Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day is Finally Here!!

Today is opening day! Go White Sox! OK they're not playing today but I'm still excited. If I haven't mentioned it already, my husband and I are rabid baseball fans. We're White Sox fans, but I also love the Orioles and he has a soft spot for the Phillies (since he's from Philly and I'm from Baltimore!). And just to explain how much we love baseball, I'll give you two facts about us.

Fact 1: My husband and I have a combined total of 8 fantasy baseball teams this year.
Fact 2: We're going to Chicago in July for the sole purpose of watching 4 games at US Cellular field..

We love baseball a lot. We have signs hanging up all over our house, photos, etc. My husband is obsessed. It's all he wants to talk about right now, which I welcome, because I'm obsessed with babies, and if I let him talk about baseball I get to talk about babies! It works, because we're each interested in the thing the other is talking about, but maybe not QUITE on the same level. So is there a point to all of this? Yes!

My husband works his butt off. He doesn't mind his job, but he works hard, and it tires him out, and sometimes I don't want to ask him to do things for me because I know he wants to go home and rest (this is totally unfounded because 99% of the time he'll do it, but.. still). Well last night, as you all know, we got the call that everything is straightened out and I needed to start my BCPs that day or it would throw off the schedule they'd come up with for me, but I wasn't going to be home until after the pharmacy closed, so I asked Andy to do it. But last night was his last fantasy draft for his team, and he likes to have prep time lol. So when I got the "you got it" text I was pretty happy.

So I got home last night, took my pill, and snuggled into bed at 11:30. Andy came up and snuggled in with me for a little bit. And I said thanks for getting the pills, and that we'd have to get our consent forms notarized, so we'd have to do that soon too. His response was really special. "You don't have to thank me," he'd said, "I would do anything for you. I'll miss my draft I don't freaking care." And while he said "for you" he also meant "for this"... for this baby, and I was really happy. Part of me had thought I'd have to fight him a little, or at least get a complaint about the notary.. but no. Nothing but absolute perfection out of my beautiful husband. So I held his hand and kissed it and told him how great he was and how glad I was that I was going through this with HIM. And I told him I didn't know why I'd worried as he hasn't complained from day 1. Not about the  incredibly personal scrotal ultrasound, or the multiple SAs, or taking me to doctors or calling them when I couldn't. He's offered to go to every single appointment, and already told his bosses he has to be off for a few days for my retrieval and transfer.

As hard and stressful as going through this process is... and it might get harder and more stressful yet... I couldn't ask for anyone better to hold my hand through it. I know some men complain about various things, and that's OK.. but mine hasn't. Not once. I'm seeing things in my husband I've always seen, but they're just more overt these days. He's amazing, and here's a picture:

Why he is in a t-shirt when there's obviously a ton of snow on the ground I will never know.

And for good measure, here's an older one of me, too:

Yep, we're going to make cute babies.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

IVF #1 is Underway!

Hooray! I got the call and I'm starting on 2 weeks of BCPs today! My nurse is mailing out all of our consents and my calendar which I'm SUPER excited about, and she'll be ordering my meds. I scheduled my injection class, but the next one they have is on 4/14, which is pretty late I think, so I had to ask my nurse if that was OK. It's also at 11 in the morning. What a weird time for that? Fortunately it's not too far from work, so I'll have to come in early, flex out for the class, and come back. I love having that flexibility at work!

We should have our paperwork in a day or two. Interestingly enough, my insurance company requires a copy of our marriage certificate to cover the procedure. Is that weird? I feel like it's weird. I mean I have it, but... don't people who aren't married want to go through IVF?

In any case, we're on our way! The next two weeks will be so slow, but when they're through, it's injection time! I am so glad it's finally here.

Edit: My "official" start date is 4/13 with injections beginning on 4/16. And since the deposit is due 4/3, I'm updating my running total:

SHG - $100
Day 3 blood work and ultrasound - $145
HSG - $231.50
Deposit - $3250
ICSI deposit - $250

Total: $3976.5

I will find out the total cost of my medicine in the next few days.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Waiting is annoying. I want to see my plans. I want to have my meds. I want to inject lupron into my belly. I have 5 more days that I can start the BCPs.. but the sooner the better! I want to see how this goes!! What if none of our eggs are mature? What if they don't fertilize? Don't grow? What if I'm REALLY broken!?? I want to know - NEED to know. Let's get this show on the road! I guess I'll call Thursday if I don't hear anything. I know my nurse calls me when she has info, and Thursday will give me two days to get the OK to start BCPs. We'd better! I'm not waiting until next month - not now that they have the info from the nephrologist and all my tests are done!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

I think this year is going to be an interesting year for Andy and I. In a good way. With our IVF safely placed in God's hands, and my attention somewhat diverted (at least for now), I'm free to start imagining amazing things again. I have a rather vivid imagination, and I tend to ponder all sorts of impossibilities (and some possibilities along the way). I'm starting to get to a place where I feel like doing that again. When you're stuck in the land of OCD horrors,  you don't want to let your mind do much of anything for fear of what it will come up with when left to its own devices. Lately my OCD has been harnessed... reined in, if you will, and it's allowing me to get back to some semblance of a life! Although it's still frustrating my husband to high heaven, he knows there's been a  ton of improvement, and I FEEL better. I think he needs a few weeks without any questioning to let himself recover, but I know how much better I've been than I was. It makes me feel good to be where we are knowing I'm finally back in the driver's seat. We've been spending more quality time together, unadulterated, or mostly so, by my OCD, and that's something I will never again take for granted. It's hard to believe we're already almost into April, because looking back it doesn't feel like 3 entire months have passed since Christmas, but they have. I've come a long way and for that I'm thankful.

I didn't know, at the beginning of this year, that I'd really be embarking on this IVF cycle. That I'd actually start BCPs in March (and re-start them!). That I'd be excited again about all of this (and FYI - my nurse called, she got the paperwork, and she expects to have my plan in the next day or so!). The prospect of welcoming a new baby into the world had bolstered my "I need more space" argument, and my husband has agreed that we really should be buying a house (!). So we've started looking.. and he looks with me! I sort of bludgeon him with it repeatedly until he's sort of unconscious and can only stare at the TV... so I only get a few houses a day to show him. But when I do, he pays attention! We haven't agreed on anything in our price range yet. Well.. we did like one house, but it's way overpriced, and while the overpricing is in our range.. I'm just not paying that much for it. We're going to get an agent and start touring homes in the next few days. A tiny 2 bedroom townouse really isn't enough for us. We need, at minimum, 3 bedrooms, so we can have one for us, one for the baby, and a guest room for all of Andy's Philly friends and family. They come down often enough that this is imperative. I'd like to have room for an office and a man cave, too. And we need storage. My lord we have a lot of "stuff". So we'll see how this all goes.

In my currently naive vision, we are holding our beautiful baby in our arms, and waking up in our own beautiful home on Christmas morning. I can't predict any of this, but.. it's what I hope for. We could sure use a good year. I actually found out this weekend that Andy has a secret about our future baby. This is going to sound so silly, but he really likes 4 Loko. That's not to say he drinks it all the time, but he likes it, and was sad when they took out the caffeine. Well he has 1 original one with caffeine in our fridge, and I discovered this weekend that he is saving it for the day I tell him I'm pregnant lol. Not because he's sad... it's like most people would have a toast with wine? He wants his with 4 loko haha. I thought it was cute in a really weird way.

Tonight I sort of want a drink myself.. to celebrate finally moving forward with this cycle. Two more weeks and we're on injections. It feels like eternity, but we're getting there. In 3 or so weeks I could be having my retrieval. And I'm so at peace, at ease, and happy with it.
Wow. I took my last birth control pill on Friday. By Sunday night I was spotting, and I had my period this morning. I didn't realize it happened quite so fast. That's a good thing though. The sooner I get my period the sooner I start the next 2 weeks and then injections! I hope I get my meds soon. I'm kind of excited to see what it all looks like and get started with it. I know it sounds horrible but part of me is looking forward to egg retrieval simply so I can have 2 days to rest. I'm nervous about the whole thing just because I want so much to have good eggs and I won't know until we get there. Everyone keeps telling me it's going to work and I'm praying every night and trying to have faith. I know whatever is going to happen is going to happen, but I'm still thinking about it and hopeful.

I'm back on Weight Watchers. 7 pounds gained is enough! I need to get back down. I'm not going to start this pregnancy at a healthy weight, but every pound I lose is healthier, so I'm going to keep trying. I'm planning on actually cooking a meal tonight that I'm quite excited about. I'm going to give that new Philadelphia "Cooking Creme" a shot. I'm modifying one of their recipes and making chicken with peas over angel hair with one of the cremes. I'm also planning on buying a kindle which I think will coax me into the gym a little more if I can place it on the machine and read. I can't do that with my iphone app because it's so small I can't see it and I have to use my hand to turn the page every 4 seconds.

We'll see what the nurse says when she calls me back today. I know I'm back on the right track with my eating habits, though, and it makes me feel better about everything. I'm just so ready to get started.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Since I started on the birth controls I've been gaining weight. I really haven't wanted to see how much I've gained so I didn't get on the scale, but this morning I finally stepped on. I think part of me was expecting to see my weight back in the 280s, right where I started. That didn't happen, thankully, but I have gained. My last weight was 270.2, and I was 277 this morning. It's not completely accurate 'cause I usually weigh on Sundays later in the day after I've peed 3 more times, but.. I have gained around 6 or so pounds. Yikes. I'm still down 9 according to weight watchers, but I liked 15 better, so I really need to get back on track. I also need to start checking my blood sugar again. When I was on high doses of prednisone my blood sugar got up to almost 400. Yikes! That was on 120 mg and I'm now on 40, but I've stopped checking and it might still be too high. Normally it runs abour 80, so.. prednisone is an asshole. But with the impending baby, and not wanting to like... die... I've decided that I'm getting more strips next week to make sure my sugars are OK, and if they're not, really use the insulin. I don't want anything to happen to my babies because I'm an idiot, so I'll be checking and if it's still high on 30mg of prednisone using the insulin again. I hope not.

Yep it's time to re-dedicate myself to health. I want to be a fit mommy and I want to be healthy for my babies. I've been eating horribly for 3 weeks and drinking soda again and I need to get right back out of that habit. With that said, I'm no longer sick and can go back to the gym. I'll be going 4 times next week and sticking to weight watchers again. Watching my sugar and being CAREFUL. I've had a 3 week vacation. No more. No more excuses. No more "But I'm on prednisone!" or "But BCPs make me eat!". That may be true, but I'm in control here. I'm not going to gain weight if I don'tput the food in my mouth and if I exercise. I have to take my life back, and I'm going to.

I haven't heard from the RE today, but I expect them to call later. Today's my last pill so CD 1 should be soon. I guess I'll be starting 2 more weeks of pills. Which means just a few more weeks to get as healthy as possible. I can do this.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Religious Post

I haven't really gotten as much of this out as I need to, and since this blog is for me, I'm going to talk about my feelings involving God today. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, and I don't judge anyone who doesn't. But this is mine.. it's for me. And I need it. Also, apologies to anyone who subscribes to the Catholic views on IVF. To each his own, absolutely. But this is how I feel.

I don't know why, but when I got to work this morning I decided I needed to google "Catholic views on IVF". I was curious, but I'm not sure where the curiosity came from. When I read the official statement, it sort of made me want to throw up. Could this really be what the "officials" in Catholicism think? They called it "evil", and alluded to IVF destroying marriage and social culture. It broke my heart in a way. It didn't change anything about how I felt, but it made me sad to think that people out there really think that's what God would want! And I was left wondering "how could anyone actually think that a husband and wife who want nothing more than to love a beautiful baby shouldn't have that opportunity"? (And others, but this is my story).

This led to more googling, and I found the blog of another Christian woman who had gone through IVF but ended up adopting. I'll get back to that later.

For me, IVF is a fantastic, Godly opportunity. I don't separate God and science. I think they go hand in hand perfectly. I think he gave us the tools and abilities to make discoveries and gorw and learn. And I think that God looks down on IVF and thinks "This is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping you'd do with this knowledge". God says to be fruitful and multiply, but knows above all that it's just not that easy for some of us. Does that mean he doesn't want it to happen for us? Of course not! EVERY child is a child of God, and I fully believe that every child conceived out of love, whether in a petri dish or a womb, is a blessing from Him!

At the same time, reading the blog of the woman who did the IVF and ended up adopting made me realize some things. That I've been, spiritually, going about this process all wrong. I'm trying so hard to control every aspect of this. I'm feeling.. anger and distress and envy. I'm feeling disappointed and distanced from God through all of this. I try to pray, but sometimes I think "I just need to go to sleep" instead. Am I missing the message he's trying to give me? My family has so much hope and faith. My husband just seems to know it'll work. But I have doubts. And I need to use this opportunity to draw nearer to God, rather than put him to the wayside. I need to trust in him, and let him carry me through this time of stress and struggle. We may not be close to the end point of our journey with infertility. I hope we conceive this cycle and have a beautiful baby. But it may not be what's in store, and I NEED God to walk with me.

I don't think I was called to the Catholic site today to tell me I am making the wrong choice or doing something I shouldn't. I think I was called to it to lead me to the other blog... to see what I've been missing in this whole process. God's will, God's strength, and God's love.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Could It Be?

Do I really have some information!?

Yes! I do! I called my nurse today and she said she actually spoke with my nephrologist! She said he didn't seem to understand exactly what the egg retrieval entailed, and he thought I would be fine on my current dose of steroids (so basically all this was for nothing) but he is going to send the letter. Finally. So that's done, but because I have so few days left on the BCPs, she wants me to get my period, then start them for 2 more weeks, then we'll do injections. So rather than an expected retrieval around April 7, we're looking closer to the 21, but at least it's getting closer and we have a plan. She can finally order my meds and I can take my injection class. Now EVERYTHING is done and all we have to do is sign papers. Thank you, Jesus. I really hope this works. I really really do!!!! Two more weeks of BCPs then growing a baby here I come!

Monday, March 21, 2011

So What Happens Now?

Well, that's a good question. I do have 1 week left of pills. I'm still waitingon my nephrologist. Now that I know the RE called and left him a very detailed message last week, the ball is back in his court. I emailed him today and I'm hoping to hear something back. In the mean time, my nurse called to follow up. She hasn't heard anything, and she said if I don't get everything straightened out very soon, we'll start on BCPs again next month. UGH. I do not want to deal with this crap again. She said we'd shorten it to two weeks, so it would only extend my timeline by 2 weeks, but I've waited so long at this point I just want to get started, so I'm really hoping something happens now and I don't have to wait another 2 weeks to start injections! I'm so frustrated. I need a drink or 10.

HSG vs. SHG - a Comparison

Now that I've had both procedures done, I've decided to do a little comparison. I know I've been terrified of these procedures more than labor itself, so if anyone out there googles and comes across my blog... here you have it. A complete set of both experiences. Now of course this is for me and my body alone, and everyone is different, but it might still be comforting to hear.

We'll start with the HSG, since I had it first. Basically, I was so afraid to have this done that I took Xanax beforehand. It did nothing. I mean NOTHING to calm me down. I walked into the office and was immediately taken back because I was late since it was in a different office than I'm used to. The room was very dark and filled with machinery and a standard gyn table. I undressed from the waist down and put a gown on and sat on the table. The doctor and nurse came in right away. I shimmied down to the end and they put in a speculum. 30 seconds later they told me I was done. I had no idea what was going on and didn't feel a damn thing but the speculum. I was afraid they hadn't actually done it, but they showed me the X-ray and sure enough, there were my tubes and uterus... exactly where they were supposed to be with spillage. I did not have any blockages, so that could be part of why it was OK. I think I took 2 ibuprofen before this one. So here are some ratings on a scale of 1-10.

Anticipation: 10
Pain during: 0
Discomfort: 3
Ambience: 5 (it was scary with all the machines but the dim lighting was nice)
Pain after: 0

Next is the SHG, which I just had this morning. I wasn't nearly as scared because the HSG had gone so well. I will say that my last pap was about 10 times worse than either of these tests. So this one I went into a room I'm used to because it was in my office, and I get all my day 3 ultrasounds done in here. It's the same table and an ultrasound machine, and lots of light. This time she told me some women get cramping (the same doctor did this one), and she would tell me when to take breaths. I shimmied down to the end of the table and, just like last time, they put the speculum in. She told me she was cleaning the cervix with betadine, which I didn't feel, and then that she was putting the catheter in, which I also didn't feel. Then she took the speculum out and it was weird because I could feel the catheter then, but it didn't hurt. Then they put in the ultrasound probe and took a few pictures. She showed me everything as she was doing it. I kept waiting for pain as she told me to take breaths, but it didn't happen. It was, however, extremely messy. I fould feel saline pouring out which was very weird. Then we were done. I got up and got dressed and left. I didn't take anything at all for this one.

Anticipation: 4

Pain during: 0
Discomfort: 4 (this is a little higher simply because it was messy and took longer)
Ambience: 6 (it was more comfortable because it was famliar)
Pain after: 1

So there you have it. The SHG took longer, at about 4-5 minutes. Neither one hurt in any way, except the absolute mildest of cramps after the SHG. They were uncomfortable because. hey, what uterus wants to be filled with saline or dye? I don't want to schedule Saturday SHGs for pleasure, but ultimtely both tests were absolute pieces of cake.
I had my saline ultrasound this morning. I feel like my parts must be in perfect locations because, once again, it wasn't a big deal in any way. She told me when she was doing everything, and I didn't feel anyting but the speculum. She showed me the machine when she was doing it and everything looked fine. She did a "quick check" of my ovaries which I guess also looked normal. It was really, really messy, but no pain at all, and really not much discomfort. I'm not saying I want to have them recreationally or anything, but I'm thankful to my body for letting me get through these without much revolt. And really, my body has done a pretty good job of just generally functioning. My tests in the fertility department have been great except the thyroid which is fixed. I guess the real test is coming up when we actually go through the process, but for now we're good. All of our testing is done, and all we need to do is get everything in from the nephrologist and start injections. Which should be in approximately a week assuming we get the plan in from him. Oh my gosh. In 2-3 weeks I could have egg retrieval and then a baby growing in me! It's amazing. I can't believe the testing is actually done! I'm so ready to get this show on the road.

Edit: Cost for today's procedure - $100. Grand total so far of $476.50. This includes HSG, SHG, and Day 3 blood work and ultrasound. Not included: Communicable diseases blood tests. All of these are required for IVF at Shady Grove. I have insurance which covers 50%, so this is my out of pocket cost so far. I don't have the rest of the costs yet, but I'll be posting them as I get them. I do know the initial $3500 deposit is due soon, so the total will be jumping up dramatically very quickly.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Today is making me nervous. I'm on day 16 right now. I noticed a little spotting yesterday, but today it's out of control. It's not like a full on bleed... it's brown, but it sucks. I can only assume it's from the BCPs. Apparently some of them cause mid-cycle spotting, but it's sure enough to freak you out. I did discover that they do saline ultrasounds in my office, so I don't have to go to Rockville which is hell to get to during rush hour. I'd probably have to leave at 6AM to have a chance of showing up on time for my 8:15 appointment. Now I can get up at 7 and not have an issue. They didn't call me today so I can only assume nothing happened, but I'm too worn out about it to worry. Hopefully something will work out by Monday so I don't have to be upset when I see my RE. I also hope she doesn't weigh me. BCPs are a bitch. I want to eat EVERYTHING and I have very little control. I need to stop that and get back to the gym. Tomorrow's a new day, right?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's Wednesday. I still don't know anything. I know the doctor finally showed up for work today, and she'd better damn well have called my nephrologist today. I had Andy call them. I just can't take it. If someone doesn't do something, physical violence will ensue, and it's not OK. I have too many hopes and dreams riding on this, and I'm not ready to give it up because they don't care about ME.. as a person. Hopefully they'll call Andy back with good news. He says he's ready to use force, but he will not be yelling. I don't know how he plans to do this, but I hope it works. 9 days of BCPs left.

Update: I should really just write in here every day, because whenever I write, I get responses. I've decided that blogger is the key to getting things done. Anyway, hubby called the RE. Apparently they tried to contact my nephrologist, but he's out of the office now (who's surprised by this? Not me!). So they told Andy the best time to call tomorrow, and I called and told his secretary. Apparently they RE has been talking about what to do if I run out of pills and all of this stuff. I guess they realize, since he called, that he really is on board. SO I have a mock embryo transfer at 8:15 on Monday. YAY! Well.. sort of yay. I'm never excited about the introduction of weird liquids into my uterus through catheters, but, hey, you do what you have to. The entire appointment slot is 1/2 hour so I guess it won't take too long. And then I'm done EVERY test and all I need to do is start the shots. Is this happening? Is it really? Maybe. It just might be.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Monday, and I still don't know anything. My nephrologist called the RE twice, and as far as I know she didn't call him back. My blood is boiling over this. I'm so angry I could scream. The doctor I'm not paying $10,000 to is the one making all of the effort in this situation. I used to think that the RE really cared, but I'm starting to feel like they want numbers with no responsibility. They don't want to actually go through the process of ME.. just getting another + test to put on their books. And you know what? If I get a + test, I'll probably forget all about this. But I don't even know if I'll get to do the cycle. I've been on the damn pills for 10 days now, and I've gained 5 pounds. Enough that if they cancel and want to wait until next month I'll be over the weight limit again. Because of the birth control pills they put me on for the cycle I was supposed to start but they completely screwed me on. I don't know what to do at this point. I called today for a status and have not yet heard, but I'm sure it will be "she's not in the office so they haven't talked". Tomorrow my husband will be calling since he is off work, and I simply can't deal with it anymore without bursting a vein or two. This is completely ridiculous. I am under enough stress over all of this that I shouldn't have to deal with stress from the RE not doing her damn job. MAKE A PHONE CALL. I'm not asking you to fly to the moon in a rocket made of spaghetti. I want you to call a doctor. Take the 25 cents out of the over TEN THOUSAND we are paying you for this service. I don't pay my nephrologist that kind of money and he called you TWICE. There will be hell to pay if this cycle is canceled because my doctor doesn't care enough about me to pick up the damn phone. I am angry, and it's probably best I stop writing now.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hooray for me! I finally got the RE's office to give me a number for my nephrologist to call. I don't get why it was such a problem. He knows they want a plan of care, but he's extending a courtesy by trying to make sure he includes everything they've required. Why is this so difficult? Hopefully it will be taken care of tomorrow, but of course the RE is leaving at 10 AM. Why wouldn't she? Ugh. This process is very trying.

On other news, I HATE birth control pills. I'm feeling so crampy and moody and I've gained 5 pounds back since I started them. They're going to want to weigh me again and right now I wouldn't meet the requirement! Thank God I only have to do this for 3 weeks. Then I get to be even more uncomfortable and moody for 2, and then, hopefully, 9 more months! Lol. Today, however, I am aggravated, hungry, and ready to go home.
I am ready to pull my hair out with this steroid thing. Or hit someone. One of the two. I've tried to do everything the right way to get a healthy baby and stay healthy myself. We did medication for my husband's tumor. I did an entire year of prednisone therapy including IVs. We skipped IUIs, I've lost weight, I've prayed, I've gone to every doctor under the sun. And now that we're so close it might get taken away because of the very thing I did to try to help!

Originally the high risk OB did not want me to be on steroids when I conceived. She talked to my nephrologist who explained to her that the steroids were what was keeping my kidneys functioning normally. Once she understood that it wasn't a quick fix to healing, she agreed that I could go ahead. I started on the birth control pills last Friday and my nurse told me she needed my nephrologist to come up with a plan for how to handle me being on steroids and having minor surgery. Apparently prednisone makes your adrenal glands atrophy or something, and they don't respond to stressful situations correctly. So I asked the nephrologist and he indicated that "they" would give me stress dose steroids. But since he's the one that prescribed it originally, they want him to do it and they won't move forward without a written plan from him. He is not understanding this, and I don't know how to get through to him because I'm not a doctor and I can't explain it in their terms. I asked the RE to call him but they won't. I don't know why. So now I have two weeks until I'm off BCPs. They need to make a plan, order meds, and get me in for a saline ultrasound, and they won't do it until they get a plan from him. But they won't talk to him to tell him what they want! And he is clearly not understanding. He said that he put me on steroids every other day to lessen the side effects and prevent atrophy of the adrenals, so maybe he thinks I just don't need anything extra, but either way, they need to know, and this is not working out. And they need to know last week.

I'm having an extremely stressful time at work, and I'm confused, so I called my dad and asked him to call the nephrologist. My dad is not a doctor, but has worked in the medical field developing medical instruments for... gosh... 40 years? So he has a better handle on things than I do. I explained to him everything that I know, and he's going to call today to try to explain what's going on and what the RE needs. I don't know if they'll listen to him or if he can get through to them, but my dad knows his shit, and he knows how to make people listen, so I really hope he can do this. I'm not angry with the nephrologist, I just.. can't explain it any other way than I have, so I need someone else to try.

This whole thing has been such a pain, and I'm mad at my RE's office for being frustrated with me. What do they expect from me? I'm not a doctor. I may be smart but I'm not trained in this field. How hard would it be for them to pick up the phone and say "I need this from you." ? I mean.. it's a hell of a lot easier for them than me. I know they're busy, but... help me out here! I'm not asking for much. I'm paying them, I'm doing all the tests, I'm losing the weight. I just want you to tell me doctor what you need from him. Why can't you do that?

I'm really ready to scream, and this is all going on on this incredibly truncated timeline during which I'm trying to do my job... which picked this week, of course, to stress me the hell out. Something has to give here. I've done everything I could... I've tired so hard and waited so long. Something needs to just fall into place for me. I mean seriously.

I need a break. I need sleep. I need rest. I need fun. I need 40 or so drinks (just kidding... mostly. I drink maybe twice a year). I'm just exhausted already. And I hope things smooth out because I'm up shit creek otherwise. Again.

Update: My dad is magical. Nothing is resolved yet, but he did call the doctor. He couldn't reach him so he called the secretary. He said she really seemed to understand what they needed, and that she wanted the explanation in email. My dad sent it over to her and she's going to take it to the doctor right away. My dad noted that it seems like my nephrologist sort of half-listens sometimes. So he'll pick out only certain parts of what you tell him. Not because he's a jerk, just because he's always doing so much at once. So hopefully the secretary will be able to explain it to him and we can get the plan over soon.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I forgot to mention this, but as of Monday, I had officially lost 5% of my weight! I am proud and impressed that I have finally reached that goal - and it only took 8 weeks. One of those weeks was a business trip, and during 1 I gained! I'd like to lose another 5 or so this month. I still have 90-100 to go. I haven't started the week out well because I wasn't home Sunday and I didn't plan Monday, but I'm back on track and planning things out. It's neat for me to be able to look back over the lst 8 weeks and see that I can have days where I overindulge or don't make great choices, but that I can get back on track and continue to lose weight. Even if I gain one week. That's something I've never been able to do before and I'm very proud.

I've still got this cough so I haven't been able to go back to the gym yet, but hopefully next week I'll be OK. Right now my chest still hurts some. I know I'm getting better, but I was doing SO WELL at the gym that Im kind of annoyed that I've had to miss 2 weeks.

I got my IVF financial papers in the mail. Our $3500 deposit is due by Sunday. I'm grateful to my parents for covering this for us. Beyond that we'll have medications, MAYBE random fees here and there, and hopefully freezing. I am not completely sure, but I believe the cost for an IVF cycle is $7000, and since my insurance is paying half, the $3500 will cover that. My amazing parents are also paying for the meds. Sometime over the next few weeks I need to do the saline ultrasound. My nurse is out of the office today, but I'm hoping everything gets straightened out with my nephrologist and the stress dose steroids. He didn't seem to understand what I was asking him, but he said he's happy to talk with the RE, so hopefully than can just talk diectly to each other. Putting me in the middle is a recipe for disaster. That's really the only thing that's worrying me. Once that's straightened out we'll do the test and the injection class and be on our way. The clinic is sort of on my way to work, and they open at 7. I don't have to be at work until 9:30 so I can do all of my monitoring without having to miss work which is HUGE since I only have ONE sick day right now to use, and it's reserved for retrieval (which I really hope ends up being on a Friday or Saturday lol). I guess at some point we'll have to sign all the consents, but they haven't mentioned that to me yet. It's a lot of paperwork, but I don't think we'll have too much trouble with it. I know what I want to do with leftover embryos, and we've even talked about what to do with them if something happens to one of us. Which is not something I like to think about, but I guess it's important that they have documentation since we're looing at little babies here. I can't believe we're finally dealing with all this stuff.

This cycle is pretty stressful. I keep thinking of all sorts of things I don't want to deal with. Like what will my OCD do when I have a baby? Will it get worse? Will it get better? Will the baby give me the strength to finally fight it? Is my weight going to cause problems during pregnancy? What about my kidneys? It just seems like now that we're actually getting to IVF I'm so scared. Not of having a baby, but of how my body will react to it I guess. I'm also nervous about just getting the nephrologist to understand the questions the RE is asking. Sick time for the cycle. What if it doesn't work and I have to tell both our families? I'm completely plagued by "what if" and I know it's not good for me. I know I need to calm down and relax. I'm trying to build some things into my weekends that will help me to calm down and not worry so much. My mom and I are getting manicures and pedicures soon. We're going to a fun party late this month. Andy is trying to schedule a photography day with me. I'm trying to do more sewing. So I do have a lot of calming activities planned, I just need to do them and get back to the gym.

Everyone is so excited about this. Andy's mom kept saying "this HAS to work" all weekend. And I do feel good about it. So does my family. But I know it's not a guarantee. I wish I wasn't built to be a worrier because I feel like my baby deserves a stress-free environment. I can't make the OCD go away, but I can fight the symptoms and feel better. I've been doing much better on meds. I think as I continue to lose weight that will help. Going to the gym will help. My mom is always telling me to stop stressing and I know I need to. Sometimes I'm surprised I don't have ulcers.

What do you all do to relax? Any ideas for things I can do during an IVF cycle to stop freaking out about every single thing? I wish I had a garden tub. I'd lay in it all night and read. While that's not an option, maybe I can talk to hubs about us planning some even more de-stressing outings. Things like the zoo make me happy now that the weather is improving. So maybe we can do some of that. He's very supportive of me and I know he'll want to help me to get through this without all the nervousness. It's funny.. my husband is a freak-out guy and I am not a freak-out girl. Not about REAL things like money and whatnot. When it comes to this, he's cool a sa cucumber and I'm a nutcase. We'll get through it, but I now know why people always say IVF is stressful. And I'm not even to the shots yet!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ugh. Hubs and I have been getting in so many arguments lately! My OCD is driving him insane (and me, too). It's better, but still a pain in the ass. I hate when we argue. We both tend to get so mad so quickly and spout off nonsense and neither one of us are happy with our argument-solving skills right now. One thing I adore about my husband, though, is his willingness to listen and talk and come up with solutions to things like "we're arguing too much". We've come up with a little plan to help us each to gently remind the other when we're overreacting to things or getting too upset. We do that sort of thing a lot and it seems to help. We love each other and I'm glad to have a partner who will work with me. He doesn't always act like he hears when I have issues with things, but he normally works on them anyway, and I really just want us both to take a chill pill.

I think what we need is a vacation. He likes his job but it's incredibly stressful. I like my job, but sometimes I just need time away. And while things are improving, we're still dealing with my kidneys, my OCD, and baby things. And like it or not, IVF cycles are stressful no matter how excited you are. I think once this cycle is done, successful or not, we need to just take a few days. We need to re-focus a little on ourselves. Everything is all about the baby to me, but hubs and I deserve some time to just be together and enjoy each other as well. And not just on anniversaries. While ideally we could take a week and just go to a beach somewhere, it would be nice just to get one full day and night without a ton of stuff to do and without worries. I think we can accomplish this somehow.

He tends to worry so much about the house being clean and little things like that, but I'm hoping that on Saturday I can convince him to forget about it. To have dinner and spend a night laying in bed watching movies. Then on Sunday we can sleep in and then we're going to a little party. I don't know if I can do it, but I'd like to. I love just being with my husband when things are calm. I love being with him 99% of the time, but we haven't had as many calm evenings lately to just enjoy each other. So for now my plan is to just be with him. I'm on the birth control pills, and there's not much else for me to do for the next 2.5 weeks, so I'm going to try to just put the IVF out of my head a little (once I get the note from my nephrologist in) and focus on me and hubs and relaxing.

Don't get me wrong - I'm very excited, but with the excitement comes the "what if this happens, what if that happens, what if what if what if" and that is stressful. So I'm going to try not to think too much about it until I need to inject myself with things and get the retrieval. I don't know if I'll be able to accompish this, but we've had SOMETHING to deal with for every freaking moment of every day since we got married, and right now it's about damn time we relaxed and just cuddled and took care of each other. So that's the plan. I hope he likes it lol.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ok.. so everything is actually OK. I started birth control pills today!

Apparently, my nurse was very confused as well, and had called the doctor, who was out of the office, to ask her what the deal was since my weight was OK, but she wasn't expecting a response, so she called me to tell me the bad news. After I left her a message she called me back, and said that the doctor had actually called her back. It seems she'd thought my weight loss wasn't enough to put me under their 40 BMI requirement, but the nurse had assured her in the email that it did. When she heard that she said it was OK. I guess I can't fault her for not carrying around a BMI chart, or for remembering how tall I am, but it was still a terrible ordeal and I cried all morning. Things are back on track and the nurse wasn't upset about my message. I apologized for sounding so upset but I was. She said "No! I was upset FOR you!" so she really understood. Thankfully things are OK for now, and I just need to get them one more thing from my nephrologist before retrieval. We've got a plan (I think) and my last day of birth control will be Friday, March 25th, so we should be starting stims right around the 1st.

We're really excited (although I'm ready to punch my husband in the face at this particular moment). I can't wait for these three weeks to go by!
So because my life doesn't have enough bullshit, Shady Grove calls me today "Wait, nevermind, no IVF for you". They want me to lose more weight. DONT TELL ME YOU WANT ME UNDER 271 IF YOU WANT SOMETHING ELSE.

I got to 270. I have my nephrologist on board. I got clearance from the high risk OB. WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT FROM ME!???

I'm fucking done with this shit. I'm having a baby, goddammit. And I'm not going to be screwed with any more than I've already been. I've been an ENTIRE YEAR trying to get things in order for these people and I finally get there and it's not good enough. Well, maybe it'll be good enough for another IVF team.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I had my IVF weigh in today! They had me come in a day early. I thought they were repeating the tests but all they wanted was the weight. This was the result:

This is a prescription for BCPs!!!!!! I DID IT!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I know that writing posts about not having my period induces a period for me, so I'm not sure why this surprised me, but, lo and behold, it came today! This tells me I probably ovulated when I thought I did. But I also only had a 10 day lp again. I don't like that one bit, but I guess that's why they give you progesterone during IVF. I'm going to ask about that when I see the nurse after my day 3 blood work. And, in light of this new information, I'm going to write a list for myself of things that do not mean I am pregnant:

- Just "feeling" pregnant
- NOT just "feeling" pregnant
- Cramps
- No cramps
- Boob soreness
- Ovary pain
- Sore throat

Sometimes during the 2ww I look back at previous cycles and wonder what happened during them so I can compare. So there it is, future me. None of those things are indicators of pregnancy. 
I have been super sick the past few days. I haven't had a real illness in about 2 years so this sucks. I really need to be at work as this was supposed to be the week I had a lot to do. I have great co-workers who are helping me out, but I still hate being out for so long. The prednisone makes it difficult for me to fight off infections, but I think the antibiotic they gave me is working.

Things have been weird in the 2ww world. I'm expecting my period on Friday if I was right about my ovulation date. But I don't feel like it's coming. I have had absolutely no symptoms. No cramps. And normally the pain and twinges in my ovaries have lessened by now but they haven't. And the boob pains just keep getting worse. I am trying not to think it means anything, but I "feel" like it does. My brain says "Erika, you don't even know if you ovulated" but my heart says "maybe...". The truth is I never felt that "I'm ovulating right now" pain I normally get until Monday. But I'm hoping that was just the corpus luteum breaking down because the +OPKs and good CM were the previous week. Like 10 days before.

I'm 11dpo right now (I think). I did take a test at 9dpo that was - but that's what I get for testing at 9dpo. I guess in a way I'me expecting to get my period as usual, but part of me feels like there's at least a chance this time. I haven't felt like this in a while. And where are the cramps? My uterus was doing some funny things over the weekend. It felt... hard. And stretched across the top. But not crampy. I'm trying not to get my hopes up. I know we have morph issues. But then I think about a girl I know whose husband had 1% morph and they got pregnant 2 months after the diagnosis. So it's possible.

In other news, this sickness has really done a number on me, so I've lost quite a bit of weight. By my scale I'm past the IVF goal. I know theirs will weigh me higher, but it's still cool to see that number. I guess we'll see what happens, but for now I'm pretty hopeful. If not for this month then for next.