Thursday, January 20, 2011

CD 6?

Today I had my phone call with the nurse coordinator at my clinic to talk meds and dates for my next IVF cycle.

I *think* my period started over the weekend. I'm uncertain because I started spotting Thursday, had more bleeding, but not fresh bleeding, on Saturday, and have spotted since. But my doctor said 4 weeks after a D&C is roughly when to expect AF, and that would mean Saturday probably was it.

Since I don't have to take a full cycle off (as I mentioned in an earlier post), that means I start estrogen priming pretty soon! In fact, based purely on Saturday as CD 1, I'd go in for an ultrasound around February 16-17. Except I'm going to be in Hawaii. Which I had figured out, and I was hoping there was a medical solution to the problem. And yes, there is -- I continue taking Estrace until I come back from Hawaii, and go in for an ultrasound my first day back. Yay for modern medicine!

This means my projected schedule is: ultrasound Feb. 20, start injections Feb. 21, monitoring appointment Feb. 26, and based on prior cycles, retrieval around March 7, and if we get to transfer, that would be five days later on March 12.

So I'll be traveling with meds, which is ok. My clinic is giving me a doctor's note, although I've never had TSA even blink at my meds/injection supplies when I've travelled with them in the past. (By the way, I've noticed airport bathrooms have biohazard containers for disposing of needles -- how cool is that?) I'll be doing two shots of Humira (one probably in the next day or two), taking Estrace pills, and doing 3 shots of Ganirelix.

Later today, I got the karyotyping results from my D&C. Another trisomy 16 finding, which is actually good news. It means my immune system wasn't the reason for the loss, and bolsters my doctor's opinion that my uterus is just fine. So we need to find a good embryo to put there!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I've always known I wanted to stay home with kids until they're in school -- that's what my mom did. Little did I know I'd be staying home before kids too.

In November 2009, I quit my (high profile, high stress, Silicon Valley) job. Not working, by choice, at 35, with no kids, is a weird place to be.

Back story:

We were more than 2 years into our infertility journey, and we were planning to start IVF in January 2010. Juggling IUIs (and related medical, lab, and acupuncture appointments) was challenging, and we knew IVF would be more intensive.

On top of that, I wasn't happy in my job. For two years, I'd planned on working until I had a baby, going on maternity leave, and then not coming back. Ha. On the plus side, that was two more years of vesting stock, on the down side, it was two more years of a frustrating, stressful job. And not that stress is sufficient to cause infertility, but it certainly wasn't helping.

Luckily, we could afford to have me not work, and we both agreed (and continue to agree) that growing our family is our #1 priority. So it was a pretty straightforward decision for me to quit.

The first month after I quit was December, which was busy prepping for, and having, and cleaning up from Christmas. January was the first month I had to think about what I was going to do with myself. We were starting the IVF process (testing, consults) but not in an IVF cycle yet.

The two big things that you lose when you quit a job (apart from the money!) are routine and casual socializing. All of a sudden, I had nothing to distinguish one day from the other. And I also had no one to keep me company in my temporary retirement status. I signed up for The Dailey Method (a barre-based workout class), which helped with the route -- 2-3 days a week I'd go to a mid-morning class, thus forcing me out of the house and helping me get in shape (I didn't realize how important this would be between IVF cycles until after my first one...) And I started scheduling regular lunches with friends.

I also experimented with -- it's sort of a dating site but for (busy) women to make friends. I've always had more guy friends than girl friends, and my husband has always been my best friend. So I don't have a broad circles of girl friends to pull from for fun stuff. It helped enormously with finding women who could meet during the day. (Note: I've had mixed experiences with the service -- met some cool people but also went to a bunch of circles that were a waste of time. YMMV.)

Back to not working. Scheduling appointments at our clinic got a lot easier. Fitting in acupuncture was a breeze. Running errands that we used to devote our Saturday to was easy to fit in during the week. And I had a to-do list of various house projects to work on. Oh, and we also started planning a medium sized remodel/addition project. So I was able to fill my time and feel productive. That last part is important -- if you don't feel productive it's easy to wonder where the time went. And trust me, you can while away an entire day just checking email, facebook, twitter, etc.

But when I met someone knew, I wasn't sure how to answer the question 'so what do you do?' Here are some of the answers I've used: "temporary trophy wife", "voluntarily unemployed", "product manager", "not working by choice", "quit my job so we could do IVF". There aren't a lot of people in their mid-30s who aren't working (by choice) and don't have kids. And what you 'do' is really a big part of your adult identity, both pre- and post- kids.

I feel really lucky to be able to not work, but it's definitely weird. My husband and I have had to figure out what the right balance is -- I have more time, so it makes sense for me to do more of the 'us' chores, but I don't feel it's right for me to do all of it solo. Our remodel project was helped tremendously by me being at home (and being able to run construction-related errands during the M-F 8-5 hours most places seem to have).

I did end up doing some consulting in the fall -- three weeks full time and then a few hours a week through the end of the year. The three weeks fell between cycles (which is why I agreed to it), and the few hours a week have been easy to fit in. But fitting things in between cycles is challenging, and scheduling anything in advance is just about impossible (see our delayed vacation from the fall...) So until I'm past a first trimester, I won't look for other consulting opportunities. At that point I might commit a few months if I found a company I was excited about, but I'll have to cross that bridge if I come to it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Starting to plan

We just had our WTF call with our doctor to discuss the last IVF cycle and miscarriage, and talk about future plans.

Unfortunately we don't have the karyotype results yet from the miscarriage, so we don't know for sure that it was a chromosonal issue. That said, our doctor is confident that it was, since we went into the cycle with my immunological issues well controlled. He thinks I have a great uterus (hee!) and a great lining, and both times we've transferred embryos I've gotten pregnant. And I responded well to the estrogen priming/antagonist protocol we switched to last time. So it really comes down to making sure the embryos we put in are good ones. Which means doing genetic screening, even if we only have one embryo to consider.

It's an easy answer, luckily. Yes, it's more money, but fortunately that's not a major issue for us. And saving us the emotional and physical burden of a miscarriage, not to mention the delay in starting up another cycle, is priceless. (There's a Mastercard commercial in there somewhere...)

One unexpected piece of good news -- I had assumed I'd have to have a full natural cycle after I get my period (which hasn't come yet post D&C -- the bleeding stopped around 10 days ago, and my hair is now falling out again when I shower, which is a sign my body doesn't think it's pregnant anymore). But my doctor is going to have me do the estrogen priming at the end of this first full cycle! Which means starting stims around the end of February instead of the end of March!

It's funny, it feels so close now. I had set myself up mentally to think about end of March, so it's a (good) readjustment.

I have a couple of posts bubbling in my head, so will get those out soon.

Thanks for following along!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A new year

I decided against doing a 'last post of 2010'. I'd rather focus on the upcoming year, versus revisiting the past. I will say that 2010 was actually a very good year for us, in everything except for our luck maintaining pregnancies. Outside of infertility, things went swimmingly well. And we did zero in on estrogen priming being the right protocol for us (yay for no Lupron!)

We'll continue doing IVF this year. After our first (briefly successful) IVF, we told ourselves would take 1-5 more, so that we didn't focus too much on any individual one. (That doesn't work so well, by the way.) We'll be looking at our next IVF attempt sometime in late February/early March. Technically it'll be IVF 3.0, since our second attempt didn't result in embryos, it's apparently not counted -- so I'll label that attempt 1.5. Having 4-6 weeks before things ramp up for the next attempt will be good for my husband and I -- crazy IVF med hormones, leading to no sex after the transfer, leading to no sex until the 6w3d ultrasound, leading to no sex after the 8w0d D&C isn't so great for closeness and intimacy.

We just completed our last major house project, and it will be nice to take a break from all that and get to enjoy our house this year. We'll finally organize everything (including our giant storage room -- at least as much a curse as a blessing). And we'll do some travel, starting with a rescheduled trip to Hawaii in February that was supposed to happen in the fall.

I don't know right now what I want to do about working. If I were still pregnant, I'd be considering a 4-6 month part or full time role with a startup. But given more IVFs in our future, and uncertainty about how everything will progress, I rather suspect I'll continue not working. It's weird not working (good topic for a future post...) but it does help me deal with all the crazy scheduling and stress of IVF.

Thanks for being along for my ride. I hope 2011 is kind to us all.