Category Archives: Thyroid

2.0 IVF Day 4: Ah yes, the IVF grind

Today is officially Day 4 of my IVF cycle, since my clinic restarts the clock on the day you start stims. I had to go back into the clinic this morning to see how things were progressing.

Far out. I forgot what happens on the weekend at that place and just how LONG it takes to get through cycle monitoring. I was in there for three hours and twenty-five minutes, and got home just in time to watch E. finish lunch, get down from his chair, and promptly vomit the contents of his lunch all over the carpet, just like he’d done at breakfast. Poor Q. didn’t have the greatest of mornings. E. was sick on Friday morning as well, but seemed to be fine yesterday, so we thought he’d be ok to go to nursery school tomorrow. Clearly not. He’s napping now and hopefully will be able to keep something down this afternoon, poor little thing.

The weirdest thing at the clinic this morning was the woman strolling around the waiting room, hooked up to an IV that obviously had an intralipids bag strapped to it, telling people, “I’ve got no idea what this is. Maybe Lupron?”, at which point the other woman would look very obviously confused since she was probably also on Lupron and knew that it was a medication that was kept in the fridge that you injected yourself with every morning and that was most certainly NOT a medication that required an IV stand. I just shook my head. I can’t imagine being that ignorant of what was going on. Maybe that’s what works for her, maybe she just really trusts her doctors, but I just wouldn’t be able to cede control to that extent. Especially not at my clinic where I’ve caught them making mistakes because they’re so busy. I feel so strongly that I have to be my own advocate.

My f/s was happy with how things are going. I’ve got 11 or 12 follicles on each ovary, all measuring somewhere between 9 and 4. This is definitely a better response rate than how I started out in August 2010, when on Day 7, they were measuring between 10 and 6. He kept the dose exactly the same (225 iu Gonal-F, 75 iu Repronex) and told me to come back in on Wednesday.

My TSH was too high (at 2.97) when they checked it last week, so he raised my dose (and I’m continuing to self-medicate by adding an extra 1/2 pill every second day). He said today it was too early to check it. As long as it’s down around 1 by the time of the transfer, I’ll be happy. I know he feels 2.5 is ok, but that’s too high according to my endocrinologist, and while the man has the bedside manner of a sea slug, he does know his stuff.

A few minutes ago I had a call from the clinic- Dr L. wants to move my intralipid infusion from the 16th to the 11th. This definitely means I’m responding faster than he was expecting. Looks like I won’t have any problems with the transfer spilling over too close to Christmas, but we might end up hitting beta day while we’re still out of town. We’ll sort that out with my f/s once we know for sure what is happening.

In that same post from that IVF cycle in August 2010, I wrote:

This morning I realized I was feeling just a touch out of sorts. A bit bloated, a bit tight through the middle, some heaviness in my abdomen. And I figured that maybe my digestion was getting out of balance, and I should start paying more attention to how much fibre I’m eating.

Bingo. I’m right there again. It’s as if I can feel my ovaries growing those eggs since the nurse gave me today’s dose. I was so much more uncomfortable on the way home than I was going in to the clinic.

So we’re definitely in business. Time to go buy some Gatorade.

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Filed under 2.0 IVF, E.- the third year, Medical issues, Medications, Second Thoughts, Symptoms, The Sick, Thyroid

Getting started

Day 3 today, so into the clinic yet again. I was really hoping AF would have turned up a day earlier, so I could have gone in to the clinic on Sunday on my Day 2, rather than blowing a massive hole in Q’s workday, but no such luck.

E. was, as usual, pretty fragile this morning. He hates changes to the routine, and he especially hates me disappearing first thing in the morning when he’s eating breakfast. He held it together though, and ended up having a lovely morning with his Daddy (as I knew he would).

The clinic was busy but not outrageously so, although I still ended up being there for over two and a half hours. I was called fairly soon after my ultrasound by my fertility specialist, but then I sat in one of his offices for ages before he came in, and then there was another wait to see a nurse.

Anyway. In the end we had an agreed upon plan: fresh IVF cycle, with ICSI. Another round of intralipid infusion. A strong suggestion that I should do some acupuncture, so I’ve taken the brochure of the individual who does it right at the clinic, and will discuss that with Q. Dr. L. thought I should try it out before booking a session for the day of the transfer, in case I hated it. He said he hates it “because I really don’t like needles”, to which I replied, “well, I guess since I’ve started coming here I haven’t had that problem”, which made him laugh.

He is a really good guy. I ended up in tears in his office (yet again), and when he asked me why I was crying, I told him that this was our last shot.

“I’m going to do my very best,” he told me, and stood up to give me a hug. “I’m going to do everything I can.”

We’re aiming for a retrieval on the 18th of December, to allow for a five day transfer of blastocysts on the 23rd.

I took my first birth control pill this morning. He has me taking them until the 2nd of December, which moderately stressed me out this morning as I didn’t think that was leaving enough time. I just went and looked back at our cycle in August 2010, however, and it was an identical timeline- last pill on the 2nd, and I was in the clinic again on the 4th, so my period must have started immediately after I stopped the birth control. I also took a day or two longer than expected to hit the point where I was ready to trigger, so retrieval was on the 18th, and the transfer was on the 23rd. That means that even if it takes a couple more days this time around to get my period, we should still be on track. And if we’re a day later, and we have to transfer on the 24th, that will be ok too. I just don’t want to be dealing with an embryo transfer on Christmas Day.

I am still debating stopping the birth control pills one day earlier than we set up today (and starting the Lupron one day earlier as well, since I’m meant to start it seven days before stopping the birth control). As I was leaving, my fertility specialist said, “So we’re looking at transferring around Christmas, right?” and I agreed, but didn’t say to him that it has to be BEFORE Christmas because as of Boxing Day we’re going to be travelling to visit family. So I might adjust things slightly just to make sure we have enough wiggle room. Part of it is it’s been taking forever to get my period with these FETs- this time it didn’t start until a full week after the last PIO shot. But the Lupron/birth control combination is different.

Ok- question for my readers: do you remember how long it took to get your period after stopping birth control pills while on Lupron? I find it hard to believe my twenty-four experience from August 2010 is the norm.

I have a few things to think about. My clinic now has an embryoscope, which is apparently a special incubator with a low light that allows them to take pictures of the embryos every few minutes and create a time-lapse video of their development. This is meant to help with selecting the embryos to transfer as they can see which ones have been developing normally since the very beginning. I am tempted by this, but I’m not sure the cost ($750) is worth it, as it’s a very new technology. They’re the first clinic in Canada to offer it, and they’ve only had it for two weeks. I’m not sure if my fertility specialist was so excited about it because he thought it would be a good option for us, or because he just loves having all the latest technology available.

The reason why I am tempted to pay the extra for the embryoscope is we’re probably going to end up in December facing the decision that I have been dreading since we first started trying for a 2.0, and the one I was so hoping our FETs would let us avoid.

E. is the product of a two embryo transfer.

I don’t know if I can stomach transferring two embryos again.

I honestly don’t know at this stage if I would rather have E. end up as an only child than end up with a twin pregnancy. It’s something I have to think a lot more about in the next month, and talk about with Q.

I do know that right now the idea of a twin pregnancy scares me half to death.

Maybe it seems ridiculous to be worrying about this possibility when we’re not even into the IVF cycle yet, and we have no idea how many embryos we’re going to end up with, or what their quality is going to be. But that’s where my head is, and that’s what I’ve been fretting about in the back of my mind for months, even during the two FETs.

I don’t want to have to make this decision.

I don’t want to get a negative result from a single embryo transfer, and then spend months wondering if we could have changed the outcome by transferring two.

But I also do not want a twin pregnancy.

So. I’m doing the research (or, to be more accurate, asking nicely if my sister can do the research for me), looking into the statistics, weighing the options. We can’t make a final decision at this point, but I think I really need to sort out my feelings about the whole situation before we’re given a report on our embryos.

I see my endocrinologist tomorrow for my usual biannual appointment, which means I’ll be able to get his advice on adjusting my synthroid dose to deal with the birth control and then the stims. This is assuming the man actually gives some reasonable advice and isn’t just rude, which is always a tall order with him.

I e-mailed my supervisor today to tell him he wouldn’t be getting a draft of my dissertation in mid-December like we’d originally planned, and suggested that we meet in December to discuss a new timeline.

Full steam ahead.

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Filed under 2.0 IVF, Anxiety Overload, Medical issues, Medications, Money Matters, Second Thoughts, Thyroid, ttc

Intralipids infusion (2.0 FET #2- Day 10)

This morning I had my intralipids infusion.

It was pretty straightforward. I went in early, did the usual cycle monitoring bloodwork and ultrasound, and then moved over to the IVF suite where they hooked me up to the IV, and then brought in a bag that really did just look like a bag of fat- thick, white liquid. The nurse hooked that bag and a second bag (of what I assume was a saline solution) to the IV line, and then started them both dripping. It took a little over ninety minutes to empty the bag. I managed to get some work done while also listening to the various conversations. The nurses were trying to schedule a particularly busy day on the weekend and had to boss around the doctors quite a lot. The nurse who runs the IVF suite is one tough cookie, and now I can really see why. It takes some gumption to stand up to the doctors, but I could tell that she wasn’t going to give ground- this was HER turf.

Another woman came in looking for one of the nurses in particular. She was pregnant (seven weeks) and wanted to tell this nurse (who wasn’t working that day). After she had left the nurses had a bit of a conversation because most of them didn’t remember her, which is fair, given how many patients they see every day. But they were all in agreement that it made them uncomfortable to have her in there telling them about the pregnancy at seven weeks. “Ten weeks, ten weeks would be different,” said the boss nurse. “Then it is ok. But seven weeks is too early.” The others agreed.

It was pregnancy day at the clinic, it seemed. The woman in the cubicle next to me was also doing an intralipids infusion, and she was eleven weeks pregnant. The nurses were excited about this. “Almost time to graduate!” said one. When I was back over in the main part of the clinic I started chatting with another woman, who turned out to be ten weeks pregnant. It was her first baby, and it had been a long road. So I told her that I had a nearly two and a half year old at home, who came from that clinic, and that now I was trying again. And I told her that I had a good pregnancy and a good birth and that these helped in a lot of ways to heal how I had felt after being at that clinic for so long, because I could tell from her face that she was EXACTLY where I had been three years ago. Then the nurse called my name, and we both answered, and then laughed as we realized we had the same first name. I shook her hand and wished her well. She’d told me that they were done after this- that it was too hard, that they couldn’t go through it again. I wonder if she’ll still be thinking the same thing three years from now.

After the intralipids infusion was over, I went back to the  main part of the clinic to see my doctor. I was all geared up to have a fight with him because I wanted him to check my TSH again. They checked it on Day 2, and it was at 2.5, which isn’t bad, but my endocrinologist likes to keep it under 2.0, and I know the estrace will have been causing some stress. I’ve been doing my usual “take one extra half a pill every second day” while I’ve been on the estrace, which is what I did during the fresh IVF cycle that led to E., but I wanted some confirmation that this was the right dose.

He surprised me by agreeing to the extra test immediately, even before he looked to see what my previous result had been. And then he agreed that 2.5 was very borderline. So he really has finally got the message at some point in the last three years that TSH matters a lot when it comes to getting and staying pregnant. The nurses should call me this afternoon to give me the update. (They actually called while I was writing this: it’s still at 2.5, so I’m holding steady. They want me to stay on the same dose, but I might up it a tiny amount to get it below 2.0 as I know my endocrinologist wouldn’t be happy with 2.5.)

My lining looked great, so he wanted to schedule the FET. I asked if Q. had to be there for the procedure.

“Well,” said my f/s, “he has to be willing to be the baby’s father when it comes out, but he doesn’t have to actually be there for the transfer.”

Q. is going a little insane right now with work stress, and he’s going to lose all of next Friday because he’s going on a field trip with E. and the nursery school. So I scheduled the FET for next Wednesday (the 23rd) when E. will be in nursery school and Q. will be teaching.

It does feel a little odd- this will be the first transfer that Q. has missed, the first time he won’t be there to hold my hand when the f/s starts poking and prodding and things get uncomfortable, the first time he won’t see the embryo up on the monitor or be able to watch the transfer on the ultrasound. But I’m being practical- if we do the transfer Wednesday rather than Thursday we don’t have to worry about finding someone to look after E. (or stress him out by disrupting his routine- Q. had a hard morning with him today because E. knew it was supposed to be a day where he was with me and he didn’t at all like the fact that I had to go see the doctor without him), and Q. doesn’t have a big hole blasted in the middle of his only teaching-free day that week.

Then I saw a nurse and worked through my treatment protocol and picked up more medications and a new sharps container. I got out of there in time to get home for lunch, like I’d told E. I was going to try to do.

PIO shots start up again tomorrow. Luckily the Fragmin shots don’t start until the day of the transfer as I had a really bad reaction to them this time around- one side of my stomach basically turned into one giant deep purple bruise, and it is taking a long time to clear up. It should hopefully be back to normal just in time to start getting jabbed again. Sigh.

I wanted to write this down in case anyone is ever googling (as I was) ‘how long does it take after you stop taking progesterone to get your period’, because it took FOREVER to get my period after the last cycle. We hadn’t done the PIO shot on the day of the beta as we were out of needles and progesterone- I picked up more of both at the clinic, but then we had the phone call and they were superfluous. So my last PIO shot had been the Wednesday morning.

It was TUESDAY night before my period finally started.

Six full days. It never takes that long after taking bcps or provera. It took long enough that a sick, tiny part of my mind started to wonder if maybe, just maybe, my clinic had screwed up the beta results. Which was insane, because, really, a fertility clinic that can’t provide accurate beta results to its clients is a fertility clinic that would soon be out of business. But anyway, that’s what my mind insisted on thinking. It was a relief to finally have it arrive.

I also had apparently forgotten how bad my periods are after FETs. I guess I should have expected this- after all, we’ve just devoted all that time and energy to building a wonderful cushy lining for the embryo. But it really took me off guard, and I ended up coming straight home after going in to the clinic on Day 2 because I just couldn’t function without some serious pain relief and a hot oatbag. I suppose my last FET was in December 2009, so it was only fair I didn’t remember, but I also didn’t seem to blog about it. So I’m making a note of it for myself and for future readers: periods after FETs really suck.

The other note for posterity is when I was talking to the nurse about my medications on Day 2, I told her that the prednisone gave me terrible insomnia.

She looked at me for a minute. “Do you take it in the morning?”

“No,” I said. “I take it at night.”

“There! Take it in the morning!”

I have no idea why this had never occurred to me before. I generally try as much as possible to avoid taking medications in the morning because I don’t want them to interfere with the thyroid meds.

I am definitely having less trouble with waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. and then being unable to get back to sleep. But I was doing this over the summer as well, when I wasn’t on prednisone. So the jury’s still out as to whether or not changing when I’m taking it has reduced the ridiculous sleeping patterns. But I’ll keep monitoring the situation.

My Dad is staying with us for the week as he’s doing some work in the city. We got to chatting last night and he asked about my medical situation, since it’s pretty obvious that something is going on what with my taking a billion pills with every meal and the long conversation I had to have with my increasingly upset toddler about why Mummy had to go in to see the doctor for a few hours the next day and why he couldn’t come with me.

So I told him that we were trying to add to our family, that our first shot at it had failed, that we had one left before we were back to staring down the barrel of a full IVF cycle, that we would probably do one more full cycle but then that would be it.

I got really emotional, which surprised me, but it all just bubbled up to the surface.

It’s hard to be emotional around my father. He is a really tough man- ex-military, really strong personality, etc.- and I don’t really feel comfortable crying in front of him. But I couldn’t stop it last night, and it felt good to let him know where we were at. I never really got into the specifics with him the first time around. He knew that we were trying, and he knew that we were having trouble, and he knew (I’m pretty sure) at the end that it was IVF that worked, but I didn’t get into the details.

He wanted to know if he could help, and then when I said no, wanted to know how expensive it was, because what he clearly meant by ‘help’ was ‘help financially’. So I told him that E. cost $30,000, of which $16,000 came directly out of our pockets (and thank all the gods for Q.’s insurance which covers the medications, or we would never have got to E.- we could never have afforded even one round of IVF if we’d been footing the entire bill), and I told him that we had saved all last year to build a $10,000 2.0 fund, which would get us through both FETs and fund some of an IVF cycle if it came to that, but that if we wanted to continue we’d have to look at cashing in some of our investments. I made it clear that the reason why we haven’t yet redone our floors upstairs, or finished the landscaping in our side garden, both projects he often asks us about, is because that money keeps getting funnelled into trying to expand our family.

“Well,” said Dad. “There are always ways to spend money. It’s better than going to a casino.”

At which point Q. turned up to ask me something and the conversation shifted and I didn’t get the chance to say what I wanted to say to him, which was: “Is it really? Is it really any different to taking that money and gambling it at a casino if we gamble all of it on a child and come up empty handed at the end?”

Anyway. Who knows what Dad will make of that conversation. We couldn’t take money from him even if he wanted to give it to us- because of my stepmother any money that comes from him would inevitably have hidden strings attached, and Q. and I have had a couple of conversations where we’ve agreed that we will stop treatments before we would allow a situation to exist that could lead to comments along the lines of “we paid for our grandchild”.

One of the mums I really like on my birth club just announced that she is pregnant (seven weeks along- the birth club generally is horrified that she didn’t tell us as soon as she had POAS, but she said that she was worried about an ectopic, which is fair), and another mum just had her FET transfer on Wednesday. I would love to be pregnant with them.

Fingers crossed. The countdown is on.

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Filed under 2.0 FET #2, 2.0 FET#1, Emotions, Family, FET, Medical issues, Medications, Second Thoughts, Thyroid, ttc

Change in plans

Looks like we’re not waiting until December after all.

I went into my clinic this morning.

It was my Day 2, and E. was at nursery school, and it was literally the only day of the week where I could go in to the clinic without it being a juggling act, so I decided to just go in and talk to my f/s. I wanted to touch base with him about what had happened.  I wanted to just double check that if we went ahead with this last FET right now there wouldn’t be time to squeeze in a full IVF cycle in December before Christmas.  This was what I had been assuming.

I was wrong.

“Absolutely,” said my f/s when I asked about the possibility of getting a full IVF cycle done before Christmas.

I pressed him.  “Are you really sure?”

“100%.”

I didn’t hesitate.  “Right,” I said.  “Let’s do the FET now.”

The only thing I can think of is I was assuming I would have to take a full month of the birth control pills before starting stims, and that must not be the case.  Otherwise I can’t see how the calendar works out.

But it’s a result I like much much better.

Yes, I’m potentially spending the entire fall at the clinic, on birth control pills, or preparing for a cycle.  Yes, it will be busy and stressful and hectic.

But it means by Christmas we will have a really good sense of where we stand in our journey to expand our family.

It means I won’t have to wait until July to fit in a full IVF cycle.  My eggs won’t get that little bit older.  The age gap between E. and any potential sibling won’t get that little bit bigger.

It gives us the flexibility to then maybe (if needed) do a FET in the new year.  We couldn’t possibly do a full IVF cycle then- we have to schedule them outside of the semester.  They are too difficult otherwise.

I hated the idea of waiting to do the FET until December.

I hated even more the idea of waiting until July to do a full IVF cycle.

I don’t want this process to be drawn out.  I want us to either get our 2.0 or be finished.  I don’t have the emotional fortitude to have this hanging over my head for another year, or even two.

We know what works.  We know what we have to do to manage my thyroid.  We know what medications are needed.

There’s no reason to waste time.

I did my usual trick of peeking at my chart while waiting for my doctor.

My chart was amazingly thin.  It took me a minute to realize that it did have my name on it.

I commented on this to the ultrasound technician.

“Sometimes they start a second chart if the first one gets too big,” she told me.

Sure enough, my chart has a label on the front that says, in big letters, “PART 2”.

My chart got so big they had to get me a second chart.

Sigh.

I looked at the transfer report.  They defrosted the weaker of the two embryos- the 1BB rather than the 1AB.  I don’t know why they did this, but I assume they must have felt the difference in quality was so minor as to not make much of a difference to the eventual outcome.

The report said the blastocyst was collapsed after it had been thawed, but my doctor said that was normal.  He said the blastocyst came through the thaw just as they would have expected.

I’ve said before that one of the things I like about my doctor is he’s not willing to just keep repeating things over and over again when he’s not getting the desired result.  He is always tweaking- always trying to make things better.

This FET is no exception.  He wants me to come in on the day I have my lining check for an intralipid transfer, which is when they hook me up to an IV for a couple of hours and pump in a diluted concentration of fats and other nutritional goodies. It’s the same type of  solution that hospitals use (undiluted) when they have patients that need feeding tubes. Apparently there have been a number of studies that suggest doing this increases the chance that an embryo will implant because it helps keep the maternal body from attacking the embryo.

It costs a little bit, about $300, but that’s small potatoes compared to shelling out for another full round of IVF.

I’m willing to give it a whirl.

We’ve transferred nine embryos now. Six practically perfect Day 3 embryos. Three perfect or very nearly so blastocysts.

Nine embryos for one pregnancy.

Not just one live birth- one pregnancy (and one chemical where the beta was practically zero).

My uterus is perfect. We build perfect linings. We control every variable we can possibly think of. I’m on every possible medication one could suggest.

And yet there it is: nine embryos for one pregnancy.

I’m not surprised my f/s is wondering what is going on.

I’m not surprised he’s wondering if something in my body is attacking the embryos and preventing them from implanting. I already have auto-immune issues- my thyroid problems.

I’m sure we’ve already run all the other tests that would look for auto-immune problems. It may well be there’s something going on that we can’t yet identify.  Maybe what’s happening is beyond our current medical knowledge.

Or maybe we’ve just been really really unlucky.

Whatever the case, I’m glad he’s still got something else up his sleeve.

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Filed under 2.0 FET #2, 2.0 FET#1, Anxiety Overload, Cycle Madness, Medical issues, Medications, Second Thoughts, Thyroid, ttc

Internal debates (and one chunky baby!)

Thanks for all the assvice on sleep- it’s muchly appreciated. I’m just super confused.  I have a total split personality when it comes to parenting. Here are the two conversations I have in my head basically EVERY day.

First one (normally after a good night, and earlier in the day):
Why are you complaining that E. only wants to nap if he’s being held? Look how tiny he is! In a few months he’s going to be SO busy and active, and soon he won’t even WANT you to cuddle him. You should take every moment you can to cuddle your baby! What if this is your ONLY chance to have a little one? Do you want to have spent these weeks stressing about his sleep?

Second one (normally after a bad night, late in the day, or if E. has consistently been only napping for one sleep cycle (45 min) at a time):
You have GOT to get this baby napping in his crib! He’s not sleeping all that well on you- he’s only catnapping. And if you stop moving, he wakes up! You can’t get anything done around the house. You can’t lie down yourself! Yes, he’s still little and
sorting out the world, but this is becoming a habit and it will be harder and
harder to break. You should just suck it up, accept you’ll have a few rough
days, and aim for at least ONE nap in the crib.

I go back and forth, back and forth, ALL DAY LONG. I’m not going to change anything for a week or so, because I know we’re due for a growth spurt, but I think maybe by the middle of next week I’ll have to suck it up and start aiming for one nap in the crib. Because this just isn’t a long term, functional strategy, and he’s not napping super well on us, as he wakes up as soon as one sleep cycle is done.

—-

That said, we’re doing well at night once we get him down. Three nights ago he went from 9 (asleep at 9.30) to 2.30, and then through until 6. The last two nights it’s been 9 to 2, and then a feed at 5, and then up at 6:15. So I think he is thinking about stretching to 6 after the feed at 2, but just isn’t quite ready to get there. And he goes back to sleep on his own at night, so the feedings are pretty efficient. I’m getting six hours consistently, and usually close to four in a row in that first block, which is helping a lot.

—-

We had our final appointment with our midwives yesterday. I’m so sad to leave their care, but I’m excited to meet our pediatrician in a couple of weeks. E. now weighs 11 lb, 8 oz! He is 59 cm long (was 52 at birth) and has a head circumference of 40 cm (36 at birth). He is such a thriving, happy baby (which is another reason why I question whether or not I really want to change what I’m doing).

I am trying to figure out how to do password-protected posts on here, because I really really really want to show you some of his recent pictures, but don’t want them available to everyone. I’ll keep you posted!

Finally heard back from my GP- my TSH is 0.05 (supposed to be between 1 and 2). So yes, I think that helps explain my edgy, manic feelings. SO glad I pushed to have it looked at! I don’t see my endocrinologist until August- that would have been just too long. So we’re trying .112 3x a week and .1 4x, and we’ll recheck in six to eight weeks.

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Filed under Baby, Emotions, Thyroid

Fear

Here’s the thing. My beta levels were fine on Sunday (5359, and apparently it is perfectly normal to start taking longer to double once it gets over 1500). So fine, in fact, that the nurse said I could give my veins a rest, and I don’t have to go in again until the ultrasound on Friday. The clinic is confident that this is a viable pregnancy. The nurse started our conversation with, “Well, of course the beta was great.” And since getting people pregnant is literally ALL they do, you would think I could sit back, relax and trust them. Surely they must know what a sticky pregnancy looks like.

But I still get the fear. It was at its worst last Friday when my nausea had gone away and I didn’t have a beta until Sunday. By Sunday I was feeling confident again as my bbs had changed overnight. When I’m feeling confident, I think about baby names or research how to keep cats out of cribs (anyone with experience using crib tents out there?). When I’m less confident, I try to hold to a couple of mantras: I’m doing everything I can, and it’s out of my control. There is no indication that anything is wrong. Nothing bad has happened yet. In the bad moments the fear is almost paralyzing.

It is the bouncing back and forth between the extremes that I find hardest to deal with. If I get too confident, the fear strikes back, warning me of hubris. It still doesn’t seem real that this might actually have worked. That we could possibly end up with a real live baby at the end of this process. Q. admitted last night that it just hasn’t sunk in for him at all (fair enough since he’s been away all this week).

So I am really hoping that a good ultrasound on Friday will let me try to talk through the fear when it strikes. Because if my clinic isn’t worried, I really shouldn’t be either.

I have my first midwife appointment- September 24th! I was worried I wouldn’t be able to see a midwife and keep going to the clinic (might be an overlap with the provincial health insurance) but apparently that’s not a problem. So I get double monitoring! Hurrah! (Also- making midwife appointments totally brings out the fear- it tells me that I am jinxing myself by doing this. I tell it to be quiet.)

My endocrinologist has been on holidays all last week, so I just got through to his office today. Even though he is the busiest man on the planet (the receptionist literally groaned when I said I was pregnant because this meant she’d have to fit me in somewhere), I’ve now got an appointment for this Friday. So it will be a relief to get the TSH checked. The dose I’m on now was keeping me in hyper territory earlier this year, so I might not be too far out yet. In any case, it is a relief to know that he will keep a close eye on me.

The nurse at the clinic yesterday told me that since I am “so skinny”, I can use a shorter needle for the PIO shots, as there isn’t really any fat to get through before the muscle. This is the second nurse in a row who has commented on my body shape (I was labelled as “really tiny” by a nurse the day before when she was checking out my swelling from the PIO shots and warning me worse was to come). This was a great boost- not only because I get to use a smaller needle, but also because I am hardly feeling at my best right now, what with the PIO and Frag.min swelling, and not running. I still have a very skewed body image- it is hard for me to understand that I am no longer overweight. So to have two medical unsolicited opinions label me as skinny was awesome!

I LOVE having Q. back. I slept for seven hours last night. He is fussing over me in the sweetest possible fashion. Love that man.

Four more sleeps until the first ultrasound!

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IVF #2- Day 9- still running behind

Clinic again this morning. I’ll be there daily now until the retrieval (which is now looking more likely to be Tuesday rather than Monday). I had my favourite u/s tech this morning. I think she’s the boss of all the u/s ladies. I really trust her. And she’s often chatty about what she’s seeing, which is nice (especially since there are always signs up saying in big letters that u/s techs are NOT ALLOWED to discuss results with patients).

She told me that I was doing really well. She liked the number of follies and their size. Then she switched over to the left ovary, and started taking an awful of pictures and measurements. She said IVF cycles are like metal- there’s a shiny side and rough side. The shiny side is that I’m doing really well, but the rough side is that I’m probably starting not to feel all that great.

She hit that nail right on the head. I am queen of the bloat at the moment. My abdomen is so tight and swollen, and I can feel the “hot rocks” impersonation starting in my ovaries that I remembered from last time. I am drinking Gat.orade (blech- that stuff is so gross, even the low sugar version) and trying to eat loads of protein. I’m also craving sugar in a really big way- I’m not sure why. Possibly this is still left over from my less than stellar eating habits while on the trip.

So, the results from the u/s were that I’ve got one follie at 15, one at 13, and then a whole slew at 12, 11 and 10 (plus some smaller underachievers). My f/s wants them bigger at this stage, so he upped the Repro.nex again (now I’m on four vials). I get the feeling we started this cycle with me slightly understimmed, but we’ve never used Repro.nex with me before, so we weren’t to know. My follies haven’t yet caught up from that very first ultrasound after the first couple of days of stimming.

It’s not going to cause a major problem if we end up doing the retrieval on Day 14 or 15 (which would be 15 or 16 of my actual cycle), right? You only start to worry about stimming the eggs for too long if you go a week or so long, yes? My f/s doesn’t seem too stressed about the whole issue, so I am trying not to be as well.

Tomorrow I’m going to push to have my TSH tested again. We know it was back in the normal range at the start of stims. I know that stimming is hard on your TSH, and I have been taking extra half pills every couple of days to try and counter this. But I want to check that it’s working. If it’s slipped out of the normal range again, I want enough time to bring it back down before the transfer. Hopefully my f/s won’t challenge me on this, given we disagree on the relevance of one’s TSH to one’s chances of getting pregnant.

I am just now remembering how much TIME all of this takes. I guess we’ve only done FETs in the last year, and they are so much easier in the lead up. I was at the clinic for almost three hours this morning. I am so thankful I don’t have a 9 to 5 job while we do this, but at the same time, I have school things I should be doing, and it is really messing with my schedule to lose my mornings (which is when I am normally most productive).

Right now my plan is just to try to stay as comfortable and relaxed as possible, and get through to the retrieval. And I’m really hoping my follies pull up their socks and get growing!

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a partial explanation

When I was at the clinic yesterday, I made my f/s test my TSH. The reason for this was that we tested it at the end of June, and I was over-suppressed (TSH was 0.035 for all you thyroid junkies out there). At the time I was on 0.112 four days a week and 0.100 three days a week. So we switched them round, and for the last month I was on 0.112 three days, and 0.100 four days.

Because we’d changed my dose, I wanted the TSH checked. I was NOT having a repeat of the last IVF cycle where it turned out that my TSH was too high, possibly wrecking any chance of success with those embryos.

Got the call yesterday- TSH was at 9.9.

Absolutely ridiculous. That’s the highest it has ever been since I was diagnosed! Obviously this is not the right dose. I don’t see my endocrinologist until October, so for now I’ve gone back to 0.112 every day, and we’ll test it again when I go in to the clinic on Day 2 just to make sure it is back to normal.

The most annoying thing is that I didn’t notice anything different. With my TSH that out of line, I should have experienced symptoms. But I had nothing to warn me that this wasn’t right.

Except a whole bunch of unexplained weight gain.

See, I know I gain weight on holidays. But I kept up with my running- enough that I figured I’d gain a couple of pounds at most. So you can understand why I freaked when I saw seven extra ones on the scale.

Now, it makes more sense. It’s not an total explanation- I’m sure I still overate. But at least I can stop trying to figure out how I overate by over 1000 calories a day.

The only annoying thing is that getting my TSH back down to normal won’t erase the poundage with it. So, since most of it is on my hips and round my middle, I’m still trying to treat it as baby padding.

Second injection of Lupron went well this morning. I just jabbed the needle in- didn’t let myself think about it.

Also, would like to say hi to the new visitors to my blog, and thanks to all for their support. I hope I can give you good news at the end of next month!

Dory- I would love to be your cycle buddy, but the link on your name tells me that your blog has been deleted. Can you leave a comment with your blog’s address? My guess is your insomnia is from the dexa.methasone, as my clinic lists that as an option instead of pred.nisone, and the pred.nisone gave me wicked insomnia (as well as crazy anxiety, a super high heart rate, and a sudden drop in weight).

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Still no straight answers

Sometimes it is really hard to get a straight answer out of my f/s. And sometimes, I don’t think he’s doing it intentionally- I think it’s that he really doesn’t know.

I went back in to the clinic today and discovered that my body has, in fact, decided NOT to ovulate (surprise surprise), so I’m going to start the bcps now and stay on them until we’re ready to start the IVF process in late July/early August.

My TSH is a bit lower than it should be, so I’m tweaking my meds (yet again). I’d rather it was low than high, although this maybe explains where some of my anxiety has been coming from.

I now know that Q’s abnormal result on the FISH test does not mean that our odds of having a baby with genetic problems have been increased by 50%. I know that we still have good odds of having a “normal” baby. I know that most men at our clinic who did this test did not end up with Q’s result.

But I still can’t quantify the result, as became clear when I came home and Q. asked questions to which I didn’t have answers. My f/s does not know if this is a permanent result, or if it can get better or worse as Q. gets older. And he didn’t tell me whether our odds have gone up by 1% or 0.1% or 10%.

So I think we’re still on the fence as to whether we’ll undergo PGS (pre-implantation genetic screening- they actually test every single chromosome). We have a couple of options: test all the embryos (which would require freezing them all on Day 5); transfer two fresh and test the others, either right away or if the fresh embies don’t make it; or don’t test and just take our chances.

I don’t really know what to think.  The FISH test is so new, that a year ago we probably wouldn’t have even been offered it. So we wouldn’t have known about this issue with chromosome 21, and we would have proceeded without any more testing. And the PGS is brand new too- our clinic isn’t even offering the screening until August. So a part of me wonders if my clinic wants/needs guinea pigs so they can get results and form studies. I understand that. But I also don’t want to spend another couple of thousand dollars if this is a very vague hypothetical chance. There comes a time when having more information can be paralyzing, rather than helpful.

My f/s made it clear that he is willing to proceed without doing the screening, which suggests to me that our odds can’t be that bad. The question is whether Q. and I can handle the guilt if we face a medical termination at a later point for something which we could have prevented by screening earlier.

And now I’m into the whole “designer babies” issue. When did getting pregnant get so damn complicated?

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Filed under IVF, Medical issues, Thyroid, ttc

FET #2- 6dp3dt

Nearly a week through. Thank goodness. I’ve found in the past that the first week goes by relatively quickly, and it’s the second week that drags and drags. The first week you know it’s too early for anything you’re experiencing to be “symptoms”, so it’s easier to check out, kick back, relax, and try to pretend your life might not be about to change entirely in a week’s time.

The second week, I have found, is torture. Especially since I think I’ve proven time and time again that I’m GREAT at inventing symptoms. I am a superstar at fooling myself into thinking I could be pregnant. I’m just hoping the fact that I was (briefly) pregnant last cycle will help settle me down. Sore bbs are worth getting excited about. Everything else, not so much.

This week has been hard. Because semester has ended I’ve been able to rationalize working entirely at home. So since we arrived back from the clinic on Friday, I have left the house exactly ONCE- on Sunday, to make the five minute walk to the grocery store to pick up a couple of items we forgot we needed when Q. did the regular shop on Saturday. I didn’t actually get to CARRY any of said items except for the bananas since Q. was being pretty militant about the advice from the clinic not to lift anything heavy, but I did get to go outside.

It’s helped that winter has really decided to settle in. It’s easy not to want to go outside when the wind is howling and that lovely combination of snow/rain/sleet/ick so characteristic of early winter is pouring down from the leaden skies. I haven’t been as stir crazy as I might have expected. Were it summer, I would be going BONKERS.

That’s not to say that I’m not excited about the prospect of getting out this weekend. We have dinner and lunch plans. We need to do some Christmas shopping and buy some lights for our porch. I get giddy just thinking about the possibilities. And, to be honest, there’s no way I could manage to stay at home in the seclusion/quiet of this last week. Not in the final week of the wait- I need the distractions of the outside world.

I’ve been busy though. I made a list of all the school-related things I really should get done before the next semester, and I am slowly working my way through them. Erika asked about the essays I’ve been marking (finished yesterday- woo hoo!)- they’re on various aspects of ancient Greece. As usual, after marking forty-plus undergraduate essays I now doubt my own spelling and use of apostrophes…

I had a mild freak out on Tuesday. I’ve been avoiding the scale for the last couple of weeks since, like most women, I have issues with it, and I can get obsessed with numbers, and I didn’t want to stress if I put on a pound or two during this FET since that sends a good sign to your body (We have lots of food! Time to reproduce!). I’ve been pretty good about no sugar (although not perfect- my last day on campus involved a very large piece of carrot cake…), but nothing other than that.

So you can imagine my shock when the scale informed me that I’ve lost FIVE pounds over the last couple of weeks.

If you remember, I wrote here about how happy I was to hit my wedding weight, my happy weight, just before the half-marathon. Well, after the race, I dropped about three pounds, which I figured was muscle turning into fat, since I think I looked better at the heavier weight. And then I stayed at that weight for the next couple of months. It was nice having that consistency- with the PCOS I’m usually fighting to lose weight, or not actively trying to lose weight (and therefore quietly gaining it). It’s rare for my body to achieve any type of equilibrium.

Now I’m eight pounds below my wedding weight, and I’ve done NOTHING to achieve this. This is unheard of- I simply do not lose weight without lots and lots of effort.

My first thought when I panicked on Tuesday was my thyroid has swung round into hyper territory, as I’ve been really warm as well lately. But I don’t have the super-accelerated heartbeat or the high anxiety that I remember from the times I’ve strayed into being hyper rather than hypo. When I was hyperthyroid- I was WIRED.

So the only thing I can think of is it’s a combination of the pred.nisone and the metformin. My original f/s did tell me that metformin burns about 500 calories a day, but since I’ve never experienced any sort of weight loss on it before, I’ve never paid much attention to that. I can definitely notice the double dose of the pred.nisone though. I wouldn’t describe myself as hyper…just full of beans each and every day (again, not really normal for me, especially at the end of semester). And Dr. Goo.gle tells me this isn’t unusual (although weight loss doesn’t seem to be an expected side effect). So I’m wondering if my metabolism is basically on speed right now.

I’m trying not to panic that my shrinking self is sending out bad vibes to the snowbabies, because stress definitely won’t help the situation, and I can’t eat that weight back on again in a week, much as I might enjoy trying. The whole thing is just really weird. And I think I’m going to have to buy pants even if I do turn out to be pregnant as my current jeans have me emulating the baggy pants trend far more than I’d like.

On another note, my assvice for anyone who ends up in a tww with PIO shots: eat All Br.an. Every.single.morning. The day you start the PIO shots- start the All Br.an. It’s boring, and it’s got more sugar and secret elements of corn than my oatmeal does, but it really does work. This is the most comfortable I’ve been in a tww in ages.

Also, read the directions on things. The bruising from the Frag.min injections has gotten noticeably better since I reread the directions and realized that you are supposed to take the needle OUT of your belly BEFORE you allow it to self-retract into its guard in that nifty manner it has. (I’m really annoyed with myself for this one.) And make sure you don’t give yourself time to think about the needle. Just swab the area, pull off the cap, grab some belly, and jab. It stings less and you get less bruising if you do it with confidence/gusto. (As an added bonus you then bring less psychological bruising with you to your next injection…) 

The twws are hard on Q as well. He really wants to do everything around the house, but he’s exhausted from teaching, and it isn’t fair for him to cook dinner and clean up afterwards. He’s finally letting me do a bit more, which is helping ease the guilt I feel when I’m meant to just sit around and be pampered. We are a good team, and we have a routine that really works. Twws disrupt it.

8 days to go.

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Filed under FET, Medications, Thyroid, TWW