The Hormones

The Hormones

I have noticed a couple changes, perhaps due to hormones.

The first, and really not that big of a deal, is my no-cry mechanism. What does this mean, you may wonder? Well, for whatever reason, I really do not like to cry in front of my husband. Anyone else, whatever. But, my husband should not see this. Not that I haven't cried in front of him. Oh contraire, it has happened plenty. But I try to really avoid it. Especially if I'm watching movies or TV. That's like weenie crying, and I try to avoid that. I have a great ability to stop it, usually. I drink some water, I push my tongue to the top of my mouth, I bite the inside of my cheek. Whatever it takes.

I have lost this ability since being pregnant.

I try to stop it, and it won't stop. But it could be worse. Like...

The other thing that has developed is my filter (for talking) is gone. I've slowly developed a bit of this filter through years of individual and group therapy. It's a very thin slight membrane of a filter, but I think the hormones ate it. I'm not really minding it being gone. It's not effecting my attitude towards most people. However, the people I find annoying or just generally do not like even when not pregnant, are now getting the brunt of my honesty at it's full force. I have no tolerance for negativity or hateful rhetoric, and I'm just not keeping it in when encountering it lately.

Things could definitely be worse, in my opinion.

Losing My Religion...

Losing My Religion...

... well, not really. I never had one.

I'm finding that people that I thought knew me, and should know me, do not know me at all. So, I am putting it out there on the record for my peeps to see. I will put it simply. I do not believe in a God of any sort. I do not believe in any sort of higher power. I was raised in a Christian household, but from a very early age I couldn't help thinking that everyone at church was just weird.

What I do believe in, and very strongly, is a sense of karma. I live my life in such a way as what I put out in the world will come back to me. I try to be as honest as I can be, and as accepting as I can be. I'm not saying I accomplish this all the time, cuz I don't. I'm not perfect. But I believe a good attitude, being honest, and being good to people will boomerang back to me.

I bring this up because I feel like since I've announced that I'm pregnant to people that I'm bombarded with religious stuff. Talking to a friend about this recently, even had a stranger butting into the conversation to tell me "you will believe in God now that you're pregnant. There's no way not to when you have a child." Usually, this stuff doesn't bother me. Mainly because it's really never been an issue. But I honestly feel like the emails & whatnot I've gotten that talk about prayers and other religious things pertaining to me and my baby, have gone a bit too far. I'm seriously getting offended. What if someone that was Jewish or Muslim sent a Christian something that was jewish or islamic? That Christian would probably be offended. It's pretty much the same thing.

So, I try to respect you and your religion. All I ask is that you please try to respect me and my lack of one.

...And Even More WAITING!

...And Even More WAITING!

Started "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I"

Continued in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II"

Continued in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part III"

Continued from "Now... the WAITING"

 

It took me 30 minutes to get a hold of Miguel. I had literally just gotten off the phone with him when the nurse called me back, and I could not get him on the phone or on text or anything. So flipping frustrating. I had a friend that was doing IVF at the same time as me texting me, and my mom texting and calling me, and another friend texting me. But I wasn't saying a peep until I got to talk to my man. That seemed only fair, except he wasn't really cooperating. Finally, I think on one of my many call attempts, he answers. I don't even remember what I said. I wonder if he remembers. Hmmm. So, somehow I relay the information. He is ecstatic! He wants the OK to tell one of his buddies up there with him so he can truly experience it and not alone. I tell him he can tell that ONE person. I then proceed to tell three :D Actually, no, four. TEEHEE. A few days later my four becomes five. But that's it, that was my max. I think in the end, Miguel told four people.

Just when I thought the most horrible waiting period was over, I get a good knock of reality right upside the head. On Monday February 21, 2011, I went and got my blood drawn again. Didn't really stress too much about it, just waited til the end of the day when I got my results. My HCG levels were higher, but not as high as they should have been. Apparently, HCG levels should close to double every couple days. My first HCG level was 57, this new level was 87. They said it should be 95. Now I start to worry. I also started getting a pretty wicked cold that day. Oh, and all-day nausea started the previous day. Oy vey.

I get another blood draw on Wednesday, it was better. I got another one the following Monday, February 28, 2011. Much better. Had our first sonogram on March 2, 2011. At this point I'm considered 5 weeks 4 days. From this point forward, I think we have sonograms every week for a few weeks with the exception of Spring Break week (aka SXSW). This was good and bad.

See, Dr Silverberg is a super upbeat and positive guy. I've walked into his office feeling like the world would end and I walk out without a care in the world. I'd heard stories about some of the other doctors, and some (like the one that told us the bad news) just don't have that great non-stop positive attitude. So, it was quite odd to see a different side of Dr Silverberg -- oddly cautious. We would have our sonogram appointments and he would say something like "it's not as big as I would like". But then he would end with "everything looks fine". Some other gems were "we're not out of the woods yet" and "that heartbeat is slower than I'd like". He would mostly end with "everything looks fine, see you in a week" or whatever. This caused me so much flippin' worry. I would take whatever line of the week and just dwell on it. Thank goodness Mike would just focus on the "everything looks fine" portion. Cuz he would have to talk me down some weeks. By the time the next sonogram would roll around I was a wreck. It wasn't until I was about 8 weeks 4 days that I got a big boost of confidence.

We'd been hearing or seeing the heartbeat since 6 weeks 4 days. But at the 8 week mark it was like hearing a freight train. It was a whopping 170 beats per minute and it was just truckin'. That made me feel so confident. I wanted to say screw our 12 week rule of when to tell people and announce it to the world! But, it's glad one of us can manage to stay sane at any given point, cuz Mike insisted we keep our deal of 12 weeks. Dr Silverberg was still concerned about the size of our critter, but we saw him one more time at 9 weeks 4 days, and the critter had almost completely caught up with growth. So, he released me to see my OB finally. He also told me to make sure I send them a picture once the baby was born, but the nurses kept telling me I better bring the baby up there. I'm sure they really like seeing the end result of all their work. I don't blame them at all.

We see my OB -- Dr Stephanie McNelis (love her!) -- at 10 weeks 4 days. It was weird cuz her sonogram machine is a bit inferior to TFC's. It felt like we were going quite a ways back. She couldn't even pick up the heartbeat and made it seem like it's rare when she can. Madness! I'm spoiled over here, give me everything or give me nothing! I kid :D Everything looked kosher, they gave me bunches and bunches of samples of prescription pre-natal vitamins and a couple bags worth of swag, told me to get blood drawn and said come back in a month. A month!??!?! I have gotten sonograms weekly dangit, what is this month thing?!?

Apparently, "because of my age", and because of the IVF thing, I'm considered High Risk, so that is actually going to afford me more ultrasounds than your normal pregnancy. Some at my normal OB and some at a high risk place that has higher resolution ultrasounds! At first I was offended at being "high risk", but if the only downside to that is getting more peeks at the critter, than I'll wear that label proudly!

Just after Miguel got back from a wedding in Venezuela, we started telling everyone about the little critter. I probably rode on that high for 3-4 days. It was great getting it out in the open. Probably didn't help that because of IVF we knew WAY earlier than most folks do. It was just so much WAITING.

So, now we're pretty current on things. I'm 14 weeks as of the moment of writing this. I get my next ultrasound (on the belly this time!) in 4 days. Then I think we'll be scheduling the ultrasound for determining gender with the high risk place soon after that. Really exciting times for us.

This is the end of this portion of the story, but I imagine I'll be pretty darn chatty about all this, so hopefully I'll write more as we go. I don't want to be one of those batty ladies that talks about her pregnancy or kids all the time to people. I've been on the other end of that, and trust me -- the non-parent types really can't stand it. So, I'll use my little blog here to get most of that out, hopefully. I can't promise anything, but I'll say that I'll try my best :D

Now... the WAITING...

Now... the WAITING...

Started in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I"

Continued in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II"

...Continued from "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part III"

 

We'll rewind just a tad here. On Monday, February 7, 2011, Miguel got horrible news. He was told that a close friend of his committed suicide. They had known each other for so long -- Probably 20 years. To say this was a surprise was an understatement.

So, when we get our awesome 3-day fertilization report on February 8, 2011, he was beyond relieved or happy or whatever. You combine the death of his friend with what happened on our previous 3-day fertilization report, and this boy just wanted to hear something good. So, when I say I can't describe the look on his face, I mean it. There was so much emotion tied into that one look, that it is just impossible to put into words.

Miguel left for Dallas for the memorial for his friend on Thursday, February 17, 2011. He would be there until Sunday. However, the extra bummer to this is my blood test to see if I was pregnant was scheduled for Saturday, February 19. He would not be there with me when I found out. In the scheme of things, this is probably not that important.

But when you consider the HOT MESS that I became between Thursday and Saturday, you might think differently. I was pretty OK until after he left. Then the worry set in. By Friday, I was just trying to sleep whenever I could so I would avoid the worrying and how awful it was making me feel. As an added bonus to all this, I was experiencing extreme constipation because of all the hormones I had been on, and was still having to take. I could take nothing for it, so physically and emotionally I was just a mess. I woke up from one of my naps around Friday/Saturday at midnight. This is when my wheels started churning. How early was too early to get my blood drawn? The place I had to go was a 24-hour lab. So, I watched stuff on Netflix for as long as I could manage, but then finally caved.

I ended up heading to the hospital lab at 4am. Due to some seriously stupid people, I almost got checked into the ER when I was just asking for directions to the lab. All that mess took me an hour! So, when I finally found the lab at 5am, I was just confused and frazzled. The lady there was really helpful, and made sure I wasn't going to have to pay for an ER visit, and yelled at some people on the phone for putting me through all that. Then she took my blood. Best blood draw ever. So smooth. And with IVF, you become a bit of a critic of all the phlebotomists. You have to get blood taken almost as often as they stick stuff up your lady junk. So, yes, best blood draw ever.

So, I head home, eat some breakfast and then proceed to crash from about 6:30am until 11am-ish. I am supposed to receive a call by no later than 1:30pm. The sheet I have specifically states that if I have not heard by that time, to page out the nurse. Well, 1:30pm comes and goes, and by 1:32pm I'm paging out. I get a call back around 2pm, and I apologize for being a dork for paging out, but she says I did the right thing. I could hear her shuffling papers around, and I was starting to get nervous and she says something like "OH! Good news!" and I think she said something else, but I could seriously have passed out by this point. I regain my composure while she tells me what my next orders are and all that. I have to get my blood drawn again on Monday.. keep taking my progesterone... yadda yadda yadda. Holy shit. I'm pregnant!?

TO BE CONTINUED in "...And Even More WAITING!"

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part III

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part III

Started in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I"

... Continued from "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II"

 

Dr Silverberg loves what all our gender bits are looking like and all that, so it's time to start IVF cycle #2. I started Birth Control Pills (BCP) on December 22, 2010. I started the first hormone Lupron on January 11, 2010. Then I started Gonal-F on January 19, 2011.

An interesting fact here is that during the 1st cycle, I gave myself almost all the shots. I ended up having bruises everywhere. I even had one on my stomach that lasted 3 months. I was not looking forward to more bruises. However, Mike did every single shot during the 2nd IVF cycle and I had a couple tiny quick bruises, but for the most part nothing. He's got magic hands or something. Or, I stressed like a mofo when I was having to give myself the shots. Go figure.

Back to the current IVF... I was told to do the Ovidrel (ovulation trigger) shot at 8pm on February 3, 2011. That set me up for a 6:45am arrival on February 5, 2011 at the surgery center. Since the previous retrieval sent me into the hospital and allowed me to experience my first morphine shot ever, I can't say I was particularly looking forward to this experience. However, I did make sure that I had some pain meds long before the day of surgery. Ok, it was like 2 days prior, but still. I had those puppies in hand. I did use the pills for about a day, but after that didn't really need to. Much different experience.

Turns out they got a whopping 25 eggs this time. This time out of those, 19 were mature enough to fertilize. Of those, 17 fertilized successfully. These numbers were looking really good. However, we wouldn't know how well they were doing until February 8, 2011. I would find out early that morning whether we would transfer that day or wait until February 10, 2011. (Transfer is what they call putting the fertilized eggs back). February 5-February 8 was a difficult time for us to wait. The last time our 3-day report was not good.

So, I'm at home on February 8, 2011, and I'm taking a shower when the call comes in about our eggs. Mike runs into the bathroom and is just staring at me while I'm getting the call. Turns out we will have to wait until February 10th to do our transfer. The reasons are entirely different this time around though. We just have so many eggs doing so well, that they don't want to pick now. They want to wait until Day 5 (Feb 10) to see which ones are excelling the best. I cannot describe to you the relief that both of us experienced. We were waiting for and dreading this particular moment again, because this is where it started to fall apart last time.

I have a scheduled time to arrive at the surgery center at 11:30 on February 10, 2011. They show us pictures of the 2 blastocysts that were doing the best. Now, a little side note here. When we started this fertility stuff, I was 34. I was already getting the "because of your age" spiel back then. If you really want to feel old, go through fertility issues around this time. You will constantly be bombarded with reminders that you are old as dirt. After a few appointments, I told one of the nurses "Can you just mark in my chart there that I get it. I'm old as shit, let's move on." She found it humorous. I was being quite serious.

Anyway, back to the wonderful blastocysts. So, because of my age, they let us choose whether 1 or 2 of those eggs were put back. We threw the dice and said let's do 'em both! Then they wheeled me into the procedure room, and Mike followed me in. He was seated to my left, where we could both see the TV screen. This would allow us to see them take out those 2 eggs from the dish they were in before they walked into the room with them. The embryologist handed them in a tube-y thing to the doctor, and he did what he does... squirted them up there. They then take the tube back to the microscope, check that everything is gone and no eggs got sucked back into the tube. All clear! I then get taken back to my room where I have to rest and relax for 30 minutes. For the next couple days, I have to be on bed rest.

Now, you might be wondering what happened to all the other eggs? Well, at this point we had 15 left that were still doing really well. So, they wait one more day, and see which ones are viable for freezing. I don't know how many that ended up being, but we got 6, yes 6! that survived the freezing process. We went from nothing to having 6 spares?!?!? We couldn't have asked for better results, seriously...

TO BE CONTINUED in "Now... the WAITING..."

 

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II

... Continued from "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I"

Side note: From the polyp-removal surgery, I actually have pictures of my internal bits. I have real photos of my ovaries, my uterus, some intestine shots, and I even have a picture of the big ol' polyp. If you ever have this chance, tell them you really don't need to see them, cuz there is no way these types of pictures can be pretty. Yech!!! :D Just be glad I didn't scan them in for these blog posts! HA!

I'll give you a run down of an IVF cycle, or at least what mine was like. They started me on birth control pills (BCP) the month before the actual IVF cycle. So for end of April/first of May I was on BCP. On May 13, 2010, I started the hormone shots, beginning with Lupron. This overlaps with BCP for a few days. Then, on May 22, 2010, I add in Gonal-F. This hormone is a follicle stimulator. This is gonna hopefully get me a bunch of eggs ready to go. The thing I disliked most about this part of the cycle is having to get something stuck up my junk every other day while they watch my eggs. I mean, you get used to it, and at the same time you don't. But that's just me. When the eggs are at the desired size, I am then scheduled to take an Ovidrel shot. This has to be timed very well because 36 hours after you take this shot you will ovulate. So, the surgery for removing my eggs from the follicles on my ovaries is scheduled precisely 36 hours after I take this shot. That was June 6, 2010. Thank gawd I was out for this, but the gist of it is, they insert a really long needle through my vaginal wall up to my ovaries and suck out all the follicles they find. I ended up with 20 eggs.

After this egg retrieval procedure, things got a little interesting. I wasn't given any pain meds for after the surgery. We kept telling people, but we never ended up going home with any. Most people just told us it wouldn't be a big deal. Their default prescription for this is Vicodin, and I'm allergic to that. So, this just caused a bit of a mess. We get home, and about an hour after we get there, I'm really starting to feel it. About 10 minutes after that, I'm screaming my bloody head off. And this is coming from someone that has quite the high tolerance for pain. Mike pages out Dr. Silverberg and asks if it's okay to take some Darvocet I had leftover from my polyp surgery. Doctor says go for it. I take that, it helps for maybe 20 minutes (turns out Darvocet was just taken off the market cuz it's WEAK SHIT!). I'm back to screaming again. Poor Mikey. He was probably freaking out, but he was a champ. He pages the doctor back out and the doctor tells us to go to the ER where he has privileges. It's not our closest, but it's 2nd closest. So we head over to North Austin Medical Center. Apparently he called ahead cuz they were ready for us. Plopped me in a wheelchair and rushed me into the back. They examine me and stuff, and pretty quickly pump in some morphine into my IV. It felt nice & woozy & fun, but did absolutely nothing to my pain. I think they eventually found something that would work to quiet me down.

I get a CT of my abdomen area and there is definitely some bleeding going on in there. They admit me to the hospital, and I'm doped up for the next 24 hours. Mike has to force me to stand when I need to pee. The pain then was so excruciating, sometimes I would be crying. But, he would never let me sit back down when I was on my way to standing. Sometimes this whole process of peeing would take 10-15 minutes. I had to pee often too, cuz they were pumping fluids in me. Ugh. Not fond memories. But, if I ever doubted it (which I never have), Mikey takes wicked awesome good care of me. After all that mess, I finally get the OK to leave, so we leave the afternoon after we entered.

Now, back to those 20 eggs. Of those 20 eggs, only 14 were mature enough to attempt fertilization. Apparently this wasn't a great percentage. Of those 14, only 9 successfully fertilized. Of those 9, none of them grew enough to be viable. June 11, 2010 was not a happy day for us. We were somewhat warned of this on June 9, 2010, but it really didn't hit home until we went back in for what was supposed to be my transfer. (Transfer is what they call putting the fertilized eggs back). No viable eggs meant nothing to put back. It was a very sad day. My normal doctor was on vacation, and the other doctor there giving us the news was really bad at it. You could tell she's either young or new or both. Not so great in the bedside manner, where my normal doctor excels. However, the embryologist there was really great. He seemed to think there was still hope. He explained to us that it appeared to him to be both a sperm & egg quality issue, and he was pretty sure one or both of these issues could be dealt with. I really appreciate that the embryologist was there. He was a hope-saver.

And hope we needed... because my doctor was on vacation, we had to wait a whole 11 days to talk to him. It was a seriously difficult time. Absolutely mind warping. When we were finally able to meet up with him on June 22, 2011, he told us he could change how much of the hormones I got next time, and that could solve the quality of the egg issue. Miguel needed to go see his man-bits doctor so they could deal with the quality on his side.

Miguel went to a doc that the fertility doc recommended. He had Mike start taking some drugs and a vitamin drink mix twice a day, and we were on a minimum of a 3-month wait-and-see creeper. Miguel had his followup appointment and things were definitely looking up. I think we ended up waiting another 3-month for more results, and those looked even better. So, we met up with Dr. Silverberg again on December 13, 2010...

TO BE CONTINUED in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part III"...

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I

Most of the people I know, have already heard about the fact that I'm currently 13 weeks pregnant. But, do you know the whole story? Cuz whooooo-boy, there's a story.

It all began in October 2005. Our house burned down. Yes, this started then. I don't know if it was the fact that we seriously could have lost each other or all our kitties or what. But, it definitely ramped me up in the wanting a baby department. I never really felt that overwhelming need to have one, but suddenly, I at least wanted to try. Mike seemed quite game. So, I saw my OB, she checked me out, said I was good to go, and to see her in about a year if nothing came to be.

Well, a year passed, and nothing came to be. So, I went back to her. She told me to take my temperatures everyday for 6 months to a year, so we could establish if I ovulated regularly. Really? This should take this long? Turns out I had a crap OB, cuz this shouldn't take this long really. I will also admit to going in and out of motivation on this particular topic. Even after a year of trying, sex becomes very boring and very much driven by that one thing. Getting ME knocked up. But, I soldier on, and end up taking my temperature for a year. Like clockwork, my cycles are perfectly 26 days, and I ovulate on day 14. No wonder it seemed like my periods are just right around the corner. Cuz they are. Annoying factoid about moi.

Well, that was settled, everything appeared to be functioning. After the 2nd year of this, I was really losing interest. It felt like I was driving all of it, and I wanted to feel like Miguel was truly wanting this too. So, I sort of stopped at this point. If he really wanted to do this, I wanted him to drive it a little more.

I think it was at the 2 year mark that Miguel finally goes to get himself checked out. Come to find out he had some issues that could only be truly helped with surgery. Miguel had his first surgery on September 12, 2007. We keep going, and keep getting Miguel looked at. Turns out about a year later, his doctor says the problem has returned. He will need to see a specialist in Houston at the Baylor School of Medicine. Miguel goes there at least once a month for quite a while, until they decide he needs another surgery. So, on October 30, 2008, he has his second surgery in Houston.

On August 5, 2009, I finally go see Dr. Silverberg at Texas Fertility Center (TFC). He has me go get a dye test, but then I never go back for follow-up. My interest is really waning, and I'm still not feeling Mike's 100% buy-in. Yes, I know the boy has had a couple surgeries, but still. I later found out his seeming disinterest was really more frustration that it wasn't happening very easy for us. That's certainly understandable. So, I don't go back to TFC until February 9, 2010. This is when we find out that I have a big ol' polyp in my lady junk and couldn't have a kid no matter how much we tried. I have a natural IUD hanging out in there. If I had a decent OB before, she would have done this after a year of nothing happening. C'est la vie.

So, March 4, 2010, just a week before SXSW, I get the polyps removed and while the doctor was in there he zaps some endometriosis he finds. I'm all good. My lady bits are in fine working shape now. TFC starts working on what our plan will be for In vitro fertilization (IVF). We have a vacation planned for the beginning of May, so we can't really start until after we get back...

TO BE CONTINUED in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II"...

This week in tweets... 2011-04-22

This week in tweets... 2011-04-22
  • Ahhhhhh. I'm starting to feel more human again. Just got my hair did after a long lazy stint. I look less like a shaggy gray dog now. #
  • Had crazy puffy eyes this AM. Guess it was cuz I cried so much yesterday. From watching Season 6 of Deadliest Catch. Yup, I said it. #
  • Out with the gals. I can be social again. @ Brick House Tavern+Tap http://gowal.la/c/44aiK #
  • Dining late with Señor Papa. @ Vivo - Lake Creek http://gowal.la/c/44dPv #

This week in tweets... 2011-04-15

This week in tweets... 2011-04-15

This week in tweets... 2011-04-08

This week in tweets... 2011-04-08
  • So beautiful here! Anniversary lunch on the lake. @ Soleil http://gowal.la/c/3UFgU #
  • They have the cutest chickens in their garden area. @ Eastside Cafe http://gowal.la/c/3V67D #
  • We are having the worst luck with dining and ppl's kids running around. This AM a little girl almost pushed everything off our table. #
  • If you love good olive oil or balsamic vinegar, you must try this place! @ Con' Olio Oils & Vinegar http://gowal.la/c/3V8uJ #