Monthly Archives: May 2014

Everything is going to be alright, maybe not today, but eventually

negative-reviewsSo today the two week wait is over, and our hopes that this IUI worked are over as well.  The test this morning was negative and I just have to wait until Monday to call GRS to see what I am supposed to do now.  Like last time, I am sure they will make me continue the progesterone until my cycle begins. I had already prepared myself for this one not working since I tested early and it was negative, so today wasn’t as hard as I anticipated.

The obvious question is, now what?  Well for J and me, the answer is IVF. We are ready (him more so than me), but nonetheless, we are ready to start the IVF part of our journey.  The whole process scares me. If you google IVF (SHOCKER I google), there are countless photos that look like this:

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This is what our life is going to look like over the next several weeks.  The shots for IUI are a cake-walk compared to the # of shots we are going to have to do for IVF.  And then there is the whole egg retrieval process.  IVF hasn’t been the only thing weighing on my mind.  When you are my age, they typically do a dual embryo transfer.  This increases the chances of one taking, but also increases the chances for twins.  Twins petrify me.  I have never changed a diaper in my life,so the thought of having TWO lives at the same time, is super scary.  Jesse on the other hand?  He just says, “same, same”. It doesn’t scare him at all.  When we discussed IVF with Dr. P before, there were things you can do (testing) to only need to do one embryo transfer, and have just as strong of a chance, then we would just freeze any remaining embryos for future tries.

We had always talked about having two kids. But there was a looming reality in my mind…I am going to be 37 in 4 months.  When IVF works, and we have our baby, I will be 38 (or approaching it).  I want to enjoy our baby.  I want to experience all of the firsts without the looming idea of trying for the second sitting in the back of my head. I finally brought my concerns up with Jesse last night.  I don’t know why I was scared.  He has always been supportive and me telling him my fears didn’t change that.  So I think we have a plan:

We are doing IVF with the goal of having a baby.  I am not worried about the dual embryo transfer, and if we are lucky enough to have twins, then I will figure it out.  If I am honest with myself, having ONE baby is scaring me too, and I have to remember that I am not doing this alone. I want to enjoy this whole process.  I trust my doctor. I have 100% confidence in Dr. Perloe and the staff at GRS, but the thought of someone going in and harvesting eggs from from my ovaries is terrifying.  Throughout this whole experience, I have prided myself at becoming as knowledgable about things as possible.  I researched IUI from top to bottom.  Now I am throwing myself into IVF. I am lucky to know some amazing people who have been successful with the process and I am encouraged that we are now going to be embarking on a new path.

Welcome to the party, folks!  It’s going to be a rager!!!

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Infertility – 1 / Mindy – 0

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I promised to be honest and open, and that includes when I do stupid things, so I have to admit I broke the #1 rule when it comes to trying to conceive a baby through IUI/IVF.  I tested too early. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I POAS at 10 dpIUI* and of course it was negative.  (Go ahead Dr. P…tell me I shouldn’t have done it…I know) I was not one of the women who got the faint line early, which in my head means that this didn’t work.  I rationalized the early testing due to the “symptoms” I was having.  Remember my earlier post about symptom spotting?  Well, I fell victim. I forgot that the progesterone’s side effects are basically “you are pregnant, but maybe not” and I broke down and cracked open a box of First Response.

I guess my desire to win even comes through with trying to have a baby.  You see, I love winning.  I like being the best.  I always have. It’s not something that I am nasty about.  I don’t do anything unethical or illegal to win, I just try harder in most situations. But with this, I can’t try harder. There is nothing I can do.  Sure I could lose some weight, which has become infinitely more difficult during this process, but even then I see women all around me who are much heavier than I am getting pregnant.  So I lay here feeling helpless, and feeling like I let myself and Jesse down every time I get a negative.  The rational part of me knows that I don’t let Jesse down, ever.  He knows there is nothing I can do, and believe me, there is nothing more in the world he would rather do than to fix this….whatever that means.

The one thing that has come from this, is we have decided to move to IVF if this one truly didn’t work.  We are already $4,000 in with two IUIs and our IVF is going to be expensive, so we need to try and conserve as much money as we can in the process.  Not going to lie and say I don’t feel let down and frustrated, but I guess it’s not over yet.

So as I have said before….1 hour pity party.  I made a mistake. I tested too early.  I got a negative.  I won’t test again until Saturday.

For those keeping score:  Infertility – 1 / Mindy – 0

*POAS and 10dpiui – Peed on a stick (pregnancy test) and 10 days past IUI.

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Infertility and finding friends.

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I don’t feel well.  With all the medications you have to take in order to make all of this happen, its no surprise. I don’t really have much of a choice but to acknowledge and move on.  It’s hard not to jump to the “am I pregnant?” question with every little thing, but I have to force myself not to.  Since I started this journey, I found an IUI support group on Facebook.  I have to admit, sometimes I feel badly sitting back and watching so many women struggle with infertility. Wanting SO badly to see a second line in a test when there just doesn’t seem to be one visible to the naked eye.  Don’t get me wrong, I get it.  You can want something so badly that you can get “line eyes”, but there has to be a reality around it as well.  Unfortunately, not every IUI is going to work and we have to accept that.

One of the best things that has happened as a result of the group is finding three amazing women: A, K and H (not sharing their real names to protect their anonymity). These three women have become an amazing support system for me.  When I am feeling like I should test WAY TOO EARLY, I message them and beg them to tell me to snap out of it, and they all do.  Its crazy because we have bonded over very different things and I really feel like I have made new friends.  A is a total Disney nerd like me, and I am really confident that we will one day make plans to bring our future disney nerds to WDW and make it a trip. H is a horse girl and also lives in Atlanta.  She knows everything about what I am going through bc we actually go to the same place and same doctor.  Hopefully we will be able to meet for dinner soon! And finally K.  K has the same kind of sarcastic humor as me.  I love when we chat, bc she makes me feel like I am not the only jerk (in a good way) 🙂

The reason I am writing about this, is because ever since I moved to Atlanta, I have felt so alone.  Making friends as an adult is hard, especially when people your age have families and you are doing everything you can to just hold on.  It’s funny that this infertility journey has brought me to three girls whom I never would have met and I am so thrilled to be experiencing this with them.

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“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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I have been struggling to figure out what to write.  I felt like people would only want to read my blog when I had a milestone to report, and as you know, I am in the two week wait.  I have nothing monumental to write about, but I have missed writing.  Which made me realize that this blog isn’t about writing for the people who read, its about writing so I can document what is going on in my head.

I have started reading a lot of other people’s blogs and they all echoed what I have been feeling, and that is the fact that during the two week wait, you feel like you miss so much in life bc you become obsessed.  If you have ever been around someone who has a cold, you can almost feel yourself getting the stuffy nose and sore throat, even when you may never get sick.  Well us infertility girls symptom spot like crazy.  Every pain, twinge, ache…all of them are possible pregnancy symptoms.  We will sit there 2 days past IUI and swear that the ache we are feeling in our abdomen HAS to be implantation.  We all know that implantation usually occurs 6-10 days past ovulation, so the likelihood of anything really being tied to pregnancy is happening that early is slim to none. And yet there we are. Sitting there analyzing everything.

The internet has made all of this even harder. My google-aholic self sits here and pours over everything. I read websites, blogs, forums and anything else that can confirm what I am feeling and I promise you…they are all out there.  If you want to find a site that will confirm you are pregnant the day after you have sex (or IUI or IVF) you can find it.  That’s where losing your life comes in. You worry about everything. You obsess about becoming pregnant.  Its the thing that happens when you know when everything went down.  PLUS the nightly suppositories I have to do are a daily reminder that I am not trying to get pregnant like most people do.

After my first IUI I joked that I wanted to be in a two week sleep so that I wouldn’t waste two weeks of my life thinking about all of this.  Well my second IUI is no different. I wish I could go back to the person I was last year that didn’t have a problem living in the moment, but I can’t go back…I was a different person then.

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Reality is wrong. Dreams are for Real. – Jesse’s version of our journey (Part 1)

Fatherhood was never something I had to think much about; my decision to eventually be a dad occurred very early in my life. My little brother was the catalyst for that decision. From the excitement of waiting for him to be born, to my pure bliss in holding him in my arms, my decision was made before I was even four. Since then, there has never been a doubt in my mind that I would be a dad.

Now for me, being a dad also meant that I had to find that one person in my life that I wanted to share the parenting experience with. Stupid me, I found her in 8th grade, then it took me 17 years to find her again. By the time I did find her, although starting a family was something that we both had agreed that we wanted, I was already on a path that was going to take me far, far away from that goal.

Mindy and I were married knowing that something was wrong; we just didn’t know what was wrong and what the ramifications would be. Little did I know that a undetectable tumor was going to attack the one dream that I had maintained since I was a child.

By early 2012, the dream of having a child was gone. It was not something that I let go of consciously, I just didn’t have time for dreams. I only had time for one thing: fighting for my life. Luckily, I wasn’t alone. That gal that was goodly enough to be my wife and start a family with me was also willing to put all that on hold and help me win that fight. And fight we did; but that fallout was substantial.

When the smoke cleared, I was left sitting in a broken body, some of my brain missing, and being sustained through nutrients being pumped in through a tube in my chest. I was not a pretty picture. The reality of my prospects for a normal life stared back at me in the mirror every morning.

Anyone who has met me though knows that I’m not one to turn down a worthwhile fight, and this was no different. I wasn’t willing to lay down and accept that my future. I owed myself more, and I sure as hell owed my beautiful bride more. So, I went to work. I rebuilt myself. I ate, I trained, I lifted, I rested, I worked in every facet of my life to get better. And I got better. I got bigger, I got healthier.

Many aspects of normal life returned to me. But there was one thing that hadn’t come back: the dream of parenthood. I had been so sick, so much damage had been done to my body, and the primary component that drove all my baby-making functionality had been removed from my head — how could I possibly think that I could come back from that?

That all changed the day that I walked into hall to find Mindy holding a positive pregnancy test. Even though that pregnancy didn’t last, it rekindled the dream; it made me realize that I could be whole again. It also meant that the fight wasn’t quite over yet.

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Two Weeks…14 days…336 hours…20160 minutes..1,209,600 seconds

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The Two Week Wait…No matter how you look at it, its excruciatingly long.

During our insemination today, the fact that I would have to share the results at the end of the two weeks, whether positive or negative, became insanely real.  I started this blog right after my last negative, but what happens if (when) I get my positive?  There are those very scary weeks where you could just as easily lose the baby.  How hard will it be if I share good news and then have to turn around and share something devestating?  I have come to the decision, that it will be ok.

Today’s insemination was pretty uneventful. It all went down at 9:39 am.  This time Dr. Perloe and I were talking about miserable people and how they are going to act when they have a child, a Mexican Fiesta his wife got him roped into hosting and boring people.  I was nervous going in on a saturday, bc I didn’t know if he was going to be there.  I was RELIEVED when it was him. I have become quite a fan of Dr. P and I kinda wish he could be my delivering OBGYN.I know he reads this sometimes, so maybe I can convince him. 🙂

J’s #’s were amazing again.  We truly have been so lucky with the increase in his numbers.  Modern medicine is quite amazing. For all you women out there struggling with known male factor, please work with your RE and find a good urologist who focuses on male factor. There are so many things you can do now that isn’t just clomid, and it isn’t worth waiting to figure it out.  Anyways, as I was saying, #’s were good. My body looked better than the last time (won’t go into it to spare the details for my male readers), and we are doing everything we can to load the guns this time.  Both Jesse and I feel more excited about this cycle. Don’t know why…it just feels different. I hope that is a good thing!

Like I said, I am going to be sharing the results at the end regardless. I know it goes against all superstition, but I promised to be 100% transparent…So, my friends, hop on my two week wait and lets try and get through this together.  You are going to be the lucky ones though…no progesterone suppositories for you 🙂

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The most unpopular infertility post ever…

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Ok, so I have a confession…I don’t hate every woman I see who is pregnant. It doesn’t make me angry when I hear about some 20-something un-wed girl who is living at home, and is pregnant. I don’t despise the women who just “get pregnant”. I don’t loathe them, I envy them, but they don’t make me mad.

I can’t say that I have been this way from the beginning. Since we have started on this journey, I have gone through so many stages its not even funny. The miscarriage was probably the worst feeling of loss I have had to date. Everyone who was pregnant, looked pregnant or acted pregnant was awful to me. How could THEY be pregnant, and not me? Life wasn’t fair. Look at how great a life I could provide…I had an amazing husband, a good job, a roof over my head and more love than ever imaginable. What baby wouldn’t want to take comfort in my womb and live comfortably for 9 or so months? I cried. I judged. I ranted. I vented. I did everything imaginable, but what I didn’t do was think.

Rebecca. Rebecca is the marketing person at GRS that I met at the open house. Funny enough, she was filling in for someone scheduling appointments when I made my consultation appt, and she remembered me from that call. I told Rebecca that I would look at pregnant women on the street, in my OBGYN’s office, or really anywhere and be angry at how easy it was for them. Her response was quite simple, and life changing. She looked me dead in the eyes and said, “How do you know that pregnant woman wasn’t in our office 6 months ago?” If that doesn’t knock you off your pedestal, than nothing will.

It’s easy to then say…but, Mindy, what about my family member who got pregnant and isn’t with the father, and can’t support the baby, etc, etc, etc. Step back and think about how scared that girl probably is. Whether she admits it or not, she knows she is in a situation that isn’t ideal. I’m sure she sits in her room and wishes she could be in a loving relationship like you are. Have a steady job like you do. Take care of herself like you do. Often times, the same people who come across like they “just don’t care”, really are just frightened, and the easiest way to deal is to act like an idiot.

As women and men we are given the tools to conceive and carry a child, but just because we have the tools, doesn’t mean we are entitled. Like everything else in life, not everyone’s tools are the same. We can’t all build sky scrapers in a year. Some of us will have to settle for a teepee. Not everyone is going to be a millionaire. Some of us will be middle-class, and unfortunately even less. We have to look at this fertility journey as a way to use the tools we were given, and try to make the best outcome with them. That’s the beauty of science! Science is enabling us to use those same tools that built a teepee to possibly build a house! And if that science doesn’t work, then the teepee tools can build a duplex with even more sophisticated science. And guess what? If THAT science doesn’t work, we have the option of going and trying to use someone else’s tools. It goes on and on.

I guess what I am saying is, when you find yourself sitting there hating that last person who announced they were pregnant, it’s ok to feel a little heartbreak. But don’t dislike them bc they got to build the house first. Step back and look at everything you DO have going on, and be thankful that while you may not have the house, you have some pretty fantastic furniture.

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Close my eyes and hope…

8:00 am comes really quick when you are looking forward to finding something out. I don’t roll out of bed ready to go to work, the way I do when it comes to an appointment at GRS. Today was all about follicle checking. I walked in and was hopeful that this time my body did what it was supposed to do.

I was supposed to see Erica, but Dr. Perloe did my ultrasound instead. I love when I get to see him. We talk about everything BUT getting pregnant, and when we do talk about it, its very light. It doesn’t stress me out to be there. Everyone is always so pleasant and smiling and it makes me feel like its all going to be ok.

So for the results of the follicle check (I know all my fertility readers are excited to see this..): I have a mature follicle on BOTH ovaries. One is 20.3 mm and the other is 20.5. Those are really nice sized follicles, so I was really excited. After the check, I sat in the room with Dr. P and his nurse and we talked for 20 min. We talked about this blog. We talked about the amazing things that his son and daughter are doing. Most importantly we talked about everything except getting pregnant and this IUI.

After a follicle check, you always have to have blood drawn. Blood is the only way to see where your levels are and how close you are to ovulating. They look for LH levels and estradiol levels and those coupled with follicle size decide when you trigger. There is a phlebotomist there, Tanya, who is a whiz with a needle. She literally could pull blood from me and I wouldn’t feel it. You have to understand, I have tiny veins. I am petrified of needles. Yeah, I know…I have several tattoos and I have sat for hours under a needle. It’s different. My heart races and I am a nervous wreck when I get blood drawn, and when Jesse gives me shots. There is a new girl there…she is REALLY sweet…but she has a problem with my veins. Tanya always ends up doing my draws, and well, she wasn’t in the room today. My heart was beating..I reminded the new girl of my veins…she looked a little nervous, but she KILLED IT and blood was done.

I always joke with Yolanda that she always calls me with blood results when I am on the phone, and today was no different. Turns out my estradiol levels were better than last time, but he still wanted me to do another boost with bravelle to get those levels up a bit. GREAT..another shot, which Jesse LOVES to do. That brings me to the best part that I haven’t told you yet… Each time Jesse goes to give me a shot, I play LMFAO and Lil’ John “Shots”. It makes me laugh and we dance. So every time you hear that song, just make sure you picture me laying on my bed, pillow over my head and lil John rappin on my pillow 🙂

So tomorrow night we trigger and Saturday at 9:30 am, the TWW starts all over….tick tock tick tock….

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You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for.

Since this post is about waiting…I present to you the most adorable “waiters” in the world:

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The Two Week Wait, in the infertility world often called the TWW. Let me just tell you that it is the worst thing in the world. It’s one thing to conceive a child naturally and have an “idea” of when it happened. I however knew that on April 30, at 9:52 am, I was inseminated. I knew how much sperm we had. I knew how many follicles we had. I knew everything. After the IUI, you lay there for 20 minutes to prevent anything from “leaking”…as J always tells me..”Hold it in!” Our IUI was a celebration of way more than the procedure. Jesse’s #’s meant that he was healthy. Before they came in the room to do the deed, I sat there in my paper gown, alone, crying and texting Jesse about how amazed I was at how far we had come.

The whole thing was pretty incredible. Quick and painless and after my 20 minute wait, they told me to wait two days and start the suppositories. Every day. At night. Until I was pregnant or my period came. This didn’t sound fun, but I follow all directions to a “T”, so this would be no different.

I don’t have much to report about the two weeks, other than it was painfully slow. I didn’t feel great. I had cramps pretty much the whole time. I did my suppositories. I didn’t pee on a stick (POAS) until I was told to. And when I did poas it was negative. My period was late. I poas again. negative. I did this for a few days…and then it happened…my body told me I wasn’t pregnant.

The feeling of loss that you get when your body reminds you that everything you went through didn’t work is pretty intense. However, I let myself have a one hour pity party and then I buck up and keep on going. I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t cry. I did. I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t frustrated. I was. And I am definitely not going to lie and say I wasn’t angry, hopeless, annoyed, and every other negative feeling one can feel. I was ALL of them. But I was all of them for an hour. I don’t think that holding something like this longer than hour will help anything. So I promised myself and Jesse that I wasn’t going to sit and feel sorry for myself for weeks.

The good thing about infertility, is that while a period means it didn’t work, it is also the same thing that signals you can start the whole thing over again…and that is exactly what we did.

I promised that I would get us up to real time tonight and here we are, my friends! May 6, 2014 we started this whole thing over again. This time at my baseline I had 13 follicles on the right and 9 on the left:

*Letrozole 5 mg for 5 days
*Bravelle 75 mg injections for 5 days
*Ovidrel trigger
*Endometrin (those suppositories again)

Tomorrow, May 14, 2014, I go in for my follicle check and see how my blood work goes. If you are awake at 8:00 am EST, please send good vibes to Atlanta and hope that my follicles are nice and big (19 mm or more please) and that my estradiol levels are better than they were last time. If all looks good…Team Walker should be triggering this week!!

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If it’s not one thing, it’s another!

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So I got cleared for my IUI after the HSG, and we went to Disney World with my family (Happy Birthday sis!) As I mentioned, with IUI everything is planned. You go to the doctor the second day of your cycle, they do a baseline follicle* check and then they give you the medication you are going to be on (if you do a medicated cycle..I do). Well, I was in Disney on the second day, so on my third day, I went in and Erica did my check. I had 7 follicles on the left and 9 on the right. All was fine in the world and I met with Yolanda (LOVE HER!) to get my medication protocol.

* Letrozole* 2.5 mg for 3 days
* 2 injections of 150 mg Bravelle*
* 1 injection of Ovidrel* (only to be given when I am ready to trigger ovulation
* Progesterone suppositories (SEE…I TOLD you they would be coming!!)

The trick with IUI is that you have to plan the insemination around the ovulation. You really only have a couple days a month that you can get pregnant.Learning Point: Don’t ever let your teenagers know this. I am fairly certain that we have escaped an even larger teen pregnancy epidemic bc people think it is WAY easier to get pregnant than it really is!

I hate shots. I definitely hate shots that I have to give myself. Luckily J has become a pro and he became my personal nurse. The Letrozole gave me insane headaches. I finished my meds and went in for my second follicle check. They were looking for the follicles to grow, and mine did…I had two that were 18 mm. All looked good!! They took my blood and I left looking forward to triggering that night or the next…until Yolanda called and said my blood tests came back and didn’t make sense. So after all of that work on Jesse, I was now the one who had the problem. They were looking for my estradiol* levels to be over 100, they were 25 :(. They added another shot (great) and I had to go in the next day for another ultra-sound and blood test. Same results. Another shot…back the next day…levels were normal. And it was on!

Did I tell you that Jesse and I are never normal?

I triggered that night and 36 hours later we went in for our first IUI! How exciting. April 30th was going to be OUR day! J had to do his work in a room and then we would do the procedure. He went off to some obnoxious words of encouragement from his lovely wife and that was that. Fast forward an hour and let’s just say that HCG and follistim definitely work. Our nurses wanted to give him a super man shirt! Now it was up to me. With Dr. Perloe’s talk of a shakey-handed uncle at Passover (he makes me laugh), within 1 minute, I had just gone through artificial insemination.

That started the longest two-week wait of our lives.

*Follicle – where the egg grows and is released from
*Letrozole (Femara) – medication that is used for ovulation stimulation (off-label use. labeled for use after surgery for breast cancer)
*Bravelle – used to stimulate egg maturation
*Ovidrel – HCG — triggers ovulation
*Estradiol – In the female, estradiol acts as a growth hormone for tissue of the reproductive organs, supporting the lining of the vagina, the cervical glands, the endometrium, and the lining of the fallopian tubes.

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