Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Two Steps Forward

...and one month back.

It looks like we'll be cycling for IVF in July instead of June. I had my dates all messed up and didn't realized that the ER and ET for the June cycle falls dangerously close to the dates of our church camp. I haven't missed church camp since I was nine and we've already made a commitment to be there; so we had to make the choice to either speed up the process and cycle at the begining of May, or to slow it down and cycle at the end of July.

Why July and not May? Because we just aren't ready yet. If we cycle in May, I'd be starting meds in less than 3 weeks. That's just way to soon for us. We've been trying so hard to get ourselves healthy and our hearts in order, so pushing our cycle down to July was a fairly easy decision to make. It just gives us one more month to reach all of our goals before we start IVF.

We've sort of taken a step backwards in this process, but I still feel like we're moving forward. I've already lost four pounds and am on my way to being a much better incubator! Since the statistics for miscarriage and premature babies are higher with ART treatments than with natural pregnancies, it's really important for me to be as healthy as I possibly can before I have a blessing (or two) growing in my belly.

So far I've experienced a surprisingly smooth transition while switching my addiction of Frappachino's to Cycling, Kickboxing and Zumba classes. I love them, and I love how I feel afterwards (which is more than I can say for Frappachinos). We're also going as organic as we can afford with our food and cleaning products. Green is good. I've always wanted to make the change, and now I have the determination and a specific timeline to keep me seriously motivated.

So July it is-and with God's grace we'll be ready for it. I'll be 13 pounds lighter and the healthiest, happiest, most lean, green, organic baby growing machine you've ever seen!

"A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."
-General George S. Patton

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I tried to pay for my semi-stolen Frappachino today, but Starbucks wasn't having it. Just wanted you to know!

In other news; thanks to my ridiculously generous parents who are letting us borrow the funds we need to get this party started, we have given the required deposit and set an appointment with the nurse coordinator for April 6th. In a little more than two weeks I'll have my med list, protocol, and official schedule for IVF.



The money aspect still makes me nervous, especially during this flailing economy. Our plan was to purchase a lot and build our first home this spring, not buy an attempt at having a child.

But plans change.

And of course there is the unavoidable anxiety of having a child. Whether you plan a pregnancy that happens naturally or a pregnancy that costs you a large sum of time and money to achieve, a baby is a baby, and it's a huge change. So when you add up that expected huge change, plus the huge bill that comes with the huge change, plus the possibility of being left with a huge bill as your only change if it doesn't's scary.

But life is full of huge changes, and we don't get to pick and choose which ones we want to experience. So it's a good thing that in this unpredictable world, God doesn't change. He's the same today as He was yesterday, constant, unwavering, and in complete control.

The only thing that never changes.

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”
-Author Unknown

Monday, March 16, 2009

Good News!

My ovaries have regained their rockstar status.

I just finished up my phone consult with Dr. Greene. He assured me that all of my CD3 blood test results are perfect-even my AMH. Of course the the pessimist in me reared her ugly head and asked him if he was sure, ruthlessly questioning him about 0-7ng/mL being the norm, with higher results being better. He assured me that 2.8ng/mL is an excellent number, and the higher the better is not always the case because AMH hormone levels specify mostly immature eggs, and in this case "too good isn't a good thing". He said that-given all of the factors in our situation-he has no reason to believe that we'd have any trouble producing not only a valid pregnancy with IVF, but also plenty of high quality eggs to use for future pregnancies.

:::Insert *sigh* of relief:::

In way of preparation, I have an e-mail in to the coordinator to finalize our next steps in the process; we're hoping to cycle in June. I've also ordered another three month supply of ConceptionXR vitamins especially formulated for IVF cycles, and we're both ditching simple carbs in exchange for a watered down version of the Zone diet and a healthy gym routine.

Oh. Which reminds me of another blessing today. After our good news, I decided to go for a celebratory Starbucks Mint Mocha Frappachino (I know, NOT on the Zone diet, shame on me) and immediately after ordering and pulling forward I realized I didn't have my wallet. But for fear of being rude, instead of speeding off when my time at the drive through window came up I apologized to the man and explained that I forgot my wallet, expressing my thorough embarrassment for his wasted time. He smiled as he handed me the drink, and told me this one was on him. Such a sweet coffee man. Who doesn't love FREE Frapachinos?!?

Just so you know, I have serious intentions of returning to Starbucks and paying for that Frappachino. Because if for no other reason than a clear conscience, we're doing everything we can to prepare ourselves financially, physically, mentally, and spiritually to move forward. And stealing a Frappachino is a far cry from the right direction.

No matter how much I thought my rockstar ovaries deserved it.

"The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

Friday, March 13, 2009

Could Be Worse, Right?

The last of the Black Market Blood Results are in:

Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) is a hormone marker that defines ovarian reserve, ovarian aging, ovarian dysfunction and ovarian responsiveness. AMH levels decrease as the quality and number of ovarian follicles decline with age.

Basically, it indicates how "old" your ovaries are and how functional they are. It also predicts your response to ovarian stimulation protocols, or how well you will respond to the meds they give you for IVF.

Women with low AMH levels have fewer oocytes, lower fertilization rates, generate fewer embryos, and have a higher chance of miscarriage during fresh transfers, ultimately resulting in half the pregnancy rate per IVF cycle as compared to women with high AMH levels.

AMH Reference Ranges:
Optimal Fertility=28.6-48.5 pmol/L
Satisfactory Fertility=15.7-28.6 pmol/L
Low Fertility=2.2-15.7 pmol/L
Very Low Fertility=2-2.2 pmol/L

I just turned 26, and my AMH level is 2.8.

Apparently, I do not have rockstar ovaries.

To be fair, I just started researching AMH about an hour ago, and I'm certainly not an expert on it yet. I don't even know if my level of 2.8 is measured in pmol/L, it could be measured in ng/mL instead. That would actually be much better, because in contradiction to the above doomsday chart, a "normal" level can also be 0-7 when measured in ng/ml; the higher, the better.

Either way-measured in pmol/L or ng/ml-2.8 is not higher, or better.

Maybe it's simple-they'll just put me on stronger drugs, using a protocol more appropriate for a 45 year old than for a someone in her mid-twenty's. Because somehow in the last two weeks we've officially gone from perfectly normal and unexplained to having dysfunctional ovaries with old, shriveled up eggs and lazy, sluggish sperm that never had a chance.


I'm such a drama queen.

I have a phone consult with Dr. Greene on Monday after noon. Until then, I'm holding onto my sanity and refusing to panic, soothing myself with the realization that things could be much worse. At least they caught this now, and they'll make sure they put me on the correct dosage of meds instead of assuming I have an amazing ovarian reserve because I'm young and healthy.

This is probably my own fault anyway, I'm being punished for not being patient and just waiting for the Dr. to call me with the results himself.

I will no longer be writing "copy to patient" on my own lab slips.

"When things are bad, we take comfort in the thought that they could always be worse. And when they are, we find hope in the thought that things are so bad that they have to get better."
-Malcolm Forbes

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Black Market Blood Work

Oh, don't's not as bad as it sounds.

After sucking out three vials of my blood for my CD3 blood test on Monday, my cousin and partner in crime-who will remain anonymous for for legal purposes-was able to give me my results less than 24 hours later because I (not my Doctor, mind you) wrote "copy to patient" on top of my lab slip. The hush-hush exchange of documents took place last night, in the dark, after making sure no one was watching. See? Totally legal. Mostly.

So here's the majority of my CD3 results:

LH (Luteinizing Hormone)=2.9 normal is<7
FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone)=6.2 "good" is 6-9
TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)=1.2 normal is 0.4-4
Estridiol (E2, Estrogen)=48 normal is 25-75
Prolactin=11.5 normal is <24

I'm no Doctor; but I am a self-educated-google-crazy-infertile and the results look lovely to me. I'm still missing the super important AMH results, a more complicated test that has to be frozen and shipped to another lab, so the Dr. probably won't be calling me until sometime next week when he has all of the information together.

But since I have certain...connections, I'm sure I'll get the results before he does. Sshhhhh...

"Blood will tell, but often it tells too much."
-Don Marquis

Friday, March 6, 2009

Letting Go

I'm growing up, moving on, and learning to let go...

today I'm giving my baby bedding away.

I know it's sounds crazy, I mean...who has baby bedding before they have a baby, right? That's like purchasing a wedding gown before getting engaged. But as usual I have an explanation, er...excuse. OK, maybe just another long winded story.

Just after we were married, I purchased an OshKosh crib set because I instantly fell in love with the sweet pattern and mix of textures. Besides, it was a really great deal-and I've never been one to pass up a great deal-so I had to have it. I was sure that our first child would be a little girl and it wouldn't be too much longer before we would start trying to make her anyway. I was ready for her.

But soon after I purchased this set we decided not to find out the sex of our baby until after he/she was born. However; I continued to hold on to the bedding. Maybe because it was my first baby purchase, or maybe it was some sort of demented symbol of hope; like letting go of this bed set would be linked to letting go of my dreams of being a mom. (uh-oh...sounds a lot like my issues with my maternity wardrobe...darn it!)

Eventually I realized it was time to let it go. Even if we did have have a little girl, I'd already conjured up new and different dreams for my ideal nursery. So just recently, when one of my friends found out she's expecting a girl and was happy to free me of this crazy obsession by taking the bedding, I welcomed the soon-to-be absence of it. I'm absolutely thrilled it's going to someone who will love and appreciate it as much as I would have, and I'm even more relieved that it's not going to a complete stranger.

I think this crib bedding, as weird as it sounds, is an example of me learning to let go of what my plan for my life was. I never thought I'd be sitting here over two years later, giving up my unopened and unused baby bedding, waiting for CD3 to roll around so I can go get blood work done in preparation for an extremely unnatural process that may hold my only chance at starting a family. Never would have guessed this would be my life. If you'd told me it would be, I wouldn't have believed you.

So now it's out with the old, in with the new, and this time I won't purchase any crib sets until after I'm pregnant. I learned a good lesson though; I had no idea letting go would feel so good. I'm going to have make an effort to do it more often. It's past time to let go of all fear, doubt, worry...and how I thought my life should play out. What I thought was best for me. How I thought everything should happen. God has His own plans, His own timing, and it's best to just roll with it. It's much less stressful to let Him call the shots, take the reigns.

Besides, I know whatever God has waiting for me will be even more ridiculously amazing then I could have planned for myself anyway.

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.
-Joseph Campbell