Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Study

Be careful what you wish for.

Remember in my last post when I said I wished my insurance had IVF coverage?

Well, it doesn't.

BUT…. after having a vivid dream this weekend about investigating IVF studies (weird, right?), and knowing of one currently going on at my clinic, I shot out an email to the head of the study.

Turns out I qualify. And could start as soon as December.

It's for women ages 35-42 who have regular cycles and have been trying to get pregnant. It definitely isn't free, but between the insurance coverage we do have and the stipend the study provides, we could do a full IVF cycle for about 1/4 of what it normally costs. And I actually have enough savings right now to afford it should we choose to pull the trigger.

So therein lies the million dollar question… do we pull the trigger?

After talking with the head nurse and hearing everything entailed with IVF, I felt a bit overwhelmed. It is definitely a time, money, & body commitment to go through this process! And? The stats for our clinic overall for IVF pregnancy success in women ages 38-42 is 27%. And of that 27% only 19% go on to a live birth. So there is an 80% chance this all would amount to nothing but a lot of crazy hormones & heartache.

The nurse was quick to point out that I am on the lower end of the 38-42 age range. I also know that all of my tests for egg reserve and quality have been excellent. That BC's numbers are almost always excellent. So I'd like to think that maybe our stats might be more favorable than the average. 

However the possibility of failure still terrifies me.

I am pretty sure I would not be ready to go full in with December's cycle. Especially considering the Holidays, and how we'd be at my body's whims for procedural timings. Sorry family, I can't come to Christmas this year because we have to retrieve some eggs! See 'ya in 2015.

What does feel right is possibly planning ahead to say something like "if we are not pregnant by the start of my January (or February) cycle, THEN we will move forward and go all in with the study." Knowing full well that I can change my mind about participating at any time. And taking the risk that the study could end before I get the chance to participate.

One reassuring thing I did learn is that if we had more than 2 good quality embryos as a result of this IVF we could freeze the remaining ones toward future frozen embryo transfers (FETs). Those are much more affordable and less invasive per try, so that is a good silver lining to have in the back of my mind should we participate in the study and not conceive. 

Of course I am holding out hope that we become pregnant on our own before having to consider the study. Miracles can happen, and our Iyla Grace is an excellent example of just such a miracle! But the fact remains we've been actively trying again for 1.5 years, and I am not getting any younger- so having a PLAN and this study opportunity might not be such a bad thing. I really am at the point where I am willing to do whatever it takes to bring another little one into our family. I am so ready!

Those of you who follow this blog and have been on the infertility roller-coaster (or just want to chime in!), what would you do? 

Decisions, decisions. Grateful at the very least to have this opportunity to consider.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"Snuggle Mama Little Bit"

Today I am grateful for my sweet, affectionate, bright little girl- who recently has started cooing "snuggle Mama little bit" to me several times a day, nuzzling into me for long, deep hugs. It absolutely melts me.

My sweet love

Today in particular those hugs are needed. Despite my psychic and acupuncturist predicting that a pregnancy was achieved, despite having 3 eggs release, despite my body playing wicked symptom games with me (which all totally disappeared a few days ago- noticeably so)- I am not pregnant.

This TTC is SUCH a mindf***,  as it really felt like my body was pregnant. The hunger. The sore breasts. The ovarian pinching and pulling. Perhaps something was fertilized, but just didn't make the final journey? I so wish I could have a little camera inside me to tell me exactly WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG?

And yes, my frou knows that these kids come when they want to come and in their own time. At least my kids do. Lately it seems everyone else around me sneezes and gets pregnant. I swear that in our toddler swimming class is pregnant again. The idyllic 2 year spacing. It is so hard to keep the envy at bay, and feel peace and acceptance toward a 'greater plan.' Some days I am better at this than others- today, not so much.

Not really sure what my plan is going to be moving forward. I am so ready to be pregnant and welcome another little one into our family. I'll most likely have to take a month off from interventions, and re-boot from there. I so, so wish that our insurance had IVF coverage, as I'd be all over moving to that step; alas, we would be paying out of pocket for that type of intervention and just don't have the means to do so. I AM grateful our injectable cycles do have good coverage, but the fact is that none of these have resulted in a viable pregnancy.

It's a blue day. I am thankful our nanny is with Iyla today so I can be as blue as I need. I'll be having a cocktail tonight, and looking often at this picture of Iyla's hilarious "squish face" to help bring a smile to mine.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fall Adventures & TWW Obsessing

I am loving the cooler mornings here in Austin. Cooler weather = toddler fall cuteness OVERLOAD.

Yesterday I bought Iyla some cozy fuzzy Ugg type boots, to which I was quickly and definitely told "no like these!" However, when I pulled out Iyla's moccasins this morning- fearing a similar reaction- I got an immediate "I like moccasins!" and that little lady didn't want me to take them off, even when we returned home from our morning adventures. Hooray! This kid definitely has her own opinions on style.

Too cute!

Earlier this week I spontaneously took Iyla to a Gymboree "Open Gym" playtime. We've gone to classes two times at the local Gymboree, once when Iyla was around 6 months and again when she was 18 months. She had fun at the last class, but greatly preferred to run free and do her own thing (plus I had a big issue with the fact that the teacher could.not.sing to save her life, and the class was all about songs). 

The Open Gym? HUGE success! I was so proud of how brave and adventurous Iyla was- doing many activities "by self" after only one or two times holding my hand. She still won't go down a slide on her own, but we're getting there.

I am now 5 days past ovulation (DPO) and have had an interesting run of symptoms so far. Most are likely due to the Follistim and Ovidrel meds at this point vs from an actually possible pregnancy, since it is still so early in the game.

I took my Ovidrel trigger last Wednesday, then had IUIs Thursday and Friday. On Thursday evening and into Friday mid-day, I was having some burning in my intestinal tract. 

Here are my current DPO symptoms:

Friday: Ovulation day: Pretty intense abdominal/intestinal pain that night. Breasts already starting to feel sore. Had acupuncture at 11, and likely ovulated (3 eggs!) around that same time.

Saturday: 1DPO: Lots more bloating & intestinal pain, along with lower back pain, resulting in (sorry for TMI) diarrhea. This was different than a stomach virus because I still had an appetite.

Sunday: 2DPO: More bloating & pretty extreme intestinal pain coupled with lower back pain. I was a little worried I might be developing OHSS, but I wasn't gaining any weight and my doctor's office said these were all pretty normal reactions to the meds I was on. Fun!

Monday: 3DPO: Sharp ovarian pains on and off, especially on my right side. I had trouble peeing due to the cramping pain on that side. Bloating went down. Breasts fuller and still painful. Slept extremely soundly & well with vivid dreams- which hasn't happened in a LONG TIME. Started progesterone supplements.

Tuesday: 4DPO: Full and sore breasts, feeling really fatigued all day despite the good nights' sleep. Increased appetite. Have tickley happy energy in my belly & back. Sleep super sound with very vivid dreams again.

Today: 5DPO: Full and sore breasts (the right side more so) and noticeable fatigue. Feeling hungry soon after eating, and am peeing a lot (though that is normal for me). I may have just ordered a pizza.

I am letting myself feel excited and hopeful this cycle, while still remaining realistic…. I think my odds with each injectables cycle are only about 20%. All of my fingers and toes are crossed!

In conclusion, I bring you Iyla's amazing nap hair. It's been off the charts the last few days, and I like to call it her "Elvis hair:"

Sunday, October 12, 2014

23 Months Old!

Sweet Iyla Grace, today you are 23 months old! The last few months have flown by, and soon you will be an official 2 year old. There is a well known expression about the "Terrible Two's," and although I would never ever deem you 'terrible,' you have definitely turned up the FEIST in the last couple of weeks. There is a lot more volume & emotion in your opinions and desires, and more resistance to the status quo. You are exploring your sense of who you are and how you fit into the world.

As much as you are feisty, you are also equally sweet and affectionate. I just love when I walk into the room or come home and you run full speed into my arms, nuzzling and hugging me tight. You'll say things like "Mama here!" as you softly stroke my hair. Heaven.

Here are your 23 month updates!

How old? 23 months today

How big? Next month you'll have an official weigh in at the doctor, but for now- here you are with Sam. All legs like your Papa!

Teeth? This month saw another molar & your last bottom front tooth come in! We have a total of 12 teeth now- 4 top, 4 bottom, & 4 of what I assume are your 1st year molars. Now we await your 4 canines & 4 2nd year molars. No real issues with the teeth- just several days with your hands in your mouth a lot more often. So thankful they don't seem to bother you too much!

Words? Your expressions never cease to surprise and delight me. You often say things like: "we said bye to Papa, didn't we?" or "you went to work, didn't you?" You are adding more small connecting words to your sentences, and your language is definitely growing in complexity. It astounds me how quickly you learn, memorize and REMEMBER new vocabulary!

Potty Time? I was looking back at your monthly updates, and it seems in your 19th month you 'got it' and were essentially daytime potty trained (albeit without undies). You've now been wearing undies almost 2 months and are doing great. We've only had maybe 2 small accidents- and those equate to you suddenly realizing you have to go NOW and dribbling a little bit in your undies before we get you to the potty. I really think the Elimination Communication you've been doing since 1 month old has helped you feel totally comfortable using the potty; I don't feel like I ever had to "train" you- it all came naturally and was just a matter of watching your cues and consistently acting on them.

Favorite things?

The Sofias. You have a "Big Sofia" and a "Little Sofia" doll who are your buddies and go everywhere with you. You make them talk and dance with one another, and say good night to them each nap and evening while arranging them on your bedroom ottoman. You also make sure any person who greets you also greets them by telling them "HI SOFIA!"

Making sure Sam acknowledges Little Sofia

Videos: You ask to watch videos quite often, and we try our best to limit this to 30-60 minutes tops/day. If you hear the word you become ADAMANT about watching… and I learned this month I can't even SPELL the word without your catching on. Right now we'll watch PBS Kids on Netflix, and you like Daniel Tiger & Super Why. You also love to watch Tinkerbell movie clips and still have your weekly Tangled viewing with Papa.

Adventures: Lately you've been such a great buddy to take out. You enjoy going on adventures to our regular haunts- the Driskill Hotel, Weatherup, the Rainey Street District, the Children's Museum, kids' yoga story time, etc. The only challenge is that you don't like to sit still very long to eat/listen/etc, so our outings involve a lot of chasing you around!

Dancing: You have been getting your groove on more this past month, thanks to a toy microphone that plays music. Usually your dancing consists of running back and forth and turning in circles. You totally have your Papa's moves. ; )

Counting: You have memorized how to count to 10! I also often observe you picking up one toy then another and remarking "now I have TWO." Of course I like to think you are a child genius and already understand the concept of counting, but realistically this is just excellent memorizing.

Swimming: Swim lessons are still your absolute happy place, with constant delighted squeals as you throw yourself into the water and swim all by yourself underwater to me. I never cease to be amazed by this!

Coloring: You ask to "play color" several times/day. You know your colors down pat, including differentiating turquoise and maroon from blue and red! You love to color in your Tinkerbell, Frozen, Tangled, or Little Mermaid coloring books, and also love coloring with chalk outside.

Jumping: Well, YOUR version of jumping. I hear stories of many toddlers who hurl themselves off couches and leap fearlessly off playgrounds, but you- you have always been a careful, cautious little one. The other day, however, you started "jumping" off your little chair, and due to your nature it was a big deal! So cute.

Here are a few more photos from your past month:

We love you so much sweet girl! Happy 23 months to you.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mama's ME Day

For the last week, I've been feeling worn down. Tired, moody, hormonal- just... off. Throwing fertility treatments and appointments into the mix of an already full work/life/Mama/wife regime has definitely tipped things out of balance, and I was starting to feel like a shadow of myself.

Historically I know that whenever I start feeling this way, it means I am in deep need of some self nurturing.

On weekends BC helps out with Iyla from her wake up through her nap so I can work, get house chores done, run errands etc. Every other weekend he takes a full day for himself to recharge- golfing with good friends then heading out for dinner and drinks with them.

Last weekend was a golf weekend, so heading into this weekend I made the request for a full ME Day- something I don't do very often. It then came to me that if I got a full ME day plus BC taking the wake-until-nap shift the following day, I could maybe get away. As in- go somewhere OVERNIGHT.

Just the thought made me giddy.

After checking with BC (who was completely supportive) I did some quick research and booked one of the last trail side rooms available at Travaasa Resort just outside of Austin. This resort is nestled into a wildlife preserve and features a gorgeous spa and its own farm that provides farm to table meals. And? A daily "activity" menu with things like meditation and yoga:


This morning- on the cusp of my highly anticipated ME Day- I awoke to pouring rain and flashing migraine lights.

Um, Universe? This is NOT how I had planned to start the day.

I was not to be deterred, and happily it appears that this was to be the worst of it.

To start with, I never got the pain that accompanies my migraines over 50% of the time. Thankfully the Niacin and migraine meds I took were effective,  and I was again ready to take the day by storm (pun intended).


I then packed my bags, gave lots of kisses to BC and Iyla, and headed off to a local coffee shop for breakfast. Over the last couple of months I've cut out caffeine in an effort to improve overall health and fertility- but knowing that caffeine can help with migraines, went ahead and got a lovely (one shot) cappuccino with my eggs:

Naughty delicious


I then headed to my doctor's office for a follicle release check. I'd had IUI's the previous two days, and as usual, at yesterday's IUI I hadn't ovulated yet. This is my 4th injectables cycle, and the very first one was the ONLY one where more than one egg released- and the ONLY one where we got pregnant (unfortunately ending quickly in a Chemical Pregnancy). Heading into this cycle, I was pretty adamant with Dr. Vaughn that I wanted to do whatever we could to hopefully have more than one follicle mature and (fingers crossed) release.

So at this morning's appointment the on-call doctor took a look and declared that she no longer saw any of my top 3 follicles, likely meaning that ALL THREE HAD RELEASED.

Cue me to:

ELATED AND EXCITED! Increased odds! Go baby go!

REALISTIC/FROU: If this kid isn't ready to join the family yet, even THREE tempting egg opportunities won't bring him/her here.

TERRIFIED: Dear God, what if more than one actually take?

Overall I left the appointment with my heart singing and hopeful, and proceeded to drive to my own personal Resort paradise.

I began the day at the spa with a massage by a French therapist. As he was stretching my legs and remarking how incredibly flexible I was, I noted that this was quite amazing given I hadn't been working out or doing much yoga lately. To which he replied in his thick accent:

"Zee study show zat zee tight glute eh pas ideal- flat, flaccid glute eh better pour zee ip eh knee."

Pardonnez moi, Monsieur? Did you just call my butt flat and flaccid?

Alas, he was on to me. It's true: flat and flaccid glutes have moi.

But I digress.

I spent much of the rainy afternoon at the spa, partaking in the hot tubs & steam room. I then checked into my gorgeous little nature-perched room, unpacked, and headed out for a muddy hike. I suddenly felt so much gratitude for the rain I'd cursed that morning, as there was not another soul on the trail and the temperatures were gloriously in the lower 60's (as compared to the 90's of the previous week).

I proceeded to wash up and walk to dinner. On my way, I noticed two ladies staring at me intently.

Was it my flat flaccid glutes?

Then one of the ladies called out "Jules?" and lo and behold, it was the woman who had married BC and I over 6 years ago! She was here celebrating her mom's 60th birthday. What amazing small world serendipity!

Bring it on, Universe.

And now I bring you my first ME Day in photos:

Home sweet home for the night

The view from my private patio

Equally as rejuvenating? The photos BC texted me of his day with Iyla. Cue my heart melting:


And now my cup runneth over.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's October… Why Not?

Fall is finally in the air! And in Austin, that means temperatures are only in the mid to upper 80's, with predictable relief in the shade. A huge shift from months of relentless 100+ degree weather!

The seasonal shift always energizes and inspires me. This year, it may also cause some short term debt, as I find myself unable to hold back from buying ALL THE CUTE SWEATERS AND JEANS for Iyla. And this kid already has definite opinions on her clothes. When I pulled out a pair of jeans for her to try on yesterday, instead of saying "no like jeans"- which is what I'd expected she'd say- she exclaimed "I like jeans!" And wanted to leave them on That's my girl!

Also a hit? This little yellow sweater, which was immediately declared "COZY!"
 Sadly a cute jean jacket received the dreaded "no like this!"

I've decided my motto this October is "Why Not?" Specifically, 'why not' go ahead and march onward with another injectables cycle? This was a very, very last minute decision on my part- as I had intended to take several more months off from interventions- but …. why not? Dr. Vaughn definitely had a strong opinion on my fence sitting when I saw him yesterday, flat out saying "well, you've been having sex and not getting pregnant." Very astute observation, Dr. Vaughn. Indeed. He also likes to remind me that I will be turning THIRTY NINE soon, and with fertility, time isn't really on my side. 

How we feel about Western opinions

My mom? She says the babe will come when he/she is ready, just like Iyla did. No matter what I do or don't do to help out.

All is true.

And so I take the western opinions and tuck them into my frou-frou pocket. My intuition feels like another babe is definitely coming. Having that babe while 39 feels right (vs 40, so that would be getting pregnant in the next 4-5 months or so). I acknowledge that in the 3 years trying to conceive Iyla I had a LOT of hopeful intuitions month to month about when she would come, and many were wrong. I had to keep that hope alive to stay positive, which is what I intend to do again now. 

The frou doesn't fall far from the tree

And I AM hopeful. And desiring. And realistic. And yes, Zen. This month I am an energized, motivated, inspired Zen Master who'd like to officially put in an order with the Universe: 2015 baby, please. 

October, you've always been an inspiring month… here's hoping great things are in store!