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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Two Week Wait Day 7: Twilight Zone

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Two Week Wait Day 7: Monday, February 28, 2011

First of all -thanks to everyone for all your sweet comments about my worries (and about Randy). Publishing all of my crazy worries for all to see made me feel vulnerable and exposed, and your comments made me feel much more confident and empowered in my exposure.

And now, onto the wait. Today felt like the Twilight Zone. When I woke up I was sure there was no way I could get up and go to work and interact with people and pretend like I wasn’t completely out of my mind. But Randy convinced me that I could and so in my zombie-like state I showered, dressed and drove to work. The morning was completely bananas because of power outages at the office due to downed power lines caused by last night’s storm, which was also making the sky look all gray and apocalypse-y. Add to that my realization that my Yahoo mail account was hacked in the middle of the night causing everyone in my address book to get spam about “taking their penises in an ambulance”. When I finally got to my desk after the power had been restored I felt so strange that I couldn’t imagine going on with the day as normal.

I didn’t feel normal in any way. I felt like  – and this has been the best I can come up with in the way of description – my insides were screaming. Like there was so much pressure bottled up inside me I was going to explode. Like I couldn’t sit still because the anxiety was pacing around inside my chest, looking for an escape valve. I imagine this might be what a panic attack feels like? I didn’t think I was going to make it through the work day. But in the end, Kara came through, as she always does. The key to bringing me back to reality from the Twilight Zone? Turns out, its Kara handing me a post-it note on which she has penned a labeled drawing of her new bra to illustrate how its making her uncomfortable. I know for many people this might be the catalyst for feeling Twilight Zonish. But I guess I’m not most people. This and other antics throughout the day brought me back from the brink and by the end of the day I was functioning almost normally. I was even clear-headed enough to make the decision to not take a home test today. The risk for a false negative is still too high and I don’t need any unnecessary anxiety.

I leave you with a high-fashion photo shoot starring Kara and the birthday hat I knitted for her and finally gave her today. Only a week late. 🙂

Two Week Wait Day 6: Things I Worry About

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Two Week Wait Day 6: Sunday, February 27, 2011

Yesterday was bad. I was nothing but nervous all day long. Today started out very promising – I woke up with a can-do attitude. I made French Toast. I marveled at nature and felt like I could do ANYTHING. And then without warning, the worries struck. So I thought it would be a fun exercise to list all the different, sometimes ridiculous worries that go through a person’s mind during the two week wait, when the crazy level gets turned WAY up.

A Sampling of Worries:

  • Water flushes things out of your system. If I drink a lot of water, will I flush out the embryos?
  • If I laugh too hard, will the vibrations dislodge the embryos?
  • If I cough too hard, will the vibrations dislodge the embryos?
  • What if that 12 pack of Coke and gallon of milk I just lifted were too much weight all at once?
  • Did I wait too long between taking my doses of progesterone?
  • Is my abdomen getting too hot with the dog laying on it? The nurse said no heating pads – she is like a living heating pad.
  • I was having a lot of breast tenderness and now its gone. Its all over! There’s no hope!
  • I need to dye my hair. Can I dye my hair? Better not – fumes.
  • My head hurts. Is this a normal headache or one of my classic PMS mondo-headaches?
  • I cried yesterday – I hope the emotional stress didn’t ruin my cycle. I know I just read the study that found that stress had no impact on the outcome of an IVF cycle but still….
  • I feel some twinges of cramping. Maybe its a pregnancy sign. Or maybe its PMS. 😦
  • My temperature is too high – the embryos are burning alive.
  • My temperature dipped down to normal for the first time since the transfer. Maybe the higher temp was a good thing and this dip means its all over!
  • I’m surrounded by so much support right now and its really keeping me going, but…. what if this cycle fails? I will disappoint everyone and they won’t like me anymore. They won’t care about me like they do now because I won’t be interesting anymore – I’ll just go back to being bitter and sad and no fun to be around.

Suffice to say, my brain is a messed up place right now and I have to give a hand to the people who are on the front lines every day, trying to help me sort out the crazy. Randy is my superhero – he managed to get me up and out of the house yesterday for a date and he coordinated us working together to actually accomplish something in between worries – this custom quilt for a loyal customer.

Note: This pic was taken in the elegant surroundings of Randy’s cube at work with our broken camera, so no judgment on the less than stellar quality, please 🙂

Also, Randy: cleaned the entire house, changed the cat litter, went through Mt. Mail and organized it, cleaned out the fridge, went grocery shopping where he bought us some Samoas :), made dinner for tonight AND a casserole for tomorrow’s dinner, washed our sheets and re-clothed the bed, took care of Zipper’s every need, washed-folded-put away about 5 loads of laundry, AND took apart my camera to see if he could fix it (Note: do not take apart your digital camera – turns out there are bajillions of tiny screws and microscopic parts that you can barely pick up, much less screw back into place. Randy was able to use his patience and attention to detail to get everything back where it belonged but I don’t think many people would. The camera needs SERIOUS professional help.) And he probably did about 10 other things I’m forgetting right now. I don’t know how I was so lucky as to find my Randy, but I’m thankful for him every second of every day. And he doesn’t laugh at my crazy worries. 🙂

Two Week Wait Day 4: Nervous

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Two Week Wait Day 4: Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous.

Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous.

Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous.Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous. Nervous. NERVOUS. Nervous.

Two Week Wait Days 2 & 3: Back to the Grind

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Two Week Wait Days 2 & 3: Thursday & Friday, February 24 & 25

Back to school: check (you try to take it easy, but the children don’t let you)

Fever: check (running around after kids makes it worse)

Worries: check (though my temp hasn’t climbed above 99.5 I’m worried my embryos are burning up)

Enter: Gina – my too-good-to-be-true buddy and coworker. She brought me this washcloth and container of water to use as a cold compress to reduce my fever.

love. Love. LOVE.

I’m so lucky to have such good friends.

Two Week Wait Day 2: One More Day Off

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Two Week Wait Day 2: Wednesday, February 22

My fever is not going away and I still feel yucky enough that I decided to take one more day off work to continue resting. The fever and continued cramping have me worried enough that I call the clinic to ask about them. The nurse tells me not to worry too much about the fever unless it gets to 100.4, in which case to call them, and to take tylanol and drink lots of fluids in the meantime. She says the cramping and bloating make sense because they tend to peak 7-10 days after retrieval, which is exactly now. So that makes me feel a little better.

But what makes me feel even better than that is what the nurse tells me about my remaining embryos. 2 have made it freezing! Though all 4 making it would have been amazing, having 2 make it is still pretty awesome. We’ve only had embryos make it to freezing one other cycle, so its certainly a victory. A victory and yet a double edged sword. Because it means that this is not our last IVF cycle. Its definitely our last fresh cycle (going through the ovarian stimulation process and retrieving eggs) but it means we will be back to do another transfer – whether in a month or two if this current cycle doesn’t work or in a few years to try for a sibling for Bert and/or Ernie. Its wonderful and we’re so thankful and yet it leaves us with slightly mixed emotions because it will extend our time in this period of life. So mixed emotions or not, I wouldn’t have wanted it to turn out any other way.

Two Week Wait Day 1: And So it Begins

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Two Week Wait Day 1: Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Those who have been reading will notice a change in title. We’ve gone from “Cycle Day” to “Two Week Wait Day” because we have officially crossed over into perhaps the most insidious portion of the IVF process: the period between transfer and pregnancy test, otherwise known as The Two Week Wait (or the TWW on fertility message boards). Its particularly heinous because the work is over, the almost daily medical feedback is over, and there is nothing left to do but think and stew and worry about what’s going on inside. AND you have to behave as though you are pregnant – because for all intents and purposes – you are until proven otherwise. Behaving as though you are pregnant (not lifting heavy things, avoiding certain medications, no hot baths :(, etc.) when you so desperately hope you are really messes with your mind and makes it almost impossible to keep your thoughts on other things.

Luckily (or unluckily) for me I did have one thing strong enough to distract me today – my continued cramping and bloating. I feel worse than ever before after a transfer so its making it much easier not to mind my quiet house rest for one more day. In fact – I already can’t remember what I did today. I was pretty out of it. I also have a low fever and I’m not sure why.  This is definitely the strangest transfer/post transfer yet. Maybe the difference is a good thing?

Cycle Day 21: Meet the Boys

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Cycle Day 21: Monday, February 21, 2011

 

Introducing Bert and Ernie Marksberry – our new, bouncing blastocycsts. We named them Bert and Ernie because we thought they looked like Muppet googly eyes next to each other like that. Also we love Bert and Ernie and identify with them quite a bit (Randy is Bert, I am Ernie – it works on so many levels.)

See the “pupils” of the googly eyes? The dark spots? Those are what will become the fetuses if we are so lucky! The outer cells will become the placenta. We’ve only ever transferred blastocysts (as opposed to 8-cell stage embryos) once, and they had been cryopreserved (frozen), whereas these are fresh from the hatchery, giving them slightly better odds of making it. Keeping our fingers, toes, hair, arms, and legs crossed.

Now that you’ve met Bert and Ernie, let me tell you how they came to reside inside my uterus- it was a bit of a rocky start.

Our transfer was scheduled for 9:15 a.m. so I was on the edge of my seat until we left for the clinic, listening for a call from them which could only be bad news. I figured if none of our embryos made it to today they would call us before we left and tell us not to bother coming in. No one called so I felt pretty confident that we had at least one left to transfer. That fact, combined with our quickest wait yet before a transfer made for the least stressful pre-transfer time we’ve ever had.

Transfer day is quite a bit different than retrieval day. I’m allowed to eat and drink before hand (hence my granola bar on the way to the clinic) and I’m not sedated at all. Once they call us back, they take us to a little dressing room with lockers where Randy puts on scrubs, a hat, and booties and I put on my old favorite – a hospital gown, hat, and booties, and we leave all of our belongings in a locker. Then we walk back to a transfer room. Its bigger than a regular exam room but not as big as the retrieval room. The ceiling is painted blue with white clouds and it is always kept very warm – better for the embryos. I assume my post on the table and Randy takes up residence on a spinny stool and we chill out for the better part of a half hour while everyone gets all the moving parts in sync. This is the part that can get really dicey. Because you are asked to arrive with your bladder partially full – it makes the uterus easier to see on ultrasound. The problem is knowing how much to drink to strike that balance between partially full and ready to explode. Our first transfer I completely overdid it and had to go to the bathroom TWICE before the procedure, leading to some comical incidents that I may write about at a later date.

So for this – our 6th transfer – I didn’t worry too much about getting my bladder full. I figure its pretty full most of the time anyway, I’ll just behave normally and by the time the doctor is ready I’ll have a partially full bladder. Lying on the table waiting for the doc, my bladder didn’t feel too uncomfortable, but I didn’t really worry about it. Later I wish I had, because everything that usually goes smoothly during a transfer for us was all wonky, and I think it all ties back to the not-full-enough bladder.

Enter the nurse and….who’s that guy pretending to be my RE? A man I’ve never met before – a third RE who has just joined the practice is going to do my transfer. This throws me off my game. I tell myself it will be fine – that if they invited him into the practice he must be highly skilled and its okay that its different. But he is SO different. He doesn’t explain as much and his voice is hard for me to hear – it sounds muffled and I think he’s using a lot more technical terms than I’m used to. But he does say we have two great looking blastocysts to transfer and four more that can be frozen if they make it til tomorrow. Yay!  He has the nurse start the ultrasound to find my uterus and it does not go well. It is no where to be found. He asks how full my bladder is. I say: “….somewhat?” Because really, how do you answer that question? The nurse pushes down on my abdomen with the ultrasound wand. The doctor adjusts the speculum. Still nothing. Did I ruin everything with my only somewhat full bladder? The nurse pushes down harder (she’s practically doing a handstand on my belly) and shifts a little and bam! There it is. The RE says its curved. What??? Curved??? Is this going to be a problem? I don’t ask because things seem tense.

In light of my curved and very sneaky uterus, the RE decides to do a practice transfer before doing the real thing. This is when he inserts an empty catheter into my uterus to practice the angle and depth he needs to use for the real thing – its important to get that right on the first try when you have little embryos in the cath. This has never happened before. I try not to panic. The RE has some troubles getting the right angle on the catheter  the first time and has to try again. Did I mention that the exam table is steeply tilted so that my head is lower and that I am in stirrups and the entire bottom end of the exam table is dropped from beneath me (I can’t remember why – they always do this) AND that the nurse is still trying to flatten my stomach with the ultrasound? He gets it right and goes to the little window that connects the transfer room to the lab to ask for my embryos. We wait. Nothing happens. The nurse explains that they are having a hard time getting both embryos into the same pipette at the same time, because they were on opposite ends of the dish. I laugh because they are being difficult. The lab finally wrangles Bert and Ernie into the pipette and into the catheter they go. They are visible as a tiny point of light on the ultrasound right in the top center of my uterus. I think I even hear the nurse breathe a sigh of relief. They give the catheter to the lab so it can be checked under the microscope to make sure no naughty little embryos are still hanging out in there. Its clear.

Now in rapid succession the speculum comes out, the ultrasound is put away, the stirrups are lowered, the bottom end of the exam table raises back up to support my bottom end, the doctor is washing up, and the nurse tells me to rest here for a while. And then we are alone. And then the cramps start. I’ve never had cramping on transfer day. I think its from the handstand the nurse did on my abdomen. Its pretty severe. I’m shaking. I feel slightly nauseous. This has never happened before. I panic that the transfer didn’t go well – that my insides are all contracting and angry and its not a good place for the embryos. Randy thinks it went fine and tries to soothe me. After about a half hour the nurse comes back in and I tell her about my cramps. She says its normal – that we went in there and aggravated things that are already aggravated from the ovarian stimulation and the retrieval. She helps me up and leads us back to the dressing room where we change back into our “civies”. I’m moving at about 2 miles per hour because my abdomen is SO angry at me.

We return home with some burritos from Chipotle to nourish the little guys. I settle in on the couch for some hard core “quiet bed rest”. My insides are still seizing and the Chipotle brings on some wicked heartburn but I’m too chicken to take anything for either. I combat the ailments with sleep – and lots of it! Settle in, little B and E, and make yourselves at home. Please – this is your mother asking you nicely. 🙂