Sunday, May 29, 2016


I've stalled on my diet plan. I wasn't as good watching my calories last week as I was the previous week, so while I didn't gain anything I also didn't lose anything. I guess that's also a win. So far I'm down 4 lbs of the 10 lbs I originally wanted to lose.

The truth is that while it's nice to lose the weight, I find that being strict on the diet helps me stay on track in other ways. One good choice leads to others which lead to a good healthy day. In contrast, I find that once I make a bad choice it's harder to switch back and make the other choices that day good. If I start the day out with ice cream for breakfast, there's a high probability that I won't work out that day and that I'll buy a high-calorie lunch or dinner.  But if I start the day by making my smoothie, I'll likely grab something light for lunch and make a healthy dinner, and make the effort to work out.

The biggest challenge is the prep. It's the thinking of menus and shopping for the ingredients and making sure the kitchen is well stocked with healthy options. It's an ongoing, exhausting process and as things get busier and busier at work I find less time and motivation to make it happen. This is why diets like Medifast are so popular and people stick to them even though the meals are disgusting. There is no thinking involved. There's also no enjoyment in any meals but at least there are quick results. I already decided that Medifast not for me so I have to make the effort doing it right, even if it takes more time and slower results. I know I want this to work and I'm powering through to prioritize good eating.

In other news, today I'm scheduled to take the fourth dose of del estrogen. It's been a while since my last FET and I didn't track much previously so I can't remember many of the details. For one thing, I'm seeing a lot of discharge that I don't remember from last time. Maybe it's new, maybe not. Another thing is that I had terrible memories of the intramuscular shots but in reality the del estrogen ones aren't so bad. It's still horrible to have to stick oneself with a huge needle in the thigh, but those shots are painless once it's over.  I was remembering the progesterone shots which go in the butt and are much more painful. The del estrogen is relatively pain free and is only administered every third day, so I kind of feel happy once it's done.

Later this week I go back for the halfway check to see if I'm ready for the PIO. Once that starts then transfer would be a few days later. Things are tentatively scheduled until the check up and bloodwork results come back from that appointment.  I scheduled a massage for the day before transfer. Transfers are usually scheduled in the afternoons (because the egg retrievals are always mornings) so I plan to go into work that morning and then leave for the appointment and take the rest of the day off, maybe the next day too.

We're still not in agreement about whether to tell people about a transfer. I want to keep it to ourselves. That's not accurate: the truth is that I just don't want to tell people who aren't going to care if it fails. Last time we told certain family members about a transfer and subsequent negative beta and I didn't get so much as a text or email of sympathy. I'm not asking for elaborate care packages or heartfelt handwritten notes (both of which are nice and always appreciated ;) but totally not necessary) but they didn't even call me or acknowledge the disappointment. I feel that there's no reason to give people like that private access to the ongoings of my uterus every step of the way. So while I would like to tell some people, I get that it's not fair for me to tell some people and for him not to, so I'm prepared to not tell anyone. There's still time to decide.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

FET tips and tricks

I've been scouring the internet trying to research things that have worked for other people have successful FETs. Tips and tricks range from old wives tales to doing nothing different at all. There's no magic bullet.

Here's what I found so far:
- Eat pineapple core. On transfer day, days following transfer day, sometimes for all transfer week.
- Eat Brazilian nuts
- Drink pomegranate juice
- Eat green leafy veg and lots of protein
- Get acupuncture starting 3 months before transfer, with sessions on day of transfer before and after
- Bedrest after transfer, take time off
- Stay active after transfer with light walks, no need for bedrest
- Comedy after transfer
- Keep feet warm after transfer
- Eat warm foods, cooked foods after transfer
- Transfer more than one blast
- Test embryos with PGD testing

Some links:
Embryo Transfer: 10 Essential Tips for Success
Implantation after IVF: 10 Crucial Tips
7 Ways to Prepare for Transfer at Home
5 Steps to prepare for a Frozen Embryo Transfer

The bottom line is that if any of this stuff was necessary, it would be required by my clinic. I am happy to try different things within reason but these lists of preparations border on superstition/obsession. I get that people want to have the best chance possible, but I'm not sure these tricks are what tip the odds. Even so, I'm willing to try some of them. I'm still not sold on acupuncture even though so many places recommend it.  It's not readily offered here and it's more stressful to try and find a licensed therapist to do it so I'll skip it this time.  As of now, here's my plan.

In the weeks leading up to transfer and thereafter:

- Continue with the meds prescribed by the clinic: del estrogen and progesterone. This one seems obvious but it is the only part of the protocol actually required by the clinic and is the most significant of the FET protocol.

- Continue with prenatal vitamin daily. Add separate Vitamin D as suggested by clinic.

- Continue with healthy eating of a balanced diet with high protein and minimum processed food.

- Continue with exercise routine. Add strength training twice a week.

For week of transfer:

- Schedule a massage for day before transfer

- Plan to take the day off work for transfer day. Take it easy the rest of the week, but no need to stay home.

- Plan for some good movies/TV and reading material for transfer day. Always happy for a reason to watch my favorite comics.

- Make big pots of chicken soup and beef broth to keep hydrated before and after transfer day and for the following days after.

- Add pineapple core, pom juice, avocado, and Brazilian nuts to my morning smoothies. I'm drinking them anyway so can't hurt to add a few more ingredients.

- Keep feet warm after transfer. I already have this down - I bought fuzzy slippers back in February when I thought we'd have an April transfer.

- Get the house professionally cleaned week of transfer.

- Stay calm and relaxed throughout the two week wait. Easier said than done. I originally planned to not do any HPTs but even I know that's not a realistic goal to set. Logically I know that testing or not testing won't change anything that's actually happening in there, but I'll have to make a game time decision when it's actually relevant.

I rarely drink wine or coffee so cutting those won't be an issue. I'll have to remember to stop eating deli and sushi starting that week. I did a quick Google search about other foods to avoid during pregnancy and it doesn't look like any of those foods are generally in my regular diet (soft cheeses, sea food, raw egg products).

Will any of this make a difference? I'm not convinced either way, but I'm not adverse to putting in the effort and giving it a try. I'll focus on keeping calm and stress free, and getting through the 2ww with as little anxiety as I can manage. I've starting to accept that it won't work and we'll have to do this again in a few weeks, so it's negative thoughts like that which I need to keep out of my mind. 

Having only a handful of appointments is a big plus.  There's the baseline, halfway check, actual transfer, and beta blood test.  Four visits instead of the very tedious IVF protocol. Hoping and praying this is the right time for it to work. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

FET #3: Baseline

It happened and we're all ok! I was so anxious about the appointment this morning but of course it was fine. And I'm fine now that it's over and we've officially started the cycle. I don't even know why I was so anxious. Everything looked good according to the ultrasound, and bloodwork came back ok so we're good to start. First del estrogen shot tonight and again every third day until further notice. I'm ok with it. It is what it is.

The appointment this morning went well. I arrived at a great time so there was no wait. I got taken back right away, quick ultrasound, painless bloodwork. (My official recorded weight today was four pounds less than what they had for me at my last retrieval which was about a month ago. Weee!) Quick and simple. I was out the door so fast that I got to work earlier than I do on regular days.

There was a little drama last night when we realized the paperwork never got signed. I had gotten it from the nurse electronically, signed it, and it was supposed to be sent to my husband for signature but he never got it. So the nurse resent it to me and said "try again." I thought she had meant for him to try again and I forwarded that email to him. He kept pushing it off because he wanted to read the document in its entirety, so it kept getting procrastinated until I said last night that it needed to be signed. So he sits down to read and sign but he never got it still from the clinic and all he had was that email I had sent. There was no one to call in the clinic and I was so upset because I knew they would delay a start without signed paperwork and having him go down there was such a waste of time. Our plan was for me to go to the clinic earlier than my scheduled appointment, have them send it to him as I'm standing there, and I would text it to him letting him know to do it now so that I could move on with the rest of the appointment.

This morning I woke up and had a thought: what if the nurse meant to tell me that I'm supposed to sign first and then a copy gets automatically sent to him? I figured it can't hurt to try so I dig up her email saying to try again, signed electronically, and a second letter he get an email. Success! I can't believe it took that much drama to figure it out. So yeah, it was technically my fault he didn't get it but had he not waited until the last minute it wouldn't have been a big deal figuring it out. All's well and that ends well.

My next appointment is in June. She told me the date to come in and I asked if it was at all possible to move it up a day since I have a huge work project happening at the same time. She said she wanted a specific number of doses first so I said no problem, we'll make it work. Obviously. I'm not postponing it. So June will be a little hectic, that's fine.

The weather is being so ridiculous. I was in a sweatshirt outside nearly the entire last week. In May! Winter: you had your turn and you didn't take it!! If we're having no Spring I demand extra days be added to fall! But it is technically almost summer and I have plans for Summer 2016.  We're looking to buy a new car in June. I also want to plan a beach vacation or maybe something to a nearby lake. I put bedroom redecorating on hold while I'm busy with work. 

 I stopped thinking about zika because it's out of my control. I got my yard sprayed and bought tons of repellent. It's been too cold to wear repellent, but I have it and will wear it daily once it gets warmer, and that's as much as I can do. It won't do me any good to agonize over it.

I'm determined to try not to take any HPTs after the transfer. I hope I stick to that. I remember how agonizing it was testing daily, sometimes multiple times. The 2ww is such a stressful time for me and I know I need to prepare in order to avoid going bonkers. I'll have to work on that.

I'm excited for the weekend just to be home and veg out!!! Yay TV and sleep!

Monday, May 16, 2016

T minus 4 days

I've been dreading the start of the FET cycle. My baseline appointment is Friday and it seems like it's looming over me. I want to start the cycle but I'm nervous it won't work. I'm worried about the hormone-induced emotional roller coaster. I'm scared it will all be for nothing and that we'll lose another embryo. I'm anxious about putting so much into something and having it fail. I remember what it was like from last time and I really don't want to go through that again.

Work has been keeping me busy which helps me push these concerns to the back of my mind. It's only when I get home I remember that I'm one more day closer to the end of "normal." Regardless of how this turns out, whatever I have now will be over. Either it works and our lives are forever changed by pregnancy, or it fails and we're once again surrounded by grief and shattered hopes.

I need to get new hair products. I realized today that I have an association with the current hair mousse I use. It happened to be that during IVF 3 I got a brand new pricey bottle of Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam. It's actually really great - it dries soft instead of that crunchy texture other products leave behind. It has a pleasant yet distinctive smell and during my IVF cycles, it happened to be that the mornings I was rushing out the door for monitoring appointments I would just put some product in my hair and wear it curly for the day instead of taking the time to do anything with it. Well, alone in those waiting rooms all those appointments and all I could smell was my freshly pickled hair... I started associating that smell with the clinic. So now I get a reminder of that feeling of blood draws and waiting and anxiety every time I smell it, so I have an unused half-bottle I'll probably be giving away soon.

I've been doing great on my diet. I knew 3.5 lbs was too good to be true and sure enough I was back up by 1.5 lbs at the end of the week, still netting a minus 2 so I consider it a win. Still counting calories, still using, still feeling like I'm doing what I can to help this transfer.

Meds order is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and we need to finalize some paperwork. Other than that, just waiting. In other news, we have exciting plans to see one of my favorite comics later this week and this morning I had an almost pleasant encounter with Verizon about my busted charger! All in all, a good Monday.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

What a week

I got the saddest news on Sunday. A friend who had twins in March lost one of the babies on Mother's day. Apparently there was no history of any medical condition and it was just sudden. Eight weeks old and they found him unresponsive in his carseat. It's every parent's nightmare and the absolute most devastating thing. He had a name and a sweet personality and a family who loved and cared for him. When the mom posted a tribute on facebook with pictures I just lost it at work and cried while my heart ached for this family's loss.

Yesterday was Yom Hazikaron - Israel's Memorial Day - which remembers the fallen soldiers who died protecting Israel and its people. It was cathartic to cry with everyone, not only for the fallen soldiers and the loss of their futures but for this tiny baby as well.

From darkness to light... and as the sun set on Yom Hazikaron it marks the start of Israel's Independence Day: Yom Haatzmaut. In Israel it's a national holiday and everyone celebrates with family, BBQs, day trips, and lots of music and dancing. I love this holiday and hope I get to celebrate it in Israel one day.

Work has been so busy and I've been coming home exhausted every day. It's our busy season which peaks the first week of June, just before a possible FET. Even so, I've been making time to work out and it's really helping my diet. So far I'm 3.5 lbs down toward my 10 lb goal. I've been sticking to my calorie intake and having lots of fruit, veg, and protein, with sparse grains and fats. Smoothie with fruit, greens, and yogurt for breakfast, salad for lunch, multiple snacks throughout the day, and a balanced dinner. I'm not depriving myself of anything, just keeping it within my calorie limit. So far I feel great, I'm not hungry, and I'm seeing great results. I think it's working because I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. It might be "beginner's luck" and the first part was just water weight, so we'll see.

I placed the order for the FET meds and need to schedule my baseline appointment. While part of me wants to get to the next stage, another part of me is really enjoying "normal" life without hormones, shots, doctor visits, blood draws, or the emotional roller coaster. Not that I want to postpone anything, but I am dreading some parts of the process. Thigh/butt shots are so unpleasant and the last two times there was no light at the end of the tunnel; they both resulted in negative betas. Beside that I was an emotional mess complete with insomnia. I'd pay good money to skip forward to the 6 week ultrasound check!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bedroom redesign

I need a mental break from thinking about treatment so I put some energy into researching a new bedroom set. Back in February, I laid out the plan for a few redecorating ideas in a post here. To summarize:
Phase 1. construction. Knock wall, build bookcase.
Phase 2. relocation. Relocate all books from over the house to basement bookcase wall. Move futon up to guest room. Move couches from living room to basement.
Phase 3. purge. Sell old bookcases, donate clothes, clean out drawers and declutter in general.
Phase 4. upgrade. Buy new furniture for living room.
Phase 5. redesign. Move bedroom furniture to guest room. Master bedroom overhaul including new furniture, possible addition of bathroom and/or closets.
Since then we've knocked down the wall in the basement, built the bookcases, and moved all the books from the house downstairs. I've decluttered, donated, and restructured numerous closets in the house. Even though I got rid of stuff, I realize this is an ongoing process which will continue forever and I've become more mindful about shopping, buying things I actually need and not just more "stuff." We did move the futon upstairs as planned, but we didn't buy new couches. It turned out a friend who was redoing their own basement was getting rid of a couch in great condition so we put that in the basement and saved the ones in the living room as is, to be upgraded at a future date. For now, that means Phases 1 - 4 are done!

At this point I'm up to the bedroom. While I'd like to knock some walls and add a bathroom, there's no budget for that. For now I'll settle for new furniture. Currently every piece of furniture is a different color and type, accrued over the years. Ideally I'd like to get more functional nightstands and dressers that work better for what we need. I prefer solid wood furniture but I'm open to other ideas. I see that Ikea has a nice set called Hemnes:

While we're adding things, I want to get a little bench for the end of the bed but I'm not sure yet if I want a simple design or one that doubles as storage (for extra blankets? shoes? more crap I'll eventually need to donate?). They seem to have a few different designs on Overstock. I would also add a new light fixture but I want to keep the ceiling fan, so that can tie in the bench even if it doesn't exactly match the Hemnes line. Since I have the furniture picked out, I'm moving on to mattress research but that seems overwhelming and

So mattress first, furniture next, accessories last. The walls were painted fairly recently in a light sea foam color which I like so I think I'll leave that alone but will decide later.

I'd like to get this done over the summer so we'll see if that happens.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Transfer preps

I recognize that there's not much I can do to guarantee the transfer succeed, but there are still some things I can do to help me feel in control.

I decided to try to lose 10 lbs before the transfer. I have a month and, if I have to wait anyway, I want to make the best of the time. I thought about doing Medifast since it seems to have good reviews for quick weight loss. The products are EXPENSIVE (almost $800/month) and look disgusting. I can almost guarantee I'll buy the products, try them, and then immediately not want to do it anymore. In any case, I should learn to make better eating choices for long term benefits. Not only that, but I don't think filling my body with chemicals right before a potential pregnancy is the right way to go.

So with those considerations in mind, I decided to try to do a low-calorie/high protein diet for the next two weeks, to start. I can pick and choose my own meals mainly based on fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins and as long as it's within my calorie range, it should have similar enough results to Medifast. I'll have to prepare everything in advance, which is a big difference than just taking a pre-packaged meal, but for $800 in savings I'm willing to give it a try.

My lower back has been bothering me. Last egg retrieval I had some unexplained pelvic pain around the same time frame as now and when I went to get it checked out they said it was nothing - and it did go away on its own a few days later. I'm wondering if this is more of the same, basically post-surgery . I was thinking it might be something with the mattress so we took a look at the frame and it was messed up. There was a piece broken so we took it apart and left the mattress on the boxspring until we have time to replace it. I was actually planning to do a complete overhaul of the bedroom over the summer and I haven't had a chance to do research yet, so I might just leave this until then and move up the timeline a little. I hope the frame bandaid helps in the meantime.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and it's the first one I've thought about in terms of my own non-motherhood. I'm not sad or looking head or wondering or thinking about anything. A little numb, I think. Just a thought that occurred to me.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Of the seven embryos we sent for testing, there are three healthy embryos. I'm a mix of happiness and anxiety. These three tiny embryos are a scarce and precious resource. Right now we have three opportunities to get pregnant. Logically, I know that they have to be transferred in order to take advantage of that opportunity, but last time we transferred nothing happened and the opportunity was lost along with our hopes and dreams. It happened twice and it was devastating each time.

Three embryos doesn't mean three babies. There are so many things that have to go right for it to work. They have to survive the thaw. They have to stick at the transfer. They have to grow for 9 months. They have to make it through the delivery. Then it's a baby. That's when you know it was a success.

Even so, we're absolutely thrilled that we have three embryos to transfer and we're celebrating the opportunity that lies ahead.

The first IVF cycle we did resulted in two healthy embryos and at the time I completely took it for granted. Of course we have embryos - isn't that what this whole thing is about? Let's stick one in there already so we can move on to #2 faster. Well, neither stuck and we had to start all over. IVF 2... IVF 3... IVF 4...

Here we are, three cycles later and only now do we have something new to transfer. I'm definitely not taking these for granted. I know I'm doing everything to help them stick, but I also know it's ultimately not up to me. I can't blame myself if it doesn't work and I can't take the credit if it does. Each baby is a miracle, even the ones that people get for "free" and don't have to think so much about.

Someone on fb posted this article about why it's ok to be amused at these people's infertility announcements. They are kind of cute: and someone who has been through the treatment actually understands why it's funny. This couple ended up adopting and they seem very happy. The comments on the fb post from other people who experienced infertility were sad, like the one mom who said that she never got to surprise her husband with the pee stick. Obviously she's happy that she was able to get pregnant via treatment and have healthy babies, but people feel like they're missing out on something.

That used to be my mindset, but I don't think I have the luxury of being miffed at not having a youtube-esque announcement. I'll be happy if and when I get pregnant, overjoyed that it worked and anxious every second that it shouldn't suddenly end unexpectedly.  I know family members are waiting to hear results and part of me really wants to keep this a secret. Just our secret. That's another luxury we don't get. We expect them to be there for us to support during the bad times; it's only fair to share the good news too.

I think that's the rationality behind why I don't like telling anyone that we're trying. Not only because I hate sharing the news that we've failed, but I also don't want to feel obligated to share pregnancy success so early on. Again, may this be my biggest worry.... I hope I get to have a pregnancy announcement to share, regardless of how soon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

No news

Still no news, though I see that the lab charged my credit card. I know we shouldn't expect news yet - it hasn't been 10 business days (wth kind of timeline is that for something that happens immediately) - but I couldn't help emailing my nurse to find out if she knows anything yet. No news.

I've been trying to be better with eating and exercising. I tried starting South Beach diet but thinking about food is so time consuming. My chin broke out so there's still time until my better eating habits kick in. It used to be that it was the exercise part that would trip me up but for now I'm pretty good with that. I'm using myfitness" and the app for accountability.

On my path to new hobbies, I signed us up for a pottery class! I'm making my husband join in, at least for the first one.

Work has been crazy trying to catch up from when we were out for the week. It's only going to get crazier as we get toward the summer. I love summer and everything it includes like BBQs and bonfires and watermelon and beach time.

I saw Colin Farrell on TODAY talking about his new movie, "Lobster," coming out this summer. It's the weirdest plot: In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods" (IMBD). How weird! I love it. I want to write a novel with a quirky new concept and this just motivates me to get started.

I started watching Veep and Leverage - both awesome! Yay for having new shows to watch.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


Got the results from my mole: looks benign so no further treatment required. Great!

I also got a general voicemail over the holiday from the lab testing the embryo biopsies asking to give them a call. Since I didn't get it until after the holiday was over on Saturday night I can't talk to anyone until they reopen on Monday. My feeling is that they needed authorization to use the credit card on file, which is annoying because I had already given permission previously and had they ran it on Friday instead of getting permission we may already have the results by now. I get why they need authorization and logically I guess I prefer that they don't use my card without asking first, but now I'm anxious to find out results. At least I assume that's why they called.

Pesach is over. All that work and now it's done! Our guests left this morning and the house suddenly feels enormous. I love my house and I enjoyed spending my stay-cation here.

I started looking at options to go for a summer trip this year. In addition, I also started looking at vacation spots for a big trip for our 10th anniversary next summer. We never went on a honeymoon so I'm excited to spend time and energy planning one now.

In addition, I decided I need more hobbies in my life. I made a list of things I should try over the summer: tennis, clay wheel throwing, learn an instrument, yoga, running, camping, writing. I may or may not do all of them, but it's a starting point and I feel the need to stretch past my comfort zone. I asked family members to think about things I can add to my list. Willing to take any and all suggestions under consideration.


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