Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Walking among flowers

Hi All!  Not a lot new on the fertility front as I am in a holding pattern for the next 22 days until my next cyst check to see if the cyst has resolved (gone away) and we can start on my next treatment.  Dr. Moffitt has explained that on my next superovulation/IUI cycle I will do two units of injectables for two days and then 1 dose the other 5 days.  This means a greater cost but if it works it will be a lot less than IVF. 

Handsome and I took the dogs to Tempe Town lake for a walk and ended up walking 3 miles all the way around the lake.  The weather was perfect because although much of the country is cold this time of year we have been having perfect weather and it was in the low 70's on Saturday.  Unfortunately the rest of the weekend was spent in (although my husband went shooting sporting clays) because I was under the weather.  Low grade fever, sore throat and coughing but I seemed to get over the worst of it over the weekend and have been feeling much better. 

Last night to make sure I was good-to-go today for training I stayed home last night and made dinner while Handsome went to the gym.  When he got home he surprised me with these!
I absolutely LOVE tulips!  They are so fresh and beautiful!  I love them in every color they come in.  This pop of color and nature in my home brings me joy and happiness every time I look at them.  Today I had my training session with Sparkles and my legs are killing me!  He had me do lunges, step ups, kettle bells, and then about a million crunches and leg lifts for my abs.  The worst is when he calls hold and I have to hold at the top of the crunch - and then he tells me to breath...as if!  Afterwards when my legs felt like they wanted to fall off I had to do 40 minutes of cardio.  Luckily I have my Kindle Fire on which I watch the series "Numbers" which makes the time pass quickly.  Well it is just about bed time for me but I will talk to you later!  Good night!

"On the following night she was again wakened by sweet singing and babies
laughing. She rose and stole softly through her garden. The moon was
shining brightly on the tulip bed, and the flowers were swaying to and
fro. The old woman looked closely and she saw, standing by each tulip,
a little Fairy mother who was crooning and rocking the flower like a
cradle, while in each tulip-cup lay a little Fairy baby laughing and
playing." - part of an English folktale

PS My camera charger came in the mail today so I have it charging the batteries so hopefully more pictures in the future!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tender Leaf Tea

My husband and I had our consultation today.  We asked about the DNA fragmentation test for Handsome and the results had just come in and showed that any fragmentation is well below the minimum and the sperm quality is good to excellent.  What can I say - he's awesome ;P  We didn't find out much new during this appointment but I think Handsome was able to get some questions answered that I had not been able to communicate effectively and a better understanding of what the doctor feels. 

The doctor said that our journey (I hate when people use that term) had been long and he understood that at  this time we were frustrated and impatient.  We decided that we would like to try one more superovulation/IUI cycle to see if I responded with more eggs instead of one large follicle.  We spoke to him again about the laparoscopy to get a better understanding of what it would entail and what it could fix.  In this procedure they would put a tube with a camera through my bellybutton to look for endometriosis and/or tubal scarring that could inhibit the fallopian tubes ability to pick up the eggs.  Any surgical corrections for endometriosis would be covered but and surgical corrections for scarring not from endometriosis would not be covered and could cost upwards of $7,000.  Dr. Moffitt said that we needed to look at the possible cost risks.  He said that we would need to decide how many clomid cycles or superovulation/IUI cycles we would want to do after any possible corrections from the laparoscopy (and remember we don't even know if the procedure would find anything or be able to correct it); if we only wanted to do a few then it might not be worth it.

As I said before our patience is running out and our frustration is getting higher so I think regardless of how the treatment cycle goes or what could possibly happen during a laparoscopy we would only do 1 or two more non-IVF cycles so it doesn't make sense for us to do the laparoscopy.  On a positive note  the doctor did say that based on our ages and all the diagnostic tests they have done that the quality of my eggs and the quality of Handsome's sperm should be good if we can only get them together!  He expects good quality embryos.  He also said that new studies have shown that frozen IVF cycles show comparable or better pregnancy rates so that is good to know.  He also was able to break down the numbers (which if you know me you know I always like the nitty gritty numbers).  He says that if I had 20 follicles their egg retrieval rate is about 70% so I would have about 15 eggs (my math said 14 but we'll go with the expert).  Then out of those 15 about 70% fertilize which leaves us with 11 - 12 (again my math says about 10).  Out of the fertilized eggs 30%-50% develop to the blastocyst stage which would be 3 - 6 according to him (and 3 - 5 according to my math).  Protocols that they adhere to would indicate transfer of one blastocyst and the others frozen.

Handsome and I are still discussing our options but I think if we have to go to IVF we are leaning towards the multi-cycle (2 fresh, 2 frozen cycles, no refund) AttainIVF plan.  I will keep you updated.

I finally located my camera charger YAY!!!  Unfortunately I need to wait for it to be mailed to me since apparently I left it at the house we rented in Sedona.  I am so thankful to the rental owner for finding it and sending it back to me.  Today's title comes from a song Mom used to sing to me and the fact that I am cut off from caffeine right now - I miss my Chai Tea Lattes :(  - but I have found an acceptable replacement with Tazo Passion Tea which is herbal and caffeine free (it is also purple which just makes it better in my opinion).  Now I can sing the song as "Passion Leaf Tea" instead of tender leaf tea :D

"I love my sweety, my sweety loves me,
I feed my sweety on tender leaf tea,
My little sweety goes *kiss* *kiss* *kiss,
And my little doggy goes bow wow wow,
And my little rooster goes

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lamb shanks - Just Right!

Tonight I have my training class.  For Christmas my wonderful husband got me personal training sessions (I asked for this!).  So I meet with my trainer Sparkles on Tuesdays and Thursdays and go to a training class on Wednesdays.  Sparkles is cute as a button and his last name happens to be Sparkes which looked like Sparkles to me when I first saw it and the nickname stuck.  He said when he was growing up all the girls called him Sparkles so he wants me to keep his nickname on the down low.  Sparkles called in sick yesterday so I just went in for some cardio which did make me feel better both mentally and physically.  Only 2 more days before our consultation appointment with Dr. Moffitt.

So a while back I promised more pictures but it is difficult as I cannot find my camera's charger or extra battery anywhere and my current battery is dead.  I'll try to find it and if I can't I'll get a replacement so I can attach more pictures.  I do have one picture that I took with my phone of our dinner last night.  For the past couple of days Handsome and I have been having the most wonderful tasting and easy to cook meal.  We call it braised lamb shanks even though we don't always use lamb, or even shanks.

If you look close you can see my "book" (Kindle), I never stop reading ;)  Recipe is below and provided by Kristin Nicholas items in green are my notes.

Autumn Lamb Shanks
Kristin's Autumn Lamb Shanks:

I usually serve one shank per person but this depends on people's appetites and the size of the shank. Serve with crusty bread, a salad and some nice cooked white beans. A perfect meal for a late autumn or winter weekend day.

4 lamb shanks (or any cheap cut of meat, we have used shanks, short ribs, shoulder chops and country cut ribs in both beef and lamb)
1 large can of peeled Italian tomatoes
(we use Kroger brand) 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
6 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 cups of wine - I prefer red but white will do
(I buy cheap Burgundy table wine to use)
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Place all ingredients in a Dutch oven. You can cut up the tomatoes a bit if you want but it isn't necessary. I use a copper pot but any pot will do as long as it can go on direct heat and oven heat. I don't have any Le Creuset pots but I think they would be perfect. Place the Dutch oven on the top of the stove and bring it to a boil. Once the mixture boils, place it in the oven with the lid on. Cook until tender - about three to four hours. The shanks are done when they easily pull away from the bone. (We typically make ours in the slow cooker, just dump everything in and let it cook for 6 - 8 hours.  I have seen similar recipes that had chopped carrots and other vegetables so feel free to experiment)
Hope you enjoy the recipe; I'll try and resolve the camera situation.  I am off to my training class.
P.S.   Even my blog's spell check want to know if I meant Sparkles when I typed Sparkes :)

"Goldilocks tasted it. Um-m-m-m! It was just right, and so she ate and ate and ate until there was not a bit of porridge left in the Baby Bear's little bowl."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


AAARRRGGHH!!!!!!!!!  I had such a frustrating appointment with my doctor yesterday that I want to cry, stomp my feet and hit something.  Basically I want to have a tantrum.  I went in yesterday for a cysts check and unfortunately it was still there although slightly smaller.  Dr. Moffitt offered two options:
1.        To go off all medications and wait for my next cycle then go in for a cyst check and if clear then proceed with treatment.
2.       To go on Aygestin (norethindrone acetate), a synthetic progestin,  for 30 days to prevent a cycle followed by a cyst check and then if clear start treatment immediately.
Dr. Moffitt recommended option two for me because off of medication my cycles are very irregular and can be anywhere from 20 days to over 55 days.  He also feels that this will better let us coordinate and time my next treatment.  It sounds reasonable and it is but I am so tired of waiting and being patient!  I am out of patience and so tired of waiting!  My frustration level is at an all time high – I had hoped that my last cycle I would have 3 – 6 follicles, followed by IUI, and hopefully a positive pregnancy test but instead I got a cyst, then I hoped the cyst would be gone and we could try the superovulation and IUI cycle again but the cysts isn’t gone and now I have to wait 30 days before I can do anything!
I was so upset yesterday that I didn’t want to work out and stayed home with Handsome to eat delicious braised boneless ribs with rice and watch some TV.  I went to bed early because I think my frustration was burning out my brain and maybe that’s why I was so cold too, the stress is starting to affect my body.  My husband was sweet enough to put my body pillow in the dryer and bring it to me so it was nice and toasty as I fell asleep.  Still in a pissy mood today because I don’t think a lot of people would accuse me of being patient and I am so upset with this delay.  Luckily we have an appointment with Dr. Moffitt on Friday so I can express my anger/frustration/distress/depression about this delay and maybe he will come up with some other ideas.

“There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
When she was good, she was very, very good,
But when she was bad she was horrid.”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday's child

Today was my birthday and while typically I love my birthday this year it is just a reminder that I am another year older with no baby.  Friday I started to get crampy and had some spotting, I guess it could have been implantation spotting but I know my body well enough to figure out that it wasn't.  Sure enough on Saturday I made the call to ARMS that I had my cycle day 1 on Saturday.

I spent most of the day with Mom, she was nice enough to go shopping with me for some upcoming baby showers.  I have seen other blogs about infertility in which the women were angry and bitter whenever someone else got pregnant.  I won't deny that sometimes the smallest things hit you right in the gut like a picture of their new baby room but for the most part I try to be optimistic that it will happen for me and I can look to these friends for advice down the road.  I got some great stuff for my friend Beth and also made great progress on a stuffed owl I am making for her (no picture because I want it to be a surprise Beth!). 

Handsome went golfing with his dad and later went to lunch with me at Ra.  Later that night my parents, Handsome and I went to dinner at Pastiche.  I don't think they had enough servers and had a larger party staying long so the service at first wasn't great as it took time to get our table even though the restaurant was half empty and we had reservations and to get our orders started.  After those first few hiccups though the service was fine and the food was really enjoyable.  The funny part of the evening was when I tried a piece of salami that Dad said wasn't hot, and it wasn't, but the flavor was awful!  Apparently the faces I was making had the whole table laughing (especially Mom) which made it even harder for me to choke it down. Handsome took some pictures but don't expect to ever see them here - I looked horrible and deleted them from his phone today.

My parents got me some great charms from Brighton for my bracelet and some cash.  Today we went to NoRTH for lunch with my in-laws and I got great gift certificates and cash that I can use at some nice restaurants I would like to try or a sewing machine - I haven't decided yet.  ARMS called me back today and I have an appointment with Dr. Moffitt tomorrow to get a cyst check ultrasound and to find out what we want to do for our next cycle.  My husband and I want to try superovulation and IUI again but I don't know if Dr. Moffitt will advise us to wait a cycle or if he will prescribe different medication or doses.  I'll let you know what I find out tomorrow.

P.S. You may have noticed that I try and give my posts titles that have to do with the post and have to do with nursery rhymes and faerie tales.  I'll try and end with a quote from said nursery rhyme or faerie tale so you can see the connections my mind makes (which according to Handsome isn't always logical). 

"Monday's child is fair of face
Tuesday's child is full of grace
Wednesday's child is full of woe
Thursday's child has far to go
Friday's child is loving and giving
Saturday's child  has to work for their living
And the child that is born on Sabbath day, is bonny and blithe and good and gay"

Funny note:  I was born on Sunday and my husband on Wednesday ;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Three Bags Full

So sorry that I couldn’t post yesterday – so much was going on!  At our financial consultation it was a little bit of information overload.  If we do have to do IVF it definitely won’t be cheap.  There are two types of IVF/implantation.  When most of the paperwork mentions IVF it is referring to fresh transplantation.  In a “fresh cycle”(my term) superovulation is induced, the eggs are retrieved, they are fertilized by sperm, and then after developing to a 3 day embryo or 5 day blastocyst they are implanted into the uterus.  The other implantation method, referred to as FET (frozen embryo transfer) in which embryos previously retrieved and fertilized are frozen and then thawed for transfer.  The biggest costs are associated with fresh cycles which costs $10,000 plus an average of $4000 for the medication but you have to do at least one fresh cycle to get the eggs for frozen embryos.  FET or “frozen cycle” (my term again) costs about $2100 plus an average of $500 for medication.  Those are the costs if we go on a per cycle treatment plan. 
Our clinic is part of the Attain IVF network which offers two plans that give multiple cycles for a flat fee.  The benefit to these plans is that you save money if you have to do more cycles the drawback is that if we were to achieve success (defined as a live birth) the first time we would have paid more than the cost of one treatment.  There are two plans offered by Attain IVF, the multicycle plan and the refund plan.  The multicycle plan costs $18,000 and covers two fresh cycles and two frozen cycles.  The refund plan costs $24,000 and covers three fresh cycles and two frozen cycles and offers a 70% refund if none of the six cycles are successful.  Neither of these plans cover the medication for each cycle and all plans including the per cycle treatment plan includes a cost of $300 per year to freeze and store the embryos.  So my husband and I have requested another consultation with the doctor to find out what he thinks our chances are (previously said >50 -55%) and why.  We need more information on success from fresh vs. frozen, and other questions I am sure we will think of.  We also have to consider what will work best for us in terms of money and how many times we want to try before we decide enough is enough.  There are lots of factors to consider such as a cancelled cycle counts as a full cycle in the Attain IVF plans while you get a prorated refund for cancelled cycles on the per cycle treatment plan. 

So lots to think about but I am sure I will find some way to put this all in an excel spreadsheet to help us gauge our options.  BUT that isn’t everything that happened yesterday to delay my post.  After the appointment I played some Halo with Handsome (I’m not very good but he loves playing with me), went to physical training with Sparkles (more about him later perhaps) and then I went home to get ready for my birthday dinner.  For my birthday Handsome took me for an early birthday dinner at Quiessence, my favorite restaurant.  We did the “Brick Oven Table” which was a secluded table outside near a brick oven and a meal of 9 tasting courses prepared by the chef.

Moving left to right and top down the courses were as follows
·         Started with a shared meat sampler plate including head cheese, salami , and others.
·         Second course for me was mussels and clams in a creamy seafood soup while Handsome had bacon wrapped venison tureen (kind of like meatloaf but cold).
·         My salad was shaved carrots, onions and greens with blue cheese and pecan vinaigrette while my husband had beets with crème fresh but we switched as he doesn’t care for beets.
·         The fourth course, pasta course was delicious I don’t even know what Handsome had because I was too involved with my cheese gnocci.
·         The fish course followed and was salmon over winter greens for both of us.  At this point we were a little nervous because we still had 4 courses left and were filling up.  It also had gotten cold outside so we moved inside.
·         Our 6th course was an intermezzo and as good as everything was it was probably the highlight of the meal.  It was a spoonful of citrus sorbet and it was crisp, clean and small and refreshed our tastebuds without filling us up.
·         The meat course delivered sausage for me and pork loin for Handsome.
·         Our 8th course was a cheese plate that I forgot t take a picture of but included a dry sharp cheese and blue cheese.
·         Finally our last course, dessert, was chocolate cake, ice cream and pear for my husband and a delicious citrus tart for me.

Everything was delicious but dinner wasn’t over until almost 10 and I was exhausted.  We went home and I fell into bed and into sleep as soon as I got undressed and washed my face.  So busy day yesterday and planning for a fairly busy weekend.  ttyl  J

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Slaying the Dragon

My handsome husband and I had found our dragon and its name was INFERTILITY.  I was 32 years old and I felt that it was close enough to 35 that I could ask for medical help after 6 months of trying (typically they say to consult a doctor after a year with no pregnancy or 6 months if you are close to 35).  So three months after my miscarriage we started trying again and started running some tests.  I found out that my thyroid levels were low so was put on thyroid medication.  I was put on clomid (actually the generic clomiphene citrate), an ovulatory drug, with timed intercourse using ovulation predictor kits.  After 3 months of nothing I told my OB/GYN that I wanted to go to ARMS and to send all my medical data to them.  I had been to ARMS before when my OB/GYN sent me to have a HSG, hysterosalpingogram, which is an x-ray of your uterus and fallopian tubes while they use a dye to determine if your fallopian tubes are blocked (mine were not).  A quick note about the HSG - it was FASCINATING!!!   You lay back on the bed/table and you can see your hipbones and a little of your spine but nothing else, then they inject the dye and all of a sudden you see the shape of your uterus and then your fallopian tubes.  Did you know that your ovaries are not connected to your fallopian tubes?  I didn't (shakes fist at middle school sex ed program).  Before leaving my OB/GYN I also had and endometrial biopsy in which they take a sample of your uterine lining to test - this test was NOT fascinating!  It was painful, albeit, for a short time and my husband who was there to hold my hand (I might have crushed a few fingers) said it looked like a war zone :)

My doctor at ARMS, Dr. Moffitt, is extremely knowledgeable, and good about speaking not only to your physical issues but emotional and financial as well.  With Dr. Moffitt I began on a clomid treatment cycle in which I would take 100mg of clomid days 3 - 7, around day 14 I would have an ultrasound to look for follicles (eggs) and if the follicles were mature and I hadn't had an LH surge I would get a trigger shot.  Month after month we tried this, 5 cycles in all, and at the end of each cycle the pregnancy test would be negative.  So that pretty much brings us up to now although I may touch on some of these tests, cycles, etc. in future blogs or answer anyone's questions.

Dr. Moffitt decided to become more aggressive with my treatment so this cycle I was on clomid plus injectables (5 shots over 8 days).  At my mid-cycle ultrasound we were hoping for 3 - 6 follicles but apparently my body decided that instead of making multiple eggs it would make one giant one.  A cyst.

I spoke to Dr. Moffitt shortly after my ultrasound and he said based on the tests I had completed that it was strange for me not to respond to the protocol as expected.  He is pushing more towards IVF now.  So mean while my husband has been tested for DNA fragmentation which is rare but can adversely affect otherwise normal looking sperm (and on the surface everything looks great for him), I am waiting to see if the giant follicle will perhaps lead to baby, and e are trying to determine if I should try another injectable cycle to see if I respond correctly or if we should just go for IVF.  Tomorrow Handsome (husband) and I will be attending a financial consultation at ARMS to learn more about the IVF plans they offer. 

We know it will be expensive but it isn't like it has been cheap so far.  Each ultrasound (that's one each cycle) is $300, the trigger shot and clomid used each cycle is about $50 and the injectables raised the price to almost $400.  Handsome's super DNA fragmentation tests was almost $500.  I do not understand why health insurance will pay for lap band surgery and erectile dysfunction but won't cover infertility - but I can rant about that later.  I'll post what we learn and keep you guys updated.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Start

Today is the start of my new blog after months of debate I have decided to open myself and share my life.  I feel in some ways as though I have been living a secret and I am tired of keeping closed and tired of keeping much of it to myself.  Hopefully by speaking out I help others who share the same trials and tribulations.  So here is the start of my story (there's a large amount of background so I may do this over a few posts)...

Once upon a time a girl met a handsome prince, they fell madly in love and married.  There were no dragons to slay or evil witches and they thought their life was headed towards happily ever after...

Our first year of marriage we put off children because I was attending grad school for my M.B.A. and didn't want to put too much on my plate or our pocket book lol!  Shortly before graduating my husband and I started to try to have a baby.  I had never imagined that babies wouldn't come easily and so as each cycle passed I got more and more depressed and frustrated. 

At a family get together two years ago I had a feeling I was pregnant but I had felt "positive" before so didn't say anything to my husband so as not to get his hopes up (although he's usually kinda pessimistic so its hard to raise his hopes).  After our flight back home I had some spotting so figured - wrong again.  However I realized a week later that although I had spotting I had never started my cycle.  I took a pregnancy test and it was POSITIVE!!! I was over the moon!  I went to the doctor and got it confirmed.  They scheduled an early ultrasound because I had stopped tracking my period (remember the depression and frustration) so didn't know how far along I was.  At the ultrasound they thought I was maybe 5 weeks pregnant.  I started quietly asking around about OBs and my husband and I started window shopping and Babies R' Us.  Everyday my husband would kiss my belly and we would talk about what was happening in there.  We were getting ready to go to our hometown and let our families know when I found out my Mom was sick with pneumonia.  I wanted to be careful so I told her we couldn't come down and when she asked why I admitted over the phone that I was pregnant.  She screamed and I think I may still have hearing loss today because of it (just kidding Mom).  Because I had told her I called my Mother-in-law and let her know as well.  She was so happy!  Unfortunately our baby story did not have a happy ending.

Less than a week after I told our family and a few close friends, I started spotting and then bleeding pretty badly.  I went to my OB and she confirmed that I was having a miscarriage.  I went through 3 days of intense pain as I tried to "naturally" miscarry.  When I went back to the OB she was horrified that I hadn't come in sooner.  She did an exam and recommended and D&C that afternoon.  My husband came to take me to the hospital and then back home.  I was devastated, we were devastated.  The stupidest things would set me off crying and my husband was there every time, holding me.  I don't know what I would have done without his support.

It had taken us over a year to get pregnant the first time so three months after the miscarriage I went to my OB/GYN and told her I was tired of waiting and what tests and things could we do to better understand the problem and increase my chances of getting pregnant...