Lego Outtakes, French Cats and Meatballs Speech

To the untrained human, trying to get pregnant simply involves gettin’busy, knockin’ boots, makin’ bacon, the lust and thrust, the bump and grind, havin’ a bedroom rodeo, some hanky panky, gettin’ lucky, a roll in the hay, a good old fashioned shag…..

……but for those of us in the infertility trenches, we know getting pregnant means trying to hone your body into a perfectly balanced eco-system of hormones and chemicals you never knew you had while aligning the planets during a mystical creatures convention where a unicorn nods approvingly at you and The Cubs win The World Series.

It can be daunting.

For me, it boils down to having a constant stream of distractions, shiny objects and things to occupy my brain.  I share some here each week.

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We saw The Lego Movie last weekend and it was WAY funnier than I’d anticipated. It’s one of those great movies that have tons for kids and even more for adults. And, you gotta love when they take the time to animate some of the goofs that happen when they’re recording audio.

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A friend of mine sent this to me and I can’t stop watching it. The subtitles start in French but switch to English fairly quickly, so hang in there. Poom!!

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Harold Ramis died earlier this week. He was a comedy legend who wrote/directed/starred in so many amazing films that made us root for the underdog and question authority. He was also a really great human being and he’ll be missed. Meatballs was always one of my favorite films as a kid and this scene in particular was highly quoted in our house.

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Have a great weekend everybody – hope everyone’s great!

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Test Cycle: Results Starting to Roll In

So I’m at the end of the test cycle and we’re starting to learn stuff. Lots of stuff is looking good and thus far there are 3 things that have indicated that I’ll need some tweaking to the protocol:

My protein-C levels are slightly elevated, as are my antiphospholipid antibodies (say that 3 times fast: antiphospholid, antiphopholidaliheid, antiphosphiliphosenfeffer……) thankfully also called APA. This means I have an increased risk of clotting and the elevated levels may cause difficulty with implantation, and could also possibly be a cause of miscarriage. I’ll take a blood thinner to help with this, likely Lovenox. So….yay, one more injection! (I realize that they are just words on a page but I want you to feel the sarcasm…the deep deep chasm of sarcasm).

Also, I have a methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) deficiency. When the body is MTHFR deficient its ability to absorb folate (also known as vitamin B9), such as folic acid, is inhibited. Folic acid and B9 are both essential to the development and health of the fetus. So, treatment of this involves taking supplemental folic acid or folate and perhaps another vitamin (I didn’t get all that as I was standing in the middle of a grocery store taking notes on the phone – I think I did a fairly decent job otherwise).

It’ll still be another week or so until the last of the blood tests and the biopsy results are in, but so far no deal breakers, all manageable stuff. I did ask the nurse if the above elevated levels and deficiencies could have been part of why I’ve had three embryo transfers and no pregnancies and she said yes. It’s not a definitive answer as to why things haven’t worked yet but it’s at least information…..and information is good.

And, now we know we can do some easy stuff to try to have a different outcome.

Unrelated: I really want to see Non-Stop, the new Liam Neeson movie that comes out this weekend. That man can throw a throat punch and I like to live vicariously through that sort of thing.

 

 

 

The Endometrial Receptivity Test Can Suck It

Playing catch-up here – busy with a mess of work lately, which is awfully nice. I’m writing you from Phoenix where I’ve got some work tomorrow….it’s warm, and that’s like a reboot to the system after the Chicago winter we’ve had.

Last Thursday I had 2 biopsies taken for an Endometrial Receptivity Array (ERA).

As the name indicates the Endometrial Receptivity Array tests to see if the endometrial lining is receptive to implantation. (I encourage you to Google a more technical description to fully define the tests). Dr. Hail Mary wanted to run these two biopsies to see if anything was afoot in there since I’ve had three embryo transfers and no permanent residents. The test is done in the implantation window of your cycle (mine was done Day 23) following at least 5 days of progesterone (which I started taking back on February 14…..how romantic).

What’s the procedure like, you ask? Well, a speculum is put into place just like for a Pap, the cervix is cleaned off with a bit of iodine on what looks like a Q-tip on steroids, and then a pipette is snaked in. Once the pipette’s in place it’s moved around the lining and with a bit of a suction it gathers tissue for the biopsy.

It. Was. Not. A. Walk. In. The. Park.

Since I was having tissue drawn for two different test I had to go through this twice. (I’m not asking for your sympothy, just stating the facts….but it was a fucking crappy test). During the first one the nurse kept saying, “you are doing really great.” Now….I know that something likely needs to be said during these things, but perhaps me “doing really great” simply sprung from not swearing out loud like a men’s rugby coach or using my fists to punch at the table….likely “doing really great” mostly had to do with my ability to just lie still. I did get my deep breathing on – that was super helpful. If you ever have to do one of these just breath as deeply and as much as you can, it does make a difference – if not, you’re just…clenching, and that’s not going to do anyone any good.

It’s hard to explain exactly how it feels…..it’s loads of heavy cramping, for about 45 or so seconds, maybe a minute. Now I know that’s not a long time but if somebody had a pipette up your business and it was suctioning out bits of your endometrial tissue, 45 seconds is 45 seconds LONGER than you want that to be done.

The only ray of sunshine I can add is that 45 seconds really isn’t THAT long and when it’s over it’s over – instant relief. I think some Tylenol or ibruprofen would have helped if I’d thought of taking it beforehand….and afterwards I just had some lingering mild cramps (like a mild period) so I was fine. The tissue’s being sent off to a lab so it’ll be a few weeks before we know anything. We are of course aiming at a diagnosis of: Receptive. Though Not Receptive isn’t a deal breaker, it gives them info to work with and likely treat….so we’ll see when we see.

I’ll keep taking progesterone shots through the 25th – 1ml in the morning (right cheek) and 1ml at night (left cheek) – and then I’m to call them when my period ensues. Then it’s on the birth control pills, and if all these tests are fine then we’ll get started with IVF4 for reals.

NPH & Hugh, Ben & Matt, Isaac & Amy

To the untrained human, trying to get pregnant simply involves gettin’busy, knockin’ boots, makin’ bacon, the lust and thrust, the bump and grind, havin’ a bedroom rodeo, some hanky panky, gettin’ lucky, a roll in the hay, a good old fashioned shag…..

……but for those of us in the infertility trenches, we know getting pregnant means trying to hone your body into a perfectly balanced eco-system of hormones and chemicals you never knew you had while aligning the planets during a mystical creatures convention where a unicorn nods approvingly at you and The Cubs win The World Series.

It can be daunting.

For me, it boils down to having a constant stream of distractions, shiny objects and things to occupy my brain.  I share some here each week.

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Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris have both hosted The Tony Awards. Which one’s done it better? This is especially fun if you like yourself some musical theater.

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This one has a bonus: it’s for a good cause. Watch Ben Affleck and Matt Damon make fun of each other, think about donating to their charities and in doing so you’ll a) be doing a good thing and b) enter a drawing to potentially win a night of hanging out with the two of them.

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And, because tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and there’s romance in the air….here’s all the wonderful trouble some guy named Isaac went through to lock things down with his lady. Spoiler alert: she says yes.

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Get out there and have a nice Valentine’s Day everyone.

Hysterosonogram-a-jamma

So the test cycle continues and Thursday I had a hysterosonogram. I was asked to take a pregnancy test just to super dot the i’s and cross the t’s confirm that there was nothing going on in there and of course the one test I had at home ended up not working. So, I got up super-dupes early so that I could get on the road and pick up a test on the way to my 8am appointment. I mean, it’s the big city, most places are open 24 hours, but I apparently picked the CVS and the Walgreens that didn’t fall into that category…and while the Jewel-Osco I stopped at technically WAS open, they had no electricity. I was greeted by a shrugging and apologetic employee on the other side of the door….the other side because without electricity the automatic doors couldn’t open.

Long story short, there was lots of traffic, I had to pee, it took a long-ass time to get to Dr. Hail Mary’s office in Naperville (I usually go to the Schaumburg office, but that’s where he was on Thursday) and I ended up getting a test close to the office (along with a chocolate milk….wonder what that check-out clerk thought on the HPT/Chocolate milk combo) and took it in the lobby bathroom. Negative as expected.

So the hysterosonogram. Basically, it feels like a pap smear meets ultrasound with a little extra cramping. It was NOTHING like the HSG test which took a few years off my life.  I found this information on the interwebs:

A hysterosonogram is a procedure that allows doctors to examine the inside of the uterus and check for abnormalities with the use of ultrasound, which uses sound waves to produce an image.
 A hysterosonogram can be a valuable diagnostic test for a wide variety of problems. It can identify abnormalities in the uterus, which can be very useful in finding underlying causes for those who suffer from dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse), reproductive problems such as infertility or frequent miscarriage, or menorrhagia (uncommonly heavy or painful menstrual periods), and can help doctors identify uterine fibroids, polyps, or other growths, abnormalities, or lesions in the uterine wall.
To perform the procedure, the doctor begins by inserting an ultrasound device into the vagina, and checking for abnormalities in the uterus and ovaries. Then, a device called a speculum is used to open the vagina and expose the cervix. The doctor cleans and possibly numbs the cervix, then inserts a small tube through the cervix and into the uterus. The tube pumps a harmless, sterile saline solution into the uterus, which expands the uterus and makes it easier to see. Then, the doctor uses the ultrasound probe in the vagina to generate an image of the expanded uterus for a few minutes. After examining the image of the uterus, the doctor removes the probe, and the saline solution drains from the uterus. The procedure is usually not painful, but the patient may experience cramps similar to those that happen during her period when the tube is inserted into the cervix or when the uterus is filled with saline solution. If desired, an over the counter pain remedy, such as Advil or Tylenol, may be taken before the procedure to maximize comfort. This, however, should be cleared with the physician first.

The test went just fine and the doc said that everything looked beautiful, so that was nice to hear. He also gave me the news that the AMH and FSH tests were back, and as suspected (and as before) my AMH is a little lower than they’d like and my FSH is a little higher than they’d like. I’m 43 and the numbers are pretty typical for my age range. He wants to redo the FSH test next week – he said sometimes that number can fluctuate, so likely that’ll get tested next week or the week after.

The good news is that my antral (resting) follicle count was 11 which is considered good for a lady my age. The antral follicle count gives an indication of how many potential eggs might be produced during the cycle. Dr. Hail Mary liked that number and feels that so far everything’s looking good to get going next cycle.

Next peek in there will be Monday (Day 13 of my cycle).

Bosom Buddies, RadioShack & “Dennis Quaid is Here”

To the untrained human, trying to get pregnant simply involves gettin’busy, knockin’ boots, makin’ bacon, the lust and thrust, the bump and grind, havin’ a bedroom rodeo, some hanky panky, gettin’ lucky, a roll in the hay, a good old fashioned shag…..

……but for those of us in the infertility trenches, we know getting pregnant means trying to hone your body into a perfectly balanced eco-system of hormones and chemicals you never knew you had while aligning the planets during a mystical creatures convention where a unicorn nods approvingly at you and The Cubs win The World Series.

It can be daunting.

For me, it boils down to having a constant stream of distractions, shiny objects and things to occupy my brain.  I share some here each week.

*******************************

Adam Scott (Parks & Recreation) has remade three 1980s TV theme segments shot for shot….this is the latest….and it’s awesome.

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Last night The Super Bowl happened. Today YouTube is full of new commercials. Also, I used to watch CHiPs all the friggin time.

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On her show, Ellen gets up to mischief and from time to time does a segment where she sends a celebrity somewhere with a hidden earpiece…she tells them everything to say…there have been a bunch of them now but I think this one was the first….and it’s still my favorite.

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Hope everyone has a great week!

New Supplements, Tests and Fran Drescher

Dr. Hail Mary puts all his patients on the same supplement regiment…..and then adds to it as necessary once test results come in. So, I’m now on the following supplements:

Prescription Prenatal with DHA (continued with pregnancy)
Pregnitude Reproductive Support Dietary Supplement (includes folic acid 200mcg & myo-inositol 2000mg) – it’s a powder that’s mixed with 8oz. water and taken twice a day. (it’s stopped with pregnancy)
CoQ10 – 600mg/day (stop with pregnancy)
Calcium – 1000-1300mg per day (stop with pregnancy)
Vitamin D – 200-400IU per day (stop with pregnancy)

I’ve been asked to stop all other supplements (Royal Jelly and pycnogenol, which I only took during IVF3)

Yesterday I went  in for Day 3 bloodtest and ultrasound (and I met the most entertaining person even to put an ultrasound wand up my nethers)

Yesterday’s tests covered:

estrogen level, LH, FSH, TSH, thyroid, pituitary, prolactin, DHEAs, Testosterone and something that I can’t read…..because he’s a doctor, and his handwriting is…..stereotypical.
 

When I got there, my IVF nurse took me in to take some blood and asked if I ever fainted. I said no and asked if she had patients that did. She looked at me and emphatically nodded yes, then added, “most often it’s the men.” She then proceeded to take 4 vials of blood and explain when I’d be able to get results and how (calling in to a voicemail network).

And then I was greeted by my new U/S (ultrasound) tech….who for some reason reminded me of Fran Dreshcer, minus the accent and nasal laugh….I think it was the hair and no-nonsense attitude. I was on the table and she started the ultrasound – said everything looked fine as she counted my follicles and checked my lining. I asked her something and she went on an amazing run of an answer about how great Dr. Hail Mary is, how he’s very aggressive with his treatments and straight-forward with his patients, how she’s seen him get people pregnant that had everything against them, how/where/when I’ll get all my information, what the hysterosonogram will be like that I have to get soon, how she’s going to try her best to schedule it because the doctor’s schedule is full and he’s at conferences in February, how her mother had a straight-forward doctor and she didn’t like him but he was the best and something and something and something.

Somewhere in the midst of that she dropped a well-placed F bomb and it was then that I knew we’d get along just fine.

OH – and that entire conversation took place while she was holding the U/S wand as I’m on a table in a dimly lit room….so it was hard not to laugh at the ridiculousness of the scenario.

She was great though, she was so encouraging and I look forward to seeing her many times throughout these next few months….must remember not to call her Fran.

By day’s end I had some of the results:

my once slightly elevated Prolactin is now in the normal range at 17.07, TSH 2.57 and DHEAS 83 (I didn’t write down estrogen and progesterone but they were both normal). I will have to call in next week to get results on ovarian reserve and autoimmune stuff…..and I’m now waiting to hear if I can be squeezed in for that Hysterosonogram early next week. It has to be done Day 6-12 and I’m out of town Days 10-12…..and the doc’s schedule is packed. So, fingers are crossed that Fran (must remember not to call her Fran) will indeed make something work.

Since this is a “test” cycle to see what’s happening in there, I started estradiol (estrogen) last night and will do progesterone shots the 2nd half of the cycle. I’ll talk about the various tests as I have them this month….the hysterosonogram, a couple of biopsies, etc.

And yes, I could harp on “why didn’t some of these tests happen before” but why do that to myself.

For reals. Why.

Instead, we’re excited to do them now and rock out IVF4.