Preparing for pregnancy and a smoothie for fertility (not my recipe)

Here is what I am doing for the next three months (combined with yoga, meditation and exercise – walking mainly and weight training) as I prepare for a March FET at CCRM.

•    Taking a baby aspirin (low dose and coated)
•    Relaxing/mediation – going to a “healer” who also adjusts you as you lay there for up to three hours if you want – miracle find and so relaxing (only in ATL)
•    Acupuncture targeted at increasing fertility. I am going local and then heading to Dr. Wu in NYC (he is the best, well IMHO).  I am certain implantation occurred because of him last time…

Perhaps add in L arginine during the cycle (not before) to help with lining issues, doubling up on my vitamin D (everyone is low and it is a huge issue – forget calcium this is why we have such a huge problem with osteoporosis…)  On to the smoothie:
•    And last but not least, drinking Lori Bregman’s fertility smoothie everyday!
Image

Lori Bregman’s Fertility Smoothie

Ingredients (links are to Lori’s favorite products):
•    frozen mixed organic berries
•    almond or rice milk
•    protein powder (something natural and clean, without a lot of additives or soy)
•    2 shots of wheatgrass (I use a frozen one by Evergreen, but you can use powder or fresh shots instead)
•    maca root powder
•    acai berry 
•    mixed powered greens
•    royal jelly (*Do not use if you have a bee allergy)
•    bee pollen (*Do not use if you have a bee allergy)
•    liquid omegas

Instructions:
Read dose/serving information on back of each product. Mix everything together in a blender. Use more or less milk to achieve a desired consistency.

What it all Does: 
•    Powdered Greens, berries and acai: Feed and promote healthy cell growth and help nourish the blood.
•    Wheat grass: Lowers FSH levels, nourishes cells, helps restore hormone balance, and helps alkaline your PH levels, which makes it better for sperm to live in.
•    Maca root: Nourishes the entire endocrine system, enhances fertility and brings hormones into balance. Also increases sex drive, vitality and gives you tons of energy.
•    Royal jelly: Balances hormones, supports the endocrine system, helps raise estrogen levels in women, and helps increase sperm quality and testosterone levels in men.
•    Bee pollen: Contains high levels of vitamins, acts as a natural aphrodisiac, nourishes the ovaries, increases fertility, regulates the menstrual cycle and helps produce healthy eggs in women, and increases sperm count in men.
•    Protein powder: Repairs and builds healthy tissues.
•    Liquid omegas: Helps stabilize your moods, lowers inflammation in the body, increases blood flow to the uterus, regulates the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and cervical mucus in women, and increases sperm mobility in men.

If anyone has other ideas for FET prep or pregnancy prep for all ages or specific doctors, make a comment to help others…

2013 is going to be the year….we are in waiting mode

My posting has been erratic at best, I apologize.  There is only so much you can say about having nothing to say….but now I do.  I’m gearing up for a transfer and I need help.  Your help.  YOURS?  Yes, yours.  I am at my wits end about how many to transfer.  I’m terrified of two things – getting pregnant with twins and not getting pregnant at all.  My history with Alex included preterm labor but I had a lot of stress around the time it all went down (husband lost job).  I now have FIVE GAZILLION amounts more stress (own a preschool – hello!?!).  I literally have children that I look after and over all day long and I fret.  I am a little “type A” as my husband says.  Ya think?  These kids are someone’s entire life and you better believe that a boo boo or bite or whatever happens in the course of the day is something I’m involved with – I also love being around them which isn’t great since I’m CMV negative (that is for another day).  But I’m going to be 45 and with two CGH normals – one 5AB and the other 4BB – I have a good chance of both implanting.  I think my son was a lower quality embryo and developed slower but the 5AB is a great shot and it is a girl and the 4BB a boy.  I also worry that if one works then how can I go back for the other?  I’ll be 50  by the time my body recovers and I just can’t do that – already 45 feels a bit old to be doing this.  Anyway, I am going to do it.  My DH and I have been having stress arguments. It is normal, I know but not helpful.  He seems to think I should just put them both back in but doesn’t understand that means I will be laying around for 9 months (not running a preschool).  Oi vey.

So how many?  My gut says do an ESET with the higher quality first (the girl) and then if life is so kind as to give us the means to afford a surrogate, we go for the 4BB a year after she is born.  That feels weird and freaky to say so let’s just hope I didn’t jinx myself.  

I’ve always thought I’d have three kids and well, who knows.  I just hope it works.  Something about finally doing it is making me a little unhinged.  It feels so final and what if it does not work?  I have no plan B.

So what do you think, internets?  Should I transfer both?  I did carry to full term even if I was 4cm dilated for about 5 months.  

I am also concerned that the CGH process is going to hurt them – and I’m concerned about my age – although my OBGYN told met hat if I get pregnant it is the same odd as a younger person because a muscle is a muscle and mine has proven to work once.  Whatever the heck that meant, to be honest.  Muscles fail too, you old goat.  MUST.ONLY.SEE.A.WOMAN.GYNO.

Oh and I recently had a huge scare with a lump – that was handled poorly and made me nearly jump off the bridge.  Thankfully it is all normal – so far.  

Lastly, I have an UP band which is an annoying little wrist bandt hat tells you how much sleep, what you are eating and how deep you sleep, etc.  It basically is ruling my world right now. I’ve lost a few pounds since its arrival on Christmas so I guess I like it.  Actually, for what it is going to help me do (have a baby, I hope) it is a fantastic thing and great motivation.  It even buzzes me if I don’t do anything for over 10 minutes.  I guess that is the definition of lazy – not moving your hand for 10 minutes.  Right.

Over to you – help!!!!  I’m looking at a mid March transfer if I can get grumpy husband to agree to all the malarky involved (the trip out, the blood and the cost).  It has to be done and hell, I’m doing all the work.  Decisions.

Happy New Year, Readers.  I promise to be a little more interesting in 2013.  This has been a weird year.  Next year I’m going to rock and roll and i hope you do to (whatever that means to you).  Now off to make an appt in my calendar to schedule an appt with Schoolcraft.  That might take a minute or two (or a week or two).  Onward and upward!

Just when you thought nothing could surprise you…

I’ve been debating posting what I have on my mind. I’ve really thought long and hard about it (yes, I’ll get to it but there is a back story so indulge, please and thank you). I’ve had a pretty horrible few years months. I’ve not told anyone about all of the things bothering me. In fact, I’ve kept almost everything to myself for so long that I’ve become used to it. This blog is about as close as I get to spilling my guts about what is really bothering me and most of you have no idea who I am (er, I suppose).

Let me backtrack…

I went to visit my husband’s family for three weeks in June. It was the first real holiday I’ve had in three years and I REALLY needed it.   This has been a challenging year for many reasons not just waiting for the doctor to approve my chosen surrogate.   I was hoping to relax, recharge and hopefully come back to the great news that Dr. Schoolcraft had approved my surrogate after the “difficult cases” meeting and that our journey could begin. I was rather sure AND as my husband said after reading the pleading letter to the good doctor “there is no way he won’t be moved by that” or something of that nature.  I had pretty much secured the loan from our credit union for most of the costs, I was set. The IS (intended surrogate) was getting a little tired of waiting and I didn’t blame her. But knew that it would crush me and ruin my one chance to rest after a hard few years.  I didn’t think three weeks would make much of a difference and knew that a calmer me would make me able to deal with whatever the decision was with a clearer head.    So I went to the UK blissfully unaware that meetings had been had in Colorado and fates had been sealed. Who knows, they hadn’t called me back despite a few phone calls and emails so I assume that is what was going on. I certainly was not going to have  another hundred or so dollars to talk to him again (plus the 8 dollar phone call charge – love that touch).   I try not to think of the money we’ve spent so far and the phone calls….which have been about 2 minutes long.  What is the hourly rate for that?  A million dollars an hour?

I digress.

So I went to the UK and had a fantastically craptastic time thanks to some work drama.  The highlight was going to Paris for the night, eating a chocolate ice cream cone and working off the calories (and almost dying of heart failure) trying to keep up with my 5 year old ball of energy who literally ran up the Eiffel tower to the first level.  Let me say that the Eiffel Tower is a big deal at my school.  We talk about it a lot.  We draw pictures of the steeple at our school (we reside in a church) and the kids love imagining it with all the lights on it at night.  I have little replicas that they love to hold.  My son was a ROCKSTAR at school for going up the Eiffel Tower so it was worth it….even if I cried all the way down and back on the Eurostar….imagining horrible things that never happened, arguing with my husband over almost everything and nothing and missing my friend who died last year.  You know, the one person you have in your life that you can call and talk to for a few hours and you both walk away from the call having unloaded and feeling like you connected with another person who gets it?  He was that person for me.  I know I’m all  over the place but I just needed him at that moment and well, now….and I don’t have him or anything like him anymore.    Enough with the pity party.  I’ll be fine, I just get sad sometimes and talk to the air imagining he is here and listening (minus his incredibly catty stories about people we know from high school and who is now gay and who is divorcing and….you know, a little harmless gossip with an old friend).   He was gay, for the record and when he died we hadn’t talked because I was so busy, I didn’t return his few calls.  Not because I didn’t care, I was too busy working to save my family.  Another blog post… another regret.

God help me I will get to the point.

So I get back to the US and solve a few of my pending problems, get the news from CCRM, digest it. tell the surrogate via FB (because I could not speak I was so upset)…  A few weeks go by and I’m thinking about how perhaps I could try one transfer with me and then move the other embryo to a clinic (my husband’s wishes) and transfer to her.

Then Aurora happens and I immediately look to see if she is OK (on FB – she lives in that vicinity) and she is gone.  Poof.  She blocked me.  She erased me from her life.  My husband was very relieved that we didn’t proceed further with someone who clearly didn’t see us as anything more than dollar signs…I took it a bit harder..  I felt like I’d been punched in the gut.  The idea of someone carrying a child for me wasn’t easy.  I had pangs and yearnings and questions but I made peace with it because of her.  I also felt a connection to her and knew she would care for my children (if they do turn into children but with a normal CGH embryo made a few years ago, you have a good chance in the right womb).

The person that I almost let carry my children blocked me on facebook.  Just.Like.THAT.

If that isn’t a kick in the pants, I don’t know what is.  All I can say is I hope she isn’t following me.  Fool me once and I get the picture.  I’ve now learned that life is not only about choices but also how you react to the choices of others.

I just keep on thinking…what if she had my children living inside of her and blocked me.  What if, what if, what if.

Maybe I have a guardian angel.  I don’t know.

Let me leave you with the good news – my period is back again.  Heavy too.  I think I am going to build a lining, folks.  I think I’m going to do this myself.  Soon.  44 and pregnant.  Think I’d get a reality TV show?  Good LORD, my friends from high school are having grandchildren now.

Enough counting chickens.

The End of Post 125

One cranky email sent

Ok, here we go! I sent off the email. I want to get this show on the road. Stay tuned. If I don’t hear back tomorrow, I’m going to step up the calls and emails. I hate being that patient but enough already. I rocked my child to sleep in a room with a crib last night. Five years and the damned thing is still up and I’m stuck. STUCK!

So expect news soon…then I’m going to need help figuring out what to do if they say NO.

Time to make a decision grid like in 8th grade. Pathetic.

BAH! How did I get here again???

Stop the presses. That is if I have any readers left.

I’m just terrible with this blog. I started it to get my feelings out while I travel down the lonely road of infertility. I have been waiting and watching as friends have babies, as they give birth, have sibling for their children and I remain stuck. Stuck. Stuck. Time is ticking. My periods have long since gone. Menopause? I’m not sure. I think my body just can’t ovulate. I’ve been under so much pressure and I don’t take good care of myself. I forget to eat. Sometimes I don’t know what day it is. I started a preschool. I might have mentioned that but….it was the hardest thing I ever did but also I have never been happier. I have kids who give me hugs, who love me and the love flows right back. I’ve been so happy lately even though I work very hard and have little time for me. I was sitting in the Inverness Hotel in 2009, reading a book about the importance of education in the first five years of life. I glanced from my 3000 dollars of meds, to the syringe I just used to make my follicles grow, back to the book and then came the idea. A preschool. If I have one child…well, at least I’ll know what he is learning AND I will have dozens of children to love. So I am very happy but also the big fat void remains. The siblings on ice. The would be siblings except, my womb is over it. I can’t get it to grow. I have not tried again but I know. I’ve been friends (randomly) with a woman who has been a surrogate in the past. We started talking and one day I thought….well, why don’t I ask her. To my utter delight she agreed to be my surrogate. I cannot tell you what a dream come true this is for me. She is without a doubt a thoughtful, caring and loving person but get this, she wants to be a part of my child’s life. An Auntie for lack of a better word. That is just the icing on the cake. I would so love to share my child with a sister but sadly I have only a brother. He loves my son but there is nothing like an aunt that just loves you to pieces. I am one of those types of Aunties and, well, I just hope she will love my son as much. Hold on, no baby yet but we are hoping that this is what my embryos need. A womb that is proven to give life unlike mine. I say this without a hint of sadness. The only thing I worry about is that she will somehow be harmed by the process. If both were to take I would worry about her carrying twins, the burden on her and her family. So I may try to see if my uterus will grow enough to have a double transfer of the embryos. The higher quality for her and the lesser quality for me. Schoolcraft suggested that I transfer both to her and told me “why waste one”….as if he knows that I can’t carry another child. I don’t know what to do. I’m torn. We are in the middle of waiting for his approval. So that is the news. I feel happy, worried, stressed…but somewhat relieved that there is a plan and we have the right person on the team. I don’t think there could be a better person to carry my child (ren) than this woman…she really cares and I know would do the right thing. She is ethical, honest, caring, devoted and I think I could learn a thing or two about organization from her. And I love her already. She gave me hope again. For that I owe her so much already…

To be continued!

It has begun.

I don’t like new years resolutions for a variety of dumb reasons but this year I think I am doing it. Sorta. It started about two weeks ago. I cut out coffee (well, went from 10 to 2 a day). 10 cups of coffee a day (no joke) and I was wondering why I had high BP. As high as 145/95 which is very high for me. I went to a new doctor recently – friend of a friend. I can never get in to see my oh so amazing doctor in ATL so I figured, why not. Why not! The guy was great. He went over my history and told me that he agrees completely that I should be on IVIG during pregnancy and my failure to be on it for the last miscarriage was probably why I lost a genetically normal female. Ugh. She would be 2.5 years old. I try so hard not to think about that. That was a tough one. In fact, it is probably something I have yet to deal with – it comes out in little bits. Like when the doctor says to me, how many miscarriages and I mumble “um…like 6 or 7 or 8…I’m sorry” and then the tears start and I feel stupid. Like right now…few more tears. They are always right there at the surface. Should I sit my ass in a doctor’s chair and talk about it for 190 dollars a month…the answers is damn well no. Enough of that. I’ll get my bucket of tears owed to that little girl in soon. Maybe I’ll make a weekend for her – just to get it out because, I would have been fine had the karyotype been “trisomy male” blah blah but not “normal girl”. At 8 weeks he didn’t just get my tissue – it was true.

So back to the resolutions malarky. I started with the coffee and now I’m taking prenatals on time and eating with them! Duh. I’m bumping up the folic acid. I don’t drink too much but I take anti anxiety meds. I’ve halved my dosage (that is also a big thing for me as I tend to be over anxious, imagine that). Drinking will cease from 2x per week to about none. I’ve started my daily baby aspirin, am drinking lots of water and going to about five more doctors – pap smear, mammo (all required by Schoolcraft to do an embryo transfer) and then the doctor to give me IVIG who my doctor made a referral and “recommended” that he do whatever I want. Hoping insurance will take it or it is 3K a pop and I need at least 3 of them if not 4.

Wow, exciting post!

The doctor did tell me that it was pretty clear that I have an autoimmune disorder but that it was also a good thing because I’ll probably never get cancer. Oh doctor, don’t worry, my body has ways of surprising!

So that is it. Countdown begins. I’ve started thinking about what will happen if it doesn’t work and the idea is grim but I’ll survive but I won’t give up. I won’t have a lot of options at that point but I’ll find a way.

So there it is – my new years resolution. To get healthy enough to have a baby in 2 months.

Off to sign up two new students – TWO! And I signed up three more for May. So we are growing and I can’t be more happy about it. My teachers are happy, I’m finally happy with where we are headed and what we are doing. I no longer feel alone in the process but like a team is behind me – a team of really great teachers who promise me not to give me any stress during the month of March and onward (ha).

I’ll tick “a whole lot of nothing” as a category for this post. Certainly it was nothing like my post for http://www.waitinginsunshine.typepad.com. THAT was a post.

Happy New Year friends. I can’t believe I have loyal readers after I basically post ever once in 6 months.

And lastly, may babiesornot.blogspot.com be healthy in the New Year. I have some amazing cyber friends.

All day testing

I’m in Colorado – just finished all day testing at CCRM. I’ve come away with a huge spiral notebook of things to read, a stack of orders for bloodwork that must be completed, an enormous headache caused, no doubt, by their no caffeine policy, a sore and (sorry TMI alert) bleeding uterus from having a foot long thread inserted into it….and hope, I have hope! I love this place. Never have I seen an operation like it (and I’ve been around). They are indeed everything I thought they would be. Dr. Schoolcraft is a nice guy – I liked him enormously. His nurse Kathy was amazing – spend literally hours talking me through the entire process. They run a tight ship – no waiting around – everything spelled out, scheduled, organized. Wow.

Guess what I found out today? After 6 IVFs and God knows how many times someone has looked into my uterus – Dr. Schoolcraft found scar tissue from a previous D&C – most likely when I was 31 years old and had a blighted ovum. All this time and no one ever said a word about it. Lest you think this might be the result of my last D&C – that is highly unlikely as my RE did suction only. Dr. Schoolcraft suggested that any embryo trying to inplant in this area of my uterus would struggle. I’ll be getting surgery to remove the scar tissue soon – probably back in Atlanta. He also agreed that microarray (genetic testing on the embryo) would be my best shot. He figures that I have an 80% probability of finding a normal embryo….so we are doing it. Forget the IUI – I’m going to wait for my next period (most likely February 27) and then resume estrogen patches 15 days later. I’ll get a period in late March and an egg retrieval around April 8-10th (approximate). There will be other decisions once we know how many eggs we get – but for now we are planning to flash freeze them either at day 3 or day 5. I’ll do a frozen embryo transfer a few months later and then hope, hope, hope.

The bad news is that I had 8 resting follicles (these are the follicles that show up in your ovaries at the beginning of your cycle and serve as a predictor of how many eggs will be retrieved) – this is down from 15 in August. You see – just a few months at the age of 40 can send you off a cliff. Who knows how many I’ll have next month – could go back up but unlikely. Dr. Schoolcraft said that a resting follicle count of 8 will likely correspond plus or minus 2 to my results at retrieval. If I had 10 eggs…mature and fertilized – I’d be the happiest girl in the world. I’m not sure that resting follicles are that predictive in everyone – but they have been for me.

I’m not going to think about the cost – I have a loan for the entire amount ready and waiting for me to access it. This is far more important than anything in our lives right now so its cost is irrelevant for me. One thing that was repeated over and over again – “your eggs are 40 years old”. I get it….time is literally running out. I don’t have a year to make more mistakes – I have months…

I’ll post more later – for now a much needed massage is waiting.

Consult with Dr. Schoolcraft.

I seriously cannot say enough about this man. I really liked him for so many reason – he came across as not only knowledgeable but genuinely concerned.

Prior to the appointment I had to fill out about 20 pages worth of forms and compile my infertility novella (which is up to about 40 pages – my true file, if I had absolutely everything would probably be twice as large). I wrote him a concise chronological note so that he would not have to sift through all of it which I think he appreciated. He talked at length about his program and answered all of my questions. He told me that the new form of PGD that they are testing is getting unbelievable results. His pregnancy rates for women of all ages is around 70 percent. Even women who are coming to him with repeat miscarriages, horrible egg quality, previous chromosomal abnormal births – these women are having healthy babies! He attributes it to this procedure – they grow your embryos to blast, test them and then freeze them. The process takes a week and that is why the embryo has to be frozen. They test ALL 23 chromosomes – unlike the old PGD (which I had the pleasure of wasting a great deal of money on) which only tested 9 of the most common abnormalities. Once the embryos have been assessed the mother is given estrogen and progesterone to create a healthy environment for the embryo. He believes that this environment is more conducive to pregnancy than a fresh IVF cycle and that is another reason the success rate is so high. Apparently not one embryo has been lost after the freeze. So, I think any woman who wants a kid should just go to Colorado and cycle with CCRM. Their stats are just beyond compare and he gave me such hope. I was quite touched that he repeatedly wished me well on my current pregnancy and said, “we are here if you need us but I really hope we never speak again”. The next day his nurse followed up with a call giving me well wishes and reminded me that they were there for me if I needed them. It felt really wonderful to have this option in the back of my mind – nothing worse than grasping at straws after a failed cycle. I actually owe this current pregnancy to Schoolcraft – his writings (and he reiterated this during our conversation) convinced me to ditch the lupron and go for a low stim for better egg quality. So, thank you Dr. Schoolcraft for being indirectly responsible for what is going on in my uterus at the moment. I also have him to thank for reminding me that I should be on blood thinners (I have a blood clotting factor). I originally thought that baby aspirin would do the trick but, as he says, better safe than sorry. I’m taking lovenox and believe me when I say that this is one nasty drug. It hurts going in and each and ever shot makes a huge purple bruise.

So far so good – I’m feeling sick most of the day, breasts still massive with big blue horrible veins, belly big and bloated..and I’m tired.

Trying to find the energy to post about IVF#4 and IVF#5 – this weekend I must do that.

15 dpo

So the beta HCG rose to 78. More than doubled by 8 points. I’m happy. Sure a lot could go wrong but we are off to a decent start. I bought about 100 dollars worth of pregnancy tests – much to my husband’s chagrin. They weren’t a total waste of money, though – I was able to see the progression and the darkening of the second line which told me that the HCG was indeed increasing – and that saved a lot of tears and agony (I’ll post a photo of them soon for all those who search for such things).

I’m still exhausted and hungry all the time but I can manage that – the idea that IVF and all its trapping might be a thing of the past just seems too good to be true!

I had a wonderful conversation with Dr. Schoolcraft yesterday. I’ll post more about that later – for now, I’m going to try to take a nap.

Thanks for checking in – still kinda shocked that some 50 – 100 of you actually read a blog that deals with news about my boobs and ovaries.