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"As for me, I'll take one baby marinated in a dish please"

Good morning sunshine

IVF used to be easy. Way back when I first arrived and they gave me a fancy Gonal-F pen complete with pre-loaded meds and a plethora of small needles and alcohol swabs to clean my tiny prick mark before and after the injection. Easy breezy, I thought. Minor side-effects, easy injection, cool pen. Nothing to it.

I was tricked.

Every appointment since then, I have gotten a new shot and bigger needle to add to the collection of growing syringes. My doctor "must change my recipe," - he is so nice, but does speak like a Russian communist - every time I show up because up until today, my eggs were a day behind (so typical)

My morning routine now looks like this:






Artistic Photo

Ben, right before we eagle-eyed my stomach for some real estate that hasn't been pricked or bruised











If you think you see coffee in the first picture, you do. And it's mine. The nurse said it was fine until a couple days before implantation. She said beer and wine are fine as well, so I'm taking her word for it. I'm actually thinking about adding both beer and wine to my morning routine before the shots in order to dull the pain of the latest and greatest addition, Menopur.

Believe it or not, even with the addition of multiple medication and needles my side effects have still been minor.

Gonal-F - slight headache, weird taste buds:)
Centrotide - Burning, painful injections, slight bruising :/
Menopur- Growth of horns, tail, and pitchfork along with slight edginess and painful injection :(

The combination of the three have also made roughly 10-12 eggs grow inside my ovaries. While this is a good thing, it has also proven to be a little uncomfortable. In fact, I was going to build a ticker using fruit to show how my ovaries would start out as grapes and end up as mango(exact quote from the nurse), but I couldn't find the fruit option, so I just built one showing how much money we have been spending every appointment on more injections.




Now that I have wasted 10 minutes of my life creating a ticker, I am going to do something much more productive....Find out the street value of my drugs.

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Apparantly "shhhh" in universal in all languages

We only had 2 days in Vienna before we had to go back for my second appointment, so we toured castles, went into a bunch of churches, saw the Mozart statue, sat through part of a symphony on day one of the Vienna film festival, and went to an opera.

Because we didn't want to spend too much money on the opera, Ben and I got standing room only while my parents splurged and sat in one of the boxes. A classic case of peasantry vs. bourgeoisie.





It turned out that we had overall better viewing as we were right in the middle/front, while my parents sat in the back of the fourth row on the side of the fifth level box. Who would have guessed? Score one for the peasants.

The opera itself was a collection of Mozart, Strauss,Beethoven, and possibly more composers. A tall order for any orchestra with those big guns in the lineup.










I sort of felt like I did at the Journey concert a couple weeks ago, where if the greatest hits weren't played a riot would break out (nobody wants to miss out on Beethoven's Symphony Nine," Trust me.) Fortunately, unlike the Journey concert, Beethoven and Mozart don't have any new stuff they can throw out to disrupt all the classics. So, while everybody in the audience was waiting for Ein kline Nacht, Ben was wishing he had his iphone so he could Shazam all the other songs that we didn't know. After he whispered over me know about Shazam, I decided to go into detail about how flammable all the costumes looked. Between the two observations, an Asian woman turned around and "shhhhd" us disapprovingly. Finger to the lips and everything. She didn't even speak English, but I guess "shhh" is universal.





We didn't speak the rest of the show except for Ben telling me he could sing just as well, or even better than the guy on stage. You might not be able to hear him, but these pictures should give you an overall idea of his presence.



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Eye Candy

Feast your eyes on these sassy European works of art.
























I got the pleasure of viewing these pieces of eye candy for an entire afternoon at a Hungarian bath house. For those who are not caught up on their Hungarian tourist knowledge, bath houses are a "must" for both locals and tourists alike. Apparently, Hungary has thermal springs (both hot and cold) that they have built huge palace like bath houses around. Then as the saying goes, "if you build it, they will come." And so we did, despite my huge phobia of bare feet in still water. It ills me just thinking about it. This is one of the many reasons I stay away from water slide parks and public pools. I can't stand bacteria filled cesspools of warm still water that my bare feet accidentally splash into on the way to larger bacteria infested bodies of water..aka. pools.

Anyway, I insisted on going regardless of my phobia because Rick Steves (the author of our guide book) said it is his favorite thing to do in Hungry.

So off we went to soak in crowded Speedo filled thermal pools of sulfur smelling water (which is covered by Hungarian social security, hooray.)

Except that Ben forgot his swimming suit. He could have rented one, but refused to wear a borrowed Speedo. I still don't know why....

So... Off my parents and I went to soak in the crowded Speedo filled baths smelling of rotten egg sulfur while Ben watched downloaded episodes of Jersey Shore on the ipad.

Was it fun? Hmmm. Because I was in Budapest and it was a "once in a lifetime opportunity" I guess it was a-ok. And while I still haven't gotten over my phobia of my feet in still pools of water, I will go to a Speedo filled pool of Europeans any day.

 Besides, who can resist this?

2 comments:

Feast your eyes on this

Real Estate shopping in Budapest:

My house in Phoenix is ok, but over the last several days I decided I wanted to live in a palace (or similar), so I took Ben on a real estate hunt. These are the places we found.


Although a luxury waterfront property, it was a little big and a lot over budget




Over looking the water, but in a busy neighborhood and too many stairs


Super quaint and close to the metro, but possibly a little too close...


In the heart of the city, with cafes, shopping, and several nearby city attractions. We might be able to buy a brick, if we are lucky.


I guess we will just keep looking for now.

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Stick it where?

Within the first 24 hours of arriving in Europe, I got naked for a man I'd never met, had a needle in my arm, and had my first injection of drugs in the stomach. I kind of felt like I glimpsed into the life of a drug addicted hooker. Except, I didn't make any money and I had to pay for my own drugs.

Here is my before picture


















And my after



Ok, it wasn't THAT bad. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at how much the injection didn't hurt. Or maybe it was just my surprise at the fact that Ben was the one who gave it to me, after all, this was the guy who almost passed out when he had his blood taken just a couple weeks ago. If I remember correctly, our conversation after his blood draw went something like this:







Scene set: I walk through the door around 7:00 p.m., just getting home from work and Ben is sprawled out on the couch in obvious discomfort.

Ben: “That was so horrible."

Me: “Why?”

B: “They took five vials of blood. Five! I thought I was going to pass out.”

Me: “Really? They took six vials of my blood, stuck two needles in my arm, and I was fine afterward. It didn’t bother me at all. I actually went to the gym afterward."

B: “I still don’t feel well” {insert moan here} “After they took all that blood, one of the nurses looked at me and asked how I was doing. I told here I didn’t feel well. She told me that my lips were purple and my face was white. Then she led me to a special chair where I could lay down for a while.

Me (with incredulous tone): “Seriously?”

B: “And then another nurse came walking in an told me I was white and that I looked like I was going to pass out….I’m still surprised I didn’t. I really thought I was going to."

Me: pause

B: “Can you scratch my back? I still don’t feel well.”


For a guy who is a big sissy with needles, he certainly has no problems jabbing them into my stomach....Maybe I'm being more hormonal and difficult than I thought. Regardless, he is definitely not getting his back scratched next time he gets his blood taken.



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GPS Genius

This is a map of Prague

We had one hour to make it from the airport (a tiny dot on the map) to our clinic, (not even a dot on the map). Somehow, we managed to make it on time. I still don't know how. The clinic was an address not even Mapquest recognized and looked something like this:

Na porici 1047/26, 110 00 Praha-Nove Mesto, Czech Republic

Except it also had various dots, lines, and foreign punctuation marks above most of the letters.

So how Ben glanced at a map and got us to not only the right part of the city, but a clinic that was down an ally off the main street and inside a courtyard, was amazing to me....And I know some of you might be saying to yourselves, "well, Krista, it is you saying this, and we all know that your sense of direction is soooo terrible, that even hours later, you would still be circling the airport trying to get out of terminal 3." Which is true. But then, after my appointment (which I will get to in the next post), he drives us out of the main city, and all the way to downtown Budapest on no sleep. See below map.




He also drives like a European, possibly even more so than an actual European. He breaks all the laws, cuts people off, rides their tails in the fast lane, and still (up to this point), has avoided any accidents.

The guy is a human GPS genius

Not our actual car:





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Forget Weddings and Baby Showers.....IVF extravaganza is all the new rage

Look out brides and mothers-to-be. As you have monopolized the celebration circuit for the duration of eternity, it is time to move aside for a new kind of party: IVF extravaganza.

I have taken the liberty to compare the three occasions to see how they compare in a head-to-head competition with one another.

The main event show piece
Bride: Sparkly engagement ring
MTB: Baby bump
IVF: Brand new Gonal-F injection kit complete with rubbing alcohol pads and daily needles.



Winner: MTB












Sweet celebration treat
Bride: Over-the-top, multi-tiered, overpriced cake
MTB: chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with either pink or blue frosting
IVF: Homemade coffee cake with fertility based acronyms and an equal amount of sperm and egg, elaborately decorated with frosting. (Thanks Heather! Best cake ever)

Winner: IVF


















Celebration Drinks
Bride: Champagne and punch
MTB: Punch
IVF: Vodka

Winner: IVF


Attitude of Honored guest

Bride: Excited in the beginning, stressed, bitchy and hormonal at the end
MTB: Excited and scared throughout, but also bitchy and hormonal
IVF: Bitchy and hormonal

Winner: Draw

General cost involved
Bride:$20,000
MTB: $100,000 plus college
IVF: $16,000 plus repeating cycles

Winner: MTB

Celebratory gifts
Bride:Household items
MTB:Baby items
IVF: Items for ME!! Like a personal printed photo from Bali (Thanks Lisa!)



Winner: IVF











Threads
Bride:Beautiful wedding gown
MTB:Cute dress that shows off baby bump
IVF:Magic red sweats.



Winner: Bride (Although, magic red sweats were a close second)














Food
Bride:Prime rib buffet
MTB: Finger sandwiches and quiche
IVF: Nearest happy hour

Winner: IVF

Decorations
Bride:Flower and floating candle centerpieces with satin overlays and matching chair covers
MTB: Pastel balloons, "It's a girl/boy!" sign, and diapers filled with melted Milky Way
IVF: Tag board sign that says, "BFP! BFP!"

Winner: Bride


Games

Bride: Guessing game about how well guests know couple
MTB: Guessing game uncovering the mystery baby food flavors and chocolate substance in diaper
IVF: Guessing game with egg and sperm quality/quantity

Winner: Draw

Theme song
Bride: Another One Bites the Dust
MTB: Rainin' Babies
IVF: Don't Stop Believing

Winner: IVF

Selfish obsession level between 1-10
Bride:11
MTB:11
IVF:11

Winner: Draw

Grand Tally:

Bride:2
MTB:1
IVF:4

Extravaganza, here we come

4 comments:





I quit caffeine yesterday….I don’t recommend it to anybody.

My Side effects have included (but not limited to)

Monster headache

Sense of loss and displacement

Extreme tiredness and/or irritability

Lack of concentration

Confusion upon waking

Morning depression

Apathy towards life

Lethargy

Listening to Journey’s “Greatest Hits” album hasn’t even made me feel better.… Well, maybe it has lessened the “sense of loss,” but other than that, nothing.

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My last post on forums, I swear

In this high-tech age where acronyms rule the internet, infertility forums are no different. Worse than the average I would say, due to the high use of medical jargon. So understanding what some people say is almost impossible without this handy guide.

So try to remember all this.........


A
AC = Assisted Conception
AF = Aunty Flo or Period
AH = Assisted Hatching
AMH = Anti Mullerian Hormone, used to predict ovarian reserve.
ART = Assisted Reproductive Technology
AFM= As for me

B
BBT = Basal Body Temperature
BCP = Birth Control Pill
BD = Baby Dancing or Make Love
BF = Breastfeeding
BFN = Big Fat Negative
BFP = Big Fat Positive
BH = Braxton Hicks
BTW = By The Way

C
CD = Cycle Day
CF = Cervical Fluid
CM = Cervical Mucus
COCP = combined oral contraceptive pill
CTG = Cardio-Tocho-Gram (used for monitoring fetal heart rate & movement)

D
DB = Dear or Darling Boyfriend
D&C = Dilation and curettage - a procedure for cleaning out the uterus.
DD = Dear or Darling Daughter
DE = Donor Eggs
D&E = Dilation and evacuation - a procedure for cleaning out the uterus by suction
DF = Dear or Darling Fiancé
DG = Dear or Darling Girlfriend
DH = Dear or Darling Husband
DI = Donor insemination
DP = Dear or Darling Partner
DPO = Days Past Ovulation
D/R = Down-Regging , hormones taken to shut our bodies down to stop producing follicles naturally, (this is done before stimulation)
DS = Dear or Darling Son
DW = Dear or Darling Wife

E
EC = Egg Collection
EDD = Estimated Date of Delivery
Endo = Endometriosis
EPT = Early Pregnancy Test
EPU = Early Pregnancy Unit
ET = Egg Transfer
EWCM = Egg white cervical mucus, the kind you get when you are most fertile.

F
FAM = Fertility Awareness Method
FAQ = Frequent Asked Question(s)
FER = Frozen Embryo Replacement
FET = Frozen Egg Transfer
FFS = For F**** Sake
Follie= Follicle
FSH = Follicle Stimulating Hormone
FWIW = For What Its Worth

G
GA = General Anesthetic
GBS = Group B Streptococcus
GD = Gestational Diabetes
GIFT = Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer
GTT = Glucose Tolerance Test

H
HCG or hCG = Human Chorionic Gonadotropin – hormone produced in pregnancy.
HFEA = The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
HPT = Home Pregnancy Test
HSG = Hysterosalpingogram (an x-ray, similar to a Lap)

I
ICSI = Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection
IMHO = In My Humble Opinion
IMO = On My Opinion
IUGR or IGR = Intra uterine growth retardation
IUI = Intra Uterine Insemination
IVF = In Vitro Fertilization
IVM = In Vitro Maturation
IYKWIM = If You Know What I Mean

J & K
KW = Knicker Watch

L
Lap = Laparoscopy
LH = Luteinizing Hormone
LMP = Last Menstrual Period
LO = Little One
LOL = Laugh Out Loud
LP = Luteal Phase, the gap between ovulation and your period.
LPD = Luteal Phase Defect, when the second half of your cycle is too short for implantation to be successful (many doctors consider anything less then 10 days to be too short for implantation).

M
Marmite Down = How you feel on blue days
M/C = Miscarriage
M/S = Morning sickness
MW = Midwife

N & O
NK = Natural Killer Cells
OHSS = Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome
OI = Ovulation Induction
OPK = Ovulation Predictor Kit

P & Q
PCB = post coital bleeding, or bleeding after sex
PCOS = Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
PCO = Polycystic Ovaries
P/G = Pregnant
PGD = Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis
PGS = Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening
PID = Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
PM = Private Message
PMA = Positive mental attitude.
PMSL = Pissing Myself Laughing
PND = Postnatal Depression
POF = Premature Ovarian Failure
POP = progesterone only pill
PUPO = Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise

R
ROTFLMAO = Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Arse Off

S
SA = Sperm Analysis
Stims = Stimulate follicles using injectable hormones

T
TBH = To Be Honest
TESA = Testicular Sperm Aspiration
TESE = Testicular Sperm Extraction
TMI = Too Much Information
TTC = Trying To Conceive
TX = Treatment
TY = Thank You

U & V
UPSI = Unprotected Sexual Intercourse
US = Ultrasound
UTI = Urinary Tract Infection
VBAC = Vaginal birth after Caesarean
VE = Vaginal Examination

W, X, Y & Z
ZIFT = Zygote Intra-Fallopian Transfer

Numbers
$0.02 = Two Cents - as in throwing in my two cents' worth.
2WW = Two Week Wait

So, for everybody who was paying attention……

AFM, DH and I have been TTC a LO for a bit now using BBT and UPSI (or BD). It didn’t work so I’m currently on BCP until AF. Then, using ART we are going to do IVF with ICSI and possibly IMSI using OE. I will start using stims and DH will do SA. I will go into the clinic and do VE’s (ICK) and US…I know, TMI. Then we will have EC and ET. Afterwards, I will start my POP and assume PUPO during my 2WW. TBH, after all the TX, I hope I’m P/G with a BFP!

If anybody has a QA, I can PM

…..And you thought learning OMG was tough

1 comments:

Forum Dissected

Below is a typical forum post. I have taken the liberty to decipher it's contents so that the next time you are on an IVF board, you too can understand what is going on.

(click on the picture to make it larger)







1 comments:

Caught!

Not much embarrasses me. I have no problems being the lone person on a wedding dance floor, tearing it up to "Living on a Prayer," my mouth filter generally reads “foot in,” and things that would normally cause a flushed reaction tend to go right over the top of my already short head.

Maybe my lack of embarrassment comes from my knack for falling down regularly in very public places (concerts, busy restaurants, etc..) or because I have undressed “from the waist down” enough times to have no shame. Regardless, I don’t get the “red face flush” very often, but I did today.

Here goes……I posted on a fertility forum and Ben caught me. It was only two posts, and they were super causal, and I wasn’t looking for anything serious. I swear.

A brief background: Over the last year, Ben and I have surfed fertility sites fairly often. And, I would make the bold assumption that most Barren Karen and Blank Franks do. One particular fertility site “fertility friends UK,” is where we have spent the most time. It’s where we found our clinic (don’t judge), have read other people’s stories, and gathered the majority of our fear breeding information about all things embryo related. This being said, I have never had the huevos grandes to make my own post. There are several reasons for this. The biggest reason is that once you have taken the bold move to post on a fertility forum, it means you have crossed over into IVF obsession. A typical post looks something like this (in fact) this is right off of the forum....






Tricksy
· Gold Member
·
·
· Posts: 1352
· Bubbles 5557
· Click to Blow
· Gender:
· I love bubbles - please click them for me xx


> Evening everyone,

Sorry I didn't get on last night, Cropi is taking up a lot of time at the moment, I'm leaving the house at 6.30am and not getting home until 7pm so I am totally knackered!!

Debs - woohoo for you stimming from Friday

that is fantastic news. Normally you stimm for between 12-17 days, so it will be at the end of the week commencing 16th and certainly not any earlier than the Wednesday. I would of thought that egg collection would be Friday or Monday, or over the weekend if Bourne Hall do them at the weekends. Good luck hun

Sooty - Welcome to the thread hun, you'll find a lot of help and support from us lot. We have stuck together through hell and high water for the last 2 1/2 years, you've always find someone to help or just listen. Good luck

Em - Hi hun, did you get your jobs done today?? I know what its like to lack incentive, I've got a mountain of washing to get done and i'm seriously running out of clothes The second load is on right now and there is another one to go one yet, at least I should be able to get it dry on the line tomorrow. Just got to iron the blinking stuff then How are you feeling now?? better I hope

Rivka - I'm sorry hun that you had such a hard time at the hospital, why can't these awful situations just go smoothly without all of the heartache that we already have.

Its good news that you don't think that the killer cells are an issue for you, at least thats something knocked off the list. Have you been to St Mary's in London yet?? If not I seriously suggest that you ask your doctor to refer you there. If not get a private appt with Mr Evans Jones and he will refer you, like her did me. They are really good up there and 'may' be able to give you some definitive answers

I've had a text from Lisa, she was sunbathing around the pool and she said that its gorgeous and really hot, she's having a great time and sends her love xx

Take care everyone and I'll be on tomorrow

Lots of love to you all

Tricksy xxx


Me 35 DH 36
TTC for 7 years. 5 x IUI's.
3 ICSI's 06-09 at ISIS.
Moved to CARE Notts Jan 09.
4th failed ICSI (even after immune treatment as follows:
1) Moderately high Natural Killer Cells Activity (50:1 is 20.6 - should be below 15%), and:
2) High TNF alpha (is 35.7 - should be below 30) = 1 x Intralipid infusion/20mg prednisolone
3) Shared DQ Alpha with DH (0102), and
4) Negative LAD = Lymphocyte Immune Therapy with DH's blood (with Dr Armstrong, Portland Hospital).
5) Poor uterine blood flow (viagra/LDA, 20mg clexane)








It’s me again….

My next blog post for all of you non-ivfers will be a dissection of the OE, DH, BFT, and OTD. Don’t take this dissection lightly as it’s taken me a year to google all of these acronyms…And no, I still don’t know what having 5777 bubbles means.

Anyway, the point of having the above post is to show how much of a commitment posting actually is. It isn't just asking a simple questions such as: “Anybody have side effects on Gonal-F? Those injection sure seem terrible.”

If posting were that easy, everybody would do it. With fertility forums, you post baby tickers, smiley faces, hug faces, multiple uses of OMG!! Words of encouragement, all of your personal history including afterthoughts of your last failed cycle, the fight you had with your spouse (DH) and the last time you went to the bathroom. You share all of your feelings, heartache, joy, pain, and war stories. YOU ARE IN IT TO SPREAD BABY DUST EVERYWHERE YOU POST.

But alas, my baby dust wand is probably laced with Fentanyl because of the countless nights Ben and I spent laughing at other childless couples baby tickers and injection war stories. We would mock the amount of time and energy childless couples used to start, read, and post to these these forums…and we would do it all, while we to, were on the fertility forums. Irony noted.

Big breath of confession. Soooo, when I decided to post (after lurking on the Gennet forum for ohhh, about a month), it was with slight indignation - But I do feel that being three weeks from my first cycle, I can be obsessed. For three weeks. Only three weeks. I trust that a bold friend will tell me if I overdo it (and no, staying home on a Friday night waiting for someone to reply to my post about blastocyctes and refreshing the page every three minutes for a six hour duration does not qualify as obsessed).

Because if I do think/talk/breath nothing but egg follicles/embryo transfers/injections and nobody tells me to the point where I end up friendless except for one of those fake/real babies with s stroller and full size crib, I will place blame.

Back to my post: This is copied strait from the site, honestly.

“Hi everybody,

I'm new to this thread. I go to Gennet for my first IVF treatment August 18th. I will be there for 21 days because I'm coming from the states. I was wondering what protocol they put everybody on? They are having me on a short protocol with BCP for 21 days prior to my arrival. I read that they don't normally do that for first timers and now I’m a little concerned.”

That was it. No history, no baby or weight loss tickers, nothing.

Anyway, I quick posted it before I could change my mind. Promptly after that, I changed my entire profile so Ben wouldn’t see that I had posted anything. I changed the password, the email address, everything but the screen name. I thought my secret was safe with my new forum buddies and me. But I forgot one thing. I forgot to close the screen on the iPad.

It only took about two minutes after he got home to grab the ipad and open the screen up. Then, my worst nightmare. He looked over with a smirk and said, “you posted?” He might as well have said, “you crossed over to the land of obsession. Next stop, 15 failed IVF cycles and a second mortgage later.”

I demanded the ipad back to delete my indiscretion. My face was so hot and red I thought my skin would burn up. Being embarrassed is well, embarrassing. I don’t like it one bit.

I finally got the ipad back and logged out, but the damage was done. Ben is all knowing now and won’t leave it alone.

I would go on, but now that Ben is out of the room I need to log back in and congratulate Mrs. T for her BFP and give Meeps a few words of encouragement so she can start planning for her next cycle.

0 comments:

Top 10

Several people have expressed shock, disapproval, dismay, uhh… concern…..with our decision to go abroad for IVF. While I do, I mean do not, feel the need to justify our choice of clinics (abet, it is a 17 hour flight away) I thought I would list the top 10 reasons we choose to go to Prague.

1) It’s cheaper….Way cheaper. Even with flights, 21 days worth of hotel, car rental, and all the plastic souvenirs I can stuff into my luggage, we are still saving an estimate of $5,000.








2) I really wanted a doctor who sounded like a communist outlaw.









3) Who doesn’t want to try drugs from another country?









4) My bitter feelings towards Ben not taking me on a foreign vacation were strong enough before I realized we had to shell out double digit thousands for IVF.









5) I wanted to keep our unorthodox methods of life changing decisions abroad….Engaged in Spain, married in Mexico, conceive a petri dish child in Czech.









6) I am ignorant/naive/inexperienced enough to believe that it will work the first or errr. Second, time.











7) Side effects? What side effects?









8) Anyone heard of “pre-baby” vacation?









9) A chance to visit the future.









10) I hear Czech beer is delicious and takes away nasty Gonal-F side effects.

0 comments: