Wednesday, July 29, 2009


So far, so good. My beta numbers have been going up very nicely and everything looks good. Right on schedule I've gotten exhausted, bad cramps, and nausea. It's like I'm pregnant or something! Oh, and my sense of smell is in overdrive. Teddy has gone to doggy play group twice in the last week, and I can smell her from five feet away. Which is really bad because she wants to spend all her time with her head in my lap. That is when she's not throwing up in the basement. That was awesome. I tried to help Matt clean it up, and he wouldn't let me. He said that he'll clean up the dog puke because I'll have to clean up all the baby puke. I don't remember making that deal, and I refuse to honor it. Babies throw up way more than Teddy does.

Yesterday I also had the interesting experience of reading that I was pregnant on Facebook. I haven't gone that public with it yet, so it was funny to see my brother in law put it up. Thankfully the only friend I have in common with him is Matt, so none of the people I haven't told yet are going to find out via Facebook.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Results Are In...

And they are positive! I am officially pregnant. I will go in on Monday and Wednesday for blood tests and then we'll schedule an ultrasound. Patients who've been through IVF, IUI, and the like, are monitored about every two days to make sure the pregnancy is progressing well. I'll let everyone know how things keeps going, but now I need a nap.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - One Day More

And now for the longest 24 hours of my life. I'm trying very hard to keep myself busy and my mind off the test, but I'm failing pretty spectacularly. I took Matt to the airport this morning and we did manage to talk about some other things during the drive. I'll pick him up on Sunday night and I'm pretty sure whatever the outcome it will be all we talk about on the ride home.

That might be a bit of a lie. Matt's instructions for this weekend are to have a good time, try not to stress out about this, don't get alcohol poisoning, and don't get poison ivy while peeing in the woods. We will be talking about if he followed the rules.

I've managed to schedule about 80% of my work day for the next two days with meetings where I have to be paying attention, so I'm hopefully that will keep my mind occupied. My office got an interim President/CEO who started yesterday and we're having all sorts of "get the new guy up to speed" meetings. All staff members also have to have a 2 hour meeting with the President explaining what we do, what our background is, and what our goals are. My meeting is scheduled for 1-3 tomorrow afternoon. My goal for the meeting is not to look like a complete hormonal nut case that has something more important on her mind. Also not to start crying.

It's hard to tell if Teddy is being more protective than usual or if she's just needy. She goes through periods where she definitely prefers Matt or me, and right now it's all about me. She has seemed a little more pouty than normal, but I'm going to blame that on the fact that she feels like we don't treat her as well as Matt's mom did. And we don't. She is a princess and has no qualms about telling us when we are not paying her enough attention and demanding more petting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Reading Tea Leaves

The wait till the blood test on Friday is making my hyper-conscious of anything happening to my body. Cramps - is that a good thing and a sign of a growing uterus or my body trying to get me to stop taking the hormones? Breast tenderness and swelling - sign of pregnancy or PMS? Related - are you serious that I did not fill out the top of that bridesmaid dress? Well, there's a first time for everything. Nausea - food poisoning, morning/afternoon sickness, or the worst case of nerves ever? Pain in my toe - Teddy get off my foot. And my least favorite and cause for some panic, spotting. It was very little blood and stopped within 24 hours, but still added to the stress. If spotting doesn't freak you out you're either male or lying, or maybe both.

I've been told that all of these are normal and don't indicate anything one way or the other.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Two Things

1) If I have a tomato and mozzarella sandwich for lunch and then bruschetta with tomato and mozzarella for dinner that's totally not eating the same thing for lunch and dinner.

2) The hormones are to blame for the following:
-Crying at the Harry Potter movie
-Finding deep wisdom in pop songs - especially Whitney Houston and Bette Midler
-Very detailed dreams that have involved me staring in movies
-Going to bed at 8:30

Five days till the test. Not that I'm counting the seconds or anything.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer On Sourdough

There's nothing like to me a tomato, mozzarella, and basil sandwich. I could eat it every day in the summer. Tonight I made it and thought I would walk you through the steps to make any that you make even better.

First, slice the bread (I really like sourdough, but any white bread would do depending on your preference) and drizzle the side you want the inside of the sandwich to be with olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Broil for a few minutes until light brown. Flip over, drizzle with olive oil only. Broil again. Try not to get distracted and burn and have to repeat.
While bread is toasting, slice tomatoes and sprinkle with salt. This will draw out some of the water and give them a stronger tomato flavor. Slice fresh mozzarella and salt as well (same reason.) Cut fresh basil with chiffonade and set aside.

Place first slice of bread with seasoned side up. Layer tomato, mozzarella, and then basil. If desired, add a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Enjoy! I just had my second on of the week. I used tomatoes and basil from the garden and mozzarella from the crazy cheese guy at the farmer's market. Now I just need another tomato to ripen to do it again.

Diary of an IVF Cycle - The Waiting Game

Today is the halfway mark till the pregnancy test. The nurse who discharged me after the transfer had written that my follow up blood work should be on the 21st, but that didn't make sense based on other things I'd read, so I double checked with my nurse and I have to wait till the 24th. I'm trying to figure out if I should have the nurse call me with the results on my cell phone and just leave the message there so I can check it after work. That would save any tears at work, which would probably come no matter what the outcome. But it also involves a level of discipline that I'm not sure I have. I'm not allowed to use a home test (the shots can give a false positive) and I had one around the house that I asked Matt's mom to hide while she was here last week. I realized that I couldn't be trusted with it once I made up a massive rationalization about how I would only trust the test if it was negative, and it would only be to help me slowly deal with the idea that it didn't work instead of it all coming at once. I couldn't even bring myself to try that one on Matt.

In the end I think I'm going to have to leave my phone at home that day. I don't know how to check my messages away from my phone, so that might be the only way. We're going to have a new interim boss at work who will be on his third day in the office next Friday, so I'm thinking tears and obsessive checking of personal phone messages will be looked down on. Also, I'm sure it will be written all over my face and I know my boss will ask, and while I really like my boss, I don't want him to be the first person I talk to about it.

Now that I'm looking at the rationalization, it really makes sense to me. Anyone else?? Dammit, how am I going to make it another 9 days? Where's Michael J. Fox and his time machine when I need it?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Brain Dead

I know I've been complaining about being tired, but it's really nothing compared to the level of brain dead-ness I am currently experiencing. After two rounds of anesthesia and a gazillion IUs of hormones, I am completely exhausted and brain dead. I've found myself staring off into space and you can practically hear the crickets in my head. If I have any thought at all it's generally "try not to drool on yourself."

But, oh the hormones. I'm doing pretty well dealing with everything that's happened in the past week. (One of the bonuses of being so out of it is that you can't have a proper freak out while so spaced out.) And then today came. I picked up Matt at the airport this morning and then curled up with him on the couch for a few minutes before going to work. I put my head on his shoulder and all of the sudden I was sobbing. Why? No idea. He wasn't hungover, he didn't smell like stripper, and he hadn't lost all our money, what more could I ask for after a couple of days in Vegas? I have also managed tears over a photo from Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, a glitch in the database at work, and being out of gum. Tonight I'm going to go home and curl up in bed and try not to cry when Teddy sheds on me. Hopefully tomorrow I will be back to just trying not to drool on myself.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Transfer Day

This morning I had the transfer. We ended up having two embryos available at transfer, so we put in both. Only one (the one that fertillized naturally) was highly rated. The second one had reached 4 cell stage, but is about 24 hours behind the natural one.

I'm now at home on bed rest for the next day. A few weeks till the blood test when we find out if it worked.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Numbers Game

So, I had my egg retrieval on Monday. They pulled out 8 eggs (and pulled is the best word considering the amount of pain killers I've taken since then) and Matt gave them his contribution. I really appreciate how no one (other than my mother) has asked about Matt's part in this process. For some reason his part is a little gross and unnecessary to talk about. Any hoo, 24 hours post retrieval I got a call from the doctor. The message was this (and I'm quoting exactly) "Hi Alicia, it's Dr. X. It's not a medical emergency, but I'd really like to talk to you as soon as possible." At which point I'm lucky my lunch didn't end up on my desk. After 20 of the longest minutes of my life, I got to speak with the doctor. It turns out of the 8 eggs they retrieved, 7 were mature, but only 1 fertilized. Both our parts looked perfect under the microscope, but for some reason they do not play well together. The doctor said there was no reason he could see for that to happen, but they have a plan should we have to do this again about how to try and make sure this doesn't happen next time. The doctor decided to do ICSI (stands for injecting sperm directly into the egg, but in Latin) on 5 of the eggs to try and get us more options for transfer. As of this afternoon, the one embryo we had that fertilized naturally had split into 4 cells (which is exactly where they want it to be at this point) but only 1 of the ICSI eggs had fertilized. The eggs need to reach a certain point before they'll transfer them back, so we won't know until tomorrow if we are transferring one, two, or none (both of our options could die before transfer). They've scheduled the transfer for tomorrow (Thursday) and I'll let everyone know what we end up doing tomorrow afternoon. My dreams of "Matt and Alicia, plus Eight" have been dashed. (Dude, I could totally do her hair a a Halloween costume.) And now I've just jinxed us with identical quadruplets from the one good embryo...

I do feel slightly better that there's clearly something wrong that they didn't see before (ICSI should have like an 80% fertilization rate) but at the same time it's a bit of a pisser. Of course I really shouldn't be that surprised because Matt and I are both seriously independent and I feel like our reproductive parts think they can do this all by themselves and don't need anyone else's help, thank you very much. We are very lucky that we don't actually have to do this by ourselves and have had great support from family and friends. I'd specifically like to thank Matt's mom, who not only gives shots, but is driving me home from the transfer tomorrow and taking care of me while I'm on bed rest for a few days. I'd also like to thank the friends who have emailed or called us during this process just to check in and see how we're doing. I think we're doing better than expected, but I've just had my last drink for at least the next two weeks, so check back next week when I'm losing my mind and can't have a glass of wine.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Egg Retrieval

After a trigger shot on Saturday night, I had my egg retrieval this morning. Everything went very well and they got 8 eggs. I was really hoping for at least ten (and had been told by the ultrasound tech that she was thinking we'd get 11-12) so I'm a little bummed. But then again, it only takes one. We will get updates for the next two days for how many fertilized and then how many make it through each day. Not all will fertilize, and some usually die each day, so it's a numbers game at this point. The doctors/support staff will grade each embryo each day, and by the time we get to transfer, they will implant the best ones. I'll let everyone know how it's going each day and what they're thinking. The transfer back happens on Day 3, 5, or 6 post transfer (I have no idea why Day 4 is bad) and today is considered Day 0. That means we're looking at Thursday, Saturday, or Sunday for the transfer.

This is the part where some of the really hard decisions come into play. How many do we put back (assuming we have more than one) and if it works what do you do with the frozen ones? We will definitely freeze any extras to save for another cycle, even if this one works. Apparently once they're frozen eggs don't age so in five years if I want to use them they'll still be considered 30 year old eggs instead of 35 year old eggs. The weird trivia that I now know. I think it's taking up the place where calculus used to be. For the record, we're planning on putting back two because I'm not going through all this to put back one. If we only put in one (and had the option of more) and it didn't work I would be really pissed off.

Today also marks the start of the countdown to the pregnancy test. It will be 18 days from today. Generally I would not tell anyone what it says, but let's be serious. If it goes well, I'll want people to hold my hand as I hold my breath for the first couple of weeks. If it goes poorly, you all need to know to send wine and tequila. Even before we started this cycle I had said that I would want to tell people early because I will be even more of a lunatic for the first few weeks. We know the heartache of miscarriage, and if it were to happen again I'd need all the support I can get. Some people might think of that as pessimistic, I tend to think of it as "hoping for the best but preparing for the worst."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Trigger Tonight

Happy 4th of July! Celebrate the founding of your country with a shot in the ass.

This morning I went in for blood work and an ultrasound and the results came back tonight with a trigger shot this evening with a retrieval on Monday. That means I'm down to my last three shots! Sweet! The tech doing the ultrasound said it looks like there are 11-12 follicles, which is good, and that they are almost ready to go. I am immensely grateful to Matt for coming with me this morning and letting me hold his hand, because the only worse than early morning ultrasounds, are early morning ultrasounds that poke you in your swollen parts. While I can't see the ovaries from the outside, I can definitely feel them when I poke my stomach. Also, my right ovary is the "powerhouse" ovary, the left one is a sissy. We're very technical over here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Better Than Bread Salad?

I know people aren't going to believe me, and this might be controversial, but I really think this might be better than bread salad. I think it has more applications, and is seasonless. Or good year round if you want me to use words that are actually in the dictionary.

What is it? Cobbler muffins. More specifically, muffins made of cobbler topping. I know, why isn't this something that they sell? One of the best parts, you probably already have everything in your kitchen. Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter. Go look, I'll wait. ... Do you have it all? No, margarine doesn't count. You need real butter for this.

You can use the muffins with ice cream, with fruit, or just eat them straight. Or you and your husband could eat an entire batch of 6 muffins in one night because they were so good. I'm just saying it's an option.

Cobbler Muffins
Makes 6

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

Spoon topping into well greased muffin tin, dividing between six muffin pans. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the tops are golden.

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Almost There

After this morning's ultrasound it looks like we're almost there. I have 6 follicles on the right and 4 on the left, all measuring between 14 and 16 mm (the goal is to get them to 18.) I go back in tomorrow and hopefully they'll be the right size by then and we'll be doing the retrieval over the weekend.

Much to Teddy's delight Matt's mom arrived last night. (For the record it took less than five minutes before Teddy got her first treat.) She's been kind enough to come down to administer shots and take care of me after the retrieval and transfer. She's also open to the idea of moving in with us if this whole thing results in triplets or more. I have a rule that the number of people in the house who can change a diaper cannot be outnumbered by the number of people who need their diaper changed. This will also apply to adult diapers. I'm just putting that out there now so everyone knows.