Saturday, February 27, 2010

IF Buddy

I met up with my friend Ro at our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch today.  We used to work together at my last job, and after I left we met up for lunch to catch up and found out the we have a common bond, issues with TTC.

Ro and her husband had TTC for a few months, but no luck.  She was also experiencing some pain, but her OB was not very helpful nor too concerned.  Then she had found out that she had stage 4 endometriosis.  So she wasn't happy with her OB and wanted to find a different doctor.  I recommended Dr. Nice, the doctor that performed my laparoscopy and last hysteroscopy, to her.  She saw him and was very happy with him.  Dr. Nice performed surgery to remove some large cysts from uterine cavity.

The last time we had lunch, she had just completed her surgery.  She was put on 6 months of BCPs to see if her cysts returned.  After the 6 months, if the cysts didn't return, she could TTC naturally.  Today, I just found out she just had an ultrasound with Dr. Nice recently and her uterus is all clear.  Yay!!  So now she is all clear to TTC naturally.  Ro was told that because of her endometriosis, it could be difficult for her to conceive naturally.  She will try naturally for 6 months, and if nothing happens, she will move on to fertility treatments.

I am praying that Ro will be able to conceive naturally.  No one should have to struggle to have a baby. Though I wish she and I were not in the same boat, I am glad we are able to share this journey together.  It's so nice to be able to talk to someone in real life, face-to-face about TTC and actually being able to relate.

A wonderful thought came to mind today!  Wouldn't it be great if both Ro and I got pregnant right around the same time, her naturally and me via my IVF?  How wonderful that would be?  To be able to experience pregnancy together after struggling with TTC.  We both got really excited about the possibility!  I love my lunch dates with Ro!

On another note, my hot flashes kicked in again tonight as I was making dinner.  What is it about cooking and hot flashes?  Dang!  I should have just let my Babe take me out to dinner tonight!

I am still experiencing some mild headaches today though I'm wearing my Phi.ten necklace.  Just enough for it to be annoying.  Ok, 3 days straight of complaining about headaches and hot flashes is enough.   We'll just assume it's a given that I will have those with loopy Lu.pron.  I'll report on other side effects instead in the future.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Couple Conceives After 25 Years of Trying

Krissi from Stress Free Infertility shared today an ABC News article about a couple that conceives after 25 years of trying.
  • 46-year old woman
  • 25 years of trying
  • $200,000 in treatments
  • 15 failed attempts (various treatments, article didn't go into details)
  • Donor egg and donor sperm
After 25 Years of IVF, Couple Finally Conceives

Would you have kept trying?

Would it have been worth the time, money and heartache?

Would you have adopted?  They used donor egg and donor sperm anyway.

I don't know.  I seems like they were more interested in being pregnant than being parents.

I don't think I could have done it.  I'd be an emotional wreck, not to mention bankrupt!  Personally for us, if we had to do donor sperm or egg, we would have adopted.  It's still a possibility.


Headache, Again & Hot Flashes

OK, so much for no hot flashes.

Not such a good day for side effects today.  Headache again.  And just for good measure, hot flashes kicked in today.  I was making stir fried long beans and omelette for dinner tonight and I was sweating up a storm!  I felt like I was having a fever and was going to be sick!

I actually skipped my class tonight, and you gals know how much I love!

Instead, I stayed home and made some brownies with Valentine sprinkles, a belated Valentine treat for my Babe.  Then we watched The Mentalist and the Olympics women's figure skating finals on TV.  Korea's Kim Yu-Na is amazing and truly deserved the gold medal!

Thanks to one of my commentors (thanks, Audrey!) who reminded me of my Phi.ten necklace, I put that on and that seemed to help.  Phi.ten is a brand of products that promotes health, energy and well-being.  My sister and BIL swears it helps with headaches, migraines, and other aches and pains.  It has helped me with headaches in the past too.  It comes in necklaces, bracelets, tapes, etc.  Lots of professional athletes wear it.  If you are interested, you can check out their products and claims here on the Phi.ten website.  Here's a quote from the official Phi.ten website:

Phi.ten products work with your body’s energy system, helping to regulate and balance the flow of energy throughout your body. Proper energy balance helps to alleviate discomfort, speed recovery, and counteract fatigue. Athletes find that they tire less easily and recover faster from intense physical activity. Further benefits of Phi.ten’s exclusive technology are more relaxed muscles leading to less stress and a greater range of motion that can be of great benefit to an athlete or anyone in any walk of life

I don't know too much about the science of how it works, but it seems to help.  I'll have to remember to wear keep this on now that I am on "loopy Lu.pron".  I have the titanium X30 necklace pictured below.
* Please note, this is not a product review, just a personal view.

Oh, and one more thing, no more BCPs for me!  Last night was my last pill, so anymore side effects, I will officially blame it on loopy Lu.pron, until I start stims of course!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Just when I thought I was all clear from feeling any side effects, I got whammed with a huge headache this afternoon.

It started about 3 p.m. this while I was reading the blogs.  At first I thought maybe I was dehydrated from working out earlier, so I drank some water.  But then it got worse, so much so I had to lay down for about 15 minutes.  I even took some Tyle.nol and that seemed to help a little, but I'm still feeling it.

I'm not sure if this is from the Lu.pron shots, which I'm on Day 4 today, or from my BCPs.  Tonight will be my last night of BCPs, so we'll have to see if anything changes.

I do think though that I'm experiencing some warmness from the Lu.pron shots, though I still can't say it feels like hot flashes.  Just needing a sheet and only part of the down comforter while in bed.  I usually like to bury myself in my comforter in these Minnesotan winters.  No major discomfort yet so I'm not complaining, for now.

But the headache, it's got to go!

I finally replaced my library card today, after giving up on trying to find it since it went MIA a couple of months ago.  I figured I'll be needing some DVDs for my recovery after egg retrieval and bed rest after transfer.

I rented "Up" from the library today.  You can't beat 50 cents a day rental!  OK, I'm off to watch it with my Babe!
© Disney/Pixar

Show and Tell: Box O' Meds

Show and Tell

It's Wednesday, which is also Hump Day, which also means it's time for Me'ls Show and Tell!

This week, I am showing my Box O' Meds that I received in the mail on Friday.  These are the injectibles that I will need for my IVF cycle, including:
  • Lu.pron kit
  • Follis.tim pen kit
  • Follis.tim
  • Meno.pur
  • Generic HCG
  • Various types of syringes and needles
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Sharps container
This doesn't seem like very much, because thankfully I am not doing PIO (progesterone in oil) shots.  If I did, there would be a lot more meds, syringes and needles.  Already with this, I feel like such a druggie.

As always, go check out what the rest of the class is showing at Mel's.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sock It To Me February 2010

This week is Sock It To Me or SITM Week.  Thanks to Kym of I'm A Smart One, who runs this fun and wonderful event.  The Great Sock It To Me exchange is to allow bloggers to share the warmth and support felt from fellow bloggers by exchanging a warm and fuzzy pair of socks.  I suppose it's kind of like a Secret Santa exchange.

I am so fortunate to have received not one, but two pairs of really fun and funky socks from Lynn of Wistfulgirl's World.
2 Pairs of Fun Socks!

Purple Polka Dots

Rainbow Toe Socks!

I'm usually a "practical" person, so my sock drawer is full of white workout socks, and boring black ones I wear for work.  I've always been too cheap to buy fun socks.  These ones are so fun!  I am thrilled to get a pair of toe socks as I've always wanted a pair.  I can't wait to wear these to my next ultrasound appointments.  What a conversation piece it will be!

Thanks, Lynn for these wonderful socks!

Though new to the world of blogging (I started in November 2009), I am not new to the world of infertility.  After 6 years of TTC with 4 failed IUIs, one failed IVF and some time off, we were ready to jump back on the TTC bandwagon with IVF.  It was then that I decided to start blogging, though I had been lurking for awhile.  I only wish I had started earlier.  I would have never guessed my TTC journey would have lasted me this long.

In these short few months, I have found that this blogging community is heaven sent.  I have learned that:
  • Though it can feel lonely, I am not alone in this journey of TTC
  • The strength and courage of the women, and sometimes men in the TTC community amazes me
  • I have found so much support, information and humor here
  • A few words or comments from a friend or blogger you have never met can mean so much
  • You can have relationships with bloggers without having met them or know their last or even first names
  • Everyone's TTC journey is different, yet we can all support and learn from each other, whether it is infertility, adoption or loss.
  • This is a place for me to release my frustrations, ask questions and express thoughts that I can't with others in real life.  It keeps me sane!
I am now in the middle of my 2nd IVF and no matter what the outcome and next steps will be, I know that I can count on the this community to stand by me, and lift me up.

Now, go see what socks everyone else is getting at Kym's Winter 2010 Sockeroo page.

To OB or Not To OB?

So, I'm trying to decide if I should start looking for an OB.  The only OB I've been to is Dr. Brown (not his real name). I've named him Dr. Brown because he kind of reminds me of Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) from Back To The Future.

I saw him about 5 years ago after about a year of TTC on our own, and nothing happening.  I was looking for an experienced OB who specialized in infertility.  I looked around and found Dr. Brown because his clinic and the hospital he practices in is close to home.  He put me through some tests including an HSG and my first hysteroscopy to remove a polyp.  I was on Clo.mid for a few months when I decided I didn't want to waste anymore time and went to see an RE instead.

So now, with my IVF coming up in a few weeks, I am starting to wonder if I should start looking for an OB.  I don't really want to go back to Dr. Brown.  He was OK, but his experience, i.e. age also concerns me a little.  He seemed a little forgetful then, and I would hate it if he suddenly decides to retire.

A friend of mine also sees a doctor from the same clinic and it sounds like they want their patients to rotate to see all the doctors in the clinic.  This friend sees Dr. Pro (not real name either) whom she loves, and so I am thinking about seeing him since she raves about him.  I met him once briefly when visiting my friend at the hospital after her baby was born.  On the other hand, I heard that he specializes in high-risk pregnancies (which she had), so not sure if I would be able to see him anyway.  Does IVF pregnancies count as high risk?

One thing I'm struggling with is if I should just wait to get a BFP before I look for an OB.  I would hate to jinx it if I look for an OB too early. Does it sound crazy?

How early would OBs see pregnant women anyways?  I know my RE's clinic would do at least the first couple of ultrasounds before "graduating" to a regular OB, so I probably have some time to look for one.

Some possible options:
  1. Call Dr. Pro's office to see if I can meet up with him.
  2. Call my RE's office to see if they would recommend some OBs
  3. Call Dr. Nice's (doctor that performed my hysteroscopy and laparasopy) clinic and see if he would recommend some OBs.
  4. Wait until I get a BFP before looking for one.

Should I start interviewing possible OBs to see who I like?

Other miscellaneous stuff:
  • Today was my 3rd day of Lu.pron.  Can't say I'm experiencing much side effects.  Maybe warmer when sleeping at night, but I wouldn't call it hot flashes.
  • I started my 2nd pack of BCPs last night.  Seem like such a waste of money since my last day of BCPs is tomorrow night, so I only need 3 from this one.
  • Just found out from my brother yesterday that my cousin who got married a little over a year ago and is a few years younger than me just had a baby girl, a little Tiger cub.  She's got a full head of hair, which is not very common for Chinese babies.  A real cutie, looks like a doll!
  • We received our state tax refund in the mail last week, and has been safely deposited into our account!

So the question is, to OB or not to OB?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Photoshop Disasters

Here's something fun to kick off the start of your work week!  I came across this website called Disasters on

It is too funny.  These are real pictures found in magazines, newspapers, DVDs, etc.  I have to admit there were some I didn't quite get as the captions by the author of the site can be quite cryptic.

Here's an example of what you will find there.  This one's from Ralph Lauren.
This is 100% natural, really........ Yeah right!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Let The Shots Begin!

I started my Lu.pron (Leuprolide acetate) shots this morning.

For purposes of IVF, Lu.pron is used to suppress the ovaries prior to stimulation to prevent untimely ovulation.  This is important so the the eggs can be retrieved before ovulation occurs.  I will be taking 20 units of Lu.pron in the morning, for at least 10 days, then the dosage will be reduced later.

For a while there, I was confused if I should be taking this once or twice a day.  I received a kit in the mail that included a 14-day supply vial of Lupron, 14 disposable syringes with needles, and 28 alcohol swabs.  In addition, I also got an a bag of disposable insulin syringes that is to be used with Lu.pron.  It made me question if I should be taking this once or twice a day, though I know the nurse that did the consult with me said mornings only.  So I am assuming these are spare syringes, just in case I need it.

Luckily, I double checked the handout I received during our shots class, and it did say only mornings for regular Lu.pron.  Now if I were on the micro-dose Lu.pron, then I would need to take it both in the mornings and evenings.   Another confusing thing is regular Lu.pron does not need to be refrigerated, but the micro-dose ones do need to be refrigerated.  All these discrepancies got me a little nervous last night and it took me a while to fall asleep.

Though I have never been on Lu.pron before this, the shots are very similar to the Supre.fact injections I had from my last IVF cycle a year ago.  Small doses using a small insulin syringe.

The injection went well this morning, I did it right before we left for church.  I gave myself the shot in my tummy like I did in the past.  It helps that I have a nice roll of fat that is perfect for stabbing a needle into!  DH was there to watch and support me, though I think it was more out of curiosity.  He offered to give me the shot, but I said no.  It's easier and less painful if I do it myself.  He is so looking forward to stabbing me with a needle in my a$$ for the HCG shot (he won't admit it, but I can just see it in his eyes!).  It stung a little, I think because I hesitated a bit when sticking the needle.  But the medication did not sting when I pushed the plunger, though a tiny drop of blood popped up after I removed the needle.

According to Dr., Lu.pron's side effects include constipation, dizziness, general body pain (what the heck does that mean?), headache, hot flashes, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, stuffy nose, trouble sleeping and weakness.  Oh what fun......

I'm not one to experience much side effects when on medication, so we'll have to see what, if any side effects I experience.  Then again, it could also mean that I am just clueless and don't pay enough attention to even know that I am experiencing any.

What side effects have you experienced on Lu.pron?  I'll make sure to blog about it if/when I notice them.

ICLW February 2010

Hey, it's time for IComLeavWe again, also known as International Comment Leaving Week.  Time to meet new people, to find new and exciting blogs and to leave comments.   The goal is to leave at least 5 comments and return one comment daily, until the February 28th.

For those coming from ICLW, welcome!  I hope you make yourself at home and look around where you're here.  I'd love to hear and learn more about you.  If you are not already part of ICLW, make sure to contact Mel to be included in future ICLWs.

A little about me..... my Babe (DH) and I have been married for 7 1/2 years, and we have been TTC for #1 for 6 years.  We have "unexplained infertility" (I hate that term!), and have gone through 4 rounds of unsuccessful IUIs.  Last year around this time, we did one round of IVF overseas, but unfortunately did not result in a pregnancy.

We are now in the beginning of our IVF cycle.  I am currently on day 21 of BCPs (birth control pills).  I just had my first Lup.ron shot this morning (more on that later).  If all goes well, my expected egg retrieval should be during the week of 3/15, and my blast transfer would be 5 days later.  We are praying that 2010 will be the year for us!

I hope you stop by to visit from time to time.  I'd love to hear from you and read about your story.  Have a great week commenting!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Videos: How IVF Works

I realize that people that read my blog are on different infertility journeys.  Some are not even on this journey, but are here to support and keep up with my status, and I am grateful for that.

Those of you who have not gone through IVF may not know much about this procedure.  I found the following videos about IVF on You.Tube.  Since I will be going through this porcedure in about a month or so, I would like to share these videos with you so you have a better idea of what I will be going though.  Some of you have asked me what the IVF process is like, so what better way to explain it than to let someone else do it via video!

I really like this first video.  It has great animation and gives an overall idea of what the IVF procedure is.

The second video has more details.  You need to excuse the narrator's "dramatic" voice and Indian accent.  But it does have some good info, without being too detailed.

Hope you enjoyed the show!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Show and Tell: Chinese New Year Dinner

Show and Tell
It's time again for Mel's Show and Tell.  Sunday was Valentine's Day, but it was also Chinese New Year.  This year we celebrate year of the Tiger.

My Babe and I, plus two other couples and their kids celebrated by going to a Chinese restaurant and ordering a set family dinner for 6.  Here are some pictures of the dishes we had.

Peking Roast Duck

Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli (front) and Salt & Pepper Squid (back)

Pork Chops in Peking Sauce

Steamed Whole Walleye with Ginger and Scallions

Crab with Ginger and Scallions

We were too busy eating, and forgot to take pictures of the pork and watercress soup, and also the tapioca dessert.  What a feast we had!  I hope this has whet your appetite for Chinese food.  Not go check out what the rest of the class is showing.

Thank You, Insurance Company

There are only a couple of mail order pharmacies that my insurance company will cover infertility meds through.  I just got done talking to the pharmacy a little while ago.

I ordered the all the injectable medication that I need for this IVF cycle:  Lup.ron, Follis.tim AQ, Meno.pur and HCG.

Grand total I had to pay?  A whole $240!!  OMG!

I almost could not believe it when the gal told me the amount over the phone.  This is approximately how much I would have to pay for one stinking 300IU cartridge of Follis.tim!

Thank you insurance company!

I will be receiving the meds on Friday, and start Lup.ron shots on Sunday.

Infertility Etiquette (from RESOLVE)

I was reading through some postings on BabyCenter a while ago when I came across the "Infertility Etiquette" article.  I have read this before in the past and found myself wishing that everyone that has not struggled with TTC would have read this.

Not many people in my circle of friends or family know about our struggles with TTC, so it has been really difficult encountering some of the following.  I am sharing this because I know most of you have or will experience some or all of these.   Feel free to share this with others that love and care for you.

Below is the super paraphrased version of the article.  Please read the full article here on the RESOLVE website.  It's really worth the read.

Infertility Etiquette, by Vita Alligood
  • Don't tell them to relax
  • Don't minimize the problem
  • Don't say there are worse things that could happen
  • Don't say they aren't meant to be parents
  • Don't ask why they aren't trying IVF
  • Don't play doctor
  • Don't be crude
  • Don't complain about your pregnancy
  • Don't treat them like they are ignorant
  • Don't gossip about your friend's condition
  • Don't push adoption (yet)
  • Let them know you care
  • Remember them on Mother's Day
  • Support their decision to stop treatments

p/s Please feel free to share or repost on your blog.  Just make sure you link to the original RESOLVE page.

A Good Couple of Days

Sunday was Valentine's Day and also Chinese New Year.  For my Babe and I, it was a fairly quiet day.  Though we don't really celebrate the much hyped Valentine's Day, we did have a small Chinese New Year (CNY) Celebration.  I am ethnically Chinese, so I was missing the CNY festivities at home.  After church, we met up with two other couples and their kids for lunch at a Chinese restaurant.  Being that it was CNY, we ordered a set dinner which included pork with watercress soup, Peking roast duck, pork chops in Peking sauce, steamed whole walleye with ginger and scallions, stir fried crabs with ginger and scallions, salt and pepper squid, chinese broccoli and dessert.  It's not often we get to eat like this!  Then my Babe and I came home and took a nap.  It was a nice way to just relax and eat.   Eating is a HUGE part of Chinese New Year.

Yesterday I got a call from Nurse Mary that did my annual exam.  The lab had found that some traces of blood and protein in my urine during my appointment last Thursday.  She asked me if I had experienced any increase in frequency in peeing, or any burning sensation, etc, symptoms of of UTI (urinary tract infection).  I said no, in fact I don't even remember if I've ever had UTI.  So she sent those my urine out to the lab to be cultured anyway, just in case.  So yesterday (Monday) I got a call from Mary, they found that I had a mild grade UTI or bladder infection.  She called in my prescription and I picked those up last night.  Talk about great timing, because by the time I picked up my drugs, I was starting to feel discomfort in pelvic area, nothing serious but just kind of an icky feeling.  I have been told that I am lucky that they found my UTI early and and did not have to suffer severe symptoms.  I am on antibiotics for 5 days.  I'm glad it was found now before I start my IVF.  What great timing!

Today, I had 2 appointments at the Dr. Hopeful's clinic,  a shots class and a nurse's consult.  There were just 2 couples, we first watched a video on how to do the shots for Follis.tim, Lupr.on, Men.opur and HCG.  Then the nurse went over our syringes and pens to show us how to do the shots hands on.  We didn't actually inject anything, but it was nice to be able to touch and feel the actual "hardware" before we got them from the pharmacy.  The nurse also showed us where to inject intramuscular (IM) shots so our hubbies don't stick us in the wrong spots!  The other gal that was there found out I am not doing progesterone in oil (PIO) shots, and using Endome.trin suppositories instead.  She was not happy, and wanted to switch!  I felt bad for her and I am so glad I am not doing the PIOs!  I guess she is planning to talk to Dr. Hopeful to see if she can switch too!  I have to say I think my Babe is kind of looking forward to the opportunity to stick a big-a$$ needle in my butt!  I am doing the rest of the shots myself!  We left the shots training with a Follis.tim pen kit.

After the shots class, we met up with Nurse Stacey who did our consult.  My Ovarian Assesment Report (OAR) results came back.  
  • I had an Egg Retrieval score, or "chance of successful retrieval" of 9, which was "fair" .  This score indicates that there is a fair chance of obtaining 5 eggs or more through ovarian stimulation.
  • Compared to other women 36 to 40 years old, my egg retrieval score is average.
I'm not really sure what this really means.  All the nurse would say is that they would not be changing my protocol.  So I'm hoping that this does not mean bad news.  Ughh.... I don't really like the sound of "fair" and "average".  Why can't it be "good" or "excellent"?

We then went over all our meds, dates of shots, ultrasound and blood work appointments.   I start Lup.ron on 2/21, Meno.pur and Follis.tim on 3/5.  Depending on how my stims go, I could have my egg retrieval on the week of 3/15.  We'll see how it goes.  We also went over instructions for HCG where timing is crucial.  And of course my Babe will make his "butt sticking" debut.  I am expected to do a Day-5 blast transfer and I am hoping that we will have some embryos to freeze for future use.

Before we were done, Nurse Stacey also gave me my "goodies" bag, a bag with 4 boxes of FREE 300 IU Follis.tim AQ samples!  Woo hoo!  Free meds!  That's about $1,000 worth of free meds!  I was so excited!

In a packet that was sent to me earlier, it was indicated on the drug list that it was possible to get Vi.velle and Endome.trin samples too.  Stacey said she would check into it as they don't always get those samples to give out.  I asked if I should wait to order those, to see if they get any in later since I wouldn't need those till later in my cycle.  She said she would check another spot to see if they had any.  She later came back with 3 boxes (6) of Vi.velle patches and 2 boxes (12) Endo.metrin samples for me.  Score!!  More free drugs!  My Babe was quite impressed with the way I was able to "finagle" more free meds.  See, I told him, ask and you shall receive!  And I did ask nicely =)

After the consult with Nurse Stacey, we met up with Melissa, our financial coordinator.  We put down our prepayment of around $7K.  We had decided we were not doing the shared risk program and would be paying by the cycle.  We thought we would be paying for everything out of pocket.  But there was a surprise waiting for us!  

We were told we had a lifetime maximum coverage for infertility treatment of $5K!  We will have out-of-network coverage of 60/40 for the actual IVF procedure (egg retrieval and embryo transfer), but the follicle monitoring (ultrasounds and blood work) will be covered by in-network 80/20 coverage.   Plus we also had a $5K lifetime coverage for infertility drugs!  Oh, such awesome news!!  Even though it is not a huge dollar amount, it makes such a huge difference.

We didn't realize that when I left my job last year, and switched our insurance to my husband's company, the benefits started all over.  We had maxed out our infertility coverage at my old company, but now we start afresh!  If I had not left my old job, we would be paying out of pocket for everything!

I am having a pretty good couple of days.  Early detection of infection, unexpected insurance coverage and free meds!   I am praying that this is a sign of more good things to come!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

An Interesting Week

This has been an interesting week.

It started off with an appointment with the eye doctor on Monday, with my last being almost 2 years ago.    I'm fortunate to have had "almost 20 20 vision" and have not had to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses. On a couple of occasions lately, I have experienced "focusing" issues, forcing me to bring whatever I was reading further away so I could actually focus and read.  Of course this makes me think OK, I'm 36, and I hear that people's eye sight start to deteriorate once you hit 40!  Wouldn't it suck if I had to wear bifocals before I can even get pregnant or have kids?  Fortunately, the eye doctor said my vision had not changed that much and I don't  need eye glasses.  Woo hoo!  Good news there.

Then on Tuesday, I had an appointment with Dr. Hopeful for a SIS and a trial transfer, which went very well.  I'm all set to start IVF.  Waiting for next Tuesday for my consults with the nurses.

On Thursday, I had my yearly exam.  In the past, I have gone to a general practice clinic for my yearly exams.  I never really liked going to that clinic, since it feels like they are trying to cram in as many patients in and out as fast as possible.  This time, I decided to go to Dr. Nice's clinic, the doctor that had done my previous hysteroscopy and laparoscopies.  The clinic focuses on women's health and Dr. Nice is an expert in performing hysts and laps, in fact he trains doctors in performing these surgeries.  So I knew I would be in good hands, even though I had to drive to the other side of town for it.

I ended up seeing Nurse Mary, who is a nurse practitioner for my yearly exam.  I did not want to wait till March to see Dr. Nice since I would be starting my IVF then.  My appointment with Mary went well.  I did not feel rushed and we spent some time chatting.  This was a nice change.  We did the usual pap exam and breast exam.  Did you know that as part of your BSE (breast self exam), you are supposed to check the hollow area directly above your collar bone? This is where your supraclavicular lymph nodes are.  I was surprised by this since no one has ever told me about this.  I also found out that Mary had gone through years of infertility before adopting her oldest and youngest children, and had two biological children of her own in between.  I told her about my upcoming IVF, it was nice to talk to someone who understood what I was going through.  I am so glad I switched clinics for my yearly exam.

After my appointment, I went to the mall to do pick up a few items.  I had been craving Chipo.tle all week, so I stopped there to eat.  Unfortunately that place was packed and by the time I got my steak burrito bowl, there were no open tables available.  I looked around and saw a gal sitting by herself at a table for four.  I asked if I could sit at the table and she invited me to join her at her table.  She was waiting for two other ladies, her business partners for lunch.  So we introduced ourselves and started chatting, her name was Kristi.  When her friends arrived, they got their food and we started chatting as well.  We talked about everything, work, food, travel, etc.  Kristi' kids attend a Chinese immersion school and she invited me to her kid's Chinese New Year performance at her kids's school (Chinese New Year is Sunday, February 14th this year).  After eating our lunches, Kristi and I exchanged phone numbers and promised to meet up on Friday for the performance.  It was all a very weird because Kristi and I just totally clicked.

On Friday, Kristi and I met up for coffee before heading out to the school performance.  After the performance, Kristi and I sat in her van and chatted for almost 2 more hours!  We just seem to get a long really well.  Kristi is an acupuncturist and practices traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).  She had 3 miscarriages before adopting her daughter and then got pregnant with her son.  Both she and I have a love for food and sushi, her husband and I have almost identical jobs and her husband has friends from my home country.  I told Kristi about my IF journey and my upcoming IVF.  It was really nice to be able to chat with someone who has gone through the IF journey.  We are also now talking about working out together at the Y and going out for lunches.  I'm looking forward to hanging out with her.

This has been an interesting week of good appointments and meeting new people that have travelled the IF journey.  Things are looking up......

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tote Giveaway - We Have A Winner!

Thanks to all you wonderful people for playing in my first giveaway.  Your bucket lists are so fun and creative!  I really enjoyed reading all of them.

My Babe randomly picked Sarah from Infertility and Me for the winner of my first giveaway.  She has chosen to receive the Thomas Paul Tree Tote.
Congrats, Sarah!  You'll be looking snazzy with this tote!

These were some of the items on my bucket list before the giveaway.
  • Scuba dive with whale sharks (I attempted to do this once, but we didn't encounter any)
  • Scuba dive with manta rays
  • Swim with dolphins in their natural environment
  • Sky dive (again)
  • Bungee jump (again)
  • Visit Tibet before it gets even more commercialized
  • Take a train ride on the scenic railways of the Swiss Alps
  • Go hang gliding, parasailing, cave rafting, and Zorbing
Since the giveaway, I've been inspired to add these to my bucket list, thanks to some of your wonderful ideas.
  • Get a tattoo (still trying to convince my Babe to let me do it, maybe for my 40th birthday)
  • Go on a hot air balloon ride
  • Learn to speak, read and write Mandarin (Chinese) fluently
  • (Re)learn how to play the piano
  • Cruise and camp in Alaska
  • See the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
  • Travel, travel, travel....... 
Again, thank you all for participating.  It was so much fun and I hope I can do more giveaways in the future!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Show and Tell: Things Found At A Market In China!

Show and Tell
First, a reminder that today is the last day you can participate in my first ever Giveaway.  So if you have not yet joined in the fun, please do so now.  The giveaway ends tonight at 11:59 pm CST!

Now, back to business!  It's Wednesday, which means it's time for Mel's Show and Tell!

In the Spring of 2008, my Babe and I took part in a Ha.bitat For Huma.nity trip to the Yunnan province of China.  For those of you who like to travel, and would like to volunteer on an international trip, Habi.tat for Human.ity's Vil.lage program is excellent for volunteering your time and experiencing a local culture.  They take you to places most tourists never see.

On one of the Sundays we were there, our local guide took our team to a local open air market.  It's one of those markets where the locals do their grocery shopping, not one put up for tourists.  Needless to say, it was quite an experience.  There were a lot of very interesting items there.  Here is just a selection of items that I thought you may find interesting.

Bundles of tobacco (the Chinese love to smoke)

Another type of tobacco

Tobacco and tobacco bongs.

White asparagus

Red hot chili peppers (the real thing!)

Pick your own white duck.

Black ducks all lined up

Tofu (soy bean curd)

Pig snouts! (my favorite on the gross factor!)

Pig's blood, I think (another favorite on the gross list!)

Frogs, and I mean HUGE frogs.

Doesn't that just make you appreciate your nice, clean grocery stores?  

Ha ha..... Now that I've grossed you out, go check out what the rest of the class is showing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

No Vagina, Still Knocked Up!

Thanks to Babybaker of Venting Vagina for sharing the craziest,  one-in-a-gazillion-chance-of-happening, belongs-in-the-Ripley's-Believe-It-or-Not story about a girl with no vagina who got pregnant after oral sex, AND being stabbed.  Check out the story from ABC News below......

Wow, with her luck, you think she would have won the Powe.rball if she bought a ticket?

"Almost Perfect"

Here's the update on my appointment with Dr. Hopeful today.

Dr. Hopeful had Julie, the u/s technician do a vaginal u/s first.  I was told the u/s would be pretty clear so if it looked 100% perfect, then we would not need to do the SIS.  The thickness of the uterus lining was good, though I  did not ask what the measurement was (I thought maybe 6 mm? Not sure).  I have 17 follicles on the left ovary and 11, possibly more on the right.  This means I a good number of follicles that could potentially produce a good number of eggs for retrieval.  An excellent number of follicles overall. This whole time, I was looking at the u/s monitor, but could not make out anything other than my lining.  I wish they would take some time to show me exactly what they were seeing on the screen, but I know it's not standard practice.  I'm just a very curious person and like to know what I was looking at.

It turned out from the u/s view, my uterus was not 100% perfect, so Dr. Hopeful wanted to go ahead and do the SIS, just to be sure.  I was starting to get worried but she assured me no need to get all worked up yet until we can be 100% sure.  The u/s wand was removed, the speculum inserted (my least favorite part!), the cervix was cleaned out and the catheter was inserted.  She then injected the saline solution through the catheter.  I experienced some cramping, but not bad though.

Julie reinserted the u/s wand and the image of my uterus showed up on the u/s monitor again.  This time I could see an almond-like shaped cavity on the screen similar to the one below.  The image on the left is before, and the one on the right is after the injection of the saline solution into the uterine cavity.  The images below are not of my actual sonogram, just something I found off the internet.  I wish I had asked for a copy of the image, but didn't.
According to Dr. Hopeful, the uterus looked good.  Though not 100%, I am about "99.5% perfect" as there were some "fluff" in my uterus.  I guess it is normal when you are on birth control pills, which can cause that.  

I guess I also have an "easy cervix".  Sounds kinda naughty don't you think?  Having an easy cervix is good, makes it easy for the embryo transfer.

Somewhere in all the action, the trial transfer took place.  Not sure where, but I guess it was all rolled into one.  I had to wear a pad before I left the clinic as I leaked a little after.  I'm still a little cramped here and there, but not bad.  Felt a lot like when I did my IUIs.

So I'm all set for IVF.  "Almost Perfect" is good enough for me.

Next steps:  Shots class and nurses consult next Tuesday, a week from now.

**Note to self:  I should bring my camera with me to future appointments, just in case.  As I was getting dressed after the procedure, I stared at the u/s monitor and wished I had my camera with me so I could have taken a picture of the images from the SIS that will still displayed on the monitor.  

Monday, February 8, 2010

Appointment Tomorrow

I have an appointment with Dr. Hopeful tomorrow.  She will be doing a SIS (saline infused sonogram) to check out my uterus, to make sure there are no polyps or other irregularities before we start IVF in the next few weeks.  The last time I had it checked in August, the doctor said it was "perfect".  I  have undergone 3 hysteroscopies in 2005 and 2008 to remove polyps which can and sometimes do return.  If you are the praying kind, please pray that this sonogram will go well, and that Dr. Hopeful will not find anything unwanted there.  If they do, I may need to have surgery again to remove any polyps before we can proceed with IVF.

We will also be doing a trial transfer at this appointment tomorrow.  According to Dr., this procedure consists of a pelvic exam and placement of a tiny catheter inside the uterus to determine the direction and length of the uterine cavity.  It's supposed to minimize trauma to the uterine lining during the embryo transfer.  I will do a post after the appointment tomorrow.  Today also marks my 1 week of taking BCPs.

Last night, my Babe and I went over to my MIL and FIL's to watch the Super Bowl, and to take advantage of their Tax software. We found out that my Babe had forgotten to update his deductions on his paycheck after I stopped working last year.  He had paid too much taxes, so now we will be getting some money back from both state and federal.  I'm happy as the money will go directly into paying for part of the IVF cycle!

I have decided that I will not tell my Mom about our upcoming IVF cycle.  After our last incident with trust issues about telling others, it is best not to tell her until it is a success.  My sister agrees that Mom does not need to know or worry, and it will give me more peace about it too.

One last thing, if you have not already signed up for my first giveaway, make sure you do.  The last day to sign up is Wednesday!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Oh my!  I've received the Beautiful Blogger Award.  Thanks to Leslie from The Journey Through Life for this award.  I feel so honored that I got picked!

The instructions that go along with this award are as follows:
  • Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
  • Copy the award and place it in your blog
  • Link the person who nominated you for this award.
  • Tell us 7 interesting things about you
  • Nominate 7 bloggers
  • Post the links to the 7 bloggers you nominate.
Hmm.... 7 interesting things about myself....
  1. I love, love, love to travel.  I used work as a flight attendant and flew to many different countries in my younger days.  I wish I had the money and time to do that still.  There is still so much to see and do out there!
  2. I LOVE food.  I am a big fan of sushi and authentic ethnic food.  Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian, etc.  I love to try everything!  I love a good steak too.  I think about food.  All.  The.  Time.  I always have cravings.  Ask my Babe, cravings keeps me up at night!  Wouldn't this be fun when I am pregnant and have cravings?  I'll drive my Babe crazy!
  3. I am an adventurous person. I love to try different, adventurous (crazy) things.  I have skydived, scuba dived and bungee jumped, and I love rollercoasters and theme park rides, the scarier the better. I am hoping that I will be able to try hang gliding, parasailing, cave rafting and Zorbing some day.
  4. I had really bad teeth growing up.  Even though I wore braces for a couple of years in high school, my dental work started way before then.  When I was little, I had 4 extra teeth that had to be pulled to allow my two front teeth to come out.  Then I had to wear retainers even before I started wearing braces because my teeth were so screwed up.
  5. I'm short.  I'm only 5'3 and my Babe is 6'4".  We have a 13 inch difference in height.  People say that we make a cute couple.  I think they mean odd, but are too nice to say.  Dancing with my Babe is a real challenge!  I always joke that my Babe loves to be looked up to, and that I am occasionally his leaning post.
  6. I met my mother-in-law before I met my Babe.  Though my Babe and I went to the same college, we never met until later.  He majored in engineering and I was in business.  My MIL was a non-traditional student, she went to college after getting married and raising 4 of her 5 kids.  My MIL and I were in the same evening class though we never really knew each other.  When my Babe and I started dating, we arranged to meet my Babe's mom for the first time.   He said, "Oh yeah, my mom says she knows who you are.  You were her classmate".  I thought "Oh crap!  I hope I didn't say anything stupid in class".  My professor then was also my advisor, he and I used to give each other a lot of crap in class.  Luckily my MIL and I get along really well.
  7. I am currently not employed and I do not miss working.  My hope is to get pregnant soon and stay home with my baby.  I am finding that I am a much happier and healthier person after leaving my highly stressed job.
In returning the favor, I nominate the following bloggers for this award:

Enjoy the Beautiful Blogger Award, ladies as you have made the blog world a beautiful place.

Thanks again to Leslie!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I Don't Trust You, Bathroom Scale!

Do you trust you bathroom scale?  I can't say I do.

I used to have one of those digital bathroom scales, but my Babe decided one day he wanted to use an analog (mechanical) scale instead, and so he replaced it with one of these cheap Ik.ea scales instead.  I hate that scale.  I can never tell if it is properly calibrated, so I have to check to make sure the needle is at "0" each time I weigh myself.  It seems like I am always on one of those crazy I-do-not-trust-you episodes with my scale.  It goes something like this:

Gained weigh: "Damn it!  I put on weight!  Stupid scale!  I hate you!"

Lost weight: "What?  I lost weight?  No way, there must be something wrong with this scale!"

To be safe, I always weigh myself at the same time each day, first thing in the morning, naked, before I shower and after I pee.  Don't you just hate going to your doctor's and they weigh you fully clothed?  That's so stupid.  Do you know how much  your clothes weigh, especially when you have your winter outfits on?  I always seem to magically put on a couple of pounds at the doctor's office.

For the last few years, I have been 10 to 15 pounds more than what I'd like to be.  I'm not super overweight or anything, but according to the scale, my BMI is has always been 25.5, which falls into the overweight category.  I'm a pretty short person, so my weight tends to sit around my waist, belly and thighs.  Very attractive, I know.

I sort of gave up on weighing myself a little while ago because it never seemed to change.

Just a few days ago, I weighed myself and was surprised to find that I lost 4 pounds!  Wait, what?  What happened?  How could I have lost 4 pounds?  There must be something wrong with this scale (remember my I-do-not-trust-you episodes above?).

My BMI is now 24.8 which now falls in the "normal" category (BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered normal)!  Ok, I'm still on the high end of the normal range, but still it's normal!

Of course I checked to make sure the scale was properly calibrated, and it seemed like it was.  I had to check again the next day just to be sure, and again, it still showed that I had lost the 4 pounds!  I can't remember the last time I was in the "normal" BMI range!  I'm excited to have lost the weight.  It seems like my belly looks a tiny bit smaller, but I keep thinking it's all in my head.

So I've been thinking, what is it that changed lately that may have helped with my weight loss?  Most probably due to the fact that I am currently not employed.  Since I left my highly stressful job:
  • I have been WAY less stressed
  • I am a happier person
  • I am sleeping 9 hours or more every night 
  • I am sleeping better everynight (no more thinking about work!)
  • I have stopped drinking my (almost) daily medium turtle mocha, a whopping 580 empty calories a day!  Ugh! What was I thinking!!  There's a wonderful Carib.ou Coffee (similar to Starb.ucks but better) in the building where I used to work.  It was hard to escape the wonderful aromas, and I needed the caffeine boost in the mornings.
  • I have been eating lighter lunches versus unhealthy cafeteria food
  • I rarely drink soft drinks anymore
  • I have been working out at my, Latin Hip Hop and ocassional classes at the Y.
  • I actually have time now to cook dinner instead of going through drive thrus or ordering take-outs.
I'm happy I've lost the 4 pounds.  Could it really be true?  Please God, don't let this be a fluke, or that there is actually a problem with my stupid scale.  I would hate to find out in a day or two that all the weight has suddenly come back.  That would probably mean I am hallucinating, insane, or just need a new scale.

I suppose, if nothing else seeing the list of things I'm doing better for myself makes me feel pretty good.  I am hoping to keep losing the weight, another 5 to 10 pounds would be good.  Getting my body to tip-top shape before Baby comes would be wonderful.

I think it's time for me to buy a new digital scale.  I still don't trust my stupid el-cheapo analog scale.

A thought.... I wonder how much weight I will GAIN when I start my injectibles in the next month?  Yippee..... so much to look forward to..... NOT.

Friday, February 5, 2010

My First Giveaway!

Because it's Friday, and the weekend is almost here, it's a fabulous time for a Fabulous Friday Giveaway!  The folks as CSN contacted me a few days ago about hosting a giveaway for my wonderful blog readers.  CSN carries a huge variety of different products including mailboxes, housewares, home decor, shoes, bags, and baby and kid products... you name it, they probably have it.

After looking at the huge selection of products, I have decided to give away a cute tote by the designer Thomas Paul.   His designs are chic, clean, fun and modern.  Since I couldn't decide on which one, I'll let the winner decide.

One lucky winner will be randomly chosen to receive one of a choice of the two totes below.  The winner will be selected by my Personal Random Number Generator a.k.a. my Babe.

The totes are:
100% cotton fabric
14" W x 16" D

White tote with Black print on both sides and Lime Green trim and handle.
(simple, elegant, chic!)


Russian doll graphic
White tote with Red print on both sides and Red trim handle
(how cute is she!)

To enter the giveaway, just leave me a comment letting me know what's on your bucket list.  What's a bucket list?  It's a list of things you want to do before you die, i.e. "kick the bucket".  Do you want to learn a new language?  Skydive?  Go on a safari?

So, what's on your bucket list?  Just tell me one or two, or list me your top ten if you want, I won't stop you.  By the way, having a kid/kids doesn't count.  Oh, and if you haven't seen the movie, "The Bucket List" starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, you should definitely check it out.

Good Luck peeps!!

p/s If you are leaving a comment anonymously, please include a first name or nickname and an email address, just in case there are more than one person commenting anonymously.

**Open to US and Canada residents only.  Giveaway closes at 11:59 PM CST Wednesday, February 10th.  Winner will be randomly selected and contacted on Thursday, February 11th.  Prize will be sent directly to winner by CSN (I will need to give them your contact info).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Show and Tell: Angel

Show and Tell

For this week's Show and Tell, I'm showing the Pink Angel that I won from Kristin's giveaway at Once A Mother.  Kristin is one of the strongest women I know.  She lost her beautiful baby girl, Peyton to infant leukemia 28 days after she was born.  Once A Mother is a tribute to Peyton, and a mother's journey in life without her precious angel.  Please stop by her blog and say hi.
View from the front

View from the back

This beautiful angel that I won is made out of pink lace and must have been handmade because it is so delicate.  There is tulip in the middle of the angel's body.

I am adding this to my collection of Christmas ornaments.  I have a few different angel ornaments, but this one is special.  I will always think of Peyton, and remember the ALI (adoption, loss, infertility) community every year when we put up our Christmas tree.  As my Babe and I become parents in the future, whether it is through having our own biological children or adoption, we will never forget our infertility journey because infertility will always be a part of us.

Thanks Kristin for this beautiful pink angel.  I'm hoping that this may be a sign of a baby girl (pink!) in the future for us!

Now, please go check out what the rest of the class is showing at Mel's.

p/s  I will be hosting a giveaway of my own in the next few days, so please check back often!

Monday, February 1, 2010

CD2 Appointment

I managed to sneak in an appointment this morning.  Called the RE's clinic at 9:05 am and got an appointment for 9:45 am.  I'm so glad the clinic is only about half an hour's drive from home.

Got my blood work done today, no ultrasound though.  They took 2 vials of blood, one for my OAR (Ovarian Assessment Report) and the other for STD testing (standard testing for all IVF patients).  I didn't recognize the gal that took my blood today (it's been a while since I got my blood drawn here).  I didn't like Helga (not her real name) very much.  She's a little rough and didn't have very good bedside manners.  I'm not a baby but I'm used to nurses that are much gentler.  She said the usual, good morning, how are you doing, etc but somehow she just somehow wasn't very nice.  She didn't seem like she enjoyed her job or wanted to be there.  Maybe she was just having a bad day, I don't know.

I usually watch when the needles are stuck in my vein during blood draws.  Helga did that fast and hard, and it hurt.  Usually the nurses I have worked with are fast, but gentle and did not hurt.  Then when Helga switched the vials, she did that fast and kind of rough again.  I could feel the needle moving around in my vein!  Ugh!  At least she didn't leave a bruise at all in the site.

I also got my H1N1 flu shot, also by Helga.  That shot hurt too.  Needless to say, my overall experience with needles was not so great today.  I am hoping I don't get Helga very much for my future appointments, but I have a feeling that I'll see a lot more of her.

I started on BCPs tonight.  Looks like I will be taking it until 2/24.  I'll probably start Lup.ron on 2/21, but all the details about the meds will be discussed during our nurses consult on 2/16.  We are also scheduled for a shots class that morning before the nurses consult.  My Babe is going to be giving me the HCG trigger shot, which is an IM shot, so I want to make sure he knows what he's doing.  LOL!  Plus I am new to the drugs that I will be using, except for Follis.tim.

Next up: Saline infused sonogram and trial transfer with Dr. Hopeful on 2/9.