Monthly Archives: December 2009

Beta Blaster!


338! At 13dp3dt!!! Not too low or too high. Now we wait through the holiday to see how the next one goes….


And A Happy New Year!


Very faint BFP this morning! I am 7dp3dt. I tested (mostly out of fear). I wanted to prove to myself that these symptoms weren’t in my head. After doing this for a while you wonder, “is it progesterone or is it memorex?”

Now of course I’m paranoid after last cycle’s m/c. We’ll have to wait until next week for the beta and hopefully we won’t have a benchwarmer like last time. It is hard for me because we are traveling which means I have to use an independent lab and can’t read my own labs. The loss of that protective level of control is killing me! To make matters worse, labcorps won’t tell me, they will only tell my nurse. Oh the indignity! (Who am I kidding-you all put up with that all the time).

While I am thankful… I am also very, very cautious. Please keep your fingers crossed!

RE Re-dos


This post is about a sad trend I’ve noticed in the DE community and is only my most humble opinion.

In watching other people’s blogs for sometime now (and I apologize but I tend to go for the ones that are strictly DE), I’ve noticed an upsetting trend. It seems to me, that many REs think that DE is a panacea for just about everything. SG has this attitude and I find it disconcerting. I really think they think that if they just throw a bunch of donor eggs at you for 6 cycles, you’ll get pregnant.

Take my friend Rhonda. She’s had 3 perfect blast transfers and a BFN on all. Rhonda is one of those people whose husband should wear the sperminator  shirt because all the eggs fertilize. She’s also had three different donors.  (My thinking is that there are two BFNs with the same donor it is time for a new one).  It was only after the 3rd transfer that they noticed she had a hydrosalpinx. Her first RE didn’t catch it and neither did SG initially. It was only after Rhonda went kicking and screaming to her RE that they re-examined her films and caught it and she’s had surgery to fix it. Now she’s having her frosties transferred. If this doesn’t work, they’ll move onto to DS.

But here’s the point. Why didn’t they take more care up front? Why not do genetic testing from the get go? Isn’t it better to be prepared? I am lucky that my military RE (a wonderful but busy man) was willing to let Uncle Sam pay for all the genetic testing I asked for. I didn’t even ask SG. I just presented them with all the completed blood work. I made them test me for MTHFR (I don’t have it) and Factor V (I do), CF (no), Tay Sachs (no). I could have them test MO2 for Spinal Muscular Atrophy but I doubt we have the capabilities but if we really pushed it, I’m sure they could send the testing out.

After my m/c, I went to the hematologist on my own. That’s how I found out I was o/ded on lovenox. I thought my RE missed the boat on that one (clearly). But the point is, I shouldn’t have to do those things, someone should care enough to suggest it.

I was really sad to read about Riley’s BFN for DE/DS and when I was looking at the suggestions people offered it seemed clear that some of that testing was never done. It is a shame that we have to be our own best health care advocates. It is a shame that there is no extensive testing up front. I am not a believer in the “throw DE at you and something will stick”  I think the mental mindF%*(@ from repeated BFNs is too much for anyone to bear.

What I would tell DE recipients is to be demanding (even if you feel like a bitch). Read anything and everything you can on the DE process. Follow internet boards (even if just to lurk). The best ones that I know of are IVillage’s Donor Insemination/Donor Egg and Fertile Thoughts Donor Egg (links at right) After every failed cycle, meet with your RE in person. Suggest tests and push for them.  Search out very aggressive protocols. EB’s Dr J transferred 5 blasts with good results (YAY EB) To do this, you have to be comfortable with reduction but in some cases, it might be beneficial.

If this cycle doesn’t work, I’m going to ask for a uterine biopsy, a re-do HSG and donor sperm. This cycle is a little different from my last in that I have more cramping (bilaterally but at different times for each side). I may have had it last time but I was on narcotics so I may have missed it. (although I do remember slight cramping). I also have a feeling of fullness/cramping intermittently (like when I did IVF with my own eggs right before retrieval) and those weird abdominal stitches I had the last time (if I stand up too fast or move rapidly I sometimes get a stabbing pain).  There is also the vein in my chest that is more pronounced.  All of these can be side effects of progesterone. The most bizarre symptom of this cycle (and sorry if this is TMI) is the strange odor to my urine. It only happens sometime but it has frightened me into thinking I have a UTI. I’ve only had 1 of those in my life. No burning/itching though.I probably shouldn’t micromanage those symptoms, I had nausea and breast swelling on my first IVF (with own eggs) and all I got was a stinkin’ BFN so I’m thinking already toward the next cycle.

We’re headed up North tomorrow for the holidays. Best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Offsides Play


We transferred 2 embies, one 8 cell and one 5 cell. I am not super optimistic because I am used to blast transfers so I feel more confident with them. From what I can tell, blasts transfer have a slightly better chance but not much different. I think I have embryo envy or as my friend Spencer says, I have an embryo inferiority complex. Spencer is 15 weeks pg with a frozen donor egg baby and hers was a 5 cell and 7 cell transfer. MO2 and I call this cycle our off sides play. It is was one of those opportunities to go for points without any costs. If I didn’t try frozen this cycle, I would have had to wait until after the New Year for fresh. So it was the only way to get a cycle in.

In a more positive light, I learned that SG’s no longer doing a trial of the frozen donor eggs that they have been so successful (8 pregnancies out of 11), that it is no longer in its trial status but they think it is the wave of the future. In fact the stats for the frozens were the same as the fresh. I asked him if he felt that the vitrified eggs may be slightly more robust due to the vitrification process and he said that it was a distinct possibility. There are a few cons.

  1. It is less likely that the eggs will make it to freeze which means that there is not much chance for snow baby sibs
  2. Apparently only half of the eggs typically fertilize. Clinics like SG only give you 6 frozen eggs per cycle (although it is much cheaper), so it is not a lot of eggs to work with, especially if they don’t do well
  3. It is a typically a 3 day transfer although 1 set has made it to blast
  4. SG is only willing to transfer 2 embryos (I almost had my RE willing to consider 3 but MO2 said no).

and the pros:

  1. Much easier to cycle and not much waiting to sync
  2. Donors are only proven donors at SG
  3. Cheaper and less meds (no lupron)
  4. No worries about how donor stims. The eggs are there and you know how many you are getting from the get go
  5. Similar success rates to fresh cycle
  6. Only 2 u/s if you respond well to meds. I had a baseline and a lining check and that was it.

I’ve had a good day resting. MO2 has been waiting on me. We were going to stay until Sat but the NE is expecting heavy snows so we are going to head out as soon as we can tomorrow (which makes me happy). My brother and sister stopped by the hotel room to visit which was great to make the day go faster. I’ve had cramping most of the day but my RE had trouble getting the catheter in (I have a tricky cervix). I was pretty symptom free except for mild cramping for my BFP so I’m not worried there. I don’t expect many symptoms.

Next cycle, I want to do fresh with donor sperm. I’m not thinking this one will be a BFP but it was an interesting experience. Thank God for a free cycle and shared risk!

Fertilization Report


We had a 3/6 out of six fertilize! I thought we didn’t do so well with 50% but my nurse assured me that this really good for frozen DE (who knew)  We will definitely transfer 2. I asked the nurse if I should count on a 3 day transfer and she said not to count on anything at this point, it could easily be a 5 day and I might have 1 to freeze. She also reiterated that the frozen DE success rate was 80% (though I’m usually on the wrong side of the statistics). I doubt I ‘ll have any make it to freeze (I didn’t last time). My nurse also mentioned that even with a fresh cycle, most people usually have 3-4 good embryos in the 1:3 program. So now I am cautiously optimistic. I’ll keep you updated on the embie progress.

Plush Pad


Again, I’m a lining rock star.  The embies (if there are any) will have a nice place to call home. Appointment this morning showed lining at an 11mm so no worries there, all labs are within normal limits.  Monday is thaw day and Tuesday we’ll have our first fertilization report. Then we will have an idea of whether we will have a 3 or 5 day transfer.

I’ve been pretty anxious about this cycle and slightly pessimistic since we are using the frozen donor eggs this time. I had a dream that all the results were negative and then I heard a voice say.” you’ve got to put the eggs in first.”  To me this meant, you can’t worry about what will be until we see what the eggs do and actually put the eggs into the body! We will transfer 2 embryos.

More to come, I start PIO on Sunday night. I don’t love that medication but I do appreciate its therapeutic effect.

Oral Fixation


Not what you are thinking…

I just had my oral surgery this morning, where they created a flap to remove a pocket around my gum and fixed a filing overhang that was causing problems. I am (as the song goes) comfortably numb and (bonus) have quarters the next two days. Quarters is the military equivalent to sick leave since we don’t get that. It is free leave ( thus is non-chargeable). It  gives me a chance to get my Christmas cards done and relax. I can watch “Secret Lives of Women” and “Psychic Investigator” without worrying that I am boring MO2.The sutures feel pretty weird in my mouth, but they come out next Tuesday, the same day we get our fertilization report.

I have to admit I am worried about our fert report. I agonized over it last time and we did fine 7/10 fertilized normally which hits SG’s 70% they like to see. MO2 also has a living child which I think influences our RE’s decision about DS. I tried to get them to consider DS for this cycle, but no go. If I m/c again,  my RE has agreed to let us use it exclusively.  I already have a list of DS candidates at California Cryobank all ready to go. MO2 has bought off on it as well.

MO2 has a family history of a genetic disease that he carries that has led to many m/c and still births for his sister and mother. The chance that he carries it are less than 1:4. However, the results are devastating. His 25-year-old nephew has the motor skills of an 8 month old and a similar cognitive function. He has had over 4 open heart surgeries to correct a transposition of his artery and valve prolapse.  He is in diapers and is non-verbal with CP and autism thrown in the mix. We have been straight with SG that if our child has this disease, we will terminate and they are ok with that. Sadly, MO2’s nephew has been on hospice for the last 5 years. We are all wondering if he will win the hospice longevity award (if there is such a thing). His sister has gone through hell raising her son and it is an absolute credit to her and the care that she gives him that he is still living. I believe he is the oldest living person ( at 25) in the US with this disease.

So every cycle, I obsess about the fertilization report. I’m not worried about stims or how our donor will do because those eggs (with frozen oocytes) have already been collected. You will just have to bear with me.

You are reading the words of an official graduate of our Intermediate Level Education (ILE) our Lieutenant Colonel’s course. It is the last military school I will ever need to attend unless I go to the War College (something which is highly unlikely). When I got the official news on Friday, I had a martini to celebrate (while I still can)! What a monkey off my back! Now onto other ones…as soon as I get my new uniform back from alterations I can schedule for my new official photo. I’ll need that for the my promotion board in February. This is my early look this year (so chances are I won’t get picked up), but I would rather have it done now than try to do a promotion picture pregnant.  Although it is great for me,  not so great for an official photo!

Happy Friday


A dog rides in a U.S. Soldier’s backpack on Combat Outpost Jeleran, Afghanistan, Nov. 20, 2009. The dog, named Cookie, is the unofficial mascot of the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Francisco V. Govea II (Photo by U.S. Army)
Because I love our soldiers (or in this case Airmen)  and they love their pets. General Order #1 be damned!

Daily Diet


We are hanging in there with the diet with only minor cheating. So far, I’ve dropped 2 lbs and probably shouldn’t drop any more weight this week. I am using the Oxygen magazine’s Get Off the Couch 21 day diet program. The only drawback is that you eat the exact same meal every day of the week . MO2 likes this because it makes it easy to remember when and what to eat. I am non-committal. 

I am eating 4 oz  of a chicken breast at lunch daily and fish every night. I am not sure if I will want to continue with the fish every night the week of transfer, I’ve heard the pros and cons of fish while pregnant. It is cooked so it is not like I am eating sushi. Any thoughts out there?

Other than that we are trucking along with our medications and not expecting any major issues. Since we are using frozen donor eggs there is no obsession for me with the donor’s follicles or her stims. It is nice that SG uses only repeat (e.g. proven donors) for this process. I’m not sure if I expect to work but it has done a lot to minimize my anxiety since the retrieval is already completed. Less stress definitely makes me happy, especially when things are busy at work (I’m the only supervisor here this week).

I’ve got oral surgery next week (no big deal) but I get two days off to recover. I am probably the only person in america who is thrilled to have oral surgery so they can get time off-how sick is that?