Thursday, December 27, 2007

Reactions

We have been sharing the news about our babies with more family members over the holidays. Billy called his uncle Franny in Philadelphia yesterday to tell him the news, and he was so excited when Billy told him I was pregnant. Then, when he added the "with triplets" part, his uncle said, "You have got to be shittin' me!" When Billy told his grandmother, she said, "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!"

When I told Alice about the triplets after the ultrasound, she just laughed hysterically for about 2 minutes. Once she calmed down, she said, "Good luck with that." She said she needed to start practicing how she was going to hold all three babies at once.

When I talked to my dad, I said, "I have a number for you." He asked if he could guess, and I told him to go ahead. He guessed 2, and I said, "a little higher." He said, "NO! You are kidding me. You are kidding me, right?" I think he's still recovering from the news.

My cousin, Cuqui, who lives in Miami could hardly believe it. Alice told her about it, and she said, "Oh, Alice, I know how you like to kid. You are just pulling my leg right?" She had to call me to verify the story because she wasn't buying what Alice was telling her.

Liane told Cooper about the babies in my belly, and he is very confused by it all. When they were in town, he said he wanted to play with Wasie's babies, so he came over and lifted up my shirt to see where they were. Well, when there were no babies to be seen, he started complaining that Wasie's babies were mean because they didn't want to come out and play with Coopie. Whenever the bring up Wasie's babies with him he says that they are hiding and won't come out.

As for me, I'm still getting used to all this. It's really difficult to go from struggling to ever get pregnant and have just one child to being pregnant with 3 tiny babies. I'm just trying to enjoy this stage and be happy that we are finally going to start (and finish) our family. Billy, however, is getting very caught up in all of the little things. He's stressing out a lot how we are going to be able to deal with 3 children-physically, emotionally, and financially. I admit, it will be difficult, but we will figure it out, and I'm sure we are going to have tons of help.

My nausea is continuing. It tends to get worse at night, which is strange, since I thought it was more "morning sickness." I try to get a bunch of stuff done in the morning when I feel okay because I know that by 6 or 7, I will be on the couch in nausea agony. Fortunately, I got some Zofran, which is an anti-nausea medicine, and I think it helped. I picked it up yesterday, and I took it for the first time last night and was able to get down a little dinner without too much trouble.

When I went to the pharmacy to get the Zofran, my doctor's office had already called it in. I know my pharmacist pretty well...not because I'm always on drugs, but because he is a runner, and we sometimes do the same races and talk about them. Whenever I stop in at CVS for anything, I stop by the medicine counter to chat with Sam. Anyway, he knows we've been dealing with all of this infertility stuff for years, since he fills all of my prescriptions. When I walked up to his counter today, he said, "Well, what's up?" He had a big grin on his face. He knew what the Zofran was for. I told him I was finally pregnant, and he was so excited for me. Then, I said it was triplets, and he started to laugh, thinking I was kidding. I told him it was no joke, and he said, "When you go, you go big!" He told me his wife ran a marathon 9 months after having their daughter. I don't think I'll be quite ready for that...maybe a 10K.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The sexes revealed


We had dinner with Mems for her birthday tonight and surprised her with the sexes of our babies. Kate, great idea in the comments to get her different colored bibs. That's just what I did as you can see from the picture. She was so excited! We gave her the 2 pink bibs first, and just when she was getting worried we were going to have a house full of drama with 3 girls, she opened the last bib, which was blue. It was a great surprise for her. She had us take this picture because she had so many friends and family members calling and e-mailing her begging to know the sexes. She is going to send the picture out to everyone.

At dinner at Scalini's, I ate more than I have in a week. I had 2 pieces of bread, a bit of salad, several bites of spaghetti with marinara, and just a couple bites of my chicken and eggplant. It's a good start. I felt stuffed beyond belief after that, but I figure every little bit counts.

It's already 10:15 so I must head off to dreamland. I just wanted you all to know the information since it's now public knowledge. In my next entry, I'll have to write about how each person we talked to about the triplets reacted when they heard the news. Some of the old Cuban ladies in my family have been hilarious!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Baby pics

Take a look at babies "a," "b," and "c." They are making me very ill, but I still love them. Vivian said that at her first ultrasound, she almost threw up looking at Rose. She was so sick and freaked out by it all. When Paul sent out the ultrasound picture, he superimposed a monster over the spot where Rose was. You opened up the picture thinking you were going to see something like this picture, and instead, there was this green monster inside the dark sac. It was really funny. Paul still wants another baby, and I think he may try to kidnap one of our triplets.

Baby "a" is the biggest measuring a whooping .58 cm. Baby "b" is .46 cm, and Baby "c" is the runt at only .41 cm. These measurements are roughly the size of a grain of rice. Isn't that crazy? I couldn't believe that they could pick up a heartbeat off a grain of rice!

In the picture, there's one more little black spot between babies "a" and "b." Don't worry, we don't have a baby "d." It's just some fluid there. The ultrasound lady had to tell us that because she knew I was looking at that little dark spot wondering how in the world we would have ended up with another one in there.

I had a little more bleeding today, but it was very minor, and it was dark brown in color, which the nurse assured me meant it was old blood and nothing to worry about. She said I should only be concerned when it is bright red in color and heavy, along with severe cramping. I don't have any other symptoms so I guess I'm clear.

Tomorrow is the big day that we will surprise Mems with the sex or sexes of the babies! I'll post them after that so that you will all know. Stay tuned, if you don't know already!

I'm off to spend some time on the couch in between my next dry heaving episodes. Morning sickness times three equals feeling yucky all the time! Oh well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Breaking news!

Mems wasn't cool with waiting until Saturday so we went ahead and gave her the news today. You all benefit from this because it means that you can also know our "baby count."

When we walked into the room to have the ultrasound done, the ultrasound technician asked us how far along I was, and I told her 6 weeks. She asked how many embryos had been replaced, and I said 3. Then, she asked me how I was feeling. I told her I had been very nauseous for the past few days. She said, "Well, let's see what we have going on in there." The screen was turned away from me so I couldn't see what was going on, but she said, "Now I see why you are so sick. Looks like you've got 3 babies in there!" Can you believe it? TRIPLETS!

We were able to hear all 3 heartbeats, which was amazing. Then, all of the little ones were measured. Their sizes correlated with being 6 weeks 1 day, 6 weeks 2 days, and 6 weeks 3 days, respectively. They were all right on schedule! The nurse said the bigger one was the food hog.

We are shocked, excited, scared, and so happy! We still run a risk of losing one or even two of them. We have another ultrasound in 2 weeks, and they will see how things are progressing at that point. For now, we will just enjoy being the soon-to-be-parents of triplets. I wish I didn't feel so sick so that I could actually enjoy eating for 4!

I'll post pictures of the little buggers in a while. Billy is going to scan them in the computer. By the way, from the genetic testing, we know the sexes, but we are keeping that a secret until Saturday. We decided we would surprise Mems with that information for her birthday. She needs to start buying outfits and decorating the nursery she's going to have in her house.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What's your guess?

I added a poll on the left side of this blog to have everyone vote on how many babies they think are growing inside of me. Please cast your vote!

Okay, you are all going to be mad at me because I'm thinking of keeping the number a secret until Saturday. Mems, Billy's mom, has a birthday on Saturday, and we wanted to surprise her with our baby count as part of her birthday present. I've told a few friends about this idea, and they are saying they are going to hunt me down and beat the answer out of me after my appointment tomorrow. Even my neighbors are all abuzz with the upcoming news. This morning, I ran into two ladies who live nearby and have dogs that play with Winnie, and they were both wanting to know what time my appointment is tomorrow, and if they could come by in the evening to find out what is going on. I know everyone is dying to know. I have to decide what I'm going to do about this little dilemma. Any ideas? Post them in the comments.

By the way, I'm still very ill. Today, I had 6 saltine crackers, 1 ginger ale, and 1 container of jello. I just choked down some mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs for lunch, and I'm feeling a bit better. Yes, mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs are a weird combination, but whatever, it worked.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Careful what you wish for

In one of my blogs before I knew I was pregnant, I wrote that I wished that I would just wake up one day and barf so that I would know I was pregnant. Well, looks like all of my wishes are coming through. My friend, Jamie, warned me to be careful what I wished for!

Last night, I came home from Billy's office holiday party early because I was exhausted. It was 11:30, and I've gotten used to going to bed by 9:30 these days. Billy stayed behind and didn't come home until 3:30 a.m. It woke me up when he got back because Winnie went crazy barking and growling. She's quite the guard dog. Anyway, I woke up nauseated beyond belief. Billy tried to kiss me good-night with his nasty liquor breath, and I thought I was going to throw up in his mouth. Then, I couldn't go back to sleep until 5 a.m. I felt awful. I woke up around 10 a.m. again and got up to brush my teeth, wash my face, etc. I proceeded to dry heave at that point.

I've heard from other women who are or have been pregnant that if you eat something, it's very helpful with the nausea. Therefore, I went ahead and ate breakfast, but it wasn't really getting any better.

We went to the 11:30 service at church, and I almost lost it when we had to sit two people deep in the pew. I needed to have quick access to the aisle to make an escape if a barfing episode snuck up on me. Thankfully, I did not have to run out, but I felt like death the whole time.

In the car on the way home from church, Billy farted, and that was it. I could feel my breakfast making it's way up. If you have smelled his farts, you know what I mean. They could make you barf even if you weren't the slightest bit sick. I rolled down all of the windows, even though it was freezing cold, and once the air cleared, the worst of my nausea passed.

I got home and laid down on the couch and basically remained there all day in and out of sleep. I have not vomited, but I think it's only a matter of time. I'm not going to complain, though, because this is a good sign. It makes me feel like everything is going the way it is supposed to.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A little scare

This morning when I woke up, I went the bathroom for my morning pee-pee. Well, I looked down at the toilet and noticed that my urine had a reddish tint. I wiped and saw blood on the toilet paper. Of course, I went into freak out mode. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know if I should wake up Billy, call the doctor, and/or start crying. I opted to wake up Billy and call the doctor's office. It was before regular business hours so I had to use the paging service, and they called me right back.

The nurse who called said that if anything was going wrong with the pregnancy there was nothing they could really do about it at this stage. That wasn't very comforting. She told me to call back my nurse at 8:30 and check to see if she wanted me to repeat my blood work. Well, I called my nurse, and she told me to come back into the office, and they would check my HCG today, instead of Friday so that's what I did.

As the day progressed, I didn't have any more bleeding, and I didn't have any cramps so I started feeling better about the situation. My nurse called me around 2:30 with the results of my blood work, and my HCG was up to 21,169, which meant everything was fine. She went ahead and scheduled my ultrasound for next Wednesday! We'll get to see what is going on in there then. I can hardly wait!

Billy said this morning that this is probably the first of many little scares that we are going to experience throughout the pregnancy. I think he's right, but I hope he's not. I wish the rest of the time would go by without any scares. I want things to be just perfect. That's probably too much to hope for right now.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Dangerous" pants situation

Is this entirely too early for me to be busting out of my pants? Almost everything I have is a perfect fit for me, and if I gain a few pounds, I feel things tightening up. I'm now only a little over 5 weeks along, and I couldn't get a pair of grey trousers buttoned up on Monday. I had to rig up the button with a rubber band and then safety pin the top of the pants so the tab wouldn't stick out.


I showed Billy my fancy system, and he said it looked "dangerous." He feared that some time during the day I would end up with my pants around my ankles, but it all held up okay. I guess it's time for some stretchy clothes. I have a couple of friends that have offered up some pieces so I'll start collecting a new wardrobe this week.


I currently wear my workout clothes as soon as I get home. My neighbors must see me dressed to exercise everyday when I'm walking around with Winnie and wonder why I look like I'm always being active but seem to be packing on pounds. They'll figure it out when I show for real.

I took my nap today around 1:30-2:30, which worked out better than the late afternoon nap. My stinkin' job really interferes with my nap schedule some days. Today, I "worked from home" in the afternoon, which gave me the flexibility to get my snooze time done earlier. I didn't feel quite so much like I was dragging the rest of the evening.

Today, for the first time, my appetite has diminished. Some things that I typically really like just don't sound as appealing to me anymore. I'm afraid that the next step is that I may start getting sick. Yuck.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

To tell or not to tell

So now that I'm pregnant, and I'm beyond excited, I want to tell everyone. However, I know that most people don't tell until they are 12 weeks. I don't know what to do about this. I've had to tell some people just because they wonder what is up with me lately.

Like today, I was taking my usual afternoon nap and Billy left to go to the office for a couple of hours. He ran into a neighbor of ours outside, and she asked where I was, and he told her I was asleep inside. Well, I went to take Winnie out a few hours later and she was outside again walking her dog. She asked if I was okay because Billy told her I was sleeping, and she didn't think I was the napping type. I didn't know what to say so I told her I was pregnant. I didn't want to lie. She was really happy for me and said she had a feeling I was because she saw me out with Winnie yesterday and said I looked different. She said she couldn't tell exactly what it was, but that my stomach looked fuller or rounder, and she sensed something different about me. Isn't that weird?

Last week, we met with a new realtor that is going to list our condo, and she was asking why we wanted to move. Billy said, "Well, we are just ready to go. Leslie, I don't know if you want to expand on that." The lady turned and looked at me, and I had to say, "I'm pregnant." I didn't know how else to "expand" on that.

So, I feel like I'm telling all of these people I don't really know that well, but we are not telling some of our friends who we know well, but who aren't that close. I don't know where to draw the line.

It's especially hard during this time of year because we are going to so many parties and seeing so many friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc., and they see that I'm not drinking my usual 2 glasses of white wine, but I don't want to blab it out yet.

Speaking of which, we went to a party that one of Billy's co-workers threw last night. We were talking to this guy Billy used to work with, and I picked up some veggies from the table and was munching on them as we spoke. The guy looked at me, and said, "You must be pregnant. That's why you are eating all that healthy crap." My response was, "I eat like this all the time." That is not a lie. I am a healthy eater, but I almost choked up my carrot stick.

The other part of keeping this secret is the freakin' progesterone shot. I have to get it every night around 9. On Friday night, we went to see a movie, and Billy had to give me the shot in a parking lot near the movie theatre. Then, on Saturday night, we were at the party I mentioned above, and we had to go out to the car for him to give me the shot again. The people who threw the party live in a loft near Virginia Highlands, and the whole place is open. There was nowhere to go for privacy. It would have looked too kinky for us to go into the bathroom together. Just as he was about to give me the shot, some guy he knows pulled up next to us in his car, and we had to pretend like we were looking around in the car for something. Billy said that I lost my cell phone, and we were checking to see if I dropped it in the car.

It's getting close to 9 p.m. now so I have to go prep the shot and get my pajamas on. My nap didn't cut it for me today. I need more sleep!

Friday, December 7, 2007

HCG is on the rise

I had to have my HCG, progesterone, and estrogen levels checked today again. My HCG was up to 2,699. The value is expected to double about every 48 hours so I am right on target. The nurse referred to my level as "awesome." She was telling me about when she gave Billy the good news on Tuesday and how cute he was. She said she could tell he was trying to hide that he was getting emotional, but she knew. She said it was so touching that she almost started to cry.

The other hormone levels were also right on target, which means I have to keep up my medicine regimen-estrace (orally & vaginally twice daily), progesterone shot in the butt every night, baby aspirin, and pre-natal vitamin. I just added Expecta, which is a vitamin that contains DHA. This is an omega-3 fatty acid that is important for the baby's brain and eye development. I want a smart baby!

My ob/gyn told me several years ago when we started trying that DHA is a great supplement because some research has shown that first borns may get the reputation for being smarter because they leech up all the DHA. Then, if a woman doesn't replenish her levels before the next baby comes along, the next one doesn't get as much.

Liane talked to the doctor yesterday about her situation. It turns out that some of her eggs had the same genetic abnormalities as mine did. The doctor said that if she wanted to have more than one additional child, she should begin trying immediately. However, if she only wants one more, she has some time because she does have some good eggs left. She's going to talk it over with Jason, and they will decide what to do. I guess everything does happen for a reason, and at least she now knows her options. She would not have had these insights into her future fertility if she had not gone through this process.

As for me, I'm pretty tired in the evenings. I usually lie down on the couch around 6:30 and don't get up again until I have to. I think I'm going to cook big pots of stuff this weekend so that I don't have to deal with it throughout the week. I had leftovers from book club that we just reheated most of this week so I think I'll stick with that plan.

I'm also insanely hungry! I want to eat all of the time. Sometimes, my appetite frightens me. I've trained for marathons and not eaten like this before. Right now, I'm doing hardly any activity, but I'm starving. The nurse gave me permission to walk, but she added, "I know what you are like. I'm not saying you can do any marathon walking, but a leisurely stroll is fine." I just want to be able to take Winnie out for a 30 minute walk 3 or 4 days a week. I got permission for that.

I'm still having the same problem with sleeping as I was before I found out I was pregnant. I fall right to sleep at night, but I wake up a couple of times and have a hard time falling back to sleep. This morning, I woke up around 3 a.m. for about 30 minutes, and then again at 5 a.m. At that point, I tossed and turned until 6:30. Then, I fell back to sleep and didn't wake up until 8. I need more uninterrupted sleep.

I guess my only other symptom is that I am gassy. I'm not farting, but I burp a lot. Billy claims it's not abnormal for me to be a belching machine, but I usually only burp a bunch when I drink carbonated beverages. The last few days, there has been no correlation between carbonated stuff and burping. I wish Billy's gassiness was only burping.;)

I return to the doctor next Friday to check all of my hormones again. If anything comes up between now and then, I'll post an update.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The story

Sorry for not posting last night. I had to clean up after book club, and I didn't finish up until 11:30. By that time, I was exhausted.

So back to yesterday. I went in to the doctor's office at 9:30 for blood work. Everyone there knows when it's your big day, and they all wish you luck as you visit each desk from the receptionist, to the lady who draws the blood, to the lady in billing who takes all our money. Anyway, I was just trying not to get my hopes up. The nurse said she would be in touch later in the afternoon with my results. I had to go in to the office for a couple of hours for a meeting so I figured I would find out when I got home in the early afternoon.

Billy took the day off yesterday so that he could be there with me to celebrate if it was good news or just support me if it was bad. Therefore, he was at home while I was at my meeting. When I finished up my meeting, I went back to my cubicle and saw that I had a missed call from the doctor's office. They had called at 11:45. I wasn't sure if that was a good sign or a bad one. I called Billy and told him I missed their call. We decided I would come home and wait for the call with him.

I got back home around 1:45, and Billy wasn't around. I called him on his cell, and he said he had run to pick up a package I ordered from Ace Hardware, and he would be home shortly. When he arrived, he came inside and asked me if I could help him bring in the package. I told him that I was not allowed to do any heavy lifting until I knew my results from the test. He said the package was light but awkwardly shaped. I reluctantly agreed to go help him.

As we were walking out to the car, I saw that there were flowers in the back of our SUV. I assumed they were for support, which I thought was sweet. I thought they would have a note about how he loved me no matter what the results of the test were, blah, blah, blah. Well, he opened the back of the car, and he had the movie "Knocked Up" propped up against the flowers. I was confused because he told me that the movie "Super Bad" was coming out today, and that he was going to run out to Target immediately to buy it. I was like, "Why did you buy the wrong movie? I thought you were getting 'Super Bad'." He said, "Congratulations, Mommy!" I was so confused. I started crying and so did he. I couldn't believe it.

It turns out that when our nurse couldn't reach me on my cell number, she called home, and Billy was there. He answered the phone and got the good news, but he didn't want to tell me over the phone! What an amazing surprise!

Anyway, here's some additional information he picked up from the nurse. The pregnancy hormone that they measure is HcG. A normal, healthy level for being 4 weeks pregnant is above 50. My level was 618.5! Having a level that high could be indicative of multiples. I'm so excited! I have to go back again on Friday and next week to re-check all of my levels. Then, the week after next, we'll get to have an ultrasound to see how many of those little suckers stuck!

I called Liane immediately after Billy told me to thank her for the amazing gift she gave us. Without her, we would not have been able to get to this point. I make fun of her dirtiness a lot, but I love her and am so grateful for what she has done for us. Billy said to tell her that they made a good mix. :)

Billy and I are so just so happy, and we know that many of you have been saying your prayers and thinking about us, and we want to also thank you. I told Billy that this whole process is about a mix of faith, science, magic, and luck. You all have definitely provided more than enough faith to get us through it all! Keep it up in the coming months. We will definitely need your prayers and support if this turns out to be triplets!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I DO want to know


I do want to know because it's POSITIVE! We got our bigs news today. We are having a baby or two, or three! We are thrilled.

I'm going to post the whole story later tonight, but I'm hosting book club in a few hours, and I haven't done much prep because I've been on the phone for hours. I need to get ready for that, but I'll get up a late night post about how we found out, when, etc.

I've attached a little picture as a teaser for the story.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I don't want to know

As the date for my pregnancy test approaches, I have begun to think that I don't even want to know what it going on. I'm so afraid of getting a negative result that I would rather just pretend like I might be pregnant for a while longer than know one way or the other.

I have had a few positive signs. First of all, I'm really tired. It may just be the hormones, but it's getting worse. I took a nap today on the couch after sleeping 9 hours last night. It's currently a little after 8 p.m., and I'm thinking about getting ready for bed. I love me some sleep, but this is ridiculous.

Also, on Friday night, Billy and I had to run an errand, and when I saw a Chick-Fil-A, I HAD to have a lemonade. It was the strongest craving for anything I've ever had. Several women who have been pregnant have told me since then that they craved lemons during their first trimester. Is this a sign?

I can't keep obsessing over these little things and not know. My answer is coming soon.

Friday, November 30, 2007

TWW

In the world of infertility/trying to conceive, women online refer to the two week wait between ovulation/egg retrieval/embryo transfer and a pregnancy test as the tww. TWW is a source of major stress. You've done everything you can possibly do, and now you just have to wait and see. There's nothing else you can do to make a pregnancy happen for you.

I'm approaching the end of my tww, but it's been tough. I told Billy last night that I wasn't feeling good about it. I just don't feel any different, and I think I should feel a little something, at least, if there is a person or persons growing inside of me. If you ask women who have been pregnant and/or look at websites about pregnancy, you'll see that some women claim to know instantly that they are pregnant, while others feel no symptoms at all and continue on with their normal lives until they realize they've missed a period. So, how's it going to be for me?

Every little thing that happens I think jeopardizes my precious embryos. Sometimes, Winnie will pull hard on her leash, and I'll jog a bit to catch up. I have to stop myself, and I think, "Crap, did I just dislodge an embryo?" Today, I was on the couch, and Winnie jumped up on me right in the belly. I didn't have time to block her, and I keep thinking that she smooshed my embryos, and that I'm going to start bleeding any minute uncontrollably. I know it's all irrational and crazy, but I can't stop thinking about it.

I also think about every little thing I feel. I'll have a cramp here or there, and I'll think, is that good or bad? I haven't been sleeping well at night, which is very unlike me. I fall asleep fine (usually super early), but then I wake up several times during the night, and I don't know why. Sometimes I remember having a weird dream that wakes me. What's that all about? I'm insanely hungry all the time, but I think that's from the hormones I'm on.

The nurse told me after embryo transfer that I may experience some bleeding 2-3 days after. She said it could be a good sign-implantation bleeding. This happens in some women when the embryo attaches to the uterine lining. However, in others, it never happens. I kept checking my underwear all day Monday and Tuesday, but there was no blood. Then I worry that perhaps my embryos didn't implant.

I wake up every morning hoping it will be the day that I puke my guts out. I actually want to vomit. What's wrong with me? I need the tww to just end. I'm counting down the days until Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanks to my cheerleaders!

I want to make sure I devote an entry to all of you who have been supporting me throughout this process. It's amazing to me how many of you are reading my blog and sending me prayers and positive fertility vibes! I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and caring.

I have had 3 friends already call and offer to host the book club that I'm supposed to host next week. I have a friend bringing me dinner tonight. I've had countless calls and e-mails from folks wishing me well and telling me I'm on their prayer lists. I'm so overwhelmed by your love and generosity. Thank you!

I often will hear about or talk to women who go through fertility treatments in complete isolation. They will say that they don't want to share what they are experiencing because they feel guilty that they can't get pregnant...that somehow they are lesser women because their bodies are not doing what they are made to do.

I think it's time to take infertility out of the shadows. Women should not feel ashamed that they can't have a baby the "old fashioned way." It's not their fault, and they shouldn't behave like it is. I have talked about my struggles since the beginning because I don't want people to think they have to walk on eggshells around me when discussing pregnancy and babies.

I've also heard of infertile women saying that they can't even go to children's birthday parties, baptisms, etc. because it reminds them of what they can't have. These women are making things more difficult on themselves. I know that it hurts every time someone else gets pregnant or has a baby or has an event to celebrate a child, but the more you pull away, the more isolated you become. That doesn't do you any good in the long haul.

Every once in a while, I've heard stories of infertile women who do not have supportive husbands. This must be the hardest situation of all. I can't imagine going through this process if Billy wasn't committed 100%. He has had to experience many small humiliations (as I chronicled in the previous post), put up with my mood swings, and be strong whenever I fall apart and begin to think I can't handle another shot, more hormones, another round of treatments, etc. He is my #1 supporter, and I couldn't be more thankful for him and his love. Sometimes I watch him with our nieces and nephews and think about what a wonderful father he is going to be and how much I want that happen for us.

Well, that's enough of the sappiness for now. I want all of you folks who are sending us fertile thoughts to know that I am keeping a list, and you may find yourself getting a call to babysit the Zeigler triplets in a few months!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Awkward Moments

Since I don't really have an update to give, I figured I would reflect on some awkward moments that Billy had to face as we moved along our infertility journey:

Awkward moment #1: The first time you walk into the "guy" area of the infertility clinic. This is where men leave their "deposits" for analysis. It's so uncomfortable in there. You know what the men sitting around are there for. They are going to slip off to back room to peruse porn and do dirty things. Making eye contact with anyone in there makes you feel filthy.

If you live less than 30 minutes from the clinic, you can bring your "sample" with you in a specimen cup. That way, you can use your own porn. They give you a small, black bag to transport the cup. If you see anyone walking in with that bag, you know what they are bringing along with them.

When a sample is dropped off, the front desk person doesn't even touch it. She makes you take the cup out and put it in a little plastic basket. She picks up the basket but never directly touches the specimen cup. That must be a thrilling job: Semen Basket Carrier.

Awkward moment #2: During my second cycle of ivf, I was going to donate some of my eggs to my sister, Alice and her husband, Kibby. This was before I knew that my eggies were full of chromosomal issues. Well, the morning that I had my egg retrieval, the "man milk" from all parties involved had to be on hand to fertilize eggs. That morning, Billy and I showed up for the surgery, and he had his little black bag, and Kibby (my brother-in-law) was walking in with his bag. We all knew what was in there, but we just had to make small talk. It's not like you can say, "Hey, how about that sperm in your bag. Good stuff, huh?"

Awkward moment #3: Collecting a "sample" and having to deliver it to doctor's office by 6:30 a.m. With this last cycle, Liane's egg retrieval was scheduled for 8 a.m., but the sperm must arrive 1 1/2 hours before that because it has to be "washed." It makes it sound so dirty, but the washing procedure is just a way that that they weed out the bad swimmers and make sure that only the Olympians are in there and ready to compete! Anyway, Billy had to do an early morning wake up call, if you know what I'm saying, and get that to the lab. Then, he ran into my dad and Liane in the waiting room. That must have been awesome.

I guess Billy needs to have a few of these moments to equalize some of what I've been going through.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Getting poked in weird places


For those of you who read the title of this entry and thought dirty thing, shame on you! The poking to which I am referring is my awful progesterone shots. It's bad enough that Jason had to see my butt and give me two shots, but now, we have to do them wherever we are around 7 p.m., which is usually not home.

On Thanksgiving, we were at dinner at the Eklund's house (Zeigler family friends), and we had to excuse ourselves to go upstairs so that Billy could administer my shot. Worse than that, we were on our way to meet some friends at Taco Mac in Roswell last night, and we had to stop along the way, pull in behind a strip shopping center, and do my shot in the car. Billy said that if a cop came by, he would say, "Officer, I'm just poking my wife in the butt." I said I would then add, "That's how we get pregnant."

Tonight, I have to figure something else out because Billy just left for the Georgia/Georgia Tech game, and he won't be home in time. I may have to ask Kibby to do it. Then, 2 out of 3 of my brothers-in-law will have seen my butt.

Well, I think it's time for the news you all want to hear-embryo transfer! Okay, I got a call yesterday afternoon that we were scheduled for an 11 a.m. transfer. The nurse was not my regular nurse, and she didn't know what the heck was going on. She didn't know I was having PGD, she was confused about the day of transfer, etc. It's the usual b.s. from this process. Fortunately, I keep careful track of everything, and I was basically telling her what was up.

One hour before embryo transfer, you have to drink 32-40 ounces of water. Then, you arrive there 15 minutes before your appointment to get the report from the embryologist about your embryos. If there is bad news, however, they usually call you when you are on your way to the transfer to let you know not to even waste your time showing up. Alice called me about 10 minutes before we were leaving, and scared the shit out of me. I heard my phone ring, and my heart skipped a beat. I went to look at the phone and saw it was her, and the first words out of my mouth were, "Bitch, you know not to call me before this appointment and get me all worked up." She said, "Well, I'm just on pins and needles. Have you heard anything?" She was as nervous as me about it.

Back to the transfer itself...your bladder must be full because they insert the embryos through a catheter into your uterus using ultrasound as a guide, and they need to be able to see the contrast of your bladder. Ladies, imagine that you have to pee really badly while you are getting a pap smear, but the pap smear last 15 minutes, instead of a few seconds. Then, you have to stay on the table for 10-15 minutes after that. Not exactly pleasant.

Anyway, we found out that out of the 16 embryos, only 4 were genetically normal. The embryologist had 2 ready to go in, and we asked him to get a third one ready. He was totally cool with it, and they popped those embryos right in. I'll try to attach a picture of the three little ones to this post. The one that looks like 2 has already hatched, which they said is a good sign. The other two are just a step behind...those take after Liane - lazy. I guess Billy could be to blame also. Now, I just have to wait until December 4th to know if they take.

Because only 1/4 of the embryos had no genetic defects, this leads us to believe that there is some sort of genetic component to this infertility with me and my sisters. Liane plans to have a follow-up consult with the doctor next month to get more information. She would like to have more kids, and when I told her about the results, she turned to Jason and said, "We have to get pregnant next month!" The world needs more Coopers and Carleys!;)

As for now, I just keep up my estrace, progesterone, baby aspirin, and prenatal vitamins. I can't exercise, have caffeine, smoke, drink alcoholic beverages, or douche (who douches anyway?). That's about it.

Thank you all for your calls, thoughts, prayers, excitement, etc. I'll keep you up to date, but there won't be too much to tell until the big test!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm a junkie

I met Kristi this morning for a run, and I felt terrible from the get-go. The pain in my butt is terrible when I run from the 3 progesterone injections I've had so far. I figured I could deal with that, but then I got so tired after about a mile that I had to stop and walk. Keep in mind that last Saturday, I ran 8 miles with no problem. I started wondering what the heck was different, and I realized I've had some changes in my medications. Here is what I am currently taking:

1 baby aspirin daily
2 estrace (2 mg) daily orally plus 2 estrace (2 mg) daily vaginally (Just to recap some side effects: booby swelling-which isn't so bad. Billy told me yesterday that my boobs looked bigger. My prayers are being answered late in life. On the flip side, they hurt a lot. It's such a cruel joke. In addition, weight gain and bloating are side effects, and I'm feeling those, big time. I'm afraid to step on a scale, but my pants dig into my waist everyday so I know it won't be pretty to see the number on the scale. I need some stretchy clothes, but I'm too proud. I'll break down if I get pregnant but until then, damn it, I'll wear my normal clothes and be incredibly uncomfortable.)
1 prenatal vitamin daily
.05 cc Lupron daily (Injection in my belly. The last one will be Friday morning. I just have to keep suppressing my own ovaries until then.)
1 Medrol daily (This is a type of steroid. It's often used when people get bone marrow transplants for their bodies not to reject the marrow. The idea is for my body not to reject the embryos that will be put in on Saturday. The side effects are increased appetite, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and muscle weakness.)
2 Doxycycline daily (This is an antibiotic to make sure I don't get an infection when the embryos are transferred in and to ensure that I get rid of any infections that I might not even know I have. Some of the side effects are nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections.)
1 cc Progesterone daily (This is the butt injection. During the second phase of your menstrual cycle, your ovaries make progesterone, and they continue to do so if you get pregnant through the first 8 weeks of a pregnancy. However, my ovaries have been suppressed with Lupron and therefore, they are a bit confused as to how to proceed. They are being told to not do anything because I don't want the eggs, but then they think no eggs=no pregnancy. However, for this cycle we want no eggs = pregnancy. Therefore, we have to trick my body by replacing the hormones normally produced by my ovaries-estrogen and progesterone. Without enough progesterone, embryo(s) may not survive. After the 8th week the placenta becomes a major source of progesterone and the ovarian hormones are no longer needed. However, with ivf, the standard protocol is to continue progesterone supplementation through the first trimester, just to be safe. If I get pregnant, my butt is going to be so sore after 3 1/2 months worth of shots. Besides a pain in the hiney, the other side effects include headaches, breast tenderness, diarrhea, vaginal discharge, and problems with urination.)

When I was at Liane's house yesterday, I pulled out my enormous bag of medicine in the morning to take everything with my breakfast. My dad saw me getting it out, and he asked what all that was. I told him they were all the medicines I had to take everyday. He said, "You are like a junkie with all that stuff." Yeah, I guess I'm a hormone junkie. I sure wish all this stuff got me high, instead of sore boobies, pains in my butt, confused ovaries, and fat. Oh well.

We're off to take Winnie for a walk. I'm update you all tomorrow on things. I need to explain the embryo transfer process next time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Egg retrieval and more tales from dirty headquarters (Liane's house)

I left Sunday afternoon for Jacksonville with Jason, Cooper, and Carley. When we arrived at their house, there was dirty laundry piled up as high as the kitchen table on the floor, old dishes in the sink, cat barf everywhere, and the place smelled like a litter box. Good times. Anyway, I couldn't deal with any of that after a long day on the road. By the time we arrived, we had to start putting the kids to bed. I made a mental note, however, that the next day would be devoted to a cleaning frenzy!

Monday morning was insane. Cooper has school from 8:30-11:30, which is not nearly long enough, but I was willing to take the break from him temporarily. The kids got up around 7:15, and the craziness started immediately. Well, Carley's little bad habits had already sparked up in the middle of the night. She started crying at around midnight, and I had to go take her out of her crib and bring her to bed with me. That's what Liane does every night. Then, Carley puts herself to sleep and comforts herself by tugging at Liane's hair all night, and since I was the one there Sunday night, she got to yank on my hair all night. Needless to say, I did not sleep very well at all. Hair pulling may comfort her, but it gives me a headache.

Anyway, at 7:15 I had to start by changing Cooper's diaper and clothes. I was still in my pajamas, and Carley is very needy in the morning so I was trying to juggle her on one hip while getting Cooper situated. Then, he came out of his room, and he wanted to watch tv for a while, which was fine because I needed time to make breakfast. I toasted some bread and waffles, got sippy cups with orange juice ready...all while still holding Carley. I really had to pee at this point so I ran into the bathroom and had to go with Carley on my lap. That was pleasant.

After that, it was right back to breakfast prep (yes, I washed my hands). I got Cooper and Carley in their high chairs, and they ate some breakfast. Then, Cooper wanted to get out of his chair. He takes a dump every morning after breakfast. He runs into his playroom and shuts the door. He needs privacy for pooping. At one point, I went in to check on him, and he was squatting in the corner, and he waved me off saying, "No, Wasie, go way." He calls me Wasie now. I guess Leslie is too hard to say.

He finally emerged from the room around 7:50, and I had to get him changed again and ready for school. I took advantage of his poop time to change Carley out of her pajamas. I fought with him for several minutes about putting on his shoes and going to school. He didn't want to go, but I used scare tactics, and they worked.

I dropped him off at about 8:25. Good timing. He asked the lady who opened the door in the carpool line, "Have you seen Miss Mandy around?" That's his teacher. It was so cute the way he asked. He hadn't been there in 2 weeks so I was worried about how the day was going to go, but I was hoping for the best, but that's not how it turned out.

From school, I took Carley to Super Wal-Mart for a grocery shopping excursion. She only sat in the cart for about the first 10 minutes and then wanted to be held. It's not easy pushing a cart while holding a child, and it's nearly impossible to find what you are looking for in a store with which you are not familiar. So we got through that as quickly as possible (I only purchased the essentials) and headed home.

I unpacked the groceries and had some one-on-one playtime with Carley. I also started some loads of laundry when I got back. Then, it was time to get Cooper. Here we go again! When I pulled up in the carpool line, there was Cooper, and Miss Mandy was next to him holding his hand, signaling for me to stop to talk to her. Great. Cooper had been a very bad boy that day. As Miss Mandy put it, "it was rough." She asked if he slept okay because he had been whiny and hadn't listened to her. I said I was sorry, and I would inform his parents. I wasn't going to take the fall for those folks.

We got home, and I put in some more loads of laundry and shifted around the clean clothes to the dryer. Next came lunch time. I heated up some food for the kids, put them in their chairs, but Cooper didn't want to eat. He kept saying, "My no eat, Wasie." I had to resort to bribes at that point, and he choked down some of his food. He watched TV for a few minutes, but it was nap time so I started prepping them both for naps. I had to change diapers, read books, etc. Cooper was refusing to go to sleep, and I was rocking Carley in her room and could hear him screaming, "Wasie! Wasie! Wasie, come back!" from his room. Once I finally got Carley out, I went back in his room, read him another book, scared him a little more about what would happen if he didn't fall asleep, and he was off to dreamland...well, maybe nightmares, but I didn't care. He was asleep.

While they napped, I continued on my mad cleaning streak by doing more laundry, emptying the dishwasher and reloading it, and sweeping the floor in the kitchen. I also started some dinner prep. I chopped some onions and other ingredients. I was making a tortellini-vegetable soup for Liane and a meatloaf and mashed potatoes for my dad, Jason, and myself.

Carley woke up after about 45 minutes, which sucked. I needed more time, but oh well. I got her out of bed and brought her out to the kitchen with me. She chased around the cats for a while and shortly thereafter, Cooper was up and ready to go again. He's at 100% all the time. I decided we needed to go outside and play so we headed out there.

Jason had been replacing rotten siding on the house, and there were pieces of the old siding with nails sticking out in the driveway. Cooper stepped on one, but luckily it did not go through his shoe. Then, he ran over to an orange tree and picked off a small orange that must have tasted terrible because it was so tiny. I'm guessing it was super sour, but before I knew it, he had peeled it and was eating it. Yuck.

Carley kept trying to run out in the street so I was chasing her all over the place. Cooper got on his bike and tried to run Carley down. It was total insanity. This was around 4 p.m., and I still had not even brushed my hair. I was looking good.

My dad and Liane arrived around 4:30, which was sweet salvation. I was so glad to have some help. Mostly, I needed help folding the mountain of laundry I had cleaned all day. Liane took over kiddy duty, and my dad and I went back to working on cleaning projects.

Liane said that Kibby (Alice's husband) had asked what time her procedure was Monday, and she told him 8 a.m. He said, "So, you and Billy are going to be doin' it at 8 a.m. basically." Ha! I told her to tell Kibby that in exchange for her doing it with Billy, I was showing my butt to Jason on Sunday and Monday nights. Jason had to give me my progesterone shots those two nights. That needle is huge, but at least he's a doctor so it wasn't that big of a deal. Still, it was weird to have him shoot me up. The things I must do to make a baby.

So here's the news you've all been waiting for. They retrieved 25 eggs from Liane. Of those, 19 were mature enough to be fertilized. They separated out 6 of those to fertilize conventionally, which means they just put the egg and sperm together and let nature takes its course. Of those, 4 fertilized. Then, the took the other 13 and did ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), which basically means they take a sperm and inject it directly into the egg. Of those, 12 fertilized. Therefore, we currently have 16 embryos growing in some dish in a lab. They will have genetic testing done starting Thursday, and we will not know the results until Saturday morning, just before embryo transfer. I'm supposed to get a call Friday afternoon to have the transfer scheduled.

Liane was doing fine after the surgery. She was just a little tired and slightly crampy, but that's to be expected. Dad and I stayed Monday night to get her through the evening, and she was better in the morning. We left there around 8:30 a.m. and arrived back in Atlanta around 3 p.m.

I'm glad to be back but exhausted. I'm ready to get some rest. If it's triplets, I don't know what I'll do. I'm just not thinking about that for now.

I'll let you all know once my embryo transfer is scheduled. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for reading this super long entry.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ew, I touched it!

Friday night, Billy and I took Cooper and Carley to Mellow Mushroom for dinner. I had my bottle of estrace in my purse, and it fell out in Liane's car. I called her Saturday morning and asked her to see if she could find it. She of course, ordered Jason to search it out in her filthy car. He brought the bottle back in, and Liane said to him, "Thanks. That's the medicine Leslie puts in her cooter." Jason responded, "EW, I touched it!" Then, when I went by Alice's to pick up the bottle later, Alice said she left the bottle on the counter for me. Liane said again, "That's the medicine Leslie puts in her cooter," and at that point, Alice said, "EW, I touched it!"

Here's the deal people: number one, that is the one I take orally, not vaginally, so it does not go in my cooter, as Liane so eloquently put it and number two, I don't put a pill bottle in there. It's a single pill that I get out of the bottle. What's wrong with these people?

Looks like we have a schedule for things now, but life is about to get hectic for a couple of days. Liane's egg retrieval will take place on Monday morning at 8 a.m. Jason has to go back to Jacksonville today, and they would like for Cooper to go back to school this week since he's missed 2 weeks. Therefore, I will ride back with Jason today and spend the night in Jax. I will take Cooper to school tomorrow and take care of Carley. My dad will take Liane to her egg retrieval on Monday morning and then drive her back to Jax in the afternoon. At that point, we will either turn around and come right back on Monday evening or we will spend Monday night there and head back Tuesday morning. Of course, things have to be crazy for us.

As for my meds, I have some slight changes, but the most important change is that it's time to start my progesterone shots. These are intramuscular, which means that they have to be injected in my butt. Unfortunately, Jason is going to have to do these for me tonight and tomorrow. I'm so ashamed he has to see my butt. I guess it could be worse...after all, he is a doctor.

We had this whole issue with my PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosing) that came up. I wanted PGD done on all the embryos to make sure that we replace only good ones. The genetic tests let us know if they are dividing normally, have a good genetic makeup, etc. Our doctor had agreed to do this and pay for it before we began the cycle. Then, she tried to tell us it was unnecessary, since Liane already has 2 children. I call b.s. on that. I want it done. It's the only way we'll get some answers. If we put back embryos and they don't take, I won't know if it's because of the embryos themselves or because of something wrong with me, if we don't do PGD. My nurse called to say they would have embryo transfer on Day 3 following fertilization, which would be Thanksgiving. I know that PGD takes 5 days, so I asked her about it. She said they weren't doing PGD, and I said, "Oh yes you are." I told her that it was in the contract I signed with the doctor, and I was unwilling to proceed without it. She said that was fine, and she would make the changes to my protocol.

The nurse also told me that Billy needed to be there at 6:30 a.m. Monday to give his "sample." However, she had told me earlier this month that they had his sample frozen in the lab, and he wouldn't need to make a "contribution" the day of egg retrieval. I asked her about that, and she was like, "Oh yeah, I forgot." What's wrong with these people? Do I have to remember everything?

These things bring me to this whole issue of having to be your own advocate in the health care system. You have to be incredibly well-informed to deal with all of this stuff. I feel sorry for people who just always take their doctor's advice and don't understand enough to know when to fight for certain things. I have learned so much through this process.

I probably won't have a chance to update the blog until I return. I'll just leave you all wanting more....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Exchanging Eggs for Babysitting

I got behind yesterday and didn't post. Sorry folks...didn't mean to let down my loyal readers. I'll try to get you up to speed today with everything. There just wasn't much to tell yesterday because nothing had really changed. Liane had 20 follicles, but they were not growing very quickly so they are still projecting a Monday egg retrieval. Not too exciting. Liane told the nurse she felt like her ovaries were letting her down. She wanted them to grow the follicles quickly so that she could leave town with Jason on Sunday. It looks like that is now an unreasonable timeline. This whole process has taught me so much about patience and letting go of control.

I guess I've gotten behind because the last couple of days have been action-packed with babysitting responsibilities. I have been watching Cooper and Carley in the mornings when Liane goes to the doctor the last 3 mornings. She also takes advantage of the babysitting time to visit preschools that they may attend next fall once they move to ATL.

On Wednesday night, I was setting my alarm for Thursday, and Billy asked why I was getting up early when I wasn't going into the office. I told him I was babysitting. He was like, "Again? You babysit all the time for Liane." My response was, "Well, she is giving us eggs. I think it's only fair to take care of her monsters in exchange." He thought I had a pretty good point with that one.

My dad and I have taken Cooper and Carley to McDonald's the last two mornings to let them play on the indoor playground there, since we have had a chilly couple of mornings. Cooper calls it "Old McDonald's." Today, both Cooper and Carley unleashed some serious poopy diapers while we were there. Cooper was first, and I let my dad change him, and just when I thought I was safe, Carley started stinking up the place, and I had to take my turn doing the walk of shame to the corner with a kid that had a loaded diaper. Luckily, there weren't many people around so I just changed her in the corner on a bench by the play set. Nobody was close by to have their appetites thoroughly ruined.

I have to watch the kids again tonight when Liane and Jason go out to dinner. Billy is going to help me out this time. I may run a little late getting there so I asked Billy if he could get there before me and cover the first 30 minutes on his own. He said he would not change any crap-filled diapers. Even though he can probably go 30 minutes without doing it this time, eventually, he's going to have to figure it out. That should be very interesting.

Okay, I'll get another couple of entries in over the weekend once we have further updates.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I have a lovely uterus

I think it's funny when the doctors and nurses use words like "lovely" to describe my uterus. Can it really be lovely? On the little black and white ultrasound picture they showed me of my uterus, I would never use the word "lovely" to describe it. However, if they think it's lovely, who am I to criticize? Maybe they've seen some really ugly uteruses in their time, and in comparison, mine is just beautiful. If only a pretty uterus meant you would be able to have a baby...

At my visit this morning, they checked out my lovely uterus, using the not-so-lovely vaginal prod. They like for an egg recipient's uterine/endometrial lining to measure around 7 (is that cm?-I don't know for sure) at this point of the cycle. Mine was at 10.8. Looking good so far. I guess all of my estrogen is paying off. It's making my butt and my uterus fat.

Liane was there also, and she had 19 follicles today. The "lead follicles," which are the biggest ones, were measuring around 1.5 cm today. The nurse thinks she'll be on track for a Monday retrieval, but the doctor said she would guess Sunday. Liane is hoping for Sunday. The doctor believes that based on the current follicle count, we should have about 10-12 mature eggs at retrieval. That's a good number. Bring on the Zeigler triplets! Just kidding, Billy, if you are reading this...(but not really).

Update on Winnie's carb loading: After posting my blog last night, I discovered several bagels in strategic locations around our home. There was one tucked under a sofa pillow, another lodged between the cushion and the arm chair of our loveseat, and another tucked safely away in our bed. Apparently, Winnie was saving some of her carbs for today, but I ruined her plans. She has been a crapping maniac all day. I hope this stuff all works its way out of her system. I'm just glad it's not the 'rhea.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Does this estrogen make my butt look big?

Yesterday, after increasing my dose of estrogen by another 2 mg per day, which brings me up to a total of 6 mg orally and 4 mg vaginally if you are keeping track, I was feeling it. I went over to Alice's to take some dinner to Liane, and ended up helping her with Cooper and Carley's dinners and bath times. I couldn't even button up my pants by the end of the evening, and I had on my "fat jeans." This is becoming very problematic. My work pants are creeping very far into my butt crack, which leads to believe that my butt is also expanding. Why does it always have to be my ass? Couldn't I gain some weight in my chest, just for once? It's not fair!

Liane also said she was feeling a bit more fullness in her ovaries last night and today. This morning, she was up to 14 follicles. The are all still in the 1.3 cm range, but she keeps making more. The nurse said that egg retrieval may not happen until Monday because they need more time for the smaller ones to mature. This would totally suck because Jason is coming to town on Friday, and he's planning on driving back with her Sunday because the original projected retrieval date was Saturday. If she has to stay an extra day, I'm going to have to foot the bill for her and kids to fly back to Jacksonville the week of Thanksgiving. That is not going to be pretty.

I babysat Cooper and Carley today for a while. Carley was chasing Cooper outside and wiped out. She had a huge knot on her forehead when Liane got home. I'm going to be a terrible mom. Shit. If I can't keep up with two of them, will I be able to deal with three?

I can't even deal with my freakin' dog! When I got home today, she had eaten an entire loaf of wheat bread, including the bag, about 10 mini bagels, and 2 bananas. She is an eating machine. Let's add that to the tub of croissants she ate earlier this week, along with a bag of flat bread, and 2 large apple turnovers. She sure likes to carb load. Too bad she's not training for a marathon. All of my groceries are now becoming Winnie's dog crap.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Double the follicles, double the fun

I just got an update from Liane. She has 10 follicles today. That's great news. She's doubled the number she had since yesterday.

I was a little worried yesterday when she only had 5 because I looked back at my records of my office visits when I was being stimulated, and I usually had 10-12 follicles at the first ultrasound. However, this was good and bad. I ended up hyperstimulated most of the time, which was miserable, and all of my eggs turned out to be genetically-impaired. I've decided this is the politically correct way to say they were effed up.

My doctor has told me that we are looking for quality, not quantity from Liane. However, I can't help but think that the more we have, the better the chance that we'll have several good ones. I have to stop stressing so much.

I received instructions from the nurse a few minutes ago. I have to increase my oral estrace to 3 times per day, instead of 2 times per day. They do this once the donor's eggs get bigger than 1.2 cm. Liane's were around 1.3 today. More estrogen...just what my body needs. I would say wish me good luck, but it's really Billy who needs it. He's dealing with a hormonal nutcase...maybe that's why he's always off at "softball games" or "business dinners."

That reminds me of the time the last cycle we did where I got so emotional from all of the hormones. I was a wreck. Those of you who know me well know that I'm not easy to upset, and to see me cry is a rare occurrence. Well, during that cycle, Billy and I were in the car on our way somewhere, and we were probably running late, since this is standard operating procedure for Billy. Then, I get all stressed out because I am a very prompt person. Anyway, he was driving like his usual maniac self, and I was getting scared. I asked him to slow down and get over in the right lane. He snapped at me, and told me not to be such a back seat driver, and I fell apart. I started crying and said, "I don't know why you always have to be so mean to me." I knew it was the hormones, but I couldn't stop. He actually did slow down and became very concerned about me. Maybe I should try this approach more often, instead of my usual screaming approach that sounds something like this: "We are going to DIE!"

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lady Business 101

Okay, it's time for a biology lesson to set the stage for the next step in this cycle. As most of you ladies know, each month an egg is usually produced by one of the ovaries. This is certainly not the case in my situation, since my cycle has been known to last up to 80 days, but if you are "normal" a few egg gets crankin' up in your ovaries every month. The eggs mature before they can be ovulated, and they are sort of racing to be the fastest one to mature because the fastest one is the one that is actually ovulated/released.

During the maturation time, each egg grows inside a fluid filled sac in your ovary called a follicle. Liane is currently taking a medication called follistim that makes her ovaries overproduce eggs, which means she currently has several follicles in her ovaries that are racing to the finish line and maturing at about the same speed. Right now, she has precisely 5 that are about the same size.

Liane's monitoring appointments are now daily to see the number of follicles and their sizes, as well as measure her estrogen levels (estradiol is the blood measure). As the eggs mature, they release estrogen, and blood estradiol gives an indication of how mature each egg is. The level is typically about 200-600 per mature follicle. She is currently in the 200 range, which means only one egg is getting even close to maturity. That is normal, since it's still early in the cycle.

The development of the follicles is monitored using vaginal ultrasounds. These are very pleasant. Billy compared the wand that they use to a curling iron without the thing that clamps around the hair. I'm glad that wand isn't wicked hot...that's about the only thing that could make it any worse. I hate the nasty, goopy feeling when they load that thing up with K-Y or whatever it is.

At each visit the ultrasound nurse documents the number of follicles and the size (diameter) of each one. A mature follicle is typically about 1.8 cm. When several follicles get close to that size, Liane will have to give herself a shot of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) to force ovulation. 36 hours after that shot, she will have her eggs retrieved.

Her 5 follicles are currently measuring around 1.0 cm, which means they are not near maturity. She will begin to administer a shot called Ganirelix when her follicles grow a little and her estrogen gets higher. This medicine will keep her body from ovulating on its own. They will let her know when it's time for that.

The nurse called me this afternoon and said that everything was going wonderfully, and I should just keep up the same medications. Liane will keep up the same dose of the follistim, as well. I was sure glad about that because if she needs more, I'll need to rob a bank. That stuff is almost $1 per cc. I bought a 600 cc vial on Friday for $490...that was the discounted rate.

That's the latest and greatest for now. Liane will be monitored again tomorrow, and I'll post a follicle update. My next appointment is on Wednesday morning to ensure that the medicine I've been using is doing its job and making my uterus a happy place for embryos to make themselves at home.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The filth never ends

I watched Cooper and Carley today all afternoon while Liane's new house was being inspected. They stay in the apartment at Alice's when they come to town. That place smells like a diaper full of poop from the moment they arrive.

When Liane got home, it was time for her to take her Follistim shot. That is the medicine that stimulates her ovaries to over-produce eggs. She said that the first couple of times she took the shot, she didn't have any alcohol, so she didn't clean the site or anything before injecting herself. She still didn't have any alcohol, which costs about 99 cents at the grocery store, and she was using hand sanitizer to just clean off the area before the shot. I'm so scared. She is the type of person who would end up with a raging infection at the injection site because of this. I think she may come down with that new staph infection, MRSA.

I told her I would see her tomorrow with a box full of alcohol swabs. How can one person be so dirty? I just don't get it. What if her eggs are dirty? I may have children that are like Pig-pen from Peanuts. They'll just have a cloud of filth that follows them around. They'll ask me, "Why am I so dirty, mommy?" and I'll have to say, "We got you from a dirty place, your Aunt Liane's ovaries."

Rejuvenation

I have returned from DC, and I know you are all anxiously awaiting my next post. Yes, the pills in the va-jay-jay have begun. It's not as bad as I thought. They don't fall right out, as I suspected they would. I had weird dreams about having to put the pill in there all night Monday, and I thought I had done it when I woke up, but then, I found the little blue pill on my nightstand and realized I had dreamt the whole process.

Yes, the pill is blue-bright blue! Every time I wipe after peeing, the tp is bright blue. Very strange.

One of the nights I was in DC, I was watching Dr. 90210, and one of the plastic surgeons was performing a vaginal rejuvenation. The woman who was getting it said she had 2 babies, and one weighed 10 lbs the other 12 lbs at birth. She said her vagina had never been the same. She was going to get a vaginal rejuvenation, and the doctor told her she would have the vagina of an 18 year old. What does that mean? Now women even have pressure to have young vaginas? Is my cha-cha that different today than it was 10 years ago? By the end of the episode, though, I was thinking, "I'm totally going to need this after I have a baby." Why in the world would I need that? How did Dr. 90210 convince me in 1/2 an hour that this was the ticket to having my youth back? I need to stop watching so much tv. It's freaking me out. I still don't even know what the hell a vaginal rejuvenation is. They use lasers and stuff, but do they remove skin, tighten muscles? All I know is that the lady who had it done was looking down there with a mirror before and after and seemed to be very pleased with the results. Her big, pervert boyfriend was also looming around, and he said it looked great. GROSS!

Okay, back to my meds. I called my nurse yesterday to get the changes to my meds since Liane started her cycle yesterday, and I was taking the wrong dose of my suppression medicine, and I was doing it at the wrong time. It would have been nice for someone to have told me that. I don't just make up the dose. Another nurse told me how much to take, and I was following directions. I was taking .2 cc's of Lupron for the past 3 weeks, but now I'm down to .05 cc's until the day before embryo transfer. In the morning, I take my Lupron shot, 2 mgs of Estrace orally plus 2 more in my who-who, a baby aspirin, and a prenatal vitamin. In the evening, it's just the estrace (upstairs and downstairs). Once we get closer to egg donation, the shots in my hiney start. I may need a butt rejuvenation after a couple of weeks of those.

By the way, Liane and Jason got the house they have been negotiating for. She said there were a couple of others in the neighborhood for sale. I told her that we would use her neighborhood amenities when I had my triplets. I would bring them over from the slums where we will end up living, since we'll be so poor from trying to have them and then trying to raise them. Maybe we'll all just stay put in the condo. Three kids, two adults, and one big dog in a 2 bedroom-oh what fun!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Time to Pay Up!

I am still in DC at a conference, but I have some time and some internet access so I figured I would give an update. Liane had to go in to the doctor this morning to make sure her own body had been thoroughly suppressed enough to have her begin being stimulated with medications. It's egg time for her.

Since she had her first appointment, I had to pay the bill. This cycle would normally cost us $16,000! If we had an anonymous donor, it would add another $6,000. However, we got a discount because my case is so freaky-deeky, and the doctors and embryologists are interested in studying me. It pays to be weird sometimes. We ended up having a $9,000 bill. Not great, but much better than the alternative.

Okay, I'm out of time. I'll write once the lady business pills start. I know you are all excited about that!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Dirty Bibs Story

I checked in with Liane last night. I mentioned before that she has vertigo, and she had a doctor's appointment yesterday to determine if she needed some additional medications and/or procedures to help her resolve the symptoms. I asked her if she had gotten the green light from her doctor to proceed with the cycle. She said, "Hell, no. I didn't even mention it." Then, she proceeded to say, "I don't need anyone holding this crap up." Those are my thoughts exactly, but I am still concerned about her health. I guess if she's thinks it will be okay, it will be.

I asked if Friday was her last day of Desogen. She didn't know what I was talking about. I clarified it was the birth control pill, and she said that yeah, she thought it was her last day, but she wasn't sure. She told me she would check her paper where she had it written down. I'm getting more and more worried about all of this. If you saw her house, you would know why. I don't know where that paper is, but it may be tucked under her pillow on her bed next to 10 dirty, crusty baby bibs. There's just no telling.

Okay, I have to tell the dirty bibs story for those of you who don't know it. Billy and I were visiting Liane and Jason one weekend, and we were on the couch watching tv one night when Liane walked out of her bedroom carrying 5 or 6 bibs that had crusty, old milk all over them. I asked where they came from, and she very calmly explained that when she the baby in the middle of the night, she would put a bib on her so that she wouldn't get milk all over her. Then, when she was done, she would tuck that bib under her pillow. She had accumulated about a week's worth of rotten bibs in her bed at the point that she decided it was time to get them out. It's little things like this that make me worry.

She called the doctor's office today to determine the next steps in her protocol. Then, she called me and asked why she was going to get her period. She was ready to start up the egg factory. I explained that they have to mimic a real cycle so she has to get her period, and then, they will give her medicines to put her body's natural egg production in overdrive. She seemed to be fine with that.

Liane will be coming to town tomorrow. She and Jason have put an offer on a house here so she's going to come and actually look at it tomorrow. That's right folks, they put in an offer sight unseen! She saw it on the internet and sent Caroline (our step-sister, who is an agent), Alice, and our dad over to see it. When they said they liked it, she decided it was time to make a move.

She will be staying 2-3 weeks, depending how long her cycle takes. I will have to be all over to ensure she sticks to the protocol. She's gotta take a lot of meds, and some have to be taken at specific times. I'm gonna be a wreck, and she'll be her usual care-free self. I wish I could have some of her attitude sometimes.

Vivian still insists I should have used her eggs. She gave me the whole list of reasons she would be an ideal candidate when I found out I needed a donor: her vegetarian diet, her active lifestyle, her OCD, her age when she had Rose (35) with no complications, etc. When I mentioned her as a potential donor, my doctor said she would be a second choice because she was too old. Vivian was highly offended and is convinced that if the doctor took out some of her eggs, she would see that they are perfection. Rose is pretty damn cute, but those eggs have been rotting another several years since Rose came along. Who knows what's brewing in her ovaries these days. Who am I to talk, though?

I started the Estrace pill today in my mouth. Don't get excited, it's not pill in the lady business time yet. I'm sure I'll have plenty to blog about when that gets crankin'. I also started the baby aspirin. The baby aspirin has been shown to increase blood flow to the uterus, allowing for a thicker and healthier uterine lining. I'm all about a good, thick lining.

By the way, I'll be out of town until Wednesday, and I'm not sure if I'll have internet access while I'm away. I'll get you all up to speed when I return from DC next week.

Thanks to those of you who have posted comments. This blog thing is fun!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ass Essentials

Well, I checked in with Liane last night to see how she was doing. She has vertigo now, which from what she tells me, is pretty sucky. Anyway, she was filling me in how she and Jason had been adding up their child-related expenses for the past year. She said that they spend $4500 on diapers, butt cream, and wipes last year. Jason refers to these items as the "ass essentials."

I then proceeded to make the mistake of telling Billy about this. He is seriously concerned about the costs associated with the whole baby thing, and the $4500 ass essentials bill didn't help him feel any better.

We've been going back and forth about how many embryos we'll transfer in, and it depends first and foremost on how many good ones we have, but the doctor seems to think we'll have plenty. Then, we will have to decide if we want 2 or 3 to go back in. The doctor recommends 2, but she will do up to 3 but no more. I'm all for 3 at this point, but Billy has been leaning towards 2. We've got some time before we make a decision so we can put that off for now.

If I got pregnant with triplets, the only ass essential Billy would need is a diaper, because he would crap his pants. No, he's more of a barfer so he would probably just throw up all over the doctor's office, like the time he threw up in the Elliott's kitchen. I hope our kid(s) aren't barfers.

I'll update you tomorrow after I hit the estrogen bottle hard.

By the way, you can post comments directly on this blog, instead of e-mailing me back. It doesn't really matter to me either way, but if you post on the site, everyone can enjoy your messages. I told Liane she should add her side of the story, and she asked me if she would get a cut of the money if I end up with a book deal. This does not bode well for her eggs. Lord help me.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Put the pill where?

I figured you would all get a kick out this. As I shared with you in my previous post, I have to start several medications on November 2 to prepare for the egg donation. Here is a list of those medications:
1 baby aspirin once daily
1 mg Estrace orally twice daily (Estrace is basically estrogen. Since my ovaries are shut down from the Lupron, I'm not making enough estrogen. Estrogen is important for thickening my endometrial lining. That's the inside of my uterus. It's where the embryos will hopefully attach, and they need a nice, thick fluffy place to burrow into. Without the Estrace, my uterus would not be very welcoming.)
.2 ml Lupron injected subcutaneously once daily

Okay, not so bad yet, right? Well, on November 7th, I'm supposed to bump up the Estrace to 2 mg orally twice daily plus 2 mg vaginally twice daily. I called the pharmacy to fill the vaginal Estrace prescription because I have oral Estrace from a previous cycle.

Tangent: All of these meds are so ridiculously expensive and not covered by insurance! The Lupron is $200 for a 14 day supply. I have to refill it twice. The Estrace is $198 for a 2 week supply. It's just all ridiculous.

Anyway, back to filling the Estrace prescription. I told the pharmacist I had the 2 mg pills, but I also had to take the estrace vaginally. She told me, "It's the same." I told her that she did not understand. I only had the PILLS that I had put in my mouth and swallowed, and I needed the cream or suppo or whatever went into the vagina. She told me again, "It's the same thing." I again had to make the point that the pill I had was small and blue and I would take it with water, sometimes Crystal Light, but usually water, and I put it in my mouth, swallowed, and it would go to my belly, without ever going through my vagina. She said the same little pill would be taking the quicker route to do it's job-through my lady business! (my words, not hers)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bye, Bye Desogen, Hello, Period

Okay, the Desogen sucked big-time. Liane called me after being on for 3 days and said she hated me...she had gained 5 lbs. Sorry 'bout that.

I also had my own weight gain issues, as well as nausea, headaches, and fatigue. On top of the Desogen, I also had to start injecting myself with Lupron in my belly daily on 10/19.

The Lupron makes me loopy. I can't remember things, like to take the damn medicine. I also got terrible night sweats, although I can't be sure if it was the Lupron or my 100 lb dog that sleeps right up next to me all night. Maybe it's a combination of both. Anyway, I also would get really tired but had trouble falling asleep. I know it's weird. I think I've now adjusted to the Lupron at this point, which is good because I have to keep that up for the next 2-3 weeks.

By the way, the Lupron "turns off" my ovaries and keeps me from making eggs of my own and/or ovulating. This is because they don't want any of my effed-up eggs to come out. They can all stay in my ovaries and continue to rot because I'm using lovely young eggs from Liane. I still run the risk of having eggs from her that are dirty, tell lots of lies, and maybe have a lazy eye, but all of that sounds a lot better than what I've got.

So I stopped taking the Desogen (hallelujah!) on 10/27, and I started my period today (10/30). I reported it to my MD, and on November 2nd, the medicines get cranking big time.

By the way, Liane stops taking her pill on Friday and has her "suppression check" next Tuesday. At that point, they make sure she is ready to begin being stimulated to make eggs.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

'N Sync

The first step in this whole egg donation process is to get my cycle and Liane's coordinated. I started my period on Sunday, October 14th, and that same day, I started taking my birth control pills (Desogen). This will put me in a holding pattern until Liane starts her period. She called me today (10/16) to say her period just started. Woo-hoo! Game on! We almost were on the same track from the get-go. She starts her Desogen today.

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