Life on the other side of the bridge

After lots of thought, I have decided to pick up the keyboard and blog again… but I can’t blog here. I have a new site. The new site explains why I came back.

Mrs IVF is doing well and so far all is good. The “about” in the new site is pregnant news free and explains why I am back but the 1st post has a warning when you hit the update zone.

There is a lot more on the new site around my thinking, but I realize many of you won’t click over to the “butterfly” version of the Mr IVF “caterpillar” saga. Completely fine with that! I found reading pregnancy blogs hard sometimes, ok, a lot of the time, but some were just too damn good and I still wanted to know what was going on! No hard feelings at all from me though if we end the story here. As Arnie said “I’ll be back” if circumstance warrants it.

Hope all is well with you all in your own worlds and I hope that our story has given you some hope that even long-ish term sufferers like Mrs IVF and I , can get success out of IVF . (oh – and please keep fingers crossed for us – we are not there yet!)

http://mrinbetween.wordpress.com/

Day 1,097: The result

Yesterday was a somewhat crazy day. For a start it was out 3rd wedding anniversary so I guess also our 3rd anniversary for trying to be parents. Yay, lets go nuts and order a large sprite!! I have my mother in town with us and for fun, we refinanced the house yesterday, so it was all go yesterday on many fronts.

We headed out to dinner last night and found we couldn’t get a table at our fav place so we wandered to another spot and had a  good meal with sparkling mineral water!! (yep – go crazy). Thinking about it , I don’t think we have drunk booze for any of our anniversaries, maybe the first, but certainly not the last 2.  We talked like it was any other day, but it’s just hard to think about new years resolutions, the year ahead, the year passed and anything else when you are a day out from a preg test. It’s like an enormous log jam in your life. At least tomorrow, as the thinking went, we could move our life on somewhat.

It was a frikkin freezing night in Hoboken last night (-22 C / -8 F) so we stopped in at CVS on the way home to (a) warm up and (b) get some of those preggas tests. We couldn’t decide which box so I picked up 3 boxes… “We are NOT getting 3 boxes, thats just ridiculous”… bursts Mrs IVF (and I add irritability to the preg symptoms watch list).. “Listen” I say, with a lightbulb going off in my head , “we should have done this a long time ago, overdose on pregnancy tests and guess what, we’ll test one, and then you know what, you’ll be pregnant, the rest are a waste of money and we can laugh as we throw the rest out. They call it Murphy’s law”. Mrs IVF saw logic in this so we headed to the bemused checkout chick and dumped  the $50 charge on a pretty tired credit card.

We got home and watched telly for a bit then headed to bed. We couldn’t bring ourselves to test, thinking end of day (not good for preg tests) and a gut load of water from dinner would marginalize the results. “Bugger it, let’s do it” say Mrs IVF and we settle into position. We decided to test 2 different ones (why not, we just bought a pile of them). Digital first… flashing away with its windows style hour glass, then the one with the window we are looking for a second line on. I am staring between the two of them… looking, looking … frikkin 10 years passes.

In cycle 3 we had a chemical, I think the HSG reading was something like “4” and we agonised over a preg test that morning with the faintest of lines. Excutiating, but I feel  I can tell line vs no line no matter how faint…

“I think I see a line” was all I could say. Mrs IVF comes springing across out 6ft by 4ft en suite and we stare at it. I quickly check the other sample. One word: pregnant. we check back to the 1st one, the line is getting darker, deffo a line there. I check back to the digital one. Still one word. We cry, we hug, we hug, we cry. I have never felt that way and I cannot put into words how it feels. After so long, we looked to have crossed the bridge.

Fast fwd to today…

Mrs IVF does another preg test, why not, this time with the cross. we get the cross. It seems so easy. It’s horrible how easy this can be if it’s the result you want. Atrocious actually.

We just got the call from a nurse at our old clinic where Mrs IVF is still has her blood work done, confirming the pregnancy and congratulating her and then I heard Mrs IVF say “we just transferred 2″… oh geez….I thought that line came up very fast last night and its a dark line! Mrs IVF asks for the HCG reading… “302”.. .which I have no idea how big that is (but know its big) but I know its over the 50 we need and nowhere near 4. Oh my gosh. I really just don’t what to type anymore.

There is one last thing I promised myself I would do if I ever got to this day and that is to sadly, end this blog, so this will be my final post around anything to do with progress etc. I will probably return if we don’t succeed from here. I will of course keep an eye on many of you who I have been following for years. But this is a game changer so I can’t keep posting. The 45,000 words I have dumped out here has been hard at times but always cathartic to help me get through this and your support, oh brilliant commenters amongst you, has been superb. Thankyou so much.

I owe you some posts over what we have done, how we did it, what it costs etc etc  (see poll) that I didn’t feel comfortable writing about until we had had some success, so I will get on the case and get them posted. If you have a question you want a thought on, please post a comment

When I added the map recently I didn’t realise how far and wide people came form who read this. I have no great profound ending to this saga, just hang in there. If it can happen to us, veterans of 5 cycles, I really think it can happen for most. As I posted in a response earlier today to another blog, this is a cruel race, that you hope is a 400m, turns into a 1,500m, then a marathon, then an ultra marathon and the really horrible part is that you don’t even know if the race has a finish line. It is truly cruel.

Hardly my funniest post, I think I am just too all over the place at the moment. Best of luck, post a question if you want any thoughts, and thank you again so much for your support and comments.

Mr IVF

Heading for the rickety bridge

Don’t fear, I am over the jet lag and crazy “world free of IVF” posts and am back to normal, alas my dry-old-jealous of-fertile-people self.

Apologies for the long delay between posts – I know the 5 of you who follow me must be beside yourself looking for an update- but the Hoboken Hilton (i.e. Mr and Mrs IVF base camp) has been rammed with guests from Australia. Damn that useless weak American dollar.

Actually seeing fam and friends is good we just need a break between them.. .our mate Nate, then dad, then my aunt and a mate of hers, a week or so “free” with Mission Denver and then mum meets up with us for Christmas. So today is the first gap in a while with my aunt, (or to pronounce that in American: “ant”) ,out of town for the weekend, Mr IVF is back (briefly).

The lovely Mrs IVF, the ever positive Mango Princess of my life, is storming through our baby quest challenge with her consistent resolve to land this kid thing once and for all, and what a few weeks its been. She has been avoiding chocolate as we did a food tours Greenwich Village with guests (cruel, very cruel on her), she avoided aussie chocolate and wine (and aussie chocolate is awesome) that our guests bring (time and time again) she has been shooting Lupron up in toilets as we have been out for dinner, (always at 9.30 – must keep to the clock!), sneaking into our bedroom to do likewise while I chortle with the guests over a bit of Karmel Sutra Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in the lounge….It has been tricky. But she remains laser focused and generally unfazed. Amazing. I would be a loon by now.

She is also on such a busy timeline of drugs, patches and “thing you put in your bits” (and I am not talking ice cream here people) that air traffic control at JFK would be easier to keep an eye on that this.  Checking over her mind boggling calendar, she has had to do 105 things to herself since oct 22nd – 43 days. So at least 2 things a day. She has been on birth control pills, Vivelle (which soulds like a type of ice cream… what is it with the ice cream theme tonight?), patches for estrogen (ranging from 1 every 2 days to now 4 every 2 days.. and she is running of out space where she hasnt slapped one on), Asprin (why not), Viagra “bullets”, and of course you need a needle of something, so why not our old mate Lupron. Today was a 4 patch switch over day, an AM asprin, an 8am, 1pm, 6pm and the pending 11pm viagra and of course 5ml of lupron to wrap things up. I thought she would be all chilled and bored with this but the viagra suppositories are like a magic trick to her, they are solid when they go in, but she never ceases to be amazed that they just keep dissapearing. Enough, this is starting to freak me out.

Clearly Mr IVF is not playing any Barry Manalow CD’s around the master bedroom these days, in fact I am on a 9 month ban. (yes months and yes, 9.)

I think Mrs IVF’s drug day peaks around Thursday next week so try this for a hobby… Vivelle patch refresh (quantity yet to be determined) in the morning, followed by asprin, will take some blood, endometrin (progesterone) in the AM sometime, Tetracycline at 8am (fck knows what this is – wikipedia says it treats acne, which Mrs IVF doesnt have), Endometrin at noon, tetra again at 1pm, then 6pm then some medrol  (wiki: supression on inflamation?) in the evening and then 1 more tetracycline at bed time. Why not. When does she get time to do any work I ask you, dear reader.

Anyway – we are ramping up again and heading for the bridge of hope. It’s safe here in IVF land. You know your current kid free life sucks, but it is sort of pain free (well as pain free as it ever has been) but you are not going out looking to have your heart ripped out.  As we walk on the rickety old bridge across “heartbreak canyon” next week in our quest to get to parentville, we will be putting ourselves back out there for the risk of emotional catastrophy. It’s safe here, we wont have kids where we sit today (well not more that 5 day old icicles which is a bit useless really, you would like a bit more interaction from your kids than that) so we need to do the bridge. While our friends around us fly over this canyon in no time on their freshly build, 100% sturdy concrete 4 lane freeways, we take the tricky, painful slow walk across the shaky bridge further down the valley from them. They cant see out bridge from their position as they blindly cruse up to parentville like it buying a coffee from starbucks and of course they would never take our path, who would, but we cant take theirs, so we have no other option. Wish us well for our emotional journey, we are off to try again after falling into the canyon 4 times and climbing back up the cliffs to the bizarre but unfulfilling “home” of IVF land. What a shitty outcrop in life to live, so its time to head to the mountains to see if we can grow our gourmet, hand made in the mountains, kiddies into real little princesses and nut bags.

We fly out of Gotham City Sat 12th. Trf is 14th. Mrs IVF is doing the limbo for 3 days then we are heading to Park City Utah (over 2 days) where Mr IVF is planning to lose the battery on his blackberry as he skis and Mrs IVF will lay low and take it easy and have her 1st holiday for the year. 23rd December is preggo test day… the day we fall in the canyon (again) or the day we know we have a decent chance of getting to the other side for once. Here we go, wish us luck.

Dear blogroll and crew – will catchup on your posts in the coming days. Hard to read about IVF with the guests  – dont want to give away our secret life now do we. Considering we have nothing but water & juice in the house , Mrs IVF, a well known sweet tooth, on no chocolate and neither of us on booze I am sure our guests think that a couple of late 30’s arent sending out “we cant have kids” signs anyway.

Chow for now

Mr IVF

“Take the shot – now”

Scan results this AM:

– 22 follicles (found 4 more than the mechanic found yesterday)

– E2 – 1,700 ; LH 18 (hmm – ovulation warning!). Any ideas on an LH of 18 on day 6 of stims and how good / bad that is?

So we got the nurse call this PM – “take Cetrotide now”. We cracked the box, read the instruction guide we got from the elves, checked out the online training and jabbed away – carefully – but with haste.

According to Mrs IVF (our in house drug lord), Cetrotide (or some spelling there of) is the handbrake we are using this cycle to stop ovulation. Ok, good to know. The E2 is way up from yesterday and we appear to be back in the follice generating jet stream.

So.. that’s the punchline… back to this morning….

We met our backup elf this morning (our normal elf was on her day off) and we met a trainee elf as well. (fine with us – the more elves the better, but disappointing that none wear elf hats). We went through the scan and it was interesting as they (a) take more time to scan that the mechanic or the dr’s did at the previous clinic and (b) they measure both the length and width of the follice – not just the length. I feel more comfortable about the measurements here than the mechanic’s fast paced “yoda vs dark sith light sabre” efforts we have been through before.

The elves were very helpful. They went over the plan, checked we had enough drugs, needles, swabs, appointments, cash etc. We discussed jab techniques, future appointments and well, as ever we always seem to get chatting about accents. (Australian accents, with a Hoboken NJ address up here in “baby factory in the mountains” territory is quite rare I am thinking). The prediction from the elves was that we might see a drop back in stims but we’ll see what the baby makers come back with.

As it turns out the baby makers kept the stims at the level we had yesterday so we are drving the IVF bus with both feet slammed on the accelerator and brakes at the same time.

Mrs IVF is doing ok, but is starting to show signs of fatigue. She is wiped out fairly easily and the other day managed to pull off the amazing feat of looking a bit white and pale, but only on the left cheek. Work that out. We are competing with each other to out drink ourselves on water. We must have had gallons of water so far today. The elves asked her to drink a lot not being used to conditions up here in the baby making mountains, so she is drinking like a camel. Mr IVF, never wanting to be left out, is gulping as much as I can as well, as well, I’m sure it helps the boys swim or something.

Who knows how many good eggs are lurking in these follicles, but well, 1 day at a time.

oh – 1 last thing – we paid the bill today as well. When she handed me back my card I jumped up in my chair a bit and said “ouch, that credit card is hot, I think you burnt a hole in it”. She laughed, well, we all did, but the I wasn’t joking really. I buried the receipt in my wallet and tried to forget about it by challenging Mrs IVF to a water sculling championship.

 

In Denver

Update from Denver…

Arrived tonight after one of the most uneventful flights of my life which is (a) perfect and (b) very rare in the domestic US airline marketplace these days.  We had a carry on bag packed to the hilt with drugs, ice blocks and insulated bags that if I was a TSA agent would raise some suspicion, but they didn’t even look, ask to look or show much care at all. Thank you for your tips, you were right – no issue.

On the ovary growing front we had a scan yesterday back at the old clinic with the mechanic (for those of you who remember old posts). We had around 18 follicles with 1 at 10mm and the rest lest than 9.  So I guess thats good, but we have been down the nice follice count / few egg path before (last cycle 18  17-18mm follicles, E2 at 4,000 but only 5 eggs and still no explanation)

We have been stimming away on 300 units of Gonal F at night and 2 viles of menopur in the morning. So to me  -that’s quite a dose. Mrs IVF is starting to bloat and we are almost at the stage of dinner out with the pants down (well the top button not done up). Last few times we were generally doing just 300 a day of the gonal F (150 night and morning). The other thing we are doing now is strictly timing shots. 9am and 9pm NY / 7pm and 7am Denver time now we are here.

Coming in to land tonight I came up with another thought around what IVF is like (long term readers amongst you know how I develop all these parallels / comparisons)….When I was a teenager I remember going on a night hike back in Australia with the scout troop I was in. I have done this particular track many times and knew it very well but hadn’t done it in a while and hadn’t done it at night. One part of this track is very a very steep decent into a huge valley so you zig zag across the side of the valley slowly going down.  Over time a path straight down the mountain had developed and we often just ran down that which was a great buzz (but prob not great for the landscape), so that’s what I decided to do in the dark this one night, run the shortcut. One minute I was flying along roaring down the hill wind in my hair have a great time in the pitch dark and the next, all I remember is alot of pain across my chest, my stomach and my shins and then being flow back against the ground and lying there wounded in extreme pain. What had happen was that I had run full speed into a crude wire fence  made with three wires some rangers had put up to stop clowns like me doing what I was doing. No one runs down this thing at night so its hardly a health hazard, except for fools like me and I didn’t see it coming and hit it at full speed (I actually could see wire marks in my body when we got back after the hike… it hurt like hell, but looked impressive enough!)…. so the link to IVF? Well – you can feel you can be cruising along at any point , but really, you are in the dark, you are in control of very little, and out there is a wire fence for us to slam into as soon as we start to get revved up and these wire fences aren’t friendly, they don’t half hurt, they only dish out extreme pain. Maybe we’ll miss a fence, but who knows – we are putting everything into this – it has 100% of our attention and effort and out there is an inconvenient fence, just waiting.

A similar though I also had. This whole IVF process is like running around in a dark room with someone else (lets call her mother nature) in the room randomly throwing bricks. She is not necessarily trying to hit you, but her job is to throw bricks and sometimes they connect with you. Wasn’t intentional, you were just in the way of a random happening and remember she’s not throwing marsh mellows, they’re bricks. Again – you don’t half hurt through this stuff. Fertiles of course – run around with the lights in the room on.

So with that I’ll leave you. I think our fears are clear – can we grow to blast, (haven’t done that since cycle 1 as we have always trf before that), can we get through CGH with a biologically sound embryo and well oh geez, can we get through all this?

Next scan 7.30 tomorrow (central baby factory time). Will keep you posted

Thanks again for the posts and well wishes. They really are appreciated.

Planet Plankton

So, last night I wrote about wrapping up some loose ends. I wouldn’t bother to comment on it today as it was something that plankton could sort out, but, well, no… it cant be that easy – this is IVF land – nothing comes without a long ,hard slog in IVF land.

Goals:

(A) 1 letter from a “super specialist on female bits” (perinatologist) giving the all clear.

(B) 1 lab report from this mornings scan to go to the elves in Colorado.

Get this and a thumbs up from the gourmet baby makers and we are good to go.

Timeline: Need to be done today to get all clear for stims tomorrow morning

Background:

(A) Mrs IVF met 4 weeks ago and has been dealing with sub plankton since trying to get this frikkin letter. Here’s how it plays out.. Mrs IVF enters stage left:

Mrs IVF – calls plankton at the super specialist office – “we faxed it:”… then Colorado Elves: “we didn’t get it”. Calls plankton: “yep – we sent it”. Mrs IVF “What number did you send it to?” Plank: “bla bla bla” Mango Princess: yep thats correct”… Calls Elves – “we still don’t have it”. Call Plankton “it doesn’t sound like a dr surgery when we fax” (not sure what the English translation of that planktonese comment is) . Mango: “Can you fax it to me?”. Plankton “no, against the rules, but we did fax it to your standard gyno”. (Enter standard gyno elf”… stage right) ” Do you have a fax from the plankton?” No”…. Mango calls Plankton, “we’ll fax it again, I’m walking to the machine to do it now”. Call Gyno elf “nope – still dont have it”.. Mrs IVF calls Mr IVF and updates in situation. Mr IVF feels that he should quit work for the day and walk this fcking thing around. Mrs IVF calls plankton – “we sent it”….call’s gyno elf and they now have it. “fax it to me please” says Mrs IVF. Mrs IVF gets fax (on 1st attempt!!) and faxes it to Mr IVF who jumps in and out of a few big meetings picks up the fax, turns it over and scans it back in as an email and emails it back to mrs IVF who emails it to the elves to avoid this fax fiasco. Elves are happy. Mrs IVF is shattered and exhausted.

(B) lab report. NJ clinic elf (our last Dr’s are helping us with scans locally) faxes report through to Colorado elf. Colorado elf rings mrs IVF, “didn’t get the scans”. “What scans? Thought you wanted the lab report?” Rings old elf, who says scans don’t fax well. Checks again with new elf. Oh no, we want the last page of the lab report, don’t need scans. Calls old elf, please re fax. New elf happy with new fax. Mission accomplished.

Mrs IVF is shattered and through all of this (through regular instant message updates) Mr IVF pauses for thought and thinks:

” We aren’t trying to build a nuclear reactor, build a 6 flags amusement park in North Korea, or even fine tune the last couple of tweaks to the plans for the next chunk of the international space station, we are just TRYING to get the opportunity to TRY and have a kid. We arent even at the drug stage yet, we haven’t really done anything yet, and at 4pm this afternoon with mintues running out of the IVF world’s day (which we all know shuts down at 4.30 with out fail), we could blow this whole thing up! (the timing’s we’ve tweaked, the $$ on logistics, the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ on the baby makers, the lot) and you know what – the fertiles don’t have a clue. They go to dinner, drink, poke, sleep and pee on a stick in a few weeks, and pop down to toys are us and build the baby gift registry. Job done.  We are struggling to even get to first base – fuck – 1st base… no, 1st base is too late in the scenario…. we cant even close the deal on a vacant block of land that we want to build a stadium on, recruit a team, deny they sleep with Madonna, join a baseball league, buy some uniforms, oh and a bat and ball and a few mitts, advertise to fans, arrange the merchandise, order the hot dogs and beers, find someone to play against, schedule a game and then get everyone there and THEN try and get to 1st base.

And after all that the baby makers came back with a question on the letter from the super specialist… “lets chat to them Monday…” oh boy……fck it – we’re going

Hey – thanks for the travel thoughts and well wishes!!! We have packed all the well wishes and we’re taking them with us!

One last thing… wwalking home tonight after all of this I saw a women from out of town who was completely lost on the subway in NY. She was really friendly, but a bit stressed so the response from NY’ers to help her was pretty amazing… 2 mins later I’m walking past an old woman (who I am pretty sure was homeless) who was laser focused on counting small change on a cardboard mat.. and walked on thinking about our day and these random instances and how we all need something.. directions… a meal.. a kid..  I walked back to the old woman and gave her $25. Her face lit up she crossed herself and beamed a smile. I walked away and checked back and she was now laser focused on counting her notes (with that grin). So while I guess we are going to Denver for our long period of help, it felt great to help someone NOW.

Surging forward

Picture this….. Mrs IVF has peed on a stick and she sitting there staring at it, she looks up and comes screaming across the house.. “look look” she yells with a big grin on her head, “2 lines, deffo 2 lines tonight, last night was only one faint line… this is it”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have surged. (No we’re not pregnant, but it felt like exactly the same drill.)

So expectations in IVF land here as so muted that we get excited around actually ovulating. Not having a kid, not counting mature egg or fertilizing them or a pregnancy result, but actually the fact that she is ovulating (and right on time – well done my dear)

So this kicked off a flurry of emails, phone calls, drug orders (legal drugs), further emails and a touch base with Mr IVF to update him on all the happenings. I have nothing to do at the moment in this whole process (I am not even driving the car for those who have been reading my tale for a while) , but I am preparing to start doing STUFF ALL again (http://wp.me/pvsWz-P)

So lots of news, but then again, not much I guess. Next on the do list: chase down remaining Dr letters, drugs are on their way and then we start on Estrace next week. No idea what that does, but suspect its some for of hand break before we start on the stims again.

On a completely different note, had a great dinner with some pregnant (no bad feelings!) friends tonight at la esquina tonight. Awesome Mexican restaurant hidden in the basement of a grotty diner near spring street in NYC. You have to walk through the kitchen to get to the hidden room. Its pretty cool. Recomend it if you are in this neck of the woods. (http://www.esquinanyc.com/)