Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009 - my infertile year in review

If you've been around the IVF blogosphere much, then you've probably seen the tongue-in-cheek description of "IVF Barbies" that makes the rounds. My compressed version is below.

  • Newbie Barbie, AKA BabyDust Barbie, is a bright, perky, Barbie, filled with optimism and confidence that IVF Will Work. She is thinner and usually younger than the other IVF Barbies. Her accessories include rose-tinted spectacles, a pineapple, a positive bank balance, healthy insurance coverage and a million questions. This Barbie only says pleasant, optimistic things and believes that Attitude is Everything.
  • Veteran Barbie is the Anti-Barbie. They are a whole lot plumper than the Newbie Barbies, less perky, have a few gray hairs, a largely negative bank balance, plenty of bruises and marks and a cynical attitude. Their accessories include a wealth of knowledge of reproductive protocols, the ability to practically do their own cycle, little tolerance for stupidity, a well defined sense of humor, a fondness for wine/beer/crack and a strong aversion to pineapple, baby dust and Newbie Barbies.
Even though it took 3-1/2 years to conceive Waffle Girl, I figured I was still a Newbie Barbie because we got beginners luck with IVF back in 2007. But now the crappy events of 2009 definitely put me deeper into the Veteral Barbie camp. Hmm.. where to start?

When we first went to see Dr. Snaggletooth this March, it seemed reasonable to hope that we could fit in two IVF cycles by the end of the year. That's what my insurance would cover and that's the effort we were willing to put in. I wasn't greedy or naive enough to assume it would work on the first try (again) so I expected to do two rounds this year. But who knew there were so many ways to delay and screw up that first attempt?! Read here for a recap:

After 6 months down the tubes, we got an actual IVF cycle going in September. This one was really great, though, I must tell you. Not only did my ovaries give a stellar performance for a 39-year-old, but my response to the meds was even better than it was with the same dosage when I was 37. Instead of having 2 blastocysts to transfer, this time we had 6 to work with. The quality was good enough that the doc advised us to do a single embryo transfer and freeze the rest. Well it's a darned good thing we have those "extras" because the first one didn't quite work out. At 7-1/2 weeks it was evident that the embryo wasn't viable. I stopped taking progesterone supplements and miscarried naturally a few days later.
So 2009 was a bust. I am full of Veteran Barbie wisdom and ill will toward those who annoy me. And my level of black humor has gone up a notch. You can imagine how I cackled out loud when I popped open the latest vial of Lupron (pictured above) and noticed that is says "FLIP OFF" on the cap. Well, you don't have to tell me twice! I'll flip 'em all off! The doctors, the nurses, the technicians, the receptionist.. the pregnant ladies on the street.. the chick at my gym who complained that she had her second kid too soon after the first. Grrr.

But the truth is I'm still very optimistic and Newbie-like. We're in good shape for 2010. I have started Lupron shots for our FET in January. If that doesn't work, we'll do a second and then a third. If those don't work, we still have insurance coverage for a second fresh IVF cycle. If that doesn't work, then who the hell cares? I have my Waffle Girl and Mr. Foxy and that is enough.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

resuming awesomeness.. now!

Actually, the awesomeness started a few weeks ago.. but I was waiting until I saw Dr. Snaggletooth and had something reproduction-related to post. Various updates follow:

My awesome fitness/diet regime is perking right along. I've been going to my office gym 2-3 times a week. The first couple times I went on the treadmill I couldn't manage a proper jog, because I would get jabbing pains in my butt where all the progesterone-shot-induced welts were still hanging around. So I switched over to the elliptical trainer. Now I've lost a few pounds (less painful jiggling!) and the welts have gone away, so I can trot on a treadmill like the wanna-be hamster that I am. My pants fit me again and I feel much better about myself.

My awesome research proposal has been funded! Most of the actual work will be contracted out, so I get to be the fancy scientist lady bossing people around and taking credit for it all. Is it too soon to nominate myself for a Nobel prize? Hmmm.. maybe wait until after our first team meeting tomorrow.

My awesome hubby, Mr. Foxy, has been mysteriously and uncharacteristically helpful around the house lately. He actually baked sugar cookies with Waffle Girl one day when I was at work. I walked in the house and was utterly perplexed by that lovely food-like odor. In getting ready for the girl's birthday this weekend, he actually cleaned the bathroom; afterward, he did all the dishes and took out the trash. Lord, please don't let this be a fluke.

Our awesome plan to procreate again is back on track. I went in to see Dr. Snaggletooth a couple weeks ago, as required before starting a frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle. I went to the appointment solo, 'cause there wasn't anything major to discuss. Mr. Foxy is oblivious to most details of IF treatment, so I like to toy with him a little:

Me (coming home from work): "So honey, do you want to guess what the doctor and I talked about today? "
Mr. Foxy: "Umm, I guess you talked about how many embryos to transfer. "
Me: "Sure.. (curious about what goes on in his man-brain).. do you want to guess how many he thinks we should do?"
Mr. Foxy: "Well.. two at least.. maybe three?"
Me: "Oh, silly husband. The doctor and I agreed in about one-millisecond that we would do another single transfer because our embryos are really good quality. We'll only double up next time if this one doesn't "take". We actually spent the appointment with him explaining the timeline of birth-control-pills, Lupron shots, progesterone/estrogen supplements, and so forth. "

So that's our deal. I took my first BCP today. I'm supposed to start Lupron shots on 12/26 (Merry Christmas!), go in for baseline ultrasound and bloodwork on 12/31 (Happy New Year!), and I guess we're looking at an FET around January 20th-ish. Awesome.