Friday, September 30, 2011

Hilton Head!

In just a couple of hours, we'll be on the road! We're heading down to Hilton Head Island, SC to spend the weekend with my parents. I haven't seen them since May and I was really feeling like I just needed some time with people who love and support me. It's an 8 hour drive or so down to visit them in Georgia, so we're compromising and meeting in between. We have a lovely 2BR condo on the beach for the weekend, and even though it will be a short trip, it makes my heart happy.

We don't have any big plans other than just shopping and hanging out on the beach and spending time together. That's the best thing about spending time with family you love and enjoy being around. You don't really need anything planned in particular. Even if we just sat in the condo the whole time talking, I would be fine with that!

Today I was thinking, how cool will it be when we're going to visit my parents with our little baby? It's going to be awesome. My parents are so incredibly good with children. My mom is just one of those people that everyone's kids love. She's a natural! So I know my babies will love her so so much, and the same with my dad. I can't wait to see them someday with my child. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I pray it's sooner rather than later.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! When I get back on Sunday night, I'll be only 6 days away from starting stims. Holy crap, this is really happening!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hope and Fear

I keep going back and forth between these two primary emotions. Hope and Fear. Right now, as the cycle approaches, I'm feeling more hope than anything else. Excitement, too. There's very little fear, which is a little bit strange. I have been feeling so much fear for months. Lots of anxiety about how this will all turn out. But suddenly, there's a peacefulness coming over me. I feel ready and calm.

How long do you think it will last? Haha. I'm hoping I can hold on to this sense of calm at least through the weekend. Once shots begin next weekend, I have a feeling the fear will come back in full force. The monitoring appointments are going to be tough. It's the not knowing. It's the fact that every time you go in to the doctor, something could have gone wrong and everything you hoped for could disappear. A cycle could be canceled at any moment. You just never know.

I'm wondering if there's any way I can hold on to this peacefulness throughout the cycle. I'm going to try my best. I can't believe how fast time is moving now. I'm down to only 9 days left. I hope AF shows on time and doesn't torture me with being late.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Last night, I decided to indulge in a little comfort clothing for my IVF cycle. I'm expecting to be bloated, crampy, and generally not feeling like going out a whole lot in the next month. But that doesn't mean I can't at least try to wear comfy clothes, right? Hehe. So, that's the logic I used when I took my debit card to the victoria's secret online store last night.

I am pretty much addicted to Victoria's Secret Yoga pants. I LOVE them. They fit me perfectly (and in Medium, haha, which is also good). I have them in purple, orange, green, and black, but the black are my favorites. I love that you can choose from 4 different inseam lengths so they are never too short or too long. Unfortunately, I wear them to the gym so much they kind of wear out by my thighs and get faded out because I wash them so often. So, I went last night and they were having a SALE on their yoga pants. Only 2/$50. Eek! I bought four pairs, LOL. I got two plain black ones and then two pairs of their foldover pants - one in pink and black and one in blue and black. I can't wait to get them in!

I also indulged in a pair of their pillowtalk Tank pajamas. It's a tank top set with these super soft pj bottoms. My mom bought me some for Christmas a couple years ago and they are the most amazing pj pants in the history of pj pants. Seriously. I heart them. But they are expensive. $50 for just one pair. Still, I deserve it right? They are super cute, too. I got these that have ANGEL on the tank and the black pants with white polka dots. I might live in them during bedrest, haha. I'll be thinking about the little angel that will hopefully come into our lives next July!

Only 10 days left until the big day, and I feel like time is finally moving faster. After months of waiting for this, it's awesome to finally see these dates moving right along.

I feel a little bit guilty for spending nearly $180 last night on nothing but yoga pants and pjs, lol. But at the same time, I know they will all be super comfy things to wear during this process and having something new will be nice for me. Of course, with the expense that is IVF in general, I suppose I need to start looking for cheaper ways to indulge myself :).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

11 Days

After all this waiting, I am excited to see the days ticking by. Only 11 days until stims begin. In the meantime, I have been trying to keep myself occupied. I definitely feel like I am on a short fuse lately. I am having to be careful to keep my stress to a minimum so that nothing can get under my skin. In order to stay calm, I've been cleaning out the future baby's room. It's been cathartic for me to get the clutter out of that room and make space for a beautiful new nursery.

Most of the room has been filled with crafting supplies like scrapbooking paper, jewelry making beads and tools, sewing materials and so on. I have a friend who has recently started teaching elementary school art at a local private Christian school. They don't have a lot of money for supplies, so I have decided to donate most of my crafting materials, markers, colored pencils and papers to her classroom. It makes me feel good, helps others, and cleans out the room at the same time. Win, Win, Win :).

This weekend, my husband and I are going to Hilton Head, SC to spend the weekend with my parents. It's too far of a drive to go all the way to George where they live for the weekend, so we decided to meet about halfway. We've rented a very cute 2 BR condo on the beach for two nights, and I'm really looking forward to it. It will be nice to see them before shots get started and feel their love and support. Once we get back, it will be only a matter of a few days before everything gets under way.

To be honest, I'm getting very excited! This is the single best shot I've ever had at getting pregnant. 60% chance. I just keep repeating it in my head, over and over. More chance of being pregnant than of not being pregnant at the end of this cycle. My prayers right now are for a good, healthy cycle with mature eggs and some healthy embryos. I hope that we are able to get two really good blasts for 5-day transfer and then a few healthy embryos for freezing, just in case. I'm excited for the possibilities and very hopeful that the next month and a half will be full of joy and great outcomes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

What if?

Lately, it's the 'what if's that have my brain spinning at night. Truth be told, I have always been a 'what if' kind of person. It's one of my greatest flaws. I am always thinking forward to the future and trying to figure out all of the worst possible scenarios. Don't get me wrong, I also think about the good things and the positive possibilities. It's just that part of me feels like I'd rather be emotionally prepared for the bad things. There's a small comfort in at least knowing the worst case. As long as I know what might happen, it won't completely blindside me, right?

Only life doesn't exactly work that way. There's always some hidden danger you weren't expecting. On top of that, sometimes when the worst things happen, it doesn't matter that you knew they were possible. Sometimes the bad things still knock us on our butts, regardless of whether we thought we were prepared for them or not. Some things hurt so badly, there's no possible way to prepare. 11 years ago, I had the worst thing happen to me when I was on a trip to Europe. Did I know it was a possibility? Yes, I guess there was some part of me that knew something like that could happen to a woman traveling alone in a foreign country. But I never really thought it would happen. So when it did, I wasn't prepared. Tomorrow, it will be 11 years since it happened, and I'm still not over it. I don't know that I will ever be over it.

In that instance, it didn't matter that somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew it was a possibility. Nothing could have prepared me for the emotional impact of that one single event. So why do I keep doing this to myself? Why do I keep borrowing trouble? If it doesn't truly make the bad things easier to digest, why do I spend weeks, even months, worrying about the what if's? What if I don't get pregnant with IVF? What if we can't afford to try again? What if I miscarry? What if my heart breaks over and over again?

The answer to all those questions is the same. If any of those things happen, terrible as they may be, I will grieve. I will be sad, angry, upset, yes, even heart-broken. But I will survive it. Just like I've been surviving for the past 11 years. It will hurt, but I will find a way to be strong. I will move past it, and someday, I will become a mother. I hope that it will happen sooner rather than later, but life is full of what ifs and unknowns and that will never change. So for now, I'm going to try to put those what if questions and worst-case scenarios to the side and choose instead to try something new. Hope.

Friday, September 23, 2011

CD20 Ultrasound and Progesterone Bloodwork

A few weeks ago, George and I went in to our clinic for our education class. When the nurse gave me my protocol, she mentioned birth control pills. I know they don't typically prescribe bcp, so I asked about it. She said Dr. T was thinking I don't have a true natural ovulation and therefore do not truly shed my lining with each period. In order to get a good start to the IVF cycle, he wanted me on 14 days of bcp to stimulate a good AF.

Instead of just sitting back and letting them tell me things I didn't feel were true, I actually spoke up (which is a big deal for me in a situation like this.) I told the nurse that I thought I was actually ovulating on my own. I asked her if it would make a difference one way or the other and she said she needed to ask Dr. T. When the verdict came back, she said that yes, it would make a difference. If I'm ovulating on my own, the bcp would be a bad idea as it would mess with my natural cycle. So, in compromise, we decided to do a u/s and progesterone check near the time I thought I was ovulating to see if it looked like I was going to ovulate on my own.

Today is CD20. I got a near-positive OPK yesterday and the day before along with some twinges on my left side. I also have EWCM (egg-white cervical mucus), so I was pretty sure I knew what we were going to see today, but I still had my doubts. I kept thinking, what if I haven't even been ovulating the past six months like I thought I was?

I still have to wait for the results of the progesterone test, but there was no doubt what was going on with my ovaries! My right side was quiet, but on my left side, I had a big 22mm follicle. Definitely looks like I'm ovulating on my own! This is such good news for me, because a year ago when they did this, there was absolutely no activity. That's why I went on Clomid in the first place. Now, because of the lifestyle changes I've made with diet and exercise, along with the metformin and vitamins, I'm actually ovulating on my own. I looked at that big follie and thought, "Wow, I did that! I made that happen." It was pretty exciting to see.

Unfortunately, ovulation has not equated to pregnancy. I'm not sure of the reasons behind that. Maybe the outer shell of the egg is too hard, which often happens with PCOS, and the sperm just can't get in there. If that's the issue, the embryologist will bypass that step with ICSI (where they actually inject the sperm into the egg with a tiny needle). I pray it's not an implantation issue or a problem with the overall quality of my eggs. We'll know more once the embryologist gets hold of them next month.

Anyway, I'm going to have to wait until this afternoon to know officially, but I am pretty sure this means no birth control pills for me, which makes me a happy girl. I should be on track for AF to arrive around October 7th, which means my baseline u/s, blood draw and stims will all be starting CD2, October 8th! That's only 15 days away! I'll update later with official word, but it looks like a natural cycle for me this cycle, and I honestly couldn't be happier. It just goes to show that with PCOS, sometimes changing diet and adding exercise really can make a difference. All this hard work has not been in vain.

*UPDATE* - Seems I spoke a little too soon. Carla called me around 2:30 to say that my progesterone levels were nearly 0. Basically, what that means is that even though I have a mature egg that is ready to pop out, my hormones are not giving it the go-ahead. When that happens, the egg ages and deteriorates and in the end, if it does come out, it's not good anymore and my lining doesn't totally shed with AF. BCP would be bad because since I already have a big follie, the bcp wouldn't get rid of it and it would still be there in 2 weeks and I wouldn't be able to start stims, so it's definitely good I went in to have this all checked.

Still, this explains why I'm not getting pregnant naturally. In order to solve the issue, I went back in this afternoon and got an HCG trigger shot. Basically, that forces the egg to ovulate. I don't want to get my hopes up and think that maybe we could end up pregnant on our own, but it is a possibility. They want me to come in for a blood test in about 12 days to make sure I'm not pregnant before I order my meds for IVF! I should still be right on track for AF to arrive on October 7th and stims to begin on the 8th, but man, wouldn't that be amazing if I got pregnant? I know, I know, stop dreaming, right? Haha.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Infertility is such an internal struggle. I worry that I'm being too emotional and everyone is looking at me like I'm weak or insane. I beat myself up for feeling so scared all the time. I stress out about not being able to relax (ha! go figure THAT one out!). I'm being incredibly selfish right now with my time and my emotions. I feel ashamed of my problems getting pregnant, and then ashamed again of not being stronger throughout this process. These are the bad emotions that haunt me. Stress. Worry. Shame.

Then, when I confide in other people about how I'm feeling, I often get comments like: "Relax! I have a friend who stressed out and then when she finally just gave up and stopped stressing about it, BAM, she was pregnant!" or "What's going on with Sarra? Oh, I figured she was just being emotional again." or "It's not always all about you." And let me tell you, those comments? Not helpful. I already know all those things. I already beat myself up enough about those things, but until you're standing in my shoes, you don't understand how difficult it is to relax. And you know what else? I'm allowed to be emotional right now. Don't try to invalidate my feelings, because that only makes me feel shame.

The bad emotions and thoughts aren't the only ones, though. Just because I say I'm worried or scared doesn't mean that's ALL I am. I'm also incredibly hopeful. I'm so thankful for insurance and great doctors and even the miracle of science that is IVF. It blows my mind that they can take the egg and sperm and create embryos in a lab. I daydream about what it will be like to be pregnant. I shop online for things I want to put in the nursery. I browse maternity clothing stores online for what I might want to buy and what might look cute on me. I linger in the baby section at Target, dreaming about my baby. Trust me, there are a lot of great emotions too. It's just that sometimes the worry is more helpful to talk about. Blogs are like therapy, you know? It helps to just get it out there and know you aren't alone.

Plus, there's a fear that if I talk about all the hope and all my dreams, then I don't get pregnant, I will look like a fool. Crazy, huh? But honest. 

So, I'll just have to ask forgiveness for now. Forgiveness from those friends who think I'm being selfish and emotional. Forgiveness from God for being so self-centered and not having a strong enough faith to believe that this will all work out okay. Forgiveness from my husband for all the tears and late night conversations (although I know he'll say there's nothing to forgive). I have to learn, also, to forgive myself. I have to forgive my own body for not doing what it's supposed to do as a woman. I have to understand that it's not my fault. I want to forgive myself for not working harder on my book right now and for choosing, instead, to take some time off so I can handle the stress, worry, fear, hope that is coursing through me. And I need to forgive the people who say those incredibly insensitive things to me. They don't mean to hurt me, I'm sure. They just don't understand.

Today, I will close my eyes and sit with my chin raised toward the sky, and let forgiveness wash over me. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I guess you can't technically call it nesting until you're pregnant, right? But I have this feeling of wanting to pre-nest. I never thought it would be so hard to get real work done at this point, but this is where I find myself. I am having the hardest time being creative. When I sit down to work on my book, nothing good comes out. The words don't feel or sound like me. Instead of trying to force it, I'm taking a break. I'll go back to writing my book when I feel inspired and it can be less of a chore. So what else can I do with my time? I need something to keep my mind and hands busy.

So I think I am going to clean. I'm talking about a really good, down on my hands and knees scrubbing kind of clean. Besides, the future baby's room is kind of a mess. Right now, it's a hodge-podge of a room. It's my closet (because there's no room for my clothes in our bedroom, lol), it's the room where the dog sleeps and eats and generally lives, and it's the place where all my crafting projects went to die. Seriously, all my scrapbooking, stamping, beading, whatever projects and supplies are ALL in that room. And I never use them anymore. Once I hit the ground running with my writing, I simply lost interest in all that other stuff. I still want to scrapbook, but I want to do it digitally instead. I don't really have a need for half the things in that room, to be honest. It's time to purge.

My plan is to set some sheets out in the living room downstairs and slowly carry all my crafting stuff down there and sort through it. I know a few friends who would love to have some of the stamps and beads and papers. Hey, if any of you ladies in the blogosphere love to scrapbook or stamp and want to see what I have, you're more than welcome to it! I can post a picture next week or something if anyone is interested. I also want to go through all my clothes and shoes and purge things that are too big now that I've lost some weight or stuff that I just don't wear. There's a donation center close to our house that is always in need of things that are in good shape. I really want to clean out the clutter in the baby's room and maybe steam clean the carpets and get it looking fresh and ready.

Most of the rest of the house is clean already, but everything could always use a good dusting and scrub down. It might feel really good to start our IVF journey with a super clean house. A clean space just feels good, you know? And I tend to collect clutter in little piles. Books, for example, are the worst! I have so many stacks of books! I just need to organize and purge. Soon, we'll be making room for baby clothes and a stroller and a bouncy seat and toys, right?

Tomorrow I'll start my little pre-nesting session. I'm going to load up my iPod with some great playlists that I can sing to and set up my iHome somewhere downstairs where I can blast it, haha. It will be like my own free version of therapy and stress relief.

Oh and just as a news update - I got a near-positive OPK today and some definite fertile CM, so I think the acupuncture might be leading to a slightly earlier O for me this month. I called my nurse and she moved my u/s and progesterone draw to this Friday. This is just for the doctor to see if I'm truly ovulating on my own or not. If they get a good high progesterone of 2 or more and I have a dominant follicle that looks promising, they will just let me O on my own and wait for AF to start. If not, they'll prescribe birth control to force a really good AF that will reset my lining really well for the IVF cycle. Either way, I should still be on track for stims to start by October 8th or so. I really don't want to be on bcp, but if I do need them, I'm secretly hoping he'll just prescribe 7-10 days, which would have me starting stims even earlier! I'm ready!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Shots Table

I was reading Amanda's blog, Our Fertility Journey, and found this great post on her IVF setup. I immediately fell in love with the idea. Stims and shots are going to be going on in some fashion for at least 4 weeks, so why not make the area where you'll have your meds and shots look nice and be a place of encouragement and love? It's a brilliant idea, really, and one I am promptly going to steal :).

We have decided to set up our shots table (for lack of better phrase) in the kitchen. Since some of the medicine like Follistim has to be in the fridge, we figured it was the best place. We also have one of my old desks in there anyway where we currently just have some odds and ends placed. I'm going to clear the desk off this week and set up a nice little station where we can do our nightly shots. I say 'we' because I'm making George do all of the injections. Partly because I want him to feel like he's a part of it all, and partly because I think it will be easier  if he does them so I don't have to psych myself up for it. Besides, George actually does have some medicine he'll have to take, haha. He'll be on an antibiotic starting the same day I start stims, all the way up to the day of retrieval.

So, what should I put on my table? I already purchased these super cute little Hello Kitty baby socks. (If I haven't already told you, I'm sort of addicted to Hello Kitty and saw these 6-9 mo. socks at Target and couldn't resist! It's my first official baby purchase! If I have a boy, I'll have to give them away, though, haha. I won't torture my son by making him wear HK, hahahaha.)

I am going to put our wedding photo on the table too. Also, I bought a small black frame and I am looking for a really good quote or Bible verse to go inside. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Hmm.. what else? Oh, I have a beautiful crystal vase, so I plan to put fresh flowers in there and replace them about halfway through the cycle. Maybe new flowers after the ER to celebrate our new embies! I might put a really yummy smelling candle on the table that we can light.

Oh, and my husband's contribution to the shots table?? He loaded the LMFAO song "Shots" to my iPod and we are going to put my iHome on the table and play it while he gives me shots, lol. /sigh. He's crazy, but I love him. If you don't know the song, it's NOT about IVF shots, haha. It's about alcohol and has nothing whatsoever to do with babies, but it's upbeat and it makes me laugh when he sings it to me, so Shots it is!

I'm going to put some time and thought and love into creating this little space where I will get my nightly shots. I also want to organize my meds in a nice container or something, but until I get them delivered, I don't really know what I'll need, so that will have to wait a couple of weeks. I have about 19 days until shots begin, which seems like forever, but I hope will fly by so we can get this show on the road!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Right now is a time for great patience and understanding. I have to find a way to be patient with the process. I ended up leaving my beach trip early last week because I simply couldn't focus. What I expected to be a wonderful week to unwind and write so many words that I would get ahead with my book, turned out instead to be an emotional breakdown. I realized too late that this is a really bad time to be away from my husband. I also realized that I need to give myself some slack. Expecting myself to be able to write an entire novel while dealing with this process is just not realistic. And beating myself up over not writing fast enough isn't helping.

I need to forgive myself and be patient with myself. Writing is not going to come as fast and easy as normal. And you know what? That's okay. The world will not end just because I didn't finish a book. Yes, it means less money and it means slowing my career down a little bit, but it's temporary. This won't last forever. Soon, I will be pregnant and all this anxiety and fear will be gone. Okay, okay, so I know that's not entirely true. Pregnancy comes with its own set of worries and fears, but for now, I just have to GET pregnant, lol.

I also need to be patient with the people in my life. There are so many people who don't really understand what this feels like. They don't know the financial and emotional investment involved. Most of the women in my life got pregnant for free, without a care in the world. They simply don't get it. So for me to hope or expect that those women would have sympathy and understanding for me right now is slightly unrealistic. Instead of being upset or feeling ashamed or defeated, I need to just be patient and maybe stay close to home for a while. Maybe stop spending much time with the people who don't understand and instead spend my time with my husband and friends that ARE sympathetic.

I have just over 2 weeks before stims begin. For some reason, I thought I would be able to work and concentrate and live my normal life all the way up to the moment shots began. I didn't expect to be this emotional and nervous with 2 weeks still to go. My therapist calls it 'anticipatory stress', which is just exactly what it sounds like. Anticipating something to such an extreme that it's causing me stress. I wasn't expecting it, but it's here. All I can do is deal with it as it comes and try to be patient with myself. I am going to do my best.

Thank you to everyone for all the sweet comments and helpful suggestions. You mean so much to me!

Friday, September 16, 2011


3 weeks away from starting stims. THREE WEEKS? OMG. I really thought by now that I would have found some bit of peace to hang on to. I planned on having my positive attitude perfected and being one hundred percent ready for this journey.


It's just not that easy.

I've been at the beach all week on a writing retreat with friends. I have a book to finish in three weeks, so I planned on this being the best writing experience where I could get tons of pages done and feel great and get way ahead. Wrong! I've barely written 20 pages all week. I've been struggling with every little thing lately. My book sales slump one day? I freak out and think the worst. A little misunderstanding with insurance? I freak out and cry tears of despair. Get a three-star review? You would think it was from the NYT or something with how much it affected me.

It's as if IVF has suddenly AMPLIFIED every other small stressor in my life. Instead of becoming peaceful and strong as we await injections, I'm becoming a mad woman. I don't like it one bit. Honestly, I know I'm a strong person. I've been through so much in my life and always manage to come through it and find the silver lining. So why is this so difficult for me?

I spent all day yesterday on the beach. I swam in the ocean, picked up shells, felt rejuvenated and really focused on remembering my own strength. I had this running ticker of positive thoughts in my head all day. I can do this. I am strong. Everything is going to work out exactly as it should. I'm going to be pregnant soon. I'm a talented writer. I've sold over 40,000 books in less than a year.

I came inside feeling great, had a nice dinner, everything was going amazing. My best day at the beach yet. When we got home from dinner, we sat down to do some writing sprints. I wrote over 2500 words in an hour, which for me is amazing. Then, I started reading over the words and doubting myself. All the negative thoughts came rushing in and I just couldn't get them to stop. This is rough draft writing. I'm never going to finish this book and get it published in three weeks. I can't do this. It's too hard.

Then, I checked my sales. This is something I do every night at midnight. I enter my books sold into a little spreadsheet I created so I can see my averages and such. I only sold 56 books yesterday. That's the worst single day I've had since January. I cried my eyes out. You would have thought the whole world ended or something. I called my husband, crying about how my career was falling into the dumps and how I didn't think I would be able to do it and how Amazon is changing their algorithms and what if I can't get my sales to come back up. Blah. Blah. Blah. Motormouth of negativity.

I went to bed feeling like crap. Woke up feeling so defeated. And of course, it's storming out there now so no sunny beach day to make me feel better. The week is over and I even though I had a goal of writing 40,000 words this week, I've only managed to write 6500. Dismal. I can't seem to get past this extremely emotional outpouring. I can't seem to focus on work at all. Every little thing feels ten times worse than it really is. And even just writing this post makes me realize how not-strong I seem right now. This isn't me! I don't want to be this person. I want to be strong and focused and successful.

But I also want to be a mommy. And while some people can achieve that easily and for free, my body just won't allow it. I'm pushing 35 and have PCOS and am just not getting pregnant on my own. It's just simply not fair. I've worked so hard to be a success and create my own business and life in so many other ways, but something like motherhood really just shouldn't be so difficult. I shouldn't have to work so hard at this. And I really wish I could report that I'm being strong and together and focused and positive. I know that's what everyone around me wants me to be and tells me I SHOULD be, but trust me, it's harder than you think. If you've never been where I am now, you probably don't understand.

So, ladies, dear friends of the internet who have been where I am and who DO understand what I'm going through - how do you do it? How do you work and focus and clean the house and concentrate and deal with all the little things that stress us out each day? How do you do it without freaking out and feeling like every little thing is so important right now? How do you stay positive while waiting for shots to begin? I need help figuring this out!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Good News, Bad News

Infertility is such a rollercoaster. I know I've said it before, but I have to say it again. It feels like good news and bad news go hand in hand sometimes. One thing starts to look up, something bad lurks just behind it. Today, I heard back from the specialty pharmacy that my meds had been ordered. Unfortunately, they are out of the medrol, but she said I can get a prescription from my doctor and fill that with a normal local pharmacy. I won't even tell you all the details of the run around I had to go through to get information on pricing. Let me just say that it was ridiculous. Apparently, they don't really want to tell you what it will cost until they have your credit card in hand. Just take my word for it when I say it was not a fun afternoon.

Finally, though, I spoke to someone who had a heart and was able to place a "test claim" and bring up the cost of my meds. Because of the type of insurance we have, we don't have a choice when it comes to the pharmacy we use. We HAVE to use our insurance's specialty pharmacy, end of story. So, she went through all the meds and came back to say that the entire order would be somewhere around $280. Yay! Great news, right? I mean, it's amazing news. I had pretty much budgeted that we would owe around $1000 at least for the meds, so for it to be under three hundred bucks is pretty freaking fantastic.

Then comes the bad news. She says that after this order, however, our fertility coverage will be exhausted and any future injectible cycles will be out of pocket 100%. My heart sank. I've seen so many blogs where people have three IVF cycles covered, so I was surprised to hear that we only get one. Well, a lifetime fertility max of $3600 apparently. And we exhausted it with this one cycle. It felt like she added a hundred pound weight to my chest.

I am not in any way complaining about this cycle. I completely understand how lucky we are to have most of this cycle covered through insurance. We're incredibly blessed. I know that there are people who don't have any coverage at all, so I'm not trying to be disrespectful. But we've already used up so much of our fertility coverage. We already knew we were cutting it close with this cycle for our primary fertility coverage, so we knew that if we needed a second cycle, it was going to be expensive. Now, to hear that our medication coverage is also gone from now on? It's just putting so much pressure on me. I'm already feeling a ton of pressure to be healthy and to get this book written. Now, I feel this enormous pressure to get a BFP.

I realize how ridiculous that sounds. I can't control whether I get pregnant this cycle or not. Logically, I know that. But now I keep thinking that if this cycle doesn't work, it could be as long as a year before we can afford to try again. Then, that also pushes our dreams of a bigger house further down another few years because of the money. I am trying to find ways to manage this stress and just be okay with it and understand that things will turn out exactly how they are supposed to, but that's easier said that done. I'm so grateful this cycle is going to be inexpensive for us, but so incredibly terrified that it won't work.

Friday, September 9, 2011


I am going on a writer's retreat week to the beach all next week, and I can't wait!! It's not a formal event or anything. Just a week with a couple friends of mine who are also writers. I just recently finished the rough draft of my next book, so I plan to work SUPER hard next week at the beach on revisions. As most of you know, I've vowed to finished this book before we start stims in October. Yikes! It's not going to be easy, but I know I can do it! It will just feel so good to have this book finished and published before we start meds. Then, I can just fully concentrate on the process we're going through rather than worrying too much about work.

With writing, though, it seems like the second one deadline is met, another deadline is creeping up right behind it. I really want to have the sixth (and I think final) book in the series completed and published before the Christmas rush. I am going to give myself some space on this goal, though. I don't know right now how this process of IVF is going to affect me. It could be more emotionally taxing than I expect. Or it could be a snap. It's all a bit unknown right now, so I'm going to be kind to myself and give myself permission to take some time off. I will have written and published 5 books in a year! That's a big deal! I need to be nice and give myself a break as we go through this, but it isn't always easy to be nice to myself.

I'm looking forward to the beach for other reasons, too. I love the water. I feel so connected to it. There's really no better feeling than standing with your feet just in the surf, looking out over a beautiful sunset, feeling the cool breeze caressing your face. I can't wait! I think it will be a great place to meditate and find my own inner peacefulness. I wish George could go with me, but he has to stay home and work. I will be gone from Monday through Saturday, but I will still have internet, so still plan to find time to blog.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Only about 1 month until my injections begin. I can't believe it! Oh, and I got a call from my pharmacy today that they had received my order for my IVF meds. No word on price yet, but we'll see! Exciting!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Yesterday was an amazing day. I feel so much better after finally getting so many of my questions answered at the clinic yesterday. We got there around 9:30 AM and George went to the lab to do his part, hehe. Our clinic requires a back-up sample to be frozen just in case for some reason he can't give a sample on the day of retrieval. The great news is that his SA came back amazing. Our best ever. 210 million sperm with over 50% of those motile. We couldn't have asked for a better backup. At 10:30, we went in for our education class.

There were 2 other couples in there with us. We had to watch several videos on how to give the shots, then the nurse came in and gave us a large folder full of information and release forms. We went through all of the information in the packet about the different meds, how and when to administer shots, the different side effects and the typical schedule. We found out that we even get our own little voice mail box that we call in to every day for instructions and messages about the ultrasound results and such. I like knowing we have a number to call instead of always waiting for the nurses to call us with results.

After the main class, the nurse took each couple separately to discuss our protocol and answer any questions we had. We went last so we were at the clinic until after 1:00, but it was so worth it! I still am not sure if I'll be on birth control pills or not yet. The doctor is afraid I'm not really ovulating and so my periods aren't a true shedding of the lining. I, on the other hand, think I am ovulating. Anyway, they are going to discuss it and I might possibly have to go in to get a blood test done this month after my temp rises to see whether I really did O or not. If not, I start bcp for about 10 days. If I did, no bcp needed. I'll find out for sure later this week what the plan is there.

Either way, I should be starting stims around the second week of October! Yay! Here is my official protocol (Antagon Protocol):

  • CD2 - Baseline ultrasound and blood draw. 225 mg of Follistim and 10 units Microdose Ovidrel each night in my upper arm. Also begin baby aspirin for the rest of the cycle.
  • CD5 - Second blood draw to check levels.
  • CD6 - Somewhere around here, I will start a nightly shot of Ganirelix. This is the antagon drug that keeps my eggs from ovulating while the rest of the smaller follies catch up.
  • CD7 - Third blood draw and ultrasound to check progress of follicles and hormones. At this point, we start taking everything one step at a time depending on how everything is going. I'll go in for either daily or every-other-day monitoring appointments.
  • CD12-14 - Sometime around here, depending on response, I will be given instructions on our trigger shot! This will be my first intramuscular shot, ouch! My trigger shot is going to be accompanied by a Lupron shot as well, to help prevent against OHSS (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome).
  • Beta Check - The day after trigger, I go in for another blood draw to make sure my HCG levels are high enough. If not, I will get a second trigger shot.
  • Retrieval! - Hopefully around CD14-17, I will go in for my retrieval. This will most likely be done in the morning. They will knock me out with anesthesia, so George is definitely coming with me. He's actually going to try to make it to all the appointments, but it will depend on his work schedule so we'll see! Anyway, I'm nervous about this step because I've only ever gone under anesthesia once before when I had my wisdom teeth out and waking up was really emotional for me.
  • After Retrieval - Begin 4 days of Medrol (a low steroid that will slightly suppress my immunity so my body doesn't reject the embryos when they are transferred). Also begin an antibiotic.
  • Day after retrieval - Progesterone Injections begin! These are also intramuscular and I've heard they are a pain, so not looking forward to this, but it'll all be worth it.
  • Fertilization Report - Lab calls to give us the results of the fertilization. We'll find out how many of my eggs fertilized and how they are looking after a couple of days in the lab. Fingers crossed! They will also let us know here whether to be ready for a 3-Day Transfer or a 5-Day Transfer. We are hoping for a five day, but I know both can be successful.
  • Transfer - Hopefully around CD 17-19. We plan on transferring the 2 best embies! My hope is that we have two near-perfect little ones to transfer in! Most transfers happen in the afternoons, so I'm planning to go in for an acupuncture treatment before the transfer and again after. Part of this will depend on whether or not the transfer happens on a weekday or not.
  • Post-Transfer - 3 days of bed rest. Progesterone injections continue for 2 weeks. 14 days past transfer, I go in for my first beta pregnancy test. It's a LONG wait compared to most people whose blogs I've read. Usually, tests are done 9 days post transfer, so I'll have to make a decision about whether to test at home or not. I'm not sure if I'd rather find out early or just wait until the nurse calls. Eek!
  • Betas - One at 14 days past, another at 16 days past and a final beta at 18 days past.
  • Positive Beta - If I have a positive beta, I will continue Progesterone injections for one more week, then switch to vaginal suppositories. Normally, they wait to do an ultrasound until a month after positive pregnancy test, but the nurse heard me out about my fears of waiting so long and said that if it would stress me out to wait so long, they could do it 2 weeks after, which would be 6 weeks pregnant.
  • Negative Beta - Injections and meds will all stop and I will wait for my period to start again. At this point, we will regroup and figure out what's next for us. Right now, I realize this is a possibility, that nothing is guaranteed, but I'm still picturing us with a positive result and a baby nine months later! 
I think that covers everything. Oh, I'll also be on Estrace for part of it, but I think that comes after transfer. My nurse has already called in all my meds, but they won't be delivered until closer to October. I feel so much peace now that we have a plan in hand and I know exactly which drugs I'll be on and how to do the shots. We're about 32 days away from starting injections, so it's really feeling real and close! I hope this next month flies by, because I'm ready to get started. I know that over the next couple of months, there will be lots of ups and downs, but I'm going to do my best to stay positive and be hopeful that in the end, we will be pregnant.

Monday, September 5, 2011

IVF Survival Kit

As IVF approaches, I can already feel the tension and excitement both warring within me. Seriously. It's like one second I feel hopeless and defeated, wondering how on earth I will handle it if this doesn't end in a pregnancy. Then, the next second, I'm excited and feeling like this could really be it and I might really be pregnant for the first time! My mind can't even keep up with my heart at this point!

And yet, stress can't be good for me right now. I know that I need to find any way I can to bring happy things and positive thoughts into my life right now. AF started for me over the weekend (Yay! Finally), so I now have a tentative idea of when my stims will begin. I'm guessing I have about 34 days until I start stims, which should be right around October 8th, give or take a couple of days. I don't know the exact timeline yet, and I know you have to learn to be somewhat flexible since you never know how long stims will take or how your ovaries will respond, etc, but I'm guessing I should be finding out whether I am pregnant or not sometime close to Halloween! For this reason, I have already started decorating my house. I also bought pencils to write with and to fuel my Hello Kitty obsession, this super cute Halloween devil kitty. Everytime I look at a pumpkin or this Hello Kitty or write with one of my pencils, I smile and think that this is going to be the best Halloween ever! This is the Halloween where we find out we're going to be parents!!

I've also been working on something I call my IVF Survival Kit. Basically, I just went out and bought a big pink plastic storage tub and have decided to fill it with things that will make me happy and keep me occupied during the IVF process. As I filled it up tonight, I took some pictures of what's in it. I'm thinking I still might have a few items I want to add before October, but for now, I'm feeling great about what's in there. Here are the contents:

 Books: I write YA fiction, and I have a TON of YA books that have been sitting in my house for far too long. I have been wanting to read these books for forever, but there hasn't been a lot of time for reading lately since I've been writing so much. Since I'm taking a break from writing during IVF, I thought I would use this time to catch up on some of the books I've most been wanting to read.

Meg Cabot's Jinx. The Candidates by Inara Scott. Wither by Lauren DeStefano. Sherrilyn Kenyon's Infinity. Andrea Cremer's Nightshade. And finally, the one non-young adult book on my list, Matters of the Heart by Danielle Steel.

Magazines: I have a huge stack of magazines that are just calling out for me to look through. I love to make collages and vision boards, so I bought some super blinged-out sparkly scissors to use to cut out some cool pictures or anything I find in the magazines that inspires me. I might make a baby collage or even try to find some inspiration pictures for my next YA series that starts later this year. My magazines are a mix of beauty mags and Home & Garden mags.

 A Pregancy Journal: I bought this last week at the local Borders going out of business sale. It was half-off so only cost $11. I picked it up. Put it back. Then went back and picked it up again. Part of me was scared I would be jinxing myself by buying a pregnancy journal, but in the end I decided that starting to fill out the information at the beginning of the book (like my family tree and our wedding info and such) was a good idea and a way to think positive and look toward the future. Also, being obsessed with colorful pens, I bought some new gel pens at Staples so I can fill out my pregnancy journal in style... and color. The inside pages are super cute, too. All pink and plaid and paisley and dots. I love it. Also each section has tons of room to paste in pictures of your progression as your belly gets bigger. Very cute!

Sanrio/Hello Kitty: Yes, I know. It's a crazy obsession. But I love Hello Kitty! I love almost all things Sanrio, period. I'm putting my Hello Kitty couture lollipop in the survival kit that I got at The Sugar Factory in Las Vegas just a few months ago. Also, I went to this store called Five Below where everything is $5 or less and bought some Hello Kitty notebooks, trading cards, stickers, a lollipop ring, some mints and candies and a Chococat Beanie Baby. These things simply make me smile, and there's never enough of that to go around.

 Entertainment Items: This is part of the whole keep-me-occupied idea. I'm thinking this will particularly come in handy during the 2 week wait after the Embryo Transfer. I have two puzzles, a Fable III game for Xbox that my sister gave me for my birthday and I've been dying to find time to play, and my entire collection of all six seasons of my favorite show in the universe - Sex and the City! I also have the first movie in there. I'm thinking I might watch a mega-marathon of the show (which always makes me happy) while putting together the puzzles.

A friend of mine was talking about lending me her True Blood DVD's so I figure if I need to watch something I haven't seen before, I can call her up. Also, I put a ton of stand-up comedy and romantic comedies on my Instant queue on Netflix, just in case.

Comfy PJ's and Misc.: From other blogs I've read, I need to be prepared to be bloated and slightly uncomfortable throughout this process. Both from the meds and from the multitude of follicles that will fill with fluid after Egg Retrieval. So, in an effort to be more comfy I bought some cute purple striped pj's that were on clearance at Target. I also got this cute, very plushy Hello Kitty sweatshirt since it will be starting to get cool by the end of October. Just for fun, I also bought a nice butterfly notebook where I plan to write daily affirmations and positive thoughts. I got shiny stickers to make my affirmations extra happy. And finally, I bought this cute skull and crossbones candle at Bath and Body Works that smells delicious! It's Halloween themed, of course, so it's perfect for helping me think positive thoughts about our Halloween-time Beta results.

I packed all of these things up in my big pink tub along with some dairy queen coupons (ice cream is always good comfort food) and lots of love and happy thoughts. I thought about asking my closest friends and family, the ones who know we're going through IVF, to write letters or cards I could put in my survival kit, but then I chickened out. I think I just got scared that if they didn't have time or didn't remember to do it, it would make me sad. And I don't want to feel sad right now. I just want to fill my box with things that make me smile. It makes me feel better just knowing it's down there in my living room, waiting with all those happy things inside that will help me through the tough times ahead.

Tomorrow morning is our IVF education class. We'll also hand over our final payment for the cycle. This is the last of our requirements in order to get on the official schedule and have our official plan of care drawn up! It's all starting to come together!! I have a huge list of questions, so I hope I don't annoy them, haha. I'm nervous about it, but also excited to be learning more and really getting close to starting the meds. I'm so hopeful this is going to work. Please, God, let IVF be the miracle we've been praying for.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Body, The Betrayer

I want to trust my body. I really do. I wish that I could be one of those women who understood her body and trusted that it was going to do what I expected it to. Instead, I feel like I've been at war with my body for the past 14 years. Infertility is just another one of those things that sometimes makes me wish I could trade bodies with someone else.

Here we are, one month away from starting stims for our first round of IVF, and my period is two days late. That could be a good thing, right? I mean, at least five people have told me happy little stories about their friends or family or whoever who got pregnant right before they started IVF. "I think it's because they were focused on IVF and not thinking about timing and they were just relaxed!" one friend says to me. You know what I say? Bullshit. Honestly, anyone who thinks a woman that is one month away from IVF is 'relaxed' is delusional. No matter how much I try to trust the process and believe that I'm going to get pregnant and all will be well, my brain is crowded with doubts and I'm pretty much never relaxed. AT ALL.

Anyway, back to the late period. According to fertility friend, I ovulated on day 18 of my cycle, which also happened to be the 18th of August. My average luteal phase is 12 days, so I should have started AF yesterday at the latest. In all my 13 months of charting, I have NEVER still had a high temperature at 13 DPO. Usually, I see my temp fall around 10DPO and then AF shows up the day after or 12DPO at the latest. Currently, I'm 14 DPO with a high temperature still this morning.

But I'm not pregnant.

Trust me. I've taken 3 FRER's (starting 11DPO), a dollar store test, and this morning, a clearblue digital. All BFN's. I just don't see any way that those tests wouldn't be picking anything up by now. There's no chance. This is just another way my body seems to betray me by not wanting to follow any patterns. Granted, I made a lot of changes this past month. My diet changed. I started acupuncture. I had that saline u/s with the bubbles. I've been exercising 5-6 times a week. I'm guessing all that combined has thrown my body into some kind of weird holding pattern. It sucks because I've done all those things trying to get healthy. Not trying to screw things up even more as far as my cycle goes.

What sucks most about that is I had it all planned out in my little head that we would be starting stims now on the first of October. Maybe as late as October 3rd or 4th. Now, with AF being late, I feel like things are even more up in the air than ever. I don't know when my period is going to start. I don't know how long next month's cycle will last. And therefore, I don't know when my IVF cycle will begin. Some random date in October, I guess. It's so frustrating.

I'm going to go lay down with my fertility meditation CD playing and try to find a place of calm and comfort.