Monday, March 23, 2009

Here We Go!

My frozen embryo cycle has finally started. I had to go in for blood work last Friday to make sure my progesterone level was above five, indicating that I’d ovulated. It was 9.8, so I started the daily Lupron shots in alternating thighs on Friday evening. Next week I’ll start estrogen patches. They’re stuck onto the stomach, gradually increasing from one to four over a period of two weeks. At the same time as the patches, I’ll start the daily Lovenox blood thinner shots. My stomach will be a high traffic area….

Then five days before the transfer I add progesterone in oil (PIO) shots in the bum, antibiotics and a steroid drug. The latter two are only for a few days, but the PIO could be for twelve weeks or so, depending on the outcome of the transfer. I made the grave mistake of looking at the needle I’ll be using for the PIO shots – it’s huge. A 1.5” intramuscular needle just like the trigger shot, but it looks much thicker than the one we used for those shots. I’ve never done this by injection before, having opted for suppositories for the other two transfers. But, hopefully not to my great regret, I decided it would be easier to do one shot a day than three messy suppositories with the need to lie down for half an hour for each one.

This cycle involves quite a few doctors’ visits as well. In addition to the usual blood work and endometrial lining checks that'll need to happen a week before the transfer date, I’ll have to have my blood platelets checked three times, four days apart, once I start the Lovenox. We need to make sure I’m absorbing the blood thinner appropriately and that the viscosity of my blood is correct. But the pièce de résistance of all appointments will take place tomorrow with the insertion of a so-called Laminaria, which I understand is some sort of sea algae used to dilate your cervix with for twenty-four hours. It apparently expands with time, similar to those natural bath sponge things, I imagine. Lovely! The Laminaria is intended to widen my cervical opening and make the passage of the transfer catheter easier. As documented in a previous post, this was the problem at my first transfer last March and was the likely cause for the failure of that cycle. I’m not sure how the treatment will last for more than a month, but my doctor in Denver wanted me to do it this week prior to the start of estrogen patches. I’m going to make a wild guess: this will not be a pleasant twenty-four hours. My OB told me he would need to “pack your vagina with other stuff” to keep the Laminaria in place. I can hardly wait.

If all goes well, the transfer of our two embryos will be on Monday, April 27th. We’re very excited with a small side order of terrified.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I’ve been tagged by the lovely Sue and the lovely KayJay to share ten honest things about me. In no particular order, here they are:

1. I’m a walking identity crisis. I’m English but grew up in Germany from age five and am not sure where I belong more. On the upside, I’m extremely punctual.

2. There’s something weird in my personality: I’m terrified of flying, but all the jobs I’ve chosen have involved a lot of global travel. I’ve flown on all sorts of airlines, some more dodgy than others. My fear of flying developed before any of the four “overshoots” happened (landings cancelled at the last minute), but they certainly didn’t facilitate the recovery process.

3. Despite the chocolate and beer, I’m not a huge fan of Belgium. I was robbed once for each year I lived there (three). The first robbery was in Gent and I was held up at gunpoint in a corner shop when someone walked in to clean out the cash registers; I happened to be standing there paying. The second time was when I was mugged late at night in the parking garage at Brussels airport coming back from a business trip to Australia. The third time I was in my car in Brussels at a red light with the doors locked and someone put an axe through the passenger window and grabbed my handbag from the seat. I took the hint and moved to the US soon after.

4. I constantly feel guilty about the fact that my career drive has slowed over the last few years. I used to be a real go-getter with a lot of responsibility at work, but my work ego has mellowed since then. I’m still very keen on my job and working hard, but not at the expense of my personal goals. One of my biggest stress factors in the IVF process is making all the doctor’s appointments work with the business trips.

5. I had a beautiful little brother called Patrick who died in an accident when he was five and I was sixteen. It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

6. J the Elder and I met on eHarmony. After staying in several bad relationships for far too long, I finally realised that I wasn’t very good at finding the right kind of person on my own. It took me about two weeks to fill in all the questionnaires, but within three weeks of joining we were matched up in August 06. We were engaged in Paris in May 07 and married in January 08. First marriage for both of us. I admit to still cringing over how we met, but it worked. Two friends joined after they saw what happened to us, one of them is getting married this July and the other is also very happy.

7. When I married J the Elder I went from having one sister-in-law to having eight. My DH has seven siblings, all of them fabulous. Once I’d perfected the names of his seven siblings and their spouses, I went on to memorise the names of his seventeen nieces and nephews and two great-nieces and nephews. Before meeting his parents for the first time, I’d nailed it. I think I liked him.

8. I’m neurotic and paranoid about losing my two cats and probably should seek therapy for it. I live in constant fear that they’ll get out of the house and be attacked by coyotes (very common where we live). When I moved in with J the Elder, I went on and on about the need to be really careful with the doors and windows. Within two weeks of moving in, however, it was his beloved dog that got out on my watch when an air conditioning service person left the garden gate open. I had to call him to come home from work and we found her about three hours later. I was sure that was the end of the relationship…..

9. I really miss the running lifestyle. Because of our fertility issues, I haven’t run more than a mile since July 07. I only started running in 05 but took to it like a fish to water. Between 05 and 07 I ran several 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons, as well as the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. Ironically, I wasn’t able to run the Boston Marathon due to an injury I sustained qualifying for it in DC.

10. I’d be utterly heartbroken if I wasn’t able to make a Daddy of my DH. He’s unbelievable with children, they all just gravitate towards him. Watching the amazing bond that’s developed between him and his nearly 3-year-old nephew is wonderful and very touching.