The Eternal Guest Room

Infertility kinda sucks.

3 days


After picking up my phone every 5 minutes between 8:00-11:00 to make sure it hadn’t rung, the lab finally called with the report. Of the 19 eggs that fertilized, this is what we have for embryos right now:

7 excellent quality

6 good quality

3 average quality

1 poor quality

2 very poor quality

They probably all won’t make it until Monday, but we’re told that usually around half make it. I don’t really understand the grading system so I can’t explain that, but honestly I’m fine not knowing. I’ve heard of excellent embryos not implanting and terrible ones become healthy children so I’m trying not to obsess over that aspect.

I am obsessing over the rest though. Monday feels like forever away. Our transfer is scheduled for noon.



I got the call. Out of the 23 eggs retrieved, 22 were mature. Out of those, 19 fertilized normally.

The embryologist told me I have great eggs. He also said that he was taking good care of our embryos so not to worry about them.

Now we wait until Saturday to get the 3-day report.



We got to the clinic this morning in record time and watched the sky lighten while we waited for the doors to open. One thing I like about our clinic is that everything is on-site; we don’t have to go to the hospital for retrieval or transfer. I hate hospitals. It’s nice to go somewhere familiar and not as hospital-ish.

My favorite nurse brought us back and I went through the normal pre-surgery stuff – pee, change into a flimsy gown, sign some consent papers about something. The nurse came back to attach my wristband and put in my IV. She’s super sweet and knows I’m terrified of needles, so she tried to be quick about it. Unfortunately, she tried to put it in my left arm, and that didn’t work out. I learned from donating plasma in college that my left vein is sub-standard, and today I learned that that extends to IVs. She had to take it out and start over; we could tell she felt really bad about it. Finally the IV was in.

It was a welcome relief when the anesthesia got going. They rolled me into the OR and I transferred from my bed to the table. My doctor could tell I was nervous, and he was very comforting and reassuring. His wife went through 5 or 6 rounds of IVF so he has a lot of compassion and can relate personally – one of the reasons we chose him to be our doctor.

Then I woke up in my room.

They got 23 eggs, which is good. They had to do ICSI, which was a little disappointing. We find out tomorrow afternoon how many eggs fertilize – the doctor said it’ll probably be about half. After that, we wait to see how many become embryos.

Hopefully we’ll do a 5-day transfer on Monday. But in the meantime we wait to hear how the eggs/embryos are doing.

ready or not


Here we go.

Today I had 27 good-sized follicles (between 14-24.5) and a good lining. I also had a few smaller ones that she said might grow enough to be viable, based on how quickly my small ones grew last time.

I take the trigger shot tonight. It will make the eggs ready for retrieval 36 hours later.

Egg retrieval is scheduled for 7:30am Wednesday morning. I’ll be under anesthesia while they remove the eggs from my uterus. Then they get mixed with the sperms and hopefully do some major hooking up. We’re not sure if they’ll do ICSI or not until they see how good the sample is. ICSI is the procedure where the sperm gets injected directly into the egg. We’re hoping not, because it’s an additional $1800 that we’d rather not pay.

I feel really weird right now. It still doesn’t feel real. It actually feels less real as it goes along.

I’m so thankful to have my support group, my blog commenters, and my real-life supportive family and friends right now. I don’t know if I could do this without all of you and them.

I will for sure report back on Wednesday about how it goes. Wish us luck.


1 Comment »

We went in on Friday morning to see how my follicles were growing. The goal for IVF is to have a lot of good-quality follicles, but not too many. They need to grow, but not too fast. Your lining needs to be thick, but not too thick.

The sonogram took forever. She just kept counting and measuring. She told us that anything about 10mm at the time would most likely yield mature eggs that can be retrieved. We ended up with 11 on the right side measuring between 11-16.5mm and 10 on the left side in that size range. 21 total. As well as 12 smaller ones with some potential. The doctor told us that the goal was around 10, so my ovaries decided to just keep on going.

I’m trying to take everything as it comes, one step at a time. I don’t want to look too far ahead or get my hopes up too much. Twenty one is good at this point but I don’t want to think about it too much.

Follicles are supposed to grow 1-3mm per day and once they get to 20mm they’re considered mature enough to go to the next step. My next appointment is Monday afternoon and I’m guessing they’ll be about ready. It’s been hard to wait 3 days in between appointments but I’m trying to stay patient and remind myself that the doctors and nurses know what they’re doing.

I’ll try to be better about updating.



This morning I had my baseline sonogram. I’m on day 5 of stims and still on Lupron (two shots a day is even less fun than it sounds). She said my lining looked good – the minimum they want at this point is 5mm and mine is 6.9mm. She counted 11 follicles on the right that were 9mm or smaller, and 9 on the left that were the same, as well as 3 that were 4mm or less. I’m staying on the same dosage of gonal-f for the next 3 nights and go back Friday morning to see how things are progressing.

I can already tell that every step of this is going to nearly kill me. Three days feels like an absolute eternity, especially with my ovaries writhing around in pain, and this is only the beginning. I can’t even imagine the torture when I’m waiting for eggs to fertilize – or to find out if this whole thing was successful.

Because of monitoring appointments and a general desire to keep life as calm as possible, we’re not traveling for Thanksgiving. Instead, we’re ordering a pre-cooked meal from Sprouts that we just throw in the microwave the day of. As much as I love spending this day with family and 36 hours of cooking, I’m really looking forward to this time with just the 2 of us. A whole day of nothing sounds like the most amazing thing in the world right now.

As busy as I am in the meantime, at least 98% of my thoughts are devoted to IVF. It’s constantly on my brain. I still can’t believe we’re here. I guess it’ll feel real at least when I go into surgery to have eggs sucked out of my uterus.

And that’s about where we are right now. Mainly just waiting. I should be a Waiting Champion right now. I could win some kind of award. Or then again maybe not, because I suck at it.

shots in the dark


I wonder if anyone ever makes it through an entire IVF cycle without doing at least one shot away from home?

I thought we’d planned it all out perfectly. Yesterday morning as we drove to a photoshoot, D and I talked about the day ahead. He was excited about the imrpov workshop he was taking later that day; he’d asked me about it a couple of weeks ago, I double checked the calendar, and everything looked ok. But then I asked “what time is it again?” and he said 5-8 and we both went: “Oh crap.”

The gonal-f shots are supposed to be around the same time every evening between 6-8. How both of us totally missed that the workshop was during that time is beyond me. The workshop was held about 35 minutes from our house. So after some deliberation we made a plan.

So, after a day when I was away from home from 8am-4:45pm doing photo shoots, and after already driving 100 miles, I headed back downtown where I had been already that morning. I parked in the ally a few blocks away from the comedy house so I wouldn’t have to sit at a meter or on a street where lots of people walk. I sat alone in the dark ally for over half an hour waiting for D to get a break. I finally saw him jogging to the car. He got in, prepped everything, and gave me the shot as I looked at the window at what I could see of the Dallas skyline. Then I drove him back to his workshop and drove myself home.

These are the shots that stimulate my follicles to grow. The goal is to get several follicles containing mature eggs. They’re the same shots we did when we did IUIs, but the dosage is much higher. With IUIs we never went above 150; the goal was to get 3-4 follicles. With IVF, we started at 225; the goal is to get as many good-quality eggs as they can.

I can already feel my ovaries working overtime. Sometimes it really hurts; like being stabbed from the inside. I called the clinic this morning and they assured me that this is totally normal.

Tomorrow morning is my first follicle check. I’m extremely anxious to get to that point, where I find out what’s going on in there and get a better idea of what to expect and how all of this is going to go.

More then.



If I had to pick one word that most describes my feelings about this IVF cycle, I think the word would be “terrified.”

It was so easy to look forward to this and think it would work. But now that I’m in the middle of it, the “what-if-it-doesn’t-work” panic has set in.

I think part of the problem is that after 4 years and 8 months, it’s basically impossible to believe that I could actually be pregnant the next month. It just doesn’t seem like a realistic possibility at this point.

Obviously we wouldn’t be going through this if we didn’t think it would work, but believing it will work is something else entirely.

I worry that thinking this way will actually make it not work. I know I should be thinking positively. I’m afraid that I’ll bring failure upon myself. I don’t know if I really believe that that’s how it works, but I worry that it will play a part.

I look past December and all I see is uncertainty. A huge cloud over everything; like a fog, like a dream, where nothing is clear and you have no idea what’s coming. I hate that all our hopes are placed on this one thing. I hate that this is our only shot for the foreseeable future.

I’m glad we even have this chance; I know that a lot of people don’t. But it’s harder than I thought it would be.

I’m super anxious for my monitoring appointment on Tuesday morning. That’s when they start looking at my follicles to see how fast and how big they’re growing. I’m ready to get to the next point; maybe when things start happening I’ll feel better about everything.

For now I’m mainly just scared.

needles and turkeys


We’re moving right along. I take my last birth control pill tomorrow (yaaaaaayyyy). In the meantime we do a lupr.on shot every morning at 7:15. The shots themselves have been worse than I expected; 2 days D couldn’t get the needle to pierce my skin on the first attempt, and it turns out being poked with a needle is much more painful that being pierced with one. Ow. Yesterday I had a weird little bump/reaction. Today it bled. So that hasn’t been super fun. D told me that it’s harder than when we did injections for the IUI because I’m a little thinner now. I don’t know if that’s the reason or if my body is just putting up a fight and trying to be even more difficult than usual. Doing them in the morning has been pretty weird, too; either I’m half-asleep (on weekends and the days I work from home) or in the process of rushing to leave (on the days I go to my away-from-home job).

Emotionally, I feel better. My moods seem to have stabilized quite a bit. I haven’t felt like killing anyone or burst into tears at nothing. So that’s progress.

Physically, my one side effect is headaches, and those suck. I have a near-constant headache. Sometimes it’s a dull pain that’s barely there, sometimes a medium throbbing, and other times like a migraine complete with nausea and stabbing pains throughout my entire head. So that’s not so awesome.

I’ve been going to acupuncture for 2 weeks. There have been actual studies that prove it improves success rates for IVF, so even though it’s an extra cost we feel that it’s worth it. This is our one attempt for the foreseeable future, so we’re putting everything we have into it. Unlike the last time I did acupuncture (a year ago with IUIs), I’ve been enjoying it. I’m pretty sure it’s 95% because in that time she has gotten heated beds. So I get nice and cozy and relaxed. She also puts a heater right over my stomach or back and covers my feet and shoulders with thick blankets. So it’s a nice little warm cocoonish 20 minutes instead of pure agony like last time. Amazing what a change in temperature can do. I also think I’ve just gotten used to the needles; and maybe I’m better at being still. Who knows.

I finally got around to taking a photo of my meds to show you. I actually have a lot less than most people seem to. Partly because my doctor orders the minimum and then I get refills later if I need them. Hopefully not, as they are expensive and I’d really rather not need any more. It also just varies based on protocol, age, situations, etc.


And yes, I did use my photoshop skills to remove my name, address, & phone number before posting these to the internets.

See all those needles on the left side??? Holy crap. I’m really hoping (and thinking) that they sent me way too many. Both pharmacies that I ordered from sent me a whole bunch, so I’m thinking (and again, hoping) that they both sent me a full set. And each more than what I actually will need. Because yikes.

Most of them live in the refrigerator, so I get to see them every time I need something from there. I have a lifetime supply of ice packs at this point, so if you’re in need of ice packs, please, let me know.

What else is in my refrigerator, you ask? Well let me show you them:


The holidays…that’s a completely different post. For now I leave you with these guys. I know you all want one.

it’s the end of the world as we know it


I gave myself a shot this morning.

I was tricked.

We went in for an appointment and were instructed to bring the Lu.pron. First we had a sonogram and everything looked fine. Then we went into a room and the nurse came in and started giving instructions for the Lupr.on shots. She said we were going to do the first one then & there, and then tomorrow we’d start doing them on a daily schedule. She asked if I wanted to stand or sit, and first I stood up, but as she stepped toward me I realized I was backing away slowly, so I sat down. She had me rub alcohol on one spot on my stomach. Then she told me to pinch the skin. Then she told me to hold the needle.

I looked at D in terror. He later said that he’d never seen me look so terrified. I said “but he’s going to do them” and the nurse said “you need to be able to do it.” And as I started to panic and (geez, embarrassing…) cry, she kept saying I had to show her that I could do it. She basically forced me to hold the needle and said “it’s already in! You just need to push down.” So with my eyes shut and through tears I found the end of the stupid syringe and pushed the stuff in and then took the needle out of my stomach.

It was an out of body experience for sure.

She then said “wow, I’ve never had anyone do it with their eyes closed before!”

So now I know that i can give myself a shot. Well, at least if I can do it without looking. Which might not be a great idea.

But I never want to do it again.

A little advance notice would have been nice, but I guess I don’t really get a vote in any of this.

For the educational portion of this post: The Lup.ron suppresses your ovaries and prevents you from ovulating. This is important because you can’t ovulate until they’re ready to snatch those eggs out. Otherwise the whole thing would be a waste. I hear horrible things about it – hot flashes, killer headaches, extreme bitchiness – so I’m a little apprehensive, especially after the BCPs didn’t agree with me. We have to do the shot every morning at the same time, so for the next 2 weeks I have to be awake even on my “sleep-in” days early enough to do it at 7:15am. I told D that might actually be better – to do them while I’m half-asleep.

My last BCP is on Thursday, and then a few days after that we start the shots to rev everything up. I’ll do my best to keep this updated with the progress; life has been super busy but I’m hoping that starts to slow down a little.

As we pulled out of the clinic parking lot, that “End of the World as we Know it” song came on the radio. I started laughing and said it was apropos in some ways. Because this kind of is the end of the world as we know it – either we’ll have a baby and the world will change completely, or this will fail and our lives with change completely in some other way. Either way, it’s a turning point.

I’m not sure if I’m ready to say “And I feel fine,” but I am ready for everything to change.

And I still can’t believe this is actually happening.