September 30, 2012

Life Is A Beautiful Bitch

I'm not sure where I heard that line but I think about it often, especially today as my trip is winding down.

I've had a wonderful trip.  The past five days in London have been full of all the things I love - art, music, history and good food.  The weather has been a little chilly but sunny with very little rain.  I've been out and about every day and I've never once not marveled about how fortunate I am to be here and be healthy enough to travel (lots of walking!).

I so wanted to not test until today (7dp5dt) and I met my goal.  My reasoning included needing time to compose myself before returning to work.  Returning to work after vacation is a rough transition in general, but I feared returning from vacation with a bfn would really send me down a deep and dark path.

So, this morning at 7 days past a 5,000 Pregnyl trigger I tested.  I then tested this evening about 12 hours later.  The results are inconclusive.  It could be leftover trigger.  It could be an evap line.  I just don't know.

This is where life being a (beautiful) bitch makes me chuckle. I can't help it.  When I saw the test this morning and read it as a negative I laughed out loud.  All of this, not just this cycle, but all the others, the m/c, the time, the stress, the heartache, the money, the life I've put off having...all for naught.  I can do nothing else but laugh at this point.

I'll test tomorrow but I don't feel anything other than PIO symptoms.

I've also been thinking of another saying that has more to do with prayer, something I no longer rely on much anymore.  The gist of the saying is to not feel that God/the Universe/Mother Nature is ignoring your pleas.

Sometimes the answer is simply "no".  It's always been no.  I've just not been listening.

September 23, 2012

Blasts On Board And I Accidentally Ate Ostrich

My eyes popped open at 4am this morning.  There was no snoozing until my alarm at 6.  It was transfer day!

My appointment was at 9am but I arrived by taxi at 8:20 or so.  I knew I had to submit some paperwork and go over my meds with the nurse to see if I needed anything before leaving.

I was the only one there (patient-wise) and after handing over my originals and receiving photocopies of all my forms the nurse led me to the aftercare area where I was to meet the embryologist.  I was surprised by the size of the clinic.  Although the outside, and structurally inside, it appears to be a late 19th century estate, full of graceful lines and swirls of baroque detail, the inside is gleaming white and modern.

The bright and sunny aftercare room was upstairs and contained three beds which had fluffy duvet covers on them and big square European sized pillows plopped at their heads.  The radiator was set to "toast" and as I waited for the embryologist to come in I considered crawling under one of the duvets and taking a nap.

The embryologist brought with her a spreadsheet of my embryos' life since retrieval.  Today,  day 5, I had two hatching blastocysts and two blastocysts.  Although I had been wrestling with the "how many embryos do I transfer" issue, when she asked me how many I'd like to transfer I quickly answered, "two".  She said the other two were strong and would freeze nicely.  Two as potential backups?  I couldn't even digest that as I was assuming there would be nothing to freeze.

After she finished talking about the embryos and the procedure, the embryologist took from her pocket an object wrapped in paper.  She said she is a painter also and painted something for me.  She unwrapped a shiny white quartz-like rock about the size of a Chapstick cube.  On it she had painted a four leaf clover with each leaf resembling a heart.  She said she wanted this token to bring me good fortune and happiness.  I was taken aback by this unexpected act of kindness.  As I held it in the palm of my hand I could feel the tears pooling in my eyes and had to fight the urge to stand and hug her.  Instead I thanked her sincerely and rushed to the restroom.  Not exactly graceful but I hadn't prepared for that.

Next the nurse came to take me to the "operating theatre" where, when I entered the outside room, I was asked to step on a sticky piece of flooring and leave my shoes placed on it.  I then put on my socks (not lucky ones, just plain ones to cover the horrific state of my pedicure due to travel), removed my pants and underwear and put on a paper skirt given to me by the nurse.  It was more like an apron and it reminded me of the ones Lucy Ricardo wore on "I Love Lucy" (where this odd thought came from at a time like that I do not know!).  I then crammed my size ten feet into the white Crocs given to me by the nurse and shuffled into the theatre.  

The doctor explained the procedure (his English was very good so I think the first time I met him he was just using the nurse-translator for medical terms).  The embryologist came in with the catheter, then left to check it and I was done!  The nurse stood by my side the whole time with her hand on my shoulder and when he was done the doctor said I had a "perfect transfer" with perfect lining, perfect embryos, no cervix problems and no bleeding.  As he was telling me this I felt like he was talking to someone else.  "Who me?  L'il ole me?" *dragging one toe in a circle in the dust*. Also at this time it finally came to me that he looked like a young Dominic West.  This had been bugging me since I first met him.  I could not figure out who he reminded me of.  Again with the arcane thoughts apropos of nothing.

I was then left to rest on the table for 15 mintes after which the embryologist brought me. ACD of my embryos' development.  The nurse then let me change and led me back to the aftercare room where I got my trigger shot in the rear, collected my things and went down to reception to pay 350 Czeck Crowns for my trigger shot (about $16).  A taxi was then called and I headed back to the hotel where I took a short nap.

I wandered to the town square to discover a food festival hosted by restaurants in the area.  For about $1.25 I could buy a ticket to exchange for small plates of food at any of the 25 booths.  I bought 8 tickets and moved from booth to booth sampling homemade potato gnocchi smothered in mushroom sauce, small mountains of garlic mashed potatoes under thick slices if roasted ham and several other delicious offerings.  It was pretty crowded, especially at the last boo, so I stood in line and handed over my last two tickets for a plate filled with two skewers of roasted meat with apples.  I went over to a table to devour the food, marveling at its tenderness and rich flavor.  I got up and moved towards the trash container and froze in my tracks.  There, just after the booth, was a small pen filled with straw which contained two fuzzy and gangly baby ostriches.  They were lurching around the pen, snapping at each other with their beaks and batting their long eyelashes at the kids who were peering between the fence.  I just ate one of their relatives!  I'm obviously not a vegetarian but I didn't expect to see those two adorable creatures after eating one of them!

I then walked back to my hotel where I am now snuggled under a feather duvet watching old episodes of "Frasier".  For some reason this all-Frasier channel is the only English channel.  Kelsey Grammer must be getting even more wealthy from Czech tv!

I feel great and am going to take it easy for the next day and a half.  It's hard to sit still when I've been constantly on the go.  London is my next stop before home.  I am now wrestling with testing.  I brought along some cheapie strip tests.  I just don't know if I want to test while in my most favorite place on earth.  If it's bad news I don't want the two associated.  Like S.carlett, I'll think about that tomorrow.  After all, tomorrow is another day.

September 21, 2012

Inviting Rampant Speculation Because Google Makes Me Cower In Abject Terror

I've received an update this morning from the clinic.  My time it's about 3 days past retrieval (give or take half a day as far as I can calculate.  The status thus far is two-8 cells, one-5 and one-4.  I did a cursory web check but actually developed an upset stomach.  Weak as water am I!

Any ideas from those more experienced?

My transfer is set for Sunday at 9am so it sounds like the clinic expects at least something to make it.

I experienced my first travel bump today.  I stayed last night in a midieval (yet surprisingly well touristed) city.  I got there from Vienna by shuttle van and had a very nice room at a family-run pension.  I was to be picked up by another shuttle company at 5pm to get to the city where the clinic is.  The shuttle driver received wrong pick up info and left without me.  An hour later they sent a driver (who was probably in the middle of dinner and sports on the tv from the looks of it) who drove like a maniac to the closest city with a train station.  He gave me cash back for half of what I paid via PayPal (around $25).  So I get to this town and the mean soup Nazi-ish woman at the ticket office says what I finally realize is that no more trains to the city I need to get to tonight.  I then go across the street to the bus station.  Same results.  So now I'm standing there at 7:45pm in a strange bus station wondering what the heck to do.  Thank goodness for my iPhone!  I found a hotel with availability for about $45.  I hopped in a cab and here I am.  I emailed the hotel where I was supposed to be tonight and promised to pay for tonight when I arrive tomorrow.  I also sent the shuttle company a disgruntled email and they said they would refund the other half of my fare via PayPal.  I won't hold my breath though.  Anyway, standing there in that Communistic era train station I felt rather alone and scared.  I found some teenagers who spoke a little English and who helped me figure out how to get to the busses and how to read the schedules.  I'm so glad now I allowed one "cushion" day before transfer.  Just a minor bump and I think I'll forget it as soon as I leave tomorrow morning. 

September 19, 2012


 Is German for ten.  Thats how many eggs were retrieved from my donor!  European clinics do not push IVF patients as hard as American clinics do so I was not expecting a bumper crop of eggs.  As of late yesterday 7 were fertilized and 6 were in "a prenuclear stage".  Not sure what that indicates.  I havent heard anything later today and i am ok without daily embryo updates.  I think it's wise for me just to let go.  I can't change anything now anyway.

So when I visited the clinic last week I was struck by how different the waiting room felt.  It was its own separate room with multiple tables with chairs around them. It was more like a cafe than a waiting room.  In fact I was even asked if I wanted tea or coffee!  No one else was there so I tucked into some free Internet and waited to see the doctor.  When I was led back I couldn't help but feel like I was in a Scandinavian Design store.  I saw one picture of a baby done professionally and hung in the hall.  I braced myself for a room full of Christmas cards with babies in the exam room like at home but there was only a picture of some zen-esque rocks.  The doctor's desk and computer was at one side of a large room and the table at the other end.  I changed in a little dressing room and then hopped on a chair-not really a table.  It was like a futuristic BarcaLounger with flat paddles instead of one long foot rest.  The machinery was all very modern and new and the scan was quick.  When I came into the room I shook hands with the doctor, who greeted me warmly.  I didn't realize until later, when he was saying things to the IVF coordinator who was also in the room, that either his English wasn't fluent or he was trying to have the info relayed in a non medical way I could understand when translated. After the scan I was able to ask both the doctor and the coordinator questions.  I wasn't charged for the scan and was driven back to the train station by the coordinator.  

I don't know what I was expecting but I admit I was nervous.  I needn't have been!

I left that Wednesday expecting to hear from the IVF coordinator on Friday.  I was to receive word to do a 5,000hcg shot.  When I didn't hear by 7pm I called my American consultant who was able to get the info for me. I think there was a misunderstanding about how to reach me.  The ivf coordinator used text but that wasn't working on my phone. Anyway, minor panic but got word to trigger on Sunday and begin my PIO today.  Done and done!

I wondered why I needed a trigger shot as a DE IVF recipient and was told the clinic has found that it helps the body to prepare as it would naturally.  I'll also get a 5,000 booster on the day of transfer.

I've been reading your blogs but have only been successful at commenting on a few!  I'm not sure what the deal is but I'm keeping up from afar!

I'm in Vienna btw.  I fell off the "no coffee" wagon.  Who can pass up a cup of Viennese coffee and a slice of apple strudel?  Not this girl, that's for sure!

September 15, 2012

Lady In Waiting

I've had some trouble with my Blogger app.  I am attempting this from the site via my phone so just a quick update.

I arrived safely but a bit exhausted.  My travels were smooth save for one militant security woman in Frankfurt.  She went all through my meds and even matched up the doctor's letter to what I had with me. My heart nearly froze after she approved of that and then moved on to my bag of liquids.  I was way overthe limit and explained it was for three weeks.  She tisked at my lack of checked baggage but let me through.

I made it to the clinic in the CZ.  The IVF coordinator met me at the train station and whisked me to the clinic.  I was apprehensive that after the D&C I would have too little lining at that point, even with a hefty estrogen regime. It was 10.5 though and the doctor proclaimed it to be "perfect for transfer".  It was so worth the extra 8 hours of travel that day just to know for sure.

I got an update last night that the donor will have retreival on Tuesday and I'll have a transfer on Sunday the 23rd.  I've had to do some rearranging of my itinerary because I've now got two extra days that I Havebefore I have to be near the clinic.  It's a great problem to have at this point.
I am doing this blog via free wifi at a cafe in the square of St. Stephan's church in Budapest.  It's a lively city and it's beauty has made me tear up a couple of times.  Must be the meds!  All for now but in my next post I'll talk a little about the clinic and my first impressions.

Curious note:  why is it that at home cigarette smoking is repulsive but I'm finding it to be quite sophisticated here????

Please excuse any errors btw.  I can't see what I'm writing for some reason...

September 10, 2012

We Have Lift Off

Literally and figuratively!  My flight leaves tomorrow afternoon and in 14 short hours (gulp) I'll be in Budapest!  It hardly seems real.

My American RE emailed me today to tell me that the pathology report was clean.  No hyperplasia.  I felt sweet relief wash over me.  The feeling was fantastic.  She also said they discovered a small polyp and that it was a very good thing I had the procedure before the transfer.

Unfortunately the CZ clinic could not locate a Hungarian clinic to do a lining scan so Thursday, the day after I get there, I have to take a train from Budapest to the CZ to visit the clinic for a scan.  It's a four hour train trip each way but I guess at this point the inconvenience is to be overlooked.  After all of this my perspective is greatly changed and nothing they tell me to do would be argued with.  It has to be done and so it shall.

I hope to get some rest the next couple of travel days.  This weekend was really rough.  The work event went well but I wasn't feeling 100%.  People commented that I was pale but I wasn't in pain.  I was just exhausted and felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.  Despite all of that, I received recognition for my work and left the office today with everything tied up very neatly.  That too is a great feeling.

As I finish my minor packing details I can't help but look at my small carry on and see my hopes and dreams tucked alongside the clothes, meds and toiletries.  It's a fragile bundle.  Kinda like me at this point but there's no going back now and I'm ready to take the leap.  Thank you for coming along with me.

September 7, 2012

"This Is A Big Deal"

That's what my RE said to me last night after she arrived at the hospital and I thanked her profusely for treating me that night.  It IS a big deal to me and she got that.  I tried not to get too emotional in pre op and I think I did ok.  I felt like I didn't really have the time or energy to get too emotional. 

The D&C was fast and I was in and out of the hospital in four and a half hours.  My RE says everything looked normal and her work had a very light touch.  I woke up very quickly, drank whatever was put in front of me so I could produce the required sample showing I was back to normal, and was off.  It was a bit nerve wracking keeping my friend/neighbor/ride out of my business during check in, etc. but overall, it was an ok evening.

The only thing that could go wrong now (well, the biggest) is that the pathology report shows hyperplasia.  If that happens I'll most likely find out when I'm abroad and the cycle will be canceled and if I go through treatment again I'll have to do an FET further on down the line.  This isn't too likely since I just had a clean biopsy at the beginning of summer and that biopsy followed two other negative ones.  I filed this info away in my "worst case scenario" memory folder.  I just don't have the energy to devote to worrying about this.

I didn't sleep all that well last night.  I woke up really hungry and nervous about the scan this morning.  Needn't have worried as the lining measurement is 3.5mm.  The other RE at my US clinic says all looks good and gave me his best wishes. 

The CZ clinic has already sent me an updated protocol so this morning I started estrogen with breakfast and will start C.etrotide on the 13th.  My consultant is trying to find a place in Budapest where I can get scan before I start the C.etrotide.  If not in Budapest I'll have to go to the CZ for a quick scan.  

My RE said last night that it's often the cycles with the most stress and logistical acrobatics that have the best outcomes.  You hear that Universe?

September 6, 2012


Looks like I am going to miss tonight's big speech.  I'll be enjoying a D&C instead.  Went in for a CD4 scan this morning to see how thin my lining is.  7 is not thin enough to move forward so my RE is going to do a mini D&C tonight.  Is the stable ovarian cyst I've had for over a year just now deciding to kick into gear?  Is the 2cm paratubal cyst I've had since birth choking off something?  Is it the hyperplasia?  My RE doesn't know but God bless her heart, she's leaving her clinic and going to hospital OR to give my ute a gentle scraping tonight.

As I lay there on the table this morning, looking at the screen, I felt utterly discouraged, angry, sad and bitter.  I should know by now not to expect things to work smoothly or at all for me.  I hate falling into that way of thinking but that's where my mind slid.

I quickly refocused and talked thru all of the possible scenarios with my RE.  She ordered blood work, which I had done directly after the scan and will have me see her colleague tomorrow morning for another scan to see where I'm at.  The plan is if tomorrow's scan is fine then I can start the estrogen and then the C.etrotide shortly after.  My body seems to be in hyperdrive, all bursting with readiness to pump out a crappy egg.  She is going to try to stop this cycle and make the time I have left work so I can get enough estrogen in me in time for the transfer.

I will have to pop over to the CZ on the 14th to get a scan at the clinic which I won't mind.  It's not that far from Budapest.  Now, at this point, I just have to let go.  I went to work thinking I would not make it through the day.  It's the last day before my big project kicks off tomorrow and Saturday.  Not sure how I'm going to bounce back from a D&C and hit the floor running tomorrow.  I guess if I can get thru even this, I just may deserve some good fortune.  Is that how it works?

I called my consultant and she was ever calming and helpful.  I'll let her know what the results of the blood draw and D&C are tonight and then I'll pick up with the estrogen tomorrow. Right now I am two days behind schedule.  I hope I can make up this time.  I hope this works.  I hope for a lot of things, but really, I just hope for a fair shake at things.  I knew going into DE IVF abroad there would be bumps along the way but this would have happened where ever I had IVF done.  It makes me mad.  It makes me hungry too.  I haven't been able to eat or drink all day.

I bet my RE had better things to do tonight.  I know I did.

September 4, 2012


"That must be Italian!"~Mr. Parker
Image from 
I've been feeling a big fragile since I last posted.  I read and reread each comment (even going back several posts) and held on tightly to your words.  Thank you.

Somehow I got it in my mind that I had totally failed my mock cycle.  That perceived failure, plus all the other real failures stacked up behind it, sent me into a tailspin.  Not a great place or time to take that detour.

My second scan was pushed to this morning.  CD2.  Gah.  Anyway, my RE agreed that my lining was thicker than usual but not abnormal.  She did not feel that the hyperplasia had returned since all cycles before this and after the last biopsy were normal.  She said she'd do a biopsy right then and there but I recoiled and told her I didn't think it was necessary.  Really, I was too scared.  Scared to find out what would come back and scared of the pain.  I think I've justified it in my mind now by thinking I am trusting fully in her and the results of the biopsy just a few months ago.  Her parting words to me were also very reassuring.  She said my measurement had gone from 15 to 8 without any shedding or hormones so with CD2 and CD3 it was sure to decrease even more.  I'm taking that as gold and walked out with a "peace of mind" appointment for Thursday.  I'm waiting to hear from my consultant via the Czech clinic if this third scan is necessary.

So, my whole protocol is set but may change based on today's scan.  The time difference is a bump at this point...wishing I would hear sooner rather than later because I am supposed to start estrogen tomorrow.

Work is still incredibly stressful.  Friday was a watershed moment when I realized that I do not have the support I've thought (and been told I had).  It was blatant and it continues this week.  I decided to stop second guessing myself and just accept this is what I have to work with.  The next several days will be hellish but at least I can focus a bit more on the work and stop thinking, "Is what I think is happening actually happening?".

In good news though, my cat (well, not wholly mine, I co-parent him with the neighbors across the street) has fully recovered from surgery due an abscess he got from an injury by another cat.  He had been missing while I was camping and the several days afterwards.  By the time I found him he was septic and almost dead.  He's sitting next to me right now on the couch, head on his pillow and sleeping blissfully.