Monday, February 25, 2008

Pregnancy: Take 3, Scene 3: Beta

I got the phone call! I knew it was good news when the blood draw nurse called me with the results and not my RE or her nurse.

The beta went from 104 to 1105.

Progesterone went from 24.8 to 45.29

Thank God! I'm so excited!

My beta had a doubling time of 35.2 hours over the course of 5 days.
Beta numbers should double every 48-72 hours. You can have a perfectly healthy pregnancy that doubles closer to 72 hours. My first pregnancy had a doubling time of only 66.7 hours. It's reassuring to see mine double quickly this time.

When the blood draws are over 48 hours you can use one of these two doubling calculators:
Betabase Calculator or Just mommies' Calculator

We have an u/s scheduled on 3/10 so I'm praying we get a strong heartbeat. I'll be 6 weeks and 6 days at that time. We may actually get an October baby out of this! :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pregnancy: Take 3, Scene 2

My beta doubled. I'm pregnant.

Thank God. This is truly a miracle after the crazy cycle that I had.

The beta started at 53 on Monday. A little under 48 hours later it was 104. So it's good. I of course, wanted a perfect 106 or better. But I'll take what I get. It's a start. And it's darn good considering the horrible bleeding I had a few days ago.

My estrogen went up to 231. So the estrogen patches are working. Hopefully the lining is making a cozy spot for the baby to grow.

The next beta is on Monday. We'll schedule an u/s after that.

I'm breathing, a little shakey, but I'm breathing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In Memory of Al


On our wedding day

Cousin Big Al on the left, Christopher center, and brother Steve on right.

We lost a beautiful soul on Valentine's Day 2008. It could never be fitting that someone dies unexpectedly at only age 45. But some how the fact that he passed away on Valentine's day was appropriate, for he had the biggest heart and biggest love for his family and friends.

The funeral service was Tuesday. We left at 3:30 and got home at almost 11:00 pm. There was so many people there. Al was a postal carrier and people really turned out for him. A lot of the mail men and women showed up in their uniforms straight from work.

I'm almost in tears thinking about it again.

The priest called him "Big Al" during the whole service. Most of the family just started bawling when he did that. That was our nickname for him. His brother Tom did the eulogy and started off saying Al was even bigger than his 6 ft 5 inch frame. His heart was so big. He was bigger than life. Loved his friends and family so much. He lived life and enjoyed it to it's fullest. And that Al had the best job for him where he delivered mail and got to visit 500 of his friends every day.

I never met a happier guy than Al. He was his mom's full time caretaker for the past year or so since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. It hasn't been an easy year for him.

We had a private reception after the service at the Downtowner Saloon and Steakhouse. Al would have loved it! It was right on the intercoastal waterway. Right in front of the restaurant, there were huge beautiful boats and small yachts moored up.

Chris said he was going to drink a beer to Al and then he said, "Al's a big guy, I'm drinking at least two for him!" LOL

Dude. That was Al's favorite salutation. Dude, you're missed. You were one of a kind and will never be replaced.

Chris sent this to his cousins.

Here is a link to a song that I think BEST describes BIG AL pretty much to a T. It was a song written by Bruce Springsteen for his long time friend Terry Magovern, called TERRY'S SONG

Terry's Song

Well they built the Titanic to be one of a kind, but many ships have ruled the seasThey built the Eiffel Tower to stand alone, but they could build another if they pleaseTaj Mahal, the pyramids of Egypt, are unique I supposeBut when they built you, brother, they broke the mold

Now the world is filled with many wonders under the passing sunAnd sometimes something comes along and you know it's for sure the only oneThe Mona Lisa, the David, the Sistine Chapel, Jesus, Mary, and JoeAnd when they built you, brother, they broke the mold

When they built you, brother, they turned dust into goldWhen they built you, brother, they broke the mold

They say you can't take it with you, but I think that they're wrong'Cause all I know is I woke up this morning, and something big was goneGone into that dark ether where you're still young and hard and coldJust like when they built you, brother, they broke the mold

[harmonica bridge]

Now your death is upon us and we'll return your ashes to the earthAnd I know you'll take comfort in knowing you've been roundly blessed and cursedBut love is a power greater than death, just like the songs and stories toldAnd when she built you, brother, she broke the mold

That attitude's a power stronger than death, alive and burning her stone coldWhen they built you, brother

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pregnancy: Take 3


I really hope this one does take.

I went dress shopping for the funeral I had to attend. Of course the nurse called with my blood work results while I was in the fitting room. The poor lady next door got an earful. I had no shame.

The first thing the out of the nurse's mouth was, "Congratulations, you're pregnant!"

I'm so rude. I brushed that aside, didn't even acknowledge that she said anything. I asked for the numbers.

My beta on Monday morning was 53 at 13 DPO. I told her that seemed low. She reassured me that they were happy with it based on how early it was.

Actually it's not too bad. I would have loved to see it over 100 but hey it's in the range of normal.

My progesterone was *only* 24.8 while being supplemented. I'm definitely not thrilled with this number although I know it's a totally good level. But in my first pregnancy and the first cycle on Clomid, my progesterone levels were close to 40.

For the first time other than a CD 3 level, they checked my estrogen. It was only a 97. The nurse said it was a little low. She said that the RE would review the numbers and I would get a call back if she decided to supplement the estrogen too.

I didn't think to ask what a normal E2 level was. She caught me off guard with that. I know the beta ranges and progesterone but what do I know about estrogen? Nada. It surges briefly at ovulation and then raises quickly during early pregnancy. By googling I found that bythe 5th week of pregnancy it's commonly above 500. That makes my 97 sound puny.

I begged the nurse for supplements. I told her that I had been spotting all month from the progestin and was worried my lining wasn't thick enough.

Finally I got the call back. The RE said that this early there's no "normal" estrogen value but based on my history she would order me estrogen patches. YES! Maybe this baby has a chance. Normally she would not supplement any other patient with a 97 estrogen level. This was sounded quite different from the initial call from the nurse but I'll take it!

I started the estrogen patches on Monday night. Apparently I'm on a double dose as my insurance would only pay for one box. We'll have to work on that.

Of course the estrogen packaging and literature are covered with warnings not to use the patches if you're pregnant or could soon become pregnant.

Oh, and it can cause cancer too. Yeah, I begged for this.

So today I'm pregnant. I'm trying to be hopeful despite how crazy of a cycle this was. It was far from perfect with a late ovulation on CD 30 after 21 days of progestin to suppress my ovaries. But this is what we got. The doctor told us to have timed intercourse after catching my ovulation via ultrasound and bloodwork. And so we listened. And here we are.

Next beta is Wednesday morning.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sit down for this

I had very heavy period like bleeding for about 36 hours late Thursday and all day Friday. I called it CD 1 and even scheduled my CD 3 baseline ultrasound to check on the cysts.
Then it went to very light spotting and almost stopped on Saturday. I kept feeling so awful and some of the things kept reminding me of my last chemical in August.
I just had a bad feeling for the past couple of days when I started spotting at 5 DPO and then bleeding at 9 DPO that a chemical pregnancy was a possiblity. I even talked myself out of testing on 10 DPO. I wanted to protect myself from the knowledge that I could be having another miscarriage. Finally after the the bleeding slowed down so much on Saturday, I couldn't take it any more. I tested.
It was a pretty faint line on the FRER but definitely pink and with in the time limit.

I admit that I emailed 2 of my close friends that I knew could still be up 11 pm and cussed up a storm about having a chemical pregnancy. They were super supportive as always. Then I phoned the on call doctor who told me I could start the left over progesterone supplements from my Clomid cycles. I go on Monday for a beta.

But in all honesty, it's probably just a chemical pregnancy based on the amount of bleeding I've had.

I'm not one to share "weird feelings" unless I have some proof. At this point, I hope to have some hcg still left in my system for the blood draw on Monday. I know chemical pregnancies happen all the time without evidence other than a positive pee stick at home. But I worry about being taken seriously. ::big eye roll::
I did get a positive on Sunday with a digital pregnancy test so that was reassuring in a small way.

I almost didn't share it with my pregnancy loss prayer group. But then I got an email from another friend in that group and decided that it was a lack of faith NOT to ask for prayers. Miracles do happen after all. I just usually don't expect them for me.

I'm okay with it. Kind of numb I suppose. I've had two miscarriages, I can get through a third. I just want to know for sure that it's a CP and then I can stop the progesterone. Part of me didn't even want to bother with it but there's always a small chance. I didn't think anything good could come of this late ovulation. And things definitely aren't looking good.

There's no way in hell I'm announcing a BFP. I didn't even do that with my second pregnancy and I was only spotting then.

Friday, February 15, 2008

40 days and 40 nights

After 40 days, which included 21 days of progestin hell, 4 transvaginal u/s, 9 cysts, spotting and bleeding every couple of days, and a two vials of blood, it's finally over.

Today is officially CD 1. We can begin a new cycle!

I've been having a great internal debate about what to do this cycle. Do we try on our own with an unmedicated cyle or should I push for Femara?

I'm having all the bad side effects from Clomid. My CM is hostile which forces us to do IUI instead of the much cheaper timed intercourse. I ovulated early the second cycle of Clomid and had a thin uterine lining on CD 11. And I'm experience ovarian disfunction by the way of 9 monster ovarian cysts.

Add those side effects to the fact that we're having trouble taking off so much work for the monitoring and IUI appointments, and I think we have a good case to switch to Femara.
Femara doesn't cause hostile CM or thining of the uterine lining. Hopefully I won't get the cysts either. With Femara, we shouldn't need IUI so that will save us time and money!

Reasons for TTC unmedicated this cycle:

We have a funeral to attend for a cousin that was like a brother to my husband. Chris is understandably off his game from Al's unexpected death. He doesn't need any additional stress right now.

This would give the acupuncture time to work.

I wouldn't have to worry about days off for doctor's appointments.

I could get back my diet in earnest.

Waiting could mean that the next medicated cycle might be when I have a less stressful job that doesn't require travel.

Reasons to TTC with Femara this cycle:

I'm losing approx 10,000 eggs a cycle with an already suspect ovarian reserve.

My EDD for the previous m/c and the chances for a 2008 baby are flying by.

I'm tired of TTC with ill timed procdures and only getting cysts.

Maybe they would let us just have Timed Intercourse instead of IUI.

I wanted a baby 4 years ago. I really, really wanted a baby when we started TTC a year ago. I really, really, really wanted a baby on my EDD of 1/28/08. And I really, really, really, really want a baby NOW! (Yeah, minor tantrum. Sorry)

I think the reasons to wait, out weigh the reasons to push for Femara this cycle. The big reason is Christopher's grieving for his cousin. He doesn't need the extra pressure to perform for the sake of a medicated cycle. This will give us both some breathing room free of tests and procedures.

We'll probably just try on our own this cycle. That's probably best. Right? I'm so torn.

I scheduled the baseline u/s for Monday. Hopefully I don't have any more left over cysts. I'm feeling a little crampy so it's entirely possible that some are still there. We'll have to make the decision to TTC on our own or go on a medicine to suppress my ovary function again. I know which way I'm voting! I'll also pitch my idea of switching to Femara for the next cycle. Wish me luck. :)

I call it love.

QOTD: What is the craziest thing you've ever done for love?

That was the check in today on the message board. I know she was looking for silly romantic answers but it really hit me in another way.

The craziest thing I've done for love is not a silly thing.
Some may consider it crazy. I even consider it a little crazy but the only reason I've done it is solely for love.

The craziest thing (as in puting myself out on the line to be hurt) has to be the last 8 months total. That's the time since my first miscarriage. Since then I've had a second miscarriage. I've had countless medical exams and procedures. I've have vials upon vials of blood drawn. I've been embarassed and cried at the drop of a hat. I risk another miscarriage every month we try to make a baby. I risk more heartache. I've gotten hurt over and over, yet I keep exposing myself for more pain and rejection.

Doesn't it sound crazy?

People may say: Why don't you adopt? Or you're old, so maybe you should live childless. Isn't it time to give up?

No. Not yet. We're not done. We're not ready to move on.

I do this because I love my husband. I do this because I love our future child. I do this because I want to share our love in our own little family.

So call it crazy. I call it love.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Acupunture: Session One and Two

Session One

My first acupuncture appointment was intensive! I talked to the doctor for about 1.5 hours. We went over all my infertility testing from the RE, result by result. He asked a million questions about my lifestyle, work, and diet.

This Dr. Z wrote an article about miscarriage in our Resolve newsletter so that interesting. I had read the article in my RE's waiting room a few months ago but didn't pay attention to the author's name at the time. There's also a German study that has indicated that acupuncture can be beneficial to IVF success.
Here's a newspaper article regarding my acupuncturist and fertility.

I'm going to try a few cycles of weekly acu treatments. I had one today and it was relaxing and energizing at the same time! He wants to work on my diet in up coming appointments. He really wants me to completely cut out caffeine and green tea. I only drink 6-10 ounces of coffee a day to get me started in the morning but I'm going to try to cut back, maybe go with half decaf. Then I'll try to switch to black tea per his suggestion.

He is concerned with the green tea blocking folic acid absorption. I have seen an article regarding that. In the past I just always took my folic acid as far from the green tea as possible.

He also wants me to try some Chinese herbs. My RE's nurse said it was okay but I'm still a little concerned. I'm supposed to have a consult with another doctor and then they'll order the herbs from a Chinese pharmacy in NYC.

For the first acu session lasted about 20 minutes. He put a needle in each foot. Then I had a series of needles up my leg to my knee.

He put a half dozen around my belly button with a heat lamp centered over them.
(You're not getting a picture of my stomach!)

I have an appointment next week for another session!

Session Two (CD 37, 6 DPO)

We talked about my charts this time before the needling started. He asked for copies of them for his review. The new patient paperwork asked about this but he didn't bring it up at the intake appointment. He asked me if I normally have cramping at ovulation and before my period. I do and I've been cramping for the past few days. (No, don't get excited. I doubt if it's implantation. I normally cramp during the 2WW.)

I got more needles this time! Again, I had the needles in my feet and up my lower legs. This time the needles were located lower on my belly/pelvic area. The heat lamp was again placed over my stomach. I also got one needle in each hand. I got one on my forehead and one on the top of my head.

Sorry, I look like so awful and uncomfortable. The acupuncture is actually not painful but it was uncomfortable to snap these pictures on my phone. I hid my phone under the pillow while he was inserting the needles. After he left I squirmed around until I could get the pictures snapped.
The needles in the back of my hand weren't very deep. I ended up dislodging the one in my left hand when I hid away the phone. Oops. He acted like it wasn't a big deal.

This session was a lot longer. Maybe 45 minutes or so.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I'm so sad.

I just feel so sad and frustrated. It's like we haven't had a real chance to TTC since my second m/c in August.

The first cycle, the IUI was ill timed because of the PCT.

Second cycle I ovulated way early and we only had sex on the day of ovulation.

And then the third cycle, I had the 9 cysts and was on a medicine that was supposed to suppress ovulation and bring on a period. Well my stupid body, decides to disobey doctor's orders and ovulate on CD 30! So now we didn't have well timed intercourse because I was bleeding from the progestin and my egg quality probably sucks from it being so late in my cycle.

I'm not very hopeful that I could be pregnant with the late ovulation and the fact that we only had sex on Monday and Tuesday.

There's always the chance though. And technically my ovaries were suppressed for 21 days. I know the follicle didn't grow until last week because of the two u/s. Stupid body couldn't just sit out the cycle like the doctor wanted, had to bust a move to ovulate.

I just spent way too much time playing with TCOYF and FF. Neither one wants to give me cross hairs no matter what info I took out or put in. I tried taking out the spotting since it was caused by the progestin and it still wasn't happy. I think the long cycle just blows their mind.


Fertility Friend

TCOYF is setting my coverline super high for some reason. I see 3-4 good high temps. I really dislike it right now but I have a feeling it's correct. When I first entered in my info, it forecasted my period to start today. Well, I'm spotting bright red and have achy ovaries. Maybe the progestin withdraw finally kicked in. I don't know what I changed but now it's forecasting my period for Tuesday.

But the more I sit here, the more it feels like I'm having AF cramps.

Please dear God, give me a normal cycle. Without cysts would be a nice bonus.

I'm close to asking about trying Femara instead of Clomid. Wonder if we could do TI instead of IUI because the CM isn't supposed to be affected. That would help with my days off work for monitoring.

Most days I just want to cry. Oh, hell. I might as well cry. Maybe I'll feel better

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Something for fun.

I stole this from Maria's blog.

Post your own answers in your blog or email.



3.DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? No, I print just about everything and in capitals.

4.WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Boar's Head Honey Maple Ham but for my diet I usually get some BH turkey.

5. DO YOU HAVE PET? No because we travel too much for work. :(


7.DO YOU USE SARCASM? All the time.

8.DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? No I had my tonsils and adenoids removed when I was in second grade.

9.WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? No, but Chris might talk me into it next time. He did it once already and thinks a tandem jump would be thrilling. I think it would make me pee my pants.

10.WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Kellog's Smart Start with added raisins.


At times I am, but I have moments when I fall to pieces.

13.WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Plain vanilla or B&J's Chunky Monkey


15.RED OR PINK? Pink


17.WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My 87 year old grandma who lives over 1200 miles away.


19.WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Pink PJ pants but no shoes. Yes, it's 2:30 pm. Do you have a problem with that?

20.WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? A huge salad with grilled chicken.





25.DO YOU LIKE THUNDERSTORMS? Yes, I like to see the palm trees sway in the wind.

26.FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Football. Ohio State Football!

27.HAIR COLOR? Boring medium brown.

29.DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Yes but I wear my glasses most often because of work.






35.Hugs or kisses? Hugs

36.FAVORITE DESSERT? Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake

I just finished listening to the audiobook of Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. I think I'm going to start reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls next.

40.WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don't have one

41.FAVORITE SOUNDS? I have a lot of Kenny Chensney and Jimmy Buffett on my ipod.

Rolling Stones



Monday, February 4, 2008

I'm doing WHAT, now?

I'm so frustrated with my body, with Clomid, the 9 freaking cysts, and with the damn progestin.

I stopped the progestin (oral progesterone) last week. It's similar to taking provera to start your period. I was taking the progestin to suppress my ovary function.

I started heavy bleeding late Friday night. By Saturday it had slowed down to spotting. Today nothing was really going on but I went ahead to my CD 3 u/s. The nurse said that could be "normal" for my period because of the progestin and that I've been spotting all month.

My right ovary is perfect. the two smaller cysts are gone. Great news!

Leftie is still causing problems. I still had the 28 mm cyst and the 14 mm cyst grew to 20 mm. Bad news. Those puppies are supposed to be going away!

They took my blood to see if it was a a functioning cyst. Yep, the dang thing is a follicle. My estrogen was too high for CD 3. Mine came back at 486 and normal for CD 3 is less than 40. The bleeding was probably just withdraw bleeding from the drop in progesterone.

So they think I'm ovulating! Their advice is to have sex every other day.
Yay if it wasn't CD 2freaking8.

Then I'm to come back when my period starts. The nurse didn't even have the tact to say IF my period starts.

I probably missed the ovulation window but I'm going to use an OPK later. I had my normal crampiness and sore breasts starting yesterday and just thought it was AF symptoms. I probably missed the egg already. I didn't catch how thick my lining was this morning on the u/s so who knows if pregnancy is even possible.

Another wasted cycle I have a feeling.

Oh, and for kicks I had an acupuncture session this afternoon and told him it was CD 3. They do different acu points at various times in my cycle. So who knows WTF that did.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Blindsided tackled at the super bowl party

I got blindsided at the super bowl party.

BIL's neighbor invited her adult son over to the party. They thought it would just be the husband that came because it was supposed to be an adult only party. Instead it was the whole family.

They had a 5 year old and a little baby. I wasn't prepared for that. I let myself get a little sad after dinner thinking about my EDD for my first miscarriage last week and what we didn't have. My frustrations of TTC are stacking up after two failed Clomid cycles and the 9 cysts. I started crying during the game but I pulled it together pretty quickly. No one noticed.

SIL wanted us to sit on the barstools which was right on top of the baby. She kept crying and jabbering. I had enough by the half time show. I think that's the first time I let myself get that sad in the presence of a baby.

I left without saying good bye to everyone. I just wanted to go home, eat some chocolate and sleep! My SIL was giving her kids a shower so she didn't know I left until later. Oh well.

Chris was completely understanding and supportive about the whole thing. He caught a ride home with his cousin at the end of the game so it was no big deal.

Self preservation is necessary at times but it's still a sucky thing to do.

Friday, February 1, 2008

This isn't working

The two Clomid cycles have been a waste.

The first cycle the IUI was 48 hours post trigger because we did a Post Coital Test at 24 hours. Awful timing. A single IUI should be at 36 hours post trigger shot. So not much chance of that one working from the get go after the failed PCT.

The second Clomid cycle it looks like I ovulated on CD 10 based on when my period started. I didn't start using OPK that cycle until after my u/s on CD 11. My nurse had assured me that it wasn't neccessary. Of course I kicked myself for not starting it sooner. We didn't even have sex until CD 10 that cycle. My lining was thin on CD 11 so there probably wasn't a chance even if we'd had timed intercourse before. Then I ended up with 9 cysts on my ovaries which required us to take a break cycle. After enduring the progestin hell, I'm taking stock of our situation.

So, the two medicated cycles have been a big bust. That's three wasted cycles.

We TTC on our own, for three unmedicated cycles and got pregnant twice. And miscarried twice of course.

So the score is:

Medicated cycles: 0-3
Unmedicated cycles: 2-3

Hmmm? Yeah. It's like that.

We both work for the same company and I feel like we've burned up some of their good graces by all the days we've already asked off for testing and procedures. We travel for work and a doctor appointment requires a complete day off.

There's been 5 firings in the past two days so I'm afraid to push our luck and jeopardize our jobs right now by asking for 2-3 days off for monitoring and IUI. Since they want to start doing follicle checks on CD 8 because of my early ovulation on Clomid, it might take two appointments before I could trigger. Then a third day would be required for the IUI. It's just getting too stressful right now.

I'm leaning towards taking a cycle or two off to TTC on our own without Clomid or IUI. There's no medical reason that we can't. It's only my age and thus questionable eggs that are bad quality which could be the reason for the miscarriages. But my hormones and his sperm are all normal.

TTC on our own with just the CBEFM and some Presed will reduce the stress level by 90%. It will also give me time to allow the accupunture to work. I have my first appointment on Monday!

Then we can do another cycle or two of Clomid/IUI before starting injectibles. That would be around May. We plan to stop traveling in May. I may have a different job by then.

Before we do injects, I would need to be home any way because the monitoring is a lot more often. I think you almost have to go every other day as they change your injectible dosage.

So we're going back to basics. I would be thrilled to death if I got pregnant again with a sticky baby. Of course the second I get pregnant again, I'll be scared to death. But I'd rather be pregnant and scared than unpregnant without hope.

I have a baseline u/s on Monday. I'm going to spring our plan on my nurse and see what she has to say.