Monday, December 30, 2013

Special delivery: IVF bill

I got my bill for IVF today: ((drumroll please...)) $13,300. That's just for the ER, ET and time my embies spent in the lab and does not include all the monitoring bloodwork, ultrasounds, medications or OHSS testing. Holy fuck.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am that my insurance covers a decent portion of this so that it was actually a feasible option for us financially.  I also do not have the words to express how happy and grateful I am that it actually worked (I still cannot believe it)! Even though we don't have to pay the whole thing the bill still scares me and I'm making Hubs write the check so that I don't have to look at it again. And yes, I am a child.

I am SO anxious for our second ultrasound on Thursday morning (8 weeks). Today I've had slightly less morning sickness and a bit more energy so I, of course, contort that around in my twisted little brain and torment myself with the fear of a missed miscarriage. I am a crazy person; I am well aware of that. There's no reason for me to think that there is anything wrong but I guess it's my defense mechanism and I just can't let go yet.

On another note, I have a head cold. Fun!  I can take Tylenol which does nothing for me, saline nose spray, cough drops, and Benadryl to break up all the post nasal drip upon which I have been choking and gagging for the last few days.  I'm a babe. Soup, OJ and popsicles are my best friends and I am very thankful that I do not (yet) have a food aversion to any of them.  I am hoping that the real reason for the recent increase in energy means that I'm on the upswing :-) 
I wasn't sure it would be possible but I am actually starting to understand the pregnant women I used to want to kill who would complain about being sick. Then, I had to hold myself back from bashing their heads against the wall while screaming "DON'T YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE YOU UNGRATEFUL BIATCH?!!?!", but now I'm beginning to get how much it can suck when you are sick and there's very little you can do about it. However, I do think that because of everything I went through to get to this point, I have a very different perspective on the potential tough parts of pregnancy compared to someone who tried oh-so-hard for all of 3 months and then got KU. (And yes, I have multiple individuals in mind with this one including that completely obnoxious blogger with the "fertility struggles" that Renee recently forwarded to us. I'm still annoyed about that.)

Anywho, I'm hoping my next post will contain a lovely picture of Pete! He'll be about the size of a raspberry at that point and there might even be little arm and leg nubs visible!  :-D

Friday, December 27, 2013

7 weeks

Little Pete is a blueberry!
A teeny tiny little blueberry who makes me both ravenously hungry and ready to puke with no advanced warning. 

Pete has also officially zapped all my energy. My house is a DISASTER. We hosted Christmas Eve/Christmas Day here for our joint families and I still have not cleaned up. Luckily my parents did all the dishes before they left so the kitchen isn't gross but there is random shit everywhere. I honestly am exhausted just thinking about picking up. Perhaps by the time I go back to work on Monday I will have taken care of it. 
Perhaps not.

We did end up telling everyone our good news on Christmas Eve. There was no grand reveal because I didn't feel comfortable doing anything like that but it was still nice.  My parents were the first ones to arrive and at one point I decided to just casually slip into the convo that "[their] baby is going to have a baby".  My mother shrieked and they both got teary and there were hugs all around. It was more emotional than I expected and is a nice memory.  

Hubs ended up telling his mom at one point when I wasn't in the room - apparently he was talking with both her and my mom and said something to the effect of: "So how do you feel about the fact that you're going to need to take some grandma lessons from her? [while motioning to my mom]" I guess she was pretty confused and then he told her that the IVF worked and we are pregnant.  I walked into the room to hear her repeating "no way...NO way..." while hugging him and then she ran over to hug me. At one point she exclaimed: "I'm gonna be a grandma!!" It was very cute.

That left only a few others who didn't know yet and I took the opportunity when we were all gathered around the bar getting drinks. Someone asked what I was making and I listed off the contents of my cup and mentioned that my drinks will be alcohol-free for a while. Then I just stood there staring at them with a dumb grin on my face as I watched the recognition cross their faces. 

All in all it was fun and I actually felt some comfort the rest of the holiday knowing that we didn't need to hide anything anymore.  I had morning sickness on Christmas morn and everyone was very understanding and it was nice not to have to make excuses.  Also, throughout the holiday one of my sisters kept softly patting my stomach saying hello to the baby. I said "you do realize you're just patting my stomach fat, right?" Hahaha! It was still cute though :-)

I'm amazed that I really do feel a bit more at ease now that it's out in the open. I'm sure I will still have pangs of fear every now and then (hopefully less and less) throughout this pregnancy but currently, I'm feeling good. It also helped me to write out that last blog post.  I was feeling so yucky and then feeling even worse because I was blaming myself for feeling yucky. It was good to get it out and feel like maybe I can start to let go of some of that shit.  Thank you so much to everyone who commented. You all are so wonderful and I feel very lucky to have such a supportive and non-judgmental group of online friends.  ((Hugs))

Monday, December 23, 2013

What They Don't Tell You About PAIF

Who's "They" you ask?  ::shrug::

What I do know though, is that this is going to be a brutally honest post...

Now that I've reached the "other side" of IF, I've learned it's not all green grass and rainbows.  PAIF is scary as hell and it's lonely as hell.  At least it is for me anyway.

Don't get me wrong; I am thrilled and amazed that I am actually pregnant and thank my lucky stars every minute of every day that I am in the position I am in.  At the same time, I am so SO scared to let myself feel happy and secure about it. It's not a conscious decision to feel guarded - it's unavoidable for me. This all seems too good to be true and if I trust it and finally let my guard down, the natural next step is that the pregnancy will be taken from me. I am an infertile. Something obviously went wrong somewhere - the storks got confused, one ended up on my doorstep and once they (there's that elusive "They" again) realize their mistake, they'll come and rectify it.  

I thought that IF was some tangible thing that I was fighting and once I beat it, I could move on and never look back.  But IF is an evil bitch that's mental as well as physical. Right now it feels like there's no such thing as the "other side" of IF... I didn't cross through some magical gateway into a beautiful garden of fertility, I crawled my way through a long dark tunnel of mud and shit and tears and pain and now that I've finally reached what looks like a way out of the tunnel, my surroundings turn foggy and feel dangerous. I hated that IF tunnel but I knew what to expect when in it. Now, I have no idea if I've truly found a way out or am about to unexpectedly fall into a deeper, darker tunnel than I could have imagined was there.  If it's the latter, I honestly do not know how I will be able to fight my way through the dark again to get out of it.

It's a hard thing for me to describe and it's probably an even harder thing for others to understand.  Know that I'm not looking for sympathy with this post, that would be ridiculous.  I am writing it because I am silently struggling. I'm struggling at a time when those looking in from the outside likely think that I shouldn't be - that this is the time when everything should finally be perfect and wonderful for me!  It's not though, not yet.  This place that I'm in right now feels lonely because I have no one to connect with who understands. Hubs doesn't even understand.  And that's the other reason I'm writing this post: In case there is anyone out there in a similar position who stumbles upon this blog, I want you to know that I get it.  That you are not alone. That you are not crazy and your feelings are valid even if they seem improper and unappreciative.  And that even though you finally achieved your goal of becoming pregnant, it's okay that you don't feel ready to jump for joy and shout it from the rooftops.
At least I think it is anyway...

I'm sad that the struggles didn't automatically end for me once I saw those 2 pink lines. I thought I'd be feeling pure happiness and relief right now but I don't. Not yet anyway. But I do have hope that I will get there eventually.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I have a tenant!

I had my first ultrasound yesterday morning at 6 weeks and they confirmed that Pete has indeed taken up residence in my ute :-D  Let's just hope he's signed the lease for the full 9 months.  

Unfortunately there is no picture to share (sorry J & CC!) because all we saw was a black area with a definite round ring at the edge of it which was apparently the yolk sac. Honestly it was pretty uneventful since Hubs and I really had no idea that we were even looking at anything.  However, the nurse confirmed that although there's nothing much to see yet, everything is as it should be at this point.  Before we went in she said we were right on the borderline of possibly being able to see a heartbeat so we were excited but it turns out it was still too early.  Boo. I also learned that I have a few massive cysts still on my ovaries: 36mm, 40-something & 52. Yikes. Hopefully those will go down soon.

We've been scheduled January 2nd for our 8 week ultrasound (we should definitely see something then plus the heartbeat!) and "exit interview" with the doctor.  Assuming all is well, that will be my very last visit to the RE.  It sounds silly but I almost feel scared about that.  I've come to rely on this clinic and the nurses so much it's like they are my safety blanket and now I'll be released into the world as a "normal pregnant woman". I don't feel normal though. I still have that feeling of being lost and it's like I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I want to feel happy and hopeful and excited but instead I feel very guarded with a slight sense of dread that I can't shake.  Maybe I've just seen too many instances of women finally getting PAIF and then losing it, that I can't fully believe that I'll be any different. 

I don't know when I'll start to feel good and positive about this.  Maybe after 12 weeks?  15?  Maybe once I see there's an actual BABY growing in there?  I don't know.  I feel like I owe it to all my friends still struggling with IF and my family (and likely myself too) to be over the moon happy about this but I'm still having a hard time believing any of it.

Hubs felt good after yesterday's appt.  He was waiting for yesterday's results to feel good and secure and now he does. Just like that. I wish it was that simple for me.  Both he and my sister want us to announce it to everyone on Christmas Eve (we host both families at our house every year). I don't.  I can't help but feel like it could be a big mistake.  However, there will only be a handful of people here who aren't aware of our IVF so it seems sort of dumb to tell everyone except a few. I guess my issue with it is that it just feels so FINAL if we do an actual announcement.

If I had to go back to October when we started this IVF cycle and do it over again, I would tell almost NO ONE about the IVF.  Since so many people knew, it's forcing our hand now and we've had to tell people we're pregnant so much earlier than we would have wanted to.  I know it's completely illogical but I feel like every additional person we tell makes it more and more likely I'll miscarry.  I know that's dumb so I'm currently trying to smack some sense into myself.

In the meantime, I'm reading some baby books so I can get a clue as to what happens during pregnancy and what I should and should not be doing.  I also need to find an OB.  Technically I have one but she's terrible so I need to find a new one prior to my Jan 2nd appt. That means I also need to decide now which hospital I want to deliver in. This is easier said than done since I have more than a dozen choices around here and really have no idea what I'm looking for, what to ask, and what's good or bad.  Oy. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


...and I'm not talking vacuums.

All I want to do is eat everything in sight lately.  Strangely though, not sweets.  The crazy amounts of chocolate and cookies 'round these parts lately are of no interest to me; I just want FOOD and lots of it.  I could really go for a chicken pot pie right now...  A whole one.  

My first ultrasound is tomorrow morning!!!!  I am so excited.  Things have been good and it's feeling more real to me every day but until I actually SEE that Pete is in the right place and not in a fallopian tube or something, I don't think I'm going to fully feel ready to believe this.  If all goes well tomorrow, we're planning to tell our parents the good news on Christmas.  Tomorrow's only 6 weeks so it's obviously extremely early but they all knew about our IVF and we've just been dodging questions the last couple weeks regarding whether or not it worked by saying we're still going through testing. I don't think that's going to fly much longer.  I'm excited to tell them but at the same time I just reaaaaaaally hope that we don't end up having a reason to regret it. (I don't even want to say it for fear of bad juju! Gah! I hate IF brain!!)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It appears I spoke too soon.

Symptoms: I gots them.

Hello heartburn!
Hello extra bra cup size that appeared seemingly overnight!
Hello bloodhound sense of smell!
Hello crazy-ass dreams! 

Also, it appears my new favorite thing is to wake up around 2:30am every night craving clam chowder.  Wtf? And I'm not talking the thin Manhattan-style imitation clam chowder, I mean the real New England kind with heavy cream, clams, potatoes, onions in a great big bread bowl. Mmmm. I finally had some today and it was everything I hoped it would be and more. Delectable! Unfortunately, it did not stop the craving. 
I seem to be craving all things creamy right now: chowder, fruit & yogurt smoothies, egg nog, broccoli & cheese soup, tapioca pudding, chocolate milk. All I want to do lately is find creamy things and pour them immediately down my throat (/insert obvious sexual joke here).

As for the unbelievable sense of smell?  I totally followed some poor guy to a different part of the building at work the other day because he smelled soooo good.  I'm like one of the women in the Axe Body Spray commercials.  On the flip side, that afternoon I also opened the microwave in the shared kitchen to pop in my lunch and almost puked as a wall of fish smell hit me. BARF. 

Luckily, the nausea has not set in though...yet.  And I'm tired during the day (I always hit a serious wall around 7:30pm) but I don't have the bad fatigue...yet. I'm trying to get lots of things done over the next week or so (pretty much asap) before I get hit with those and all I want to do is lie down and imitate a slug.

I would however, like to start sleeping better. I'm awake every night between 2:30ish and 4:30ish and once I do fall back asleep I take little naps filled with totally mental dreams that leave me feeling confused/scared/completely unsure of reality when the alarm goes off. This all makes for quite the refreshing mornings! I've never really been a great sleeper though so I'm not surprised by this.

Me thinks this is just the beginning! Bring it on, Baby!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


...I got nuthin'. 

It's starting to weird me out a little. 

The boobs have been unremarkable, the IVF bloat is gone, I'm not peeing anymore than usual, no nausea, no fatigue, no mood swings...  It seems my lack of symptoms is currently my only symptom.

I am not complaining but as it is I'm still slightly skeptical that this is my reality so this is not helping me believe it.

I suppose I've been a little hungrier than usual but that could just be because I'm finally back to normal after the OHSS and can eat again.  I also am not sleeping well but that's certainly not news in my world.

I guess we'll just have to see.

I can't wait for the first u/s next Friday!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Whoop whoop!

Beta #3 today came back at 386 (we were hoping for at least 306)!  Woo hoo! Game on!!  

My first ultrasound has been scheduled for next Friday, 12/20 to confirm the fetal pole and yolk sac. That is so weird to type. 
I feel like I'm writing it about someone else.

It is slowly starting to sink in here and there that I am actually pregnant which simultaneously gives me bouts of excitement and feelings of being...lost. I've identified for so long as being infertile that now that I'm not I can't figure out what to be/how to be. You would have thought that after trying so hard for this that I'd be ready to hit the ground running the second I got my BFP but not so much. I know everything there is to know about infertility. I know NOTHING about pregnancy. I went out today and picked up "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and I'm sitting here looking at it over on the coffee table and trying to make myself believe that there's actually a reason for me (ME - chickin!) to read it!  It is all so strange.

So now that things are looking good in beta-land, it seems this blog will be morphing from an IF blog into a pregnancy blog. I am so conscious of the fact that many of my beloved stalkers, ahem, readers are currently struggling with IF so I don't quite know yet how to make a gracious transition into talking about pregnancy/baby stuff.  I certainly know how hard it can be to hear this stuff so I just want to verbalize that I completely understand that those of you who have been been active readers/commenters may not be able to do that anymore as it might be too difficult.  I love all you girls so much and will understand if that happens.  I just want to say though, that I can't imagine having gone through all of this without you girls to keep me sane and I am so so grateful for the good friends I've made throughout the last 1.5 years.  Rest assured I will still be stalking you all good and proper and will be constantly rooting for you and sending positive vibes!  I may be pregnant now (weird!) but you're not getting rid of me that easily :-)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Beta #2: I'm calling it!


Beta #2 was 153 which means my hCG more than doubled in 48 hours. Hooraaaaaay!!!  

I was SO anxious to get the test results back today that I was actually making myself feel sick but in the end, nothing to worry about!  I'll go back again Tuesday for a 3rd beta just because these were slightly early (my first beta wasn't supposed to be until tomorrow) but because of today's results I'm feeling good. I feel like I can finally start to try to believe this and start to get excited.

And now, since I am obsessed with posting pictures of my pee sticks...

That's an awfully purty line this morning! AND my bleeding has stopped!!!

Gotta love Tina Fey

I'm so excited!!!!!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Beta #1!

The difference is slightly more impressive in real life.
Good news!  Beta #1 came back at 73!  The nurse said that this early (today's 9dp5dt) we should hope for 70 so we are currently right on target!   The bleeding has lessened a bit since last night and my HPT was a bit darker today too!  These are all good things! Ahhh!  I am starting to let the thought that this might be for real sneak in :-)

However, Beta #2 is Sunday AM and that will be the real test.  The nurse said that we want to see at least a 66% increase which would mean the goal is 121. Come on Pete!!!

She didn't have much to say about the bleeding. Obviously it's not a great thing but she said that some women do end up with bleeding but go on to have healthy pregnancies so we really don't know if this is anything to worry about or not. She said that if I keep bleeding and end up getting pain beyond the partial cramping I am having then they will check me for an ectopic.  However, right now there is nothing I can do so I'm going to remain slightly apprehensive (as my defense mechanism), while praying that Pete has snuggled firmly into my ute. 

Sunday afternoon cannot come fast enough!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Positively torturous

Yesterday at work I started bleeding. It began as spotting and when I saw it my stomach just dropped.  An hour later it had turned into AF - a light flow but definitely how my periods normally start.  I was crushed. I went back to my desk to pack up because I knew I couldn't stay there any longer, and my coworker (the one who has been so great through this whole process) saw my face and just knew. She came over and gave me a huge hug and I lost it.  I cried hard but as silently as I could into her shoulder. I couldn't help the huge gasping breaths every now and then though so I can only imagine what kinds of questions she got after I left.  Sigh.  

Once I got out to my car I REALLY lost it (I'm talking blubbering/snotting all over myself) and then cried most of the way through my 1.5 hr drive home.  I was dreading telling my husband when I got home and it was every bit as awful as I thought it would be. Needless to say it was not a good night as Hubs and I came to terms with the knowledge that this IVF cycle failed. I was so sad and felt so dumb because even though I knew we only had a 45ish% chance of it working, I just always thought it WOULD work. I didn't mentally prepare myself for it failing.  I had been so focused on making it until next Monday's beta that I allowed myself to be completely side-swiped by the fact that if it was negative, I wouldn't MAKE it to Monday because I'd get AF before then.

I decided I would take an HPT in the morning so that when I call the RE to let them know I got my period I could also report the BFN and hopefully they'd move my beta to Friday so I could start to move on.


This morning, this happened:

HO.LY.SHIT.  I was SHOCKED. Hubs was shocked.  We have no idea how to feel and are SO apprehensive.

After being so crushed just last night, it's hard to feel positive about this - particularly because I am still bleeding quite a bit (it's a light-medium flow at this point).  I have no idea if this is going to be a viable pregnancy and this is just some kind of breakthrough bleeding or if I'm currently in the process of losing it. I am hoping so hard that when I test tomorrow AM the line is darker. 

I called the RE office and the nurse agreed to push my beta up to be tomorrow AM so thankfully I will only have to be tortured with wondering what's going on until I hear back tomorrow afternoon.  If it's positive then the second beta will be Sunday.

::Sigh:: I'm afraid to be happy or truly believe this yet.  I always pictured getting my first BFP would be such an exciting and happy day - I'd see the line turn and then run into the bedroom waving the pee-stick in Hubs' face and we'd laugh and cry and hug and kiss.  Instead, I climbed solemnly back into bed, told him it was positive, and we laid there in the dark in shock and confusion, holding hands, afraid to be happy, unsure of how to feel.

Now, this has been the longest morning of my life. I cannot WAIT to get the number back tomorrow. I don't know whether to expect to crash back down into despair or if the IF rollercoaster is going to bring me up higher than ever.

I'll update again tomorrow PM but in the meantime, if you have any positive/sticky vibes to spare please send them my way!! <3

PS: Get the title?  "Positive"ly torturous?  Heh. I amuse myself.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What's Pete doing?

Today is 4dp5dt.  According to this handy-dandy little chart that I found at NYU Fertility (here), my little petrie dish baby (aka: 'Pete') should currently be in the process of snuggling into my ute. Hopefully he likes it enough to stay for 9 months.

5-Day Transfer

Days Past
Transfer (DPT)
Embryo Development
One The blastocyst begins to hatch out of its shell
Two The blastocyst continues to hatch out of its shell and begins to attach itself to the uterus
Three The blastocyst attaches deeper into the uterine lining, beginning implantation
Four Implantation continues
Five Implantation is complete, cells that will eventually become the placenta and fetus have begun to develop
Six Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) starts to enter the blood stream
Seven Fetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted
Eight Fetal development continues and hCG continues to be secreted
Nine Levels of hCG are now high enough to detect a pregnancy

I'm hoping this chart will help keep me grounded (read: sane) as I wait for my beta on Dec 9th since my crazy little mind likes to twist around "4dp5dt" to be 9DPO and I tell myself that people get BFPs as early as 9DPO...I should test soon! 

Umm, no.  

Pete hasn't even fully implanted yet (if he's even going to) and my body definitely has not begun secreting hCG.  So this chart helps me for the next 3 days but after that I make no promises.  I am a crazy chicken right now!  (Hubs always told me I should have named this blog "Diary of a Crazy Chicken"...I think he's right.)

Also - I am feeling much better physically! I even did some grocery shopping yesterday (first time out of the house in a week besides dr. appts)! I am definitely on the mend.