A Photo Tour of My JuJu

First thing is first…

Yesterday morning, around 10:15, these two beauties were transferred back to me:

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2 strong little 8-cell embryos. The embryologist did not provide a “grading.” I asked if they were good and strong and she replied that they were. That was enough for me. I don’t think people at infertility clinics make a habit of giving their patients false hope. And anyway, they were the two strongest. One of the other 4 stopped dividing, and the last was a 6-cell which they will continue to monitor. I’m leaning toward not freezing it, but will wait for the embryology report on Tuesday.

So here I am, officially in my two week wait, which as we all know is probably the hardest part. There are no more ultrasounds for updates, no more daily trips to see the doctor. So of course I feel the need to take some control and “do” something. Enter: my juju.

Now, I am not a particularly religious person, but I do believe is some sort of higher being, and in other “forces” working for and against us in the universe. Juju is a West African (as far as I know) word that describes an amulet of superstitious power. So here is some of the JuJu on which I am relying during these next two weeks, followed by descriptions:

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1. Pineapple Core There is actually some science behind this one. Many-a-blogger (including myself) have dedicated entries to the almighty pineapple core. I ate 1/5 of a pineapple yesterday (on transfer day), and will continue to eat one piece for the next 4 days. Also, pineapples are a sign of welcome, so, “Welcome home, Embies! Please settle in here for the next 9 months or so!” In this picture, the pineapple is upside down to help ripen it faster and more evenly.

2. Sandstone Vase From Sedona, AZ My parents have been to Sedona a number of times and on their last trip, my mom came home with this little token for me. I figured she just thought it was pretty (it is!), but just the other day, she referred to “the fertility vase I bought you in Sedona.” And then upon seeing my confused face, added, “but I don’t think I ever told you it was for fertility.” Sedona is said to have healing powers, and Kokopelli (the cute little dude featured on this vase) is a symbol of fertility, so it all makes sense. Immediately, I cleaned it out (more like just blew the dust out and into my eyes), and placed it by my pillow on my nightstand. Inside, I placed a piece of rose quartz (also from my mom), which is a gem stone that is said to have some hidden fertility magic. I brought the quartz with me to the transfer yesterday and held on to it the whole time.

3. Lentil Soup On a list of implantation friendly foods that I found, lentils are number 1. I’m also pretty sure that lentils are good luck in some cultures. We also know that a warm uterus is a much more inviting place for embryos and blasts to set up shop, so soups and stews should always be on the 2WW menu! Sooo, the night before transfer, I made this big pot of homemade lentil soup out of all organic ingredients. And it actually tastes amazing! It will be my lunch until I run out. Added bonus: contains spinach, another ingredient on the list!

4. Fertility Affirmations I really believe in a mind / body connection. So as silly as I felt at first listening to an Australian woman say things like, “My IVF treatments are easy and successful. I am pregnant. My hormones are in perfect balance. My womb is ready to accept a strong healthy baby,” etc., I really do put a lot of stake in it. I have had a lot of self defeating talk in my life (“I know it’s going to be hard to get pregnant,” “I hate my reproductive system; it’s defective,” etc.) and I really think I did a lot of damage when I talked like that. Of course I did it as a defense mechanism, but lo and behold! — it did not defend me from $h!t. So… fertility affirmations all the way, baby! No use being negative now!

And there you have it, a tour of my 2ww juju. 🌠

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Gettin’ Ready for T Day

Tomorrow is my Day 3 transfer of two embryos! (WHAT?!? WOOHOO! COME ON, LITTLE EMBIES! STAY STRONG & HEALTHY!) <– (because clearly they are reading my blog, and or have some superhuman way of already knowing what I am thinking and feeling).

We are scheduled at 10 AM, and then R is dropping me off home for total rest and relaxation while he goes to work. I'm running out to the store tonight to prep for must haves.

So what are the must haves?

I’ve got my pineapple ripening on the counter (my mom thinks I’m nuts but is happy to cut it up for me anyway).

But other than the pineapple core, what else do I need to keep in mind tomorrow and during my special IVF two week wait?

* What worked for you?
* What do you swear by?
* What do you avoid at all costs?

Lay it on me kids; foods, strategies, visualizations, meditations… let’s hear it all! Gotta make a comfy home for these little ones, so they’ll want to stay!!! 😊

Some Retrieval Results

6 eggs retrieved
4 eggs fertilized
We will do a 3 day transfer on Saturday with two of the embryos.

I am ridiculously nervous that we are doing a day 3 transfer. I am hoping it is only because of the low number of fertilized embryos (4) and not because of the quality of the embryos.

I have read the 3 day success stories online but I still feel somewhat defeated at this point. Not even hoping for any frosties, just want two healthy implantable embryos for Saturday.

This Poor Provincial Life

More on the retrieval when I’m not so tired, but for now…

The opening number from Beauty & the Beast is running through my head. Why? In that song, Belle wanders through town on the way to the library, encountering many people she has known since childhood. At one point, a frantic woman runs across yelling, “I NEED SIX EGGS!!!.

Well that’s how many eggs were retrieved today. And since I heard this news, I have had this song in my head.

I would be lying if I said I was thrilled with this number; of course I was hoping for more. But I also know that I am lucky to have 6, and that it only takes one good quality egg. So I’m staying hopeful and optimistic and eagerly waiting I hear about the fertilization tomorrow.

T Minus 12 Hours

I just can’t believe my retrieval is tomorrow morning!!! Of course there are the expected feelings: nervous, excited, hopeful.

Tomorrow we will have an answer to the important question: How many eggs? (Then of course there will be some waiting before we know how many of those fertilize). But at least we get some info tomorrow. ER day is a big day in the life of an IVFer and I just can’t believe it’s tomorrow!!!

A little anxious about getting R’s sample to the clinic within the allotted hour; we can’t hit any traffic if we are going to make that happen. He just can’t, well, “produce” as they say at the clinic, unless he’s home, and of course I don’t want him to feel any unnecessary pressure. I do feel bad for the guys when it comes to producing on command!!!

Last but not least, I am a hoarder of comfy socks. My sister knows this and bought me this awesome pair a while back. I’ve been saving them for a special occasion, and tomorrow definitely qualifies.

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Oh, and PS as a follow up to yesterday’s vent post about R, we had a little chat. Well, first I was completely passive aggressive but then I explained what I was feeling. He was understanding and I realized that I was fine with him going to work for a few hours once I had that reassurance from him. So, like the socks say… Life is Good.

2 Triggers and a Stupid Husband

Stick with me, gals. This is a little long winded (i.e. venting about hubs!) but I have GOT to get this out. Here goes.

Doc ordered 225 iu of Follistim for late this afternoon for one last “push” on those follicles (P.S. There were 12 measurable this AM on Day 10 ultrasound, and endo was 11.6 – yippee!!!).

Just before writing this, I gave myself 2 trigger shots: Lupron and HCG. And that’s that… 36 hours from now I’ll be, as I’ve grown fond of saying, laying my eggs. This brings us to Wednesday morning.

R has known “Wednesday” was the “probably” day for at least 3 days now. He has it in texts from me and we’ve had conversations about it. So imagine my utter hormonal chagrin when:
Me: We have to be there by 8:30 on Wednesday, so I’d like to leave around 6:45.
R: Wait, what day?
Me: Wednesday.
R: …oh… I thought it was Thursday.
Me: (Calmly) We had several conversations about Wednesday. Thursday has never even been mentioned. (Show him text that confirms Wednesday, with his response that says, “Got it!”)
R: I have to work a party and family night at the club. (He is a manager at a country club during the summer- he is obsessed with this job and this has been a point of contention in our relationship for years).
Me: …
R: I guess I’ll figure something out.

What??!? Doesn’t he mean, “Oh my god, I got all mixed up. I’m so sorry! Of course I will get my shifts covered so I can be there for you on the one day you have needed me during this whole process, which by the way, I think you are so strong and amazing for going through!” Isn’t that what he meant?!?

Cut to: I call my sister, RN, and she is off that day. She agrees without hesitation to come take care of me and the pup when R goes to work… And I bet she will even give me my progesterone shot in the butt without flinching, too.

But something doesn’t feel right. As much as I love my sister and am excited to spend time with her, I was still annoyed and seething that R didn’t want to be there for me. My god, I would take a week or more off of work to care for him if he needed it. I want the comfort of my husband, who, ya know, is supposed to be part of this process.

I can’t let it go, so a little while later I say, “Can I be honest? I really want you here with me on Wednesday. I’m trying to be reasonable and help you out by getting my sister over here, but that wasn’t what I had in mind.”
R: The procedure is first thing in the morning. I figured by 3:00, you’d —”
H: It’s one day.
R: (annoyed) OK, fine.

So now I “got what I wanted,” but not at all in the way I wanted it. Now I don’t even want him to stay home. I would much rather have my sister here.

Ladies, are my crazy hormones taking over? Am I back on the train to Crazy-Town? I don’t know what to do. Did I make a big deal out of nothing? Should I tell him forget it and go to work? I wish he would at least try to “get it” a little more, but I do feel like I’m going through this alone at times. I need to feel loved and calm and comforted. Now I just feel like a nuisance.

Fertility Clinic Humor

7:27 AM

*this doc happens to be my favorite and he also happens to be a really soft spoken and handsome guy! *

Dr. D: Look at that, all of your follicles lined up in a nice neat row!
Me: Oh, good, they all must have OCD, just like me. They are already taking after me.
everyone in room has a good little chuckle

I never thought I’d be joking about microscopic potentially life producing little fluid filled sacs before my morning cup of [decaf] coffee. Boy have times changed! 🙂

Day 9… Jumping Uterine Lining!

Day 9 Quick Update:
Uterine Lining: 12 mm (Whoa baby, that’s quite a jump from yesterday’s 8.5). I tried not to google this but I was unsuccessful. Of course I ended up finding all sorts of conflicting information. Some of it made me worry and some of it made me feel better. What do your docs say about endometrium thickness?!?

Follicles: Still 10 of those strong cuties in there! Now we are ranging from 11 – 18! There were a couple of 16s in there which I was happy about, too.
My right ovary is tending to make the plumper follicles, while the left ovary is making more follicles in general. As a team, I feel they are really rallying to go for both quality and quantity. So today, I’d like to take a quick pause to appreciate my ovaries. Honestly, I think they are working their a$$es off!

Day 9 Stims: doc is bumping to

— 225 Follistim!!! (This is up from yesterday’s 150!)
— 150 Menopur
— Cetrotide

I told her I would be out of Menopur and Cetrotide after tonight and she told me NOT to order a refill because she is almost positive that I will trigger tomorrow. Which means I go in to lay my eggs on Wednesday.

I am getting excited and hopeful, which I know is dangerous. But it is so much more fun than anxious and worried… so I’m gonna ride this wave of optimism. 🌊😄 (<— me enjoying the ride).

Stims, Day 8

OK, gals, we can all breathe a sigh of relief: my eggs are still in there.  {Phew!}  None of them have jumped ship, managed to fall out, or vanished into thin air, in spite of my anxiety, worry, and injectable troubles!  Yay for growing follicles!!!  Seriously, a HUGE sigh of relief over here (for now, until the next obstacle, I’m sure!).

 

So, here are my Stim day 8 stats:

uterine lining: 8.5 mm

follicles: 10 front runners!  They range from 9-15 mm.

I think these numbers are perfectly average, and that is just fine with me.  The doctor was alone in the ultrasound room today and actually had me record all of my numbers, which I LOVED!  She predicts egg retrieval for Wednesday.

Also, my stim protocol is changing slightly tonight:

Follistim: 150 iu

Menopur: 150 iu

Cetrotide: one dose (can’t remember dosing on this right now and too lazy to look it up… does .25 mg sound right?!?)

 

Feeling the same as the past two days – a little bloated and the tiniest bit tender, but nothing major.  I guess the more intense effects were growing pains the day after my first dose increase.  So I have arrived safely back from Crazy-Town.  For now.  😛

Follistim Foil! (And Day 7 Stim Update)

Tonight’s injection saga is brought to you by: FOLLISTIM

I will start by saying that I know there is extra in each vial. However, I didn’t think there would be a WHOLE DOSE?!?

My cartridges are 600 iu. My dose is 100 iu. Tonight I got an entire 7th dose out. Which OF COURSE immediately made me think I didn’t give myself the full 100. (“Did I double check the window? Was I paying attention?”)

My very quick and frantic google search yielded some peace of mind, as at least one or two other people reported getting 700 iu out of a 600 iu vial. Needless to say, I will be switching to a new cartridge tomorrow, as I’m sure switching mid-dose would be riddled with more chaos of some sort. At least the Cetrotide went well tonight.

Only 12 hours until I [hopefully] have medical assurance that I’m doing just fine. Holding my breath until ultrasound and bloodwork tomorrow!!!

How I’m Feeling on Day 7: A little tender when I sit but nothing compared to yesterday. A light twinge here and there. Tired. Anxious (duh!!!).