Tag Archives: Gonal-F

Do twins run in your family?

Actually, yes, they do. There are three sets of fraternal twins on my Mom’s side of the family (though not since my grandma’s generation). But obviously I know that’s not why hubs and I are pregnant with twins.

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When I told my two bosses we were pregnant last week, one of their first questions was, “Do twins run in your family?” And then when the news began spreading around the office, and various co-workers stopped by my cube to say congrats (soooo surreal but wonderful!), that question was asked at least another half-dozen times.

I know some of you bravely share your IF struggles with others. And I think that is AWESOME! Perhaps you will be frustrated or saddened by this revelation, but the truth is that I am not one of those people. For me, IF has been a very private journey (in my real life, of course not on this blog). And I simply DO NOT want to share my reproductive history and sex life with coworkers or random strangers or even most of my friends.

So when people ask if twins run in my family, I say something like, “a couple of generations ago there were twins on my mom’s side!” or just “yes, actually, they do.”

I also say “YES!!!” when people ask if twins were a surprise. (Seriously? Yeah, of COURSE they were. Does anyone “expect” twins?) But I’ve decided that people who ask that are actually asking if I underwent fertility treatments in a less invasive way than “Did you undergo fertility treatments?” And by the way, people ask that, too—several coworkers and a friend so far. “Did you do IVF?” “Did you take Clomid?” etc. It’s amazing what people will ask.

I am learning that when you’re having twins, that’s just how it goes.

*****

So far I’ve kept pretty darn quiet about our 10 months of infertility treatment. Our parents know. One dear friend of mine knows the whole saga (she is not connected at all to my college friends and 100% keeps it to herself). Another friend in NYC knows I couldn’t get my period after going off the pill (I confided in her when we were visiting friends last Thanksgiving, back when I thought 100mg of Clomid the next month would be my answer—ha!) so I’m sure she’s put this all together. My older brother knows we had some help. And that’s it. (Besides you awesome bloggies!)

But then on Monday my SIL (hubs’s brother’s wife) sent me a really sweet congratulations email. She’s a physician’s assistant and I guess that automatically means she’s been schooled in fertility stuff. Because over the course of emails she asked if twins run in my family. I said yes and figured that was that. But then in the next email she outright asked if—even though they run in my family—they were conceived “au natural or if we used Clomid or something.”

It was really nosy and I was taken off guard. But it’s also, like, well, she’s in medicine and she’s family and she wasn’t asking in a mean or ignorant way, but in a curious and loving way. And it’s one thing to blur the details or evade the truth with strangers and coworkers. It’s another thing to lie to family. You know? It rocked my internal ethical code, as much as I wanted to lie. Plus, it crossed my mind that hubs’s Mom knows about our struggles (as of last April) and while I trust her, I wonder if she couldn’t help but hint at our issues to her kids?

So I said to my SIL, “We did have some help, but were so lucky it didn’t come to IVF. Please keep that between you and BIL.” And then she wrote back congratulating me again, apologizing if she had been prying and promising not to discuss with anyone else, and that she was interested because of her career in medicine.

I still don’t know if I did the right thing by opening the kimono, so to speak. It has really been bothering me. And I can’t figure out if that’s because she knows my secret or if I’m bothered that it bothers me so much.

*****

I’m so protective of how these sweet babies were conceived.  I want to shield hubs, myself and—most important—both of them from the stupidity that is out there. And maybe I’m perpetuating that stupidity and stigma by not courageously sharing our story. But I am shy, I am very private, and this incredibly dark and difficult time has been something between hubs and me. I’m not ready to let the whole world in on all of the miracles we have been blessed enough to benefit from—low-dose HCG, Gonal-F, trigger HCG, ultrasounds, blood tests, progesterone supps, IUIs, the brilliant Dr. Awesome, amazing nurses, and on and on and on….

The truth is that these babies are honest to goodness miracles and we are so so so so so blessed and grateful and bursting with happiness because of them. No stranger/friend/family member/coworker can take that away from us.

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IVF consult

It was this morning and it was good. I love Dr. Awesome. Love, love, love. Hubs and I had both done a ton of research over the past couple of months, so all of our Qs were asked pretty much for the sake of hearing him answer in his understanding, intelligent, calm, confident way. We are signed up to begin meds on August 29, but that might pushed back if my requisite residual cyst is really large or decides to spew estrogen or invite some friends to hang out with it.

Also, when Dr. A was drawing my blood afterward, we chatted about my job, which he thinks is really cool, and about The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, which is the book we both read this summer. So now I’m pretty sure we’re BFFs. Muhahaha!

No, in all seriousness, because IVF is NO LAUGHING MATTER, it was a good consult. And I am so pleased we switched clinics last month. (Don’t get me started on the regret that brews when I think about hanging on with clinic #1 as long as I did. Alas!)

My heart’s been racing since I woke up this morning. I think consults just wig me out. And, then, you know, IVF is a very big deal and part of me is absolutely freaking out that we have reached this point. (Well, almost, tomorrow’s Beta result will be the final word.) I am not afraid of the injections, or the retrieval, or any of that stuff. I mean, I know it’s terribly unpleasant and stressful and emotional and uncomfortable and hard on my body, but I believe I can do it.

I am afraid of: What if THIS doesn’t work?

Dr. Awesome is holding our hearts and our future in his hands. Thank goodness I trust him 100%.

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And here we are

We triggered last night (twelfth night of stims, not too bad!) and will IUI tomorrow. We officially have one good follie on the left, with a “maybe” on the right (if it works really hard to catch up). I had a bunch of follies hanging out in the 12-13ish range and there was talk about canceling or converting to IVF. So, we triggered quickly to save the cycle. Phew.

I love Dr. Awesome. I love his knowledgeable, compassionate nurses. I love his online patient portal where hubs and I can access my daily monitoring results. I love his protocol. I love that he is checking my P4 in a week. I love that I have a Beta test scheduled and don’t have to take an HPT. I love his aggression with my treatment. I love his caution. I love everything about clinic #2. Continue reading

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Can we be friends?

That’s what hubs and I say to each other as a way to make up after we’ve argued. Those words are code for, “I don’t want to be in a fight in more, let’s move on!” An olive branch, if you will.

I feel like that’s what I’m doing with blogging. I want to be friends with it again. Lately I’ve been focusing more on commenting and less on writing about myself because it was fueling my tendency to freak out, moan, weep, obsess, complain and feel jealous and angry and sorry for myself. There is a fine line between venting and enabling negativity. I am working hard to find the balance. I want blogging to be a healthy, therapeutic thing for me again.

I’m still trucking along with injections and monitoring for IUI 3.0 at Clinic #2. Dr. Awesome is using a similar protocol to Clinic #1’s, except instead of Luveris to help out my super-duper low LH, he asked me to begin inject low-dose HCG on my fifth night of stims and also to start Ganirelix (to prevent premature ovulation) on my seventh night of stims. I’ve “checked out” (well, more than usual) and I’ve been letting hubs do the Googling and cycle comparing when I get monitoring results. He has also been taking the pressure/stress off of me with injections. He preps them each night (mixing up the low dose HCG, dealing with the Ganirelix, setting up the Gonal-F pen), and then injects me while I look away. It’s amazing what a difference it makes to take all of my injections in the evening and to have someone else worry about them for me!

I’ve also been focusing on being more gentle with my body. I’ve been doing lots of yoga, and no running. I bought a meditation CD aimed at infertility and have actually been leaving my desk for a half hour every day at “lunch time” (we all eat at our desks) and listening to it on a park bench. I’ve been practicing the deep breathing I learned on that spa trip with my Mom in April. I have not managed to chillax into a blissful Yogi state by any means, but I am really trying to be more “okay” with everything. The good and the bad. The happy and the sad. Even Steven.

Honestly, I know that all of the hard work I’m doing on myself hangs in a fine balance….the moment my cycle goes off the rails, or a friend emails with baby news, or whatever, I could potentially melt down. It’s easy to be Zen when everything’s going okay. Still, it’s more pleasant than the alternative—being a crumpled mess of despair no matter HOW things are going.

I’m trying really hard to take this cycle day by day dear bloggies. I’m trying to find my sweet spot.

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Clinic #2

I called clinic #2 yesterday to discuss “what’s next.” Do we need to do a second consult with Dr. Awesome before beginning treatment? Should we go right to IVF? What happens if I have a cyst? Should we try a third and final IUI?

The nurse was lovely and went through my file with me and answered all of my questions. She said Dr. A is satisfied with hubs’s SA results and my hormone levels from the fasting blood tests I did a few weeks ago. He feels an IUI is not a waste of time, but he would support our decision to do IVF, too. It’s 100% up to us what we do next. She went through the IVF start dates for the fall and asked me to call back as soon as we’ve made a decision—either way—so we can get the necessary meds ordered and paperwork signed. I also gave her all of the relevant details from this current cycle and let out a sigh of relief when she didn’t seem fazed by my number of big follies vs. low E2 number. (I’m sorry about this, but you should know that I am QUITE obsessed with my estrogen and will probably be talking about it for a while. 🙂 )

On Friday, when I got my E2 results, the only thing that prevented me from melting down at work was the thought that we could go directly to IVF and be done with this #@$^#* IUI crap. But the more I think I about it, the more I feel like we should probably do an IUI with Dr. A and let him get a firsthand feel for my body’s weirdness and response. Besides, he will have a different protocol (potenitally stepping up my Gonal-F dosing mid-cycle, not using Luveris, adding Ganirelix to absolutely prevent premature leutinization) and that could be helpful as a diagnostic when creating my IVF plan.

Plus, there is a chance this low E2 thing would happen again during an IVF cycle. IVF is not a guarantee that I’ll have good hormone levels, a fluffy lining and some good eggies. Everything is a freaking crapshoot, even IVF.

So I am thinking that we will do an injects/IUI cycle with Dr. A in August. (Hopefully my cysties only keep me on the bench for a week or so this next cycle?) And if that IUI doesn’t work, we’ll either jump into the September 12 or the October 3 IVF cycle. I have a fair amount of unused vacation left and want to take a REAL trip with hubs (not a wedding weekend trip where we eat all of our meals with place cards in front of us). So maybe we’d take September off treatment, take a trip just the two of us, and come back ready to IVF in October. (Side note: It’s painful to think about taking a voluntary month off, given all of my bench time.)

Behind all of this planning, excel sheet calculating, etc—I am almost ashamed to admit it—but, the teenie tiniest bit of hope is maybe-sorta-kinda blossoming. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s treating myself like a pregnant woman…no glasses of red vino after a long day at work, no runs along the lake, no lifting weights in front of the Today Show, no hot yoga classes. Maybe it’s the emails/blog updates I’ve been reading with “It worked!” updates. Maybe it’s the hope that we are about to begin working with a new doctor and a new clinic. But the moment I  start to feel hope, my face blushes red and hot with the ridiculousness of it all. I feel like a complete fool. I have visions of the Baby Gods Up Above shaking their heads and whispering to one another, “Poor thing, she actually thinks there might be a chance.”

I want this to be over. Over. Over. Over. I have never been so ready to have the luxury of thinking about something else, my friends!!!

PS Anyone seen Season 5 of Weeds? We have been watching the DVDs all summer and began the final disc last night. Darnit if the plot development isn’t a complete buzz kill. I mean…a show about drugs and pot where the lead character perpetually carries around either 1) a venti iced Starbucks, or 2) a bottle of white wine? I thought I was safe getting hooked on it!

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I wish

I wish I didn’t know my estrogen number.

I wish I didn’t believe this cycle was doomed before I even IUIed.

I wish that on top of IF, my body didn’t respond like a freak of nature to the meds.

I wish I had a few good eggs after my month on the bench, my two weeks of injections and my six monitoring appointments.

I wish I wasn’t scared to death that I don’t even have one in the bunch.

I wish I didn’t feel like I’ve utterly let hubs down. Again.

I wish I were the patient who didn’t have an “unusual” response.

I wish my big follies held healthy eggs like they’re supposed to.

I wish I hadn’t gone from feeling 80% filled with hope to 99% not filled with hope.

I wish this chapter of my life would be over.

I wish I could embrace any of the, “you never know/stranger things have happened/it only takes one/maybe there IS an egg in there” mantras floating all around me.

I wish I could think about something else.

I wish I could forgive my body for fracking up another cycle.

I wish a good night of sleep had made me feel stronger, instead of weaker.

I wish I could stop being so sad, scared, jealous, resentful, selfish, envious, angry, and afraid.

I wish I didn’t know my estrogen number.

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Starring….LEFTIE!

Hello bloggies. I had an excellent monitoring appointment this morning. My lining is up to 7.0 and….wait for it….triple stripe. HUZZAH! I am slightly concerned that the u/s tech realizes I’m a crazy, emotional fool who will turn into a weeping puddle if my lining report is not good, and that she’s inflating my numbers or taking four or five measurements just to appease me. But, whatevs. It’s totally working, I’m appeased. 🙂

It turns out my left ovary is working some serious OT this cycle. That’s great and all, but….crapola….the same thing happened last time I cycled (a super active left ovary with one to two viable contenders and a ton of little guys bringing up the rear). I’d really love the 14.5er on rightie to catch up. I’m happy with my lining, I’m happy about my follies waking up, but I’m still finding it within me to worry my left side is my….bad side.

Rightie: 14.5, 10.5

Leftie: 16, 15.5, 14, 12, 12, 10.5, 10

E2: 236

LH: 0.5 (it’s kind of ironic how the more consectutive days I take my PURE LH INJECTABLE, the lower my LH number)

I am to stay the course. 75iu of Gonal-F every night and 37.5iu of Luveris every morning. Back on Friday for CD17 monitoring. That’ll be 15 days of stims, folks. I’m going for a record in blog-land!

I swear there is other interesting stuff going on in my life right now, but, let’s be honest, this is all I think/obsess/daydream/worry about. One story for you, before I pretend to care about work for the next five hours. Last night as I was swigging my water while taking my cocktail of nightly supps—three L-Arginines, a Vitamin E, a Pre-Natie, a baby aspirin, a fish oil—dressed in a cropped-ish tank top that exposed my bruised tummy and a baggy pair of drawstring khakis that hubs not-so-affectionately calls my “prison pants,” he came around the corner, paused to examine the visage of beauty in front of him, and finally remarked that I looked “bloated.” What I heard was, “fat.” [Blame it on the Luveris, the inject that not only gives me bruises and stings like a $&*#@ going in, but also lowers my LH and makes me crazy.] Well, he was right. It turns out I am bloated, and I’m glad I finally have some follies that prove it. I hit the gym extra hard this morning but I realize my bod is a bit of a lost cause at this point in the cycle. Just saying….it is a lesson in self-acceptance to look pregnant when the one thing you most definitely are NOT is pregnant.

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