To jinx or not to jinx

I’m going to jinx myself.  I’m feeling sick.  A mild nausea that has been lingering since yesterday afternoon.

And the dreams.  Everytime I’ve been pregnant in the past I’ve had insane dreams involving…well….people having sex!  I had one last night – I walked into a russian bath and there were all these people looking like they might be having sex soon – so I left (wisely) but not before admiring the tile on the bathroom wall.  It was gorgeous!!!

Today is 9 days past ovulation so…I could test tomorrow but I think I will wait until Sunday just to be sure.

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I could do this all day long

One hour ago I decided this did not work.

One minute ago convinced that it did.

This is the hardest part for me – between 6 days past ovulation and testing time (probably day 10 because even though I know I should wait until day 12 – I just can’t help myself).  I’d like to think optimistically but history has told me that this is a very unwise thing to do.  So, I’m planning for the failure and what I will do thereafter – get bunion surgery, get the polyp removed from my uterus, drink a bottle of vodka and have a consult with Dr. Schoolcraft at CCRM in Colorado.  He is calling me on the 18th of this month and I’m looking forward to his input.  Their stats are just amazing for my age group…and as I approach 41 – there is no time to mess around.

IVF #3 continued..the peeing on sticks begins

Where was I?  I got a faintly positive HPT….I wanted to be hopeful but unfortunately this was not the first time I’d been fooled. 

In November 2005, I was on my second cycle using clomid.  I’d given up on this cycle about a day or so after the doctor injected C’s washed sperm.  The follicles have to be a certain size before the administration of HCG (which tells them to mature and release from my ovary).  The idiots at my old clinic let my lead follicle (the boss of my ovary) mature to almost 3.0 – way too mature and thus completely useless.  I didn’t even bother with the progesterone suppositories – just gave right up and vowed never to go to that crappy clinic again. 

When it came time for me to pee on a stick, my Swiss co-worker urged me on.  He said, “I just know you are pregnant”.  I thought that was very odd and set out to prove him wrong.  Imagine my surprise when the HPT showed a positive sign.  I came out of the bathroom, told my co-worker that his intuition was right…and a small crowd appeared congratulating me.  My boss quickly pulled me into his office and closed the door- “Don’t say anything.  It is too soon and you are likely to be disappointed”.    Of course I didn’t listen.  I quickly called my husband, his parents, my own parents and then put a calendar pop up reminder saying “end of first trimester” on a random date 3 months in the future.  Of course all pregnancy test following were negative and so was the blood test three days later.  A chemical pregnancy.  Imagine the happiness my calendar reminder gave me by announcing “End of first trimester” right smack dab in the middle of my first failed IVF. 

Back to the cycle at hand – May 26, 2006…I did what any sensible POASer would do – I headed to my RE’s office for a blood test.  The blood test measures the level of HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) – which is given off by the developing embryo when it attaches itself to the lining of the uterus.  Most HPT measure levels above 50.  The test I took measures levels as low as 25….the one that I used must have been extra sensitive.  My level at 11 days past ovulation was 12.  My doctor looked concerned when he told me and so was I.  Most women on my message board going through IVF had levels of HCG that were 50 – 200 by this time.  I had a measly 12.   We headed upstate to our house in Pawling that weekend.  Some friends from Ohio were coming to visit.  That was promising to be a much needed distraction.

At the same time, my cat Poofie had taken a turn for the worst.  This cat was given to me by my grandmother as a graduation gift from college.  He was a strange cat who seemed to both love and hate me.  He didn’t have the greatest life, poor thing – I lived for years in an apartment the size of a large bathroom with his brother Ted.  Poofie did, however, love my husband.  He lost the use of his legs and we had decided to spend one last weekend with him in Pawling before putting him to sleep.  I was pretty down in the dumps about it but tried to focus on the little miracle inside me..hoping it might decide to stay around.  I promised I would wait until Tuesday’s blood test and not use the 10 remaining HPTs in my purse…but I broke down.  The test was still positive but fainter than before.  I keep peeing on sticks all weekend and watched them become fainter and fainter.  I knew what this meant.  Another chemical pregnancy.  I was devastated and morose.  My husband tried to comfort me but there was no use.  

I tried hard to focus on Poofie’s last few days on this earth and the guests at our house Adam and Shauna..they had been together for a few years, recently had a child and when the subject of marriage came up at the dinner table, I pounced on Adam.  Poor guy.  I had a heck of a time convincing C to marry me and felt great sympathy for Shauna who seemed to wonder what was taking Adam so long!  I basically grilled him – enjoying him squirm in his seat as I reminded him that Shauna had given him a child and that he was being dishonorable to both his daughter and to Shauna by not marrying her that instant!  I kept up my attack until much to the shock of everyone he stood up at the table, pulled a ring out of his pocket and knelt by Shauna’s side.  She began crying and I, of course, shut my mouth!  It was such a surreal moment – I couldn’t believe it was happening right there before our eyes!  Adam had planned to ask Shauna but couldn’t find the right moment and when I started in, he couldn’t bear it anymore.  He had lugged a huge backpack of quarters with him to NYC, cashed them in and bought a beautiful ring in the diamond district.

This made our weekend happier – and I felt bad that my misery seemed to cast a shadow on such a special moment.  I took time to be by myself and meditate.  I began to fall asleep when I suddenly had a huge feeling of deja vu and a sudden knowing.  “You will have three children so stop crying and live your life”.  It was by far one of the strangest things I’ve ever “known”…that is the only way to describe it.  I held on to that and have continued to do so throughout all the hard times and all the disappointments.  

I got up from my rest and joined the group.  Tests were all 100% negative and decided a glass of wine was in order…only I didn’t stop at a glass.  I drank an entire bottle and then in my infinite wisdom, popped an ambien.

The mood at our house greatly improved as we celebrated Shauna and Adam’s engagement…yes, I did wake up with a huge hangover and a splitting headache.  It had been a long time since I’d indulged in a “Judy Garland” night as my friend Sandy and I used to call them…

Tuesday was my official beta HCG test but I was convinced it was over – on to Cornell, a new RE and hopefully a chance to have a child.

IVF #3 – Part One

In early May 2006 I began my 3rd try at IVF. To say that I was not optimistic is a very great understatement. In fact, I had completely lost hope. What we thought would be a quick means to an end turned out to be a living nightmare. Suddenly we had to confront not only the fact that we had really serious fertility problems but the idea that this might not work for us – EVER. I doubt many of you remember me going through this – because I basically went into a cave and shut everyone out. My wost fears were coming true. You see, I’ve only really and truly wanted two things in my life – one was to be married to my husband and the other was to have his children. Getting that man to the altar was exhausting enough – but IVF was threatening to do me in for good.

I started the cycle reluctantly – I had already made an appointment with a new RE at Cornell and was tempted to wait out the month and give my body a break but C urged me on. I’d been reading a lot about PGD and it seemed from what I read that the process might be damaging our embryos. This time I decided that I wanted to do a blastocyst cycle. Typically an embryo is transferred back to the woman’s uterus on day 3 of its little life. A blastocycst transfer takes place on day 5 when the embryo has divided into hundreds of cells. The theory behind transferring on day 5 is that most abnormal embryos will not reach the blastocyst stage. Transferring a blastocyst gives you a much greater chance of pregnancy. Most doctors will not transfer more than 2 grade A blastocysts for fear of multiples.

On May 15, 2006 10 eggs were retrieved. C and I had a running argument about ICSI. He didn’t think we needed it. He was convinced that his sperm was just fine and that 3K extra to spend on the embryologist hand picking and force fertilizing the eggs was a huge waste of money. He convinced our RE to give him an egg or two that would be placed in a dish with his sperm to fertilize naturally. When I found out that they had retrieved 10 eggs I agreed to give him 2 eggs for his experiment. The remaining 8 were all ICSI’ed and of those 7 fertilized. The two eggs involved in Chris’s experiment did not fertilize which is something we still don’t like to talk about to this day.

On Saturday May 20th 4 grade A blastocysts were placed in my uterus. I returned to our home upstate in Pawling, NY that afternoon. Most of my friends from high school were visiting that weekend and I remember not being allowed to walk up stairs or lift anything lighter than a glass of water.

The days following were long and boring. I was anxious and negative. The doctor had told me that the blastocyst would implant sometime between Saturday and Tuesday. On Monday I went to the acupuncturist – a lovely Chinese man name Dr. Wan Yu. He felt my pulse and told me that he was encouraged by its strength but he was certain that nothing had implanted yet. On Wednesday I had another appointment with him. “I’m sorry, nothing has implanted yet” he told me. I was concerned. “Let me try something”…in went the needles into my ears. About an hour later I began cramping. On Thursday evening I broke down and bought some First Response Early Result pregnancy tests. The result was negative. I told C and he was a bit deflated. “We’ll try again next month”…. I went to bed that night with a heavy heart.

The next morning I decided to try just one more test before I went to work. The result was negative, as expected. I called C to tell him that the cycle was officially over. As we were talking I glanced at the test and saw a very faint line. So faint that I thought perhaps my mind was playing tricks on me. “Don’t get your hopes up, honey”, C advised.

I quickly got dressed, grabbed the pregnancy test and got in a taxi to go to work. When I boss showed up I pulled him aside and showed him the test. “Yep, you’re pregnant” he told me. My friend Cheryl sat there shaking her head at me…”I can’t believe you just pulled out something you peed on and showed it to Rob”.

Finally I’d found a small glimmer of hope….but as you will soon find out, it didn’t last very long.