Tuesday, July 29, 2008

First Poke

Yesterday was the first poke of my next ivf cycle.  My day 3 FSH blood test. I'm sorry to say that nothing funny or out of the ordinary happened - bummer. I was hoping to write something interesting.  On the other hand, I should probably be grateful that nothing bad happened. Which seems par for course, but for this cycle I am going to try to remain as positive as (insert most optimistic person you know).

A little info...I won't actually be starting stims until next month.  Since I have high blood pressure and have bad reactions to bcp's my down regulation protocol consists of taking estrace (estradiol) for a week leading up to my period.  Then I start stims around day 3.  My periods used to be right on schedule - 28 day girl.  Only now with dhea I seem to be a few days off (longer) so I can't pinpoint exactly when I should start, but it seems like AF might be Aug 24th therefore estrace around the 17th.  Great so looking forward to taking more steroids!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

IF you have time to read...

I'm sure this has been done before, but it was therapeutic for me to search myself. Stirrup Queen has a good book list, she also has a running book club, Barren Bitches Book Brigade.

I love looking for books. It's funny, sometimes the way I choose a book is if I have noticed it's title several times while in a library or bookstore. I know it is a marketing ploy, but I really like the way that Amazon shows books that I might like - usually they are right on! Well, I spent about two hours perusing the internet looking for titles - most came from Amazon, so I haven't read any of these yet. My first choice will be at the bottom. Not sure when I have time, maybe my next bed rest? Have you read any of these? What would you read first? Do you know of any that are amazing that I might add and/or read?

IF Books: (I put a couple of tags at the end of each to let you know a bit about the book's purpose)
Memoir Type Books:

2. The Waiting Womb - Jill Sayre (Amazon describes it as a dark comedy, adoption)
3. Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Rom - Peggy Orenstein (love the title, lots of good reviews, success)
4. The Empty Picture Frame: An Inconceivable Journey Through Infertility - Jenna and Mike Nadeau (Journal entries, vignettes, author volunteers for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Assoc.)
5. Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart In The Midst Of Infertility - Jennifer Saake (a historical retelling of the biblical figure Hannah's infertility journey)
6. Pregnancy Wishes & IVF Dreams: A Story & Lessons About Life, Love & Infertility - Kelley R. Taylor (ICSI, success w/ twins, also self-help)
7. Baby Steps: A Bloke's-Eye View of IVF - Jason Davis (A male perspective!) (Success)
8. Making Babies the Hard Way: Living with Infertility and Treatment - Caroline Gallup, William L., Ph.D. Ledger, Forward (Donor Insemination)
9. Maybe Baby: An Infertile Love Story - Matthew Miller (Another one from the men's side!)
10. Doctor, Are You Listening?: A Couple's Struggle to Find the Right Infertility Doctor - Masood Khatamee, Linda Pohl Perelman (coming Nov. 2008)
11. Making Babies: Personal IVF Stories - Theresa Miller (14 memoirs from a variety of IF couples - coming Sept 2008) 
12. The Brotherhood of Joseph: A Father's Memoir of Infertility and Adoption in the 21st Century - Brooks Hansen (IF treatments & adoption, success)

1. I Am More Than My Infertility - Marina Lombardo
2. Having a Baby...When the Old-Fashioned Way Isn't Working: Hope and Help for Everyone Facing Infertility - Cindy Margolis, Kathy Kanable, M.D., Snunit Ben-Ozer
2. The Fertility Diet - Jorge Chavarro, Walter C. Willett, Patrick J. Skerrett
3. Laughin'fertility: A Bundle of Observations for the Baby-making Challenged, Second Edition - Lisa Safran
4. Sweet Grapes: How to Stop Being Infertile and Start Living Again - Jean W. Carter, Michael Carter
5. IVF: The Wayward Stork--What to Expect, Who to Expect It From, and Surviving It All? - Lea L McCarthy, Sarah A Tursi MSW
6. IVF & Ever After: The Emotional Needs of Families - Nichola Bedos (coming Nov. 2008)
7. The Tao of Fertility: A Healing Chinese Medicine Program to Prepare Body, Mind, and Spirit for New Life - Daoshing Ni, Dana Herko
8. Bearing the Unbearable: Coping with Infertility and Other Profound Suffering, Or What To Do When Taking Charge of Your Fertility Fails - Karl A. Schultz
9. Alphabet Blessings: Conceiving with In Vitro Fertilization - Jenifer A Cotter DO

1. Embryo Culture: Making Babies in the Twenty-first Century - Beth Kohl
2. From IVF to Immortality: Controversy in the Era of Reproductive Technology - Ruth Deech, Anna Smajdor
3. Acupuncture & IVF: Increase IVF Success by 40-60% - Lifang Liang (From 2003, but since my clinic is a proponent of it I thought it could be interesting.)

And the winner is... I can't wait for Making Babies: Personal IVF Stories by Theresa Miller, but until then I'm going to get: The Empty Picture Frame: An Inconceivable Journey Through Infertility - Jenna and Mike Nadeau.  

Friday, July 25, 2008

Well (I'm trying to be) Read

Oh boy, after going through this list I felt like I need to cut back on my internet & TV time - big time! So what am I doing now?Reading up on a bunch of blogs and googling for infertility books - for a later post. My bold doesn't seem to show up very well.

Got this from infertilitybites

Here's how it works:
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline (or mark in a different color) the books you LOVE - mine are in red (I couldn't figure out how to underline nor change color - I could probably get it it'll just take more time online I could otherwise be reading!)
4) Reprint this list in your blog.
5) I am adding a new rule, because its my blog and I can, I'm going to mark the ones I haven't read, but I've seen the movie in green. And if I've read the book AND seen the movie, well, then it will be BOLD and Green.

The premise of this exercise is that the National Endowment for the Arts apparently believes that the average American has only read 6 books from the list below.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible - ok, I've read some, so if I could, I would make this partly bold.
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

dehydro what?

So, DeHydroEpiAndrosterone - DHEA What is it? Good question pj.

Actually I'm just guessing those are the letters from which the acronym is derived.

Well anyway, this is how the story starts. We sat in the Dr.'s office after learning that the egg quality was most likely the culprit for the poor embryo quality and I hear the words: "There is a controversial method we could try". I was ready to do anything. Controversial because there aren't enough studies to prove that it works - but according to my doctor it is something that can't hurt. (Side effects, well, aside).

Please remember this is from what I understand based on what my doctor told me and some dr. googling: DHEA is one of the pre-cursor hormones that produce testosterone and estrogen. According to several studies done through ivf clinics (Here is one: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/21/11/2845) DHEA somehow increases the # of eggs and possibly egg quality. No one knows exactly how, but some speculate it somehow has an effect on the follicular development, one of the reasons why it needs to be taken for at least two months. It appears that it is for women over 40 and with diminished ovarian reserve. I'm thinking that it's also controversial to give to younger women w/o ovarian reserve problems.

Since everything dr. google brings up deals with women 40+ and or with ovarian reserve issues I feel like this is some sort of wonder drug to give to women, who aren't in either category but have had poor egg/embryo quality, as some sort of wonder drug or snake oil cure. I think that just shows the lack of research on this drug. For now I will just have to put my trust in my doctor and a little bit of hope in a little white pill, but my guess (not to be negative, but realistic) is that it won't have that much of an effect on my situation.

And FYI if you are in NY or Illinois there is a study on DHEA being done by the Center for Human Reproduction ( Dr. David H. Barad ), and it looks like they are currently recruiting. Here is the link:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Break Out!

I have received the first side effects from the DHEA I'm taking - of course it's acne. I'm only hoping this is not a sign of what is to come; I've heard that there are much worse side effects. So, I at the first sign of redness, ran out to the drug store and, like a teenager getting ready for a hot date, bought way too many acne soaps, lotions, and medications. This is from someone who normally washes her face with whatever bar of soap is in the shower. Oh well, what I can say is that these little white pills can throw whatever they want at me - if they work I don't care if I grow a beard!

In keeping with garden comparisons to my ivf life...our pumpkin and plumeria also have blemishes. The pumpkin has this white powdery mold or something on it's leaves and the plumeria has this awful black fungus killing off it's leaves. I bought a spray that is supposed to be a 3 in 1 - fungicide, Insecticide and Miticide. I hope that works, just as I hope my Neutrogena & Clearasil products work for me!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Also covered in cat hair

I came across this blog and loved her post on my favorite question: "So, when are you having kids?" I tend to be very vague and say something like "whenever" and promptly change the subject. I've told only my closest friends about our ivf woes and some of them I don't keep them updated (they have kids and it's a little hard hanging out with them - this is a whole separate issue)

I also noticed that she has an awesome picture of a furry friend, Sammy, in a bathroom sink. Here is our Sammy also in a makeshift throne - what is it with orange cats and sinks?

During my TWW, my DH was out of town - yes that sucked big time and I will NEVER do that again! Well, Sammy was my life saver. His purring and kneading his claws (ouch) into my lap while trying to get comfortable each night was a much needed show of unconditional love.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My cup is full

Things that I'm sensitive to now that I'm going through IVF - more than is normal for me. It's different for me, how I deal with the living/growing world around me, than it was during my early steps of ttc and fertility treatments. I cried hard the day I 'graduated' from IUI's.

The other day, about two weeks after my bfn I broke down. I was so surprised b/c I thought I was 'getting over' the negative results. My DH and I were in a grocery store and we went our separate ways to find different items. While walking through the aisles looking for whatever I started noticing how many of the shoppers were families and/or pregnant women. It just started dawning on me, it was quite surreal - everywhere, I mean everywhere I looked there were kids! Well, I was ready to go and at this point still sane. So, I started looking for my DH and low and behold couldn't find him. I'm sure just a few minutes passed, but of course at this point my mind is starting to go, and I was getting extremely anxious and bumping into kids and happy parents all over the place. I whipped out my cel called my DH and barked, "where the hell are you!?" Found him in two seconds flat and fuming told him that I wanted to go, NOW. In the checkout I'm totally feeling out of body frustration and then I heard it. A crying baby. That sound was like a switch and the tears started coming. I couldn't talk and was ready to bolt so, I walked out and DH wasn't even done paying. By the time we got settled into the car I was a mess but was able to tell DH what was going on. I felt so bad b/c he thought I was mad at him (FYI, he got caught up at work and I had to wait almost an hour for him when I went to pick him up - I was a little ticked at him but not enough to snap at him like I was). I was so shocked how I felt. It's like I couldn't handle any additional upset, I guess my cup was already full. And I think it still is.

So, a few things that make my cup spill over and try to avoid:
Crying babies
People talking about labor and delivery
Drinking coffee, wine (I wish I could and miss them, but if things don't work out I'll think I gave them up for nothing?)
Spending time in our spare bedroom (the Yellow Room) which would be the nursery
Walking through baby aisles in stores

and of course,
Losing my husband in the grocery store - actually, it might be any store :-)

We have to go shopping this evening, let's see how I do...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Growing Pumpkins

It seems that everything I see has a connection to our recently failed IVF cycle. For example, and the reason for the name of this blog, is our pumpkin plant. I watched this plant grow and produce a multitude of flowers and buds along with my first IVF cycle (I had 23 eggs retrieved, 18 mature, 8 fertilized, 2 transferred, 1 frozen). I kept watch during my TWW as, right around the time of my transfer, one of the many flowers produced a cute little green pumpkin bud. Well, I kept an eye on that one and watched it develop and grow - even after my BFN on June 24th.

I'm not sure why this plant gives me the hope I need. Is it as easy as realizing that one bud actually survived and will develop into a viable pumpkin. One out of the dozens of cute little green buds that after a day or two usually turn yellow, wither and fall to the ground? Maybe. It hit me hard that so many of the pumpkin's attempts fail...just like my "buds" did. But, then I see the one that did make it. The one that made it is now an orange soccer-ball size of hope.

So, where am I now? Fertilizing. No, not the pumpkin, me. For two months I will take 75mg a day of DHEA in hopes of improving egg quality which in turn may help everything else. We'll see. At 36 I guess I shouldn't really be all that surprised that egg quality is an issue.

DHEA, is it false hope or will it really help my flowers and buds?