, but not the microdose Ovidrel
**on Day 8 (today), I was up to 1461, with no dosing changes on my meds

I go to Cary tomorrow for an u/s and bloodwork. We should be getting close to retrieval - within 4-5 days or so!!

R and S headed to the beach on Sunday for a little "couple time" before the transfer. They rode the bike down - poor R sent me a text message saying that her butt was numb!! Hopefully this upcoming "hiatus" will only be a couple of weeks. I think they ended up with about 9 weeks of no sex last time between the transfer, the shaky pregnancy and then the D&C.

I'm still exhausted all of the time.... I'm hoping that it's the stims and that it will go away after retrieval. I'm managing to drag through work - which isn't a great state of mind to be in given my profession - but can hardly keep up at home anymore. I guess I'm just getting too old for this hormonal crap!!

Battered and bruised -

That's how I feel. My legs are sore and bruised from the injections and I'm just exhausted all the time. I don't feel like I get anything done, and all I want to do is sleep. Thankfully this will all be over in less than a week. Today was just blood work at the hospital; same for tomorrow. I'm sure that I'll have to go to Cary on Tuesday for an ultrasound. Honestly, I was surprised that I didn't have to go up there tomorrow. But, I'm assuming that they have a "plan" for my cycle. I've come to the realization that I don't have to understand it, I just need to follow it.

We're really looking forward to the transfer next week! I have what may be my last acupuncture treatment tomorrow. I have one scheduled for Friday morning, which I will go to, as long as the retrieval doesn't end up being that day. In a way, I'd like to have the retrieval on Friday, so I can be with R for both days after the transfer - though I don't think that either of us believes that 2 days of strict bed rest is necessary. I've done a lot of reading about it... many clinics don't require ANY bed rest and many only do 24 hours of it. A lot of REs believe that movement increases blood flow to the uterus, thus increasing the chances of implantation - we both feel that she should be up and around, just gently, on the day after the transfer. We're in agreement that they're not just going to "fall out" of her uterus!!

Anyway... we'll see how things look on Tuesday and hopefully get an idea of when this will all happen.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Not really sure what's going on..

... but it seems as though they're not really thrilled with something - maybe my estrogen levels?? I've had more blood draws this time than the last. I'm guessing, based on what I remember of my last stim, but I think that maybe my follies are developing a little more quickly than they would prefer. I've got another 6 days to go, and today I had a follicle measuring 19x14, which may be a little large for day 6 of a stim cycle. I've been worried that they were going to cancel my cycle - which is a waste of a great deal of money - but they seem to think that it will be alright; at least that's my assumption, since we keep moving forward. The nurse didn't give me a value for my E2 today, but I know that it was 601 yesterday and 291 the day before that. I'll have to wait until Monday to find out today's value. I don't know if I'll get tomorrow's value on my message - depends on who leaves the message for me, I guess.

R had her u/s and estradiol today - the blood work probably won't be back until Monday, but her uterus was a 13 triple stripe, which is PERFECT... as if it would be anything else! Perfect "condo" for the babes!!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

We've got a schedule!!

We got our schedule from NCCRM. I spoke with our coordinator and she said they were having difficulty putting a schedule together because of all of our restrictions.... my being unavailable the first weekend of October, R being unable to transfer on Thursday thru Saturday, their reluctance to keep me on BCPs for too long for fear of suppressing my ovaries too much... end result is that I told her to work around R's schedule and not worry about mine. I'll find a way to work it out - I have to change my entire work schedule anyway since we couldn't get the retrieval worked out for the days that I'm already off work - they couldn't get R ready in time (post D&E).

So, as it stands now, I have my initial u/s on Monday, October 1. If all looks good, then I'll start meds Monday night. Tentative retrieval dates are October 12-14 with transfer scheduled October 15-17. That's just a few weeks away!

I'm going to continue weekly acupuncture until the retrieval. S told me that she's done a lot of treatment protocols designed to increase egg yield at retrieval, but has never worked with anyone in my situation - history of a retrieval and using acupuncture leading up to a second transfer - so she has no personal knowledge of the difference it can make. She's anxious to see how this cycle goes, compared to my last, since the addition of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and moxabustion. Us, too!!

On SMO, CA (my IM buddy who HAS to be my age or damned near, since she has an 18 yr old child) just got 30 eggs (!!) at her retrieval! I'd LOVE to have that many, but would be thrilled to get 1/2 of that! I just want enough to split between ICSI and natural fertilization - R wants to transfer 2 fertilized with ICSI and 1 or 2 fertilized naturally to give us the absolute best chance of a viable pregnancy.

I'm excited about this upcoming cycle and also a bit scared after what happened last time. I know that we can't dwell on that, that all things happen for a reason, and I'm sure that this cycle will be successful given that the baby will be due in June :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Looking good so far

R had her preliminary u/s today and everything looks good; she starts Lupron injections tonight. We still haven't gotten the printed schedule but it's supposedly on it's way. R's message from our coordinator (late Friday afternoon) said that the schedule was completed and would be sent out early next (this) week and that she was to have the u/s and likely start the Lupron on Monday (today). I just really want it in writing so that I can see my dates in black & white. Not to mention that I have to get my work schedule rearranged since we're not going to be able to schedule the retrieval/transfer for the 5 days that I'm already off. I know it's a huge PITA for Dr. V, especially since she just lost her 2nd nanny so has NO childcare for the boys, but this is something that I couldn't control... we weren't able to proceed until R had her period and was cleared for a new cycle.

I had acupuncture again this afternoon. I told S that I'm noticing that I FEEL the needles much more now than I did in the beginning. She said that it's a matter of freeing my Chi and living much more IN my body than I'm used to. All I know is, they're 36 gauge needles so they shouldn't hurt at all... actually except for the tiniest of pinches, there's really not much of a sensation anywhere except for the 2 that she inserts over my ovaries... and they ALWAYS produce a strange sensation of "movement" and sometimes are quite uncomfortable - occasionally to the point that she has to move one of them. I can't help but feel that there's really something working here - I distinctly remember my first session and how I felt NOTHING when the needles were inserted. That is most definitely a thing of the past. In fact, each time I go in, there's the smallest sensation of dread because I know that those 2 needles are going to be very uncomfortable (I won't say that they actually "hurt" because I don't think that's an accurate description of the sensation they produce). This time, she had me do a little breathing exercise while she inserted the needles on the left side of my abdomen and I didn't feel them in an unpleasant way - so maybe that's the key for me.

Now, my biggest issue is that I'm going to have to get out of this "mandatory" drill for the 1st weekend of October because the clinic insists that I'm going to have to come in for monitoring. I'm thinking that I'll wait until I get my schedule and then see what I can work out.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Moving forward, but at a snail's pace

It seems like we're just barely creeping along. The clinic sent me a postcard requested payment and stating that ICSI and Assisted Hatching were both required. The total was $8000. Now, at this point, it's NOT about the money, but we just don't want our eggs messed with any more than absolutely necessary. I spoke with our coordinator who said that she'd put a note in my chart - not good enough. I tried to call the other nurse, but she wasn't in. In the end, I just gave Dr. H a call, since he's the embryologist. I explained my feelings and he explained to me why they did the ICSI last time. I told him that I want it done this time ONLY if it's a last resort to save the cycle. So, what we're hoping for is enough eggs this time to split them and do half with ICSI, half without. Here's hoping that the acupuncture is working it's miracle and we'll harvest at least a dozen little eggies to work with!!

I mailed the check to NCCRM on Monday; today I got the receipt from them, so I know they've received it. E told me that they would mail out our schedules once they received payment, so I was a little surprised that it didn't arrive here today as well - maybe tomorrow.... I also got a call from IVP Care to get payment for R's meds. Apparently she has to have them by Saturday (according to what the pharmacy told me), so I guess that's when she starts the lupron. She's raring to get going with this as well!!

It's a bit of a PITA that I'm going to have to do some rearranging at work to accommodate this schedule since they weren't able to work with what I had available, but that's life. Dr. V has assured me that we can figure it out. If not, then I'll take off for the 2 weeks, and I KNOW that she doesn't want THAT to happen. But, in the big scheme of things, this is definitely more important.

B's brother came down today for a brief visit and to spread some "energy" for this process. I have a really good feeling about this - it's all falling into place - the timing, the money, the support.... I can't wait to get going!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Getting started

R called me yesterday a.m. to tell me that Aunt Flo is finally here in full force. She started on BCPs last night. She said that she also left a message for our coordinator, but that E was on vacation until today, so she didn't expect to hear back until then.

This afternoon, R called me and said that she had heard from E - according to the schedule that they've set up, the 3 day transfer will be the 11th - 13th of October, making retrieval the 8th - 10th, which of course won't work for me. I have drill the weekend of the 7th, so won't be available for monitoring. So, I guess that tomorrow I'll have to give the clinic a call and tell her that we need to push the retrieval and transfer off about a week so this will work for us. I don't imagine that they'll have much difficulty keeping R cooking for an extra day or so...

We'll see what the docs have to say about that!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Looking good!

Friday's blood work was good, according to our coordinator. My estrogen and FSH were where they want to them to be, I guess, so I've started on BCPs again (yippee...) E told me that she would call R about the next step, but still hasn't done so yet. R is planning on calling her tomorrow to figure out what we need to do. I think that the next step is an u/s of R's uterus to determine if she needs to have a period before we proceed.

I had my first acupuncture treatment on Friday also. It was WONDERFUL. S is great. She really took a lot of time to talk to me, to find out where we are and where we're going, and determine what treatment plan gives us the best chance of success (not guaranteed, of course, but this being my last retrieval, we're going to give it all we've got).

I ended up with 2 needles in my left wrist, 2 over each ovary and 1 in the center of my abdomen, 1 just below my right knee and 3 in my right foot. Oh, almost forgot the one right between my eyes! She hooked up a mild electrical current to the needles over my ovaries, and then put a mineral heat lamp over my entire abdomen for about 20 minutes. After she removed the needles, she did the moxibustion over my ovaries and abdomen. I came home with Wu Chi Pai Feng Wan which are tiny tea pills enclosed in white wax "eggs" - I take 1/3 of them 3 times each day. She also gave me a moxibustion stick to do every other day at home. For B, she sent Men's Vitality and Five Ancestor's Pills to help to increase his sperm count so hopefully we can avoid ICSI this next time. Of course, I guess that I can refuse to have it performed... but if his sperm count is high, then we'll hopefully still have good fertilization w/o the ICSI.

Since our time before retrieval may be as short as 3 weeks (though it could be a few weeks longer), S recommended that I come for treatments twice a week (she generally recommends a total of 6-8 treatments for maximum results). I have an appointment tomorrow, and again next Friday. The week after that I have terrible conflicts and don't know if I'll be able to go at all, though I DO have appointments scheduled - I just don't think I can keep them :( Once R talks to our coordinator, we'll know just how much time we have, then I can hopefully schedule a couple of extra acupuncture treatments.

S also advised me to not take in cold liquids if at all possible (drink water at room temp - ick!) and avoid dairy, especially ice cream. She recommended that B find a "natural" toothpaste without fluoride to use until the cycle is over because it has been theorized (though not proven) that fluoride MAY decrease sperm count. Well, if we're gonna do EVERYTHING, we might as well do EVERYTHING, right?

On a totally different note, I GOT A NEW CAR YESTERDAY!! It's absolutely AWESOME!! I got a Hyundai Veracruz (yes, I know... I was very skeptical about Hyundai's as well, but they have really come into their own lately in terms of quality and reliability). It's a beautiful car - looks much like a Lexus R330, only nicer looking. It's got tons of bells and whistles - leather, DVD player, auto lift gate, a REAL plug in the back, auto headlights and wipers, auto tilt and telescoping wheel, a "cool box" in the front console, shiftronic transmission, proximity key (this is WAAAYYYY cool!). I LOVE THIS CAR.