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

Dear Progesterone, I hate you

Right before I left the clinic for the last time, I was given some parting gifts to help me on my pregnancy journey. These gifts included; pictures of the newly implanted embryos (awesome), and prescriptions for Prednisone (less awesome), and progesterone (not awesome at all).

The pictures, I assume, were given to me so I could see where all of my money went. And also to prove, that the clinic completed the job it was supposed to, and now the fate of our embryos was my complete and total responsibility.













The progesterone and the Prednisone were given to me to support the pregnancy. Apparently, IVF is not a natural enough process that the body picks up where all the injections left off. Weird.









The Prednisone is used to prevent rejection of the embryo until my body decides it is ok to have a foreigner loitering in my uterus for a few months.

It would have been nice to know about Prednisone when I was a five-year-old and had a hamster named Daisy who escaped out of her cage right after having babies. Our family made it a mission to keep the babies alive by feeding them out of a tiny bottle. After my dad found Daisy and put her back in her cage, she didn't recognize the babies as her own... The rest of the grotesque story is still traumatic to me. It was my first real life lesson on how cruel life can be in the wild.

Enough about mothers eating their young...











Anyway, the progesterone suppositories are to supplement the extra amount of hormone my body needs in order to have a healthy pregnancy because my body isn't doing it on its own yet.

These two drugs will be a daily part of my life for the entire first trimester. And while the Prednisone has left me alone for the most part, the progesterone does nothing but torment me day in and day out.

First off, those medium-sized white balls have to be taken twice a day, two at a time. And I don't swallow them. I shove them as close to the embryo as they will go, and then lay down for an hour so they don't leak out immediately. But part of them still leaks out, slowly and all day long. It is gross, white and wet. And that isn't even the worst of it. I put them in and immediately bloat at least two sizes. And then I turn crazy. In fact, in the beginning of taking these crazy pills, I had to limit myself to cry only once a day. The pharmacist in Bulgaria has my prescription? Cry hysterically. The restaurant doesn't have anything that sounds good to me? Cry. That commercial has a puppy? Cry. The commercial has a truck, car, person, soda, food item, or detergent? Cry. And that's not all folks, my knockers have also grown ten-fold. While most women would be happy with the added enlargement, mine have gotten so big, that I fear they will completely take over my upper body and I will actually have to tie them down in order to be able to see. What even comes after "d" sizes? Whatever it is, I will need it if these babies keep growing.

And, you have to be super careful when it comes to inserting those things. Even a good hand washing before and after doesn't always do the trick. The other day, I decided to make southwest egg rolls for dinner (they were delicious by the way). One of the ingredients was jalapenos. Just like everything else, I cut it up and added it to the recipe. I didn't think anything of it until suppository time. Even after I had washed my hands numerous times between cutting the jalapeno and bedtime, it didn't matter. Imagine my surprise when right after inserting the progesterone I started to feel a burning sensation. At first I didn't know what was going on, and then it hit me. The jalapeno. I spent the next two hours burning from the inside out until I was finally able to go to sleep. Not a pleasant sensation, but a very good lesson


The bottom line: While I dislike progesterone immensely, the fact that I'm still taking it is very good news. And, if it keeps the loitering embryo(s) happy and exactly where they are, I'll keep shoving them up there. I just need to remember to stay away from the jalapenos in the future.

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The verdict is in....

Over the last few months, Ben and I have been overwhelmed with support from all of our friends and family. Although, when we told people we were doing our cycle in Prague and we received a lot of, "I'll be praying for you," I wasn't exactly sure if it was meant to be "I'll be praying for you," for a successful cycle, or "I'll be praying for you," for your sanity and lack of good judgement. Regardless, we were happy to take all the prayers we could get. In fact, I think even God was surprised with the people who were praying for us. We had Christians, Atheists,
Agnostics, Spiritualists, and even a (dare I say it?) Reformist. And I'm sure the Jehovah's Witnesses who stop by my house every three weeks to drop off End of Times, Are you Prepared literature, are praying for me too. But not for the same reasons as everybody else. In fact, the funniest text I received was one of my friends. It said, "I'm excited to see you. Been thinking about you guys a lot. I even prayed for you, even though I'm a little rusty."

How awesome is that?

Well, in my opinion, God must have been impressed with the diversity of people giving us shout outs, because he decided to give us a

Hooray!!!!!!!


I did have to do a little triple checking just to make sure





And while I'm at it, here is a money saving tip from yours truly. That little test in the middle is from the Dollar Store. While I had already had two positives when I purchased it (I was a little skeptical), I wanted to see if those things did indeed work. And, what do you know...they do. So for all of you wondering "who the heck would buy a pregnancy test at the dollar store?" (That would be me before this morning) I have now become "that person."

Rest assured, the Dollar Store ends with the pregnancy test. I promise to not buy anything else baby from there, unless I'm looking for lead paint legos or something.

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Are we there yet?

The two week wait before finding out if the IVF cycle actually worked is what one forum poster described as "feeing like the time lapse between Prince albums, or complete solar eclipses." Which, I have to say, is not too far off.

Since the transfer, this is an example of one minute inside my head:

"I really hoped this worked. If it didn't work, I have no vacation time to go back in the next 8 months, and we are going into our busy season so my boss wouldn't let me go anyway. That means I would have to wait until next June. I will be an entire year older. I wonder if that would affect the quality of my eggs. The embryologist said the embryos were high quality, so it should have worked. If it doesn't work, I'm going to be disappointed. A lot of people have unsuccessful tries the first time so I shouldn't be that disappointed, but I would be anyway because the whole thing went perfectly. Nothing went wrong so they wouldn't know what to change for next time. Ben and I aren't usually lucky enough to have the best case scenario and we already had an awesome trip so our luck must have run out on the pregnancy. Now I know for sure it didn't work. We aren't that lucky....oh shoot, I just sneezed. I hope the embryo doesn't fall out. I know, Krista, it is impossible for an embryo to fall out from sneezing. You are driving yourself crazy. Maybe I am pregnant. Pregnant people are crazy. What if it's twins? What the heck would I do with twins? I can't think that far ahead because I don't want to be disappointed if it's nothing. But I feel really tired and weird. But mainly tired. But that would make sense because I just traveled from the other side of the world less than a week ago and I'm taking that disgusting progesterone. That stuff is so gross. It makes me so bloated. I'm sure I'm not pregnant because I think I walked around too much in Europe. Why did I insist on making Ben take me to Istanbul? Oh yeah, so I would stop thinking all these thoughts. I wonder if I'm stressing out too much? Did I take that gross progesterone this morning? What about the Prednisone? I wish I knew already, that way I could move on with my life one way or another. I still have four days to go? Uggg. I hate this.

Now, take that minute and add 59 more, and then multiply it by the amount of hours I am awake (roughly 16), and there you have it; the two week wait.

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Well, there is no going back now

It's done. They have officially been transferred from the dish to me. So now we wait two weeks to see if they felt comfortable enough with me to stick around for an extended stay.

Look guys, it's their new home!!


Ben also got to witness the transfer and dressed up for the occasion. What a stallion!

He just couldn't keep the ladies away.
















Overall, I couldn't be happier for how things turned out so far. A little bad news is that we did lose the other 6 embryos between the fourth and fifth day. They clearly had both of our genetics when it came to being cold, as once they must have realized they were going to be frozen, they said "forget that," and stopped growing.
Defiant little bastards.

We only wanted super-embryos anyway, and hopefully that is what we got. I'll continue to keep updating as things progress, but for tomorrow, I'm going to spend the final days over here resting on the black sea.

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Funny thing about Prague

Almost all the souvenir shops in Prague have similar nick-knacks. They all have wooden clocks, magnets of St. Charles Bridge and Vitus Church, bottles of Pilsner Urquell and Becherovka Liquor, marionettes, and of course, painted eggs.

I thought it slightly ironic that I was surrounded by eggs. White lace eggs, multi-colored eggs, wire-wrapped eggs, eggs with simple designs, crazy designs and pictures. I decided it must be fate that I was in a city full of so many eggs, when I too, was so full of eggs. I took this shot as a remembrance of Czech's egg glory.


For $3.50, I also purchased one of these beauties:



However, in my several week obsession with eggs, and an actual purchase of one, I didn't want Ben to think he was going to face nothing but estrogen and crazy Krista in his future, so I searched high and low and finally found and purchased this gem.




I would say we are equal now










Whoever calls first dibs can claim the "liquor" inside when we get back.

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Tivas, and Crocs, and Nylons, Oh My!

If Europe is as fashion forward as we all have been led to believe, and all the trends here are headed to the United States, I thought I should warn everybody of what we all have to look forward to (I fear this could be a two-part series)...

Exhibit A: Her- See through lace tank with visible bra, shaved head with one side chunk of hair left to flow freely, Him - man Capris.

Exhibit B: Combination of eccentrically bold man capris, high black socks, and running shoes

Exhibit C: Plaid man capris paired with a striped shirt and finished with black socks and brown sandals.


Exhibit D: Man extensions, apparently goes with everything and nothing at the same time

Exhibit E: Socks and sandals for him, and acid washed parachute jeans for her. I guess in Europe MC Hammer is making a comeback. The good news is that she decided not to wear the shirtless vest and tuxedo shoe combo to go with the pants....

Exhibit F: Who wears short shorts?


Exhibit G: "I do. I do"

Exhibit H: "Me too. Me too"



Exhibit I: Czechs version of our "striped shirt guy," complete with full frontal shred on his jeans, unbuttoned shirt, and rockin' kicks

Exhibit J: Showing off abs of steel


Exhibit K: Abs of steel part 2

Exhibit L: Speedo with Crocs, the ultimate European trend. Can't wait for that one to cross oceans!


Exhibit M: Last but not least, Ben making his own failed fashion statement















Other fashion forward trends I've noticed but have not gotten a picture of (yet)

Faux Hawks - bold and brash with equally annoying people who's heads they adorn.

Skin colored nylons with everything: Dresses, pants, shorts, skirts, shirts, mini skirts.

sandals with massive ankle cuffs

Girls with half of a shaved head (actually kind of cool)

Jeggings (yikes)

Capri jeans and rayon pants with large elastic pant cuffs and waist bands

And......I have now named Tiva the new international shoe. Worn by people in all countries without discrimination. And it must be a shoe that begs for socks, because most people wear the Tiva/sock combo without embarrassment.

Consider yourselves warned

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The waiting game

I spent the first couple days after the transfer on the couch reading and feeling lousy, while Ben changed his fantasy football line-up probably 100 times, studied every team and every player, and memorized all things football. He has complete knowledge of every team in our league and who has what player and who he is going to trade for who, etc. While boredom I'm sure played a part in this, Brad changing his team name to "Pummel the Hummel's" certainly didn't help. Thanks Brad. Maybe if you actually get your iPad working and change your lineup every once and a while you would have a chance....

Since then, we have just been waiting around for our embryos to marinate in the petri dish. So far, they seem to be enjoying their accommodations. Of the 14, we had eight fertilize (good), and up to today we still have eight (great). Of the eight, six are good-very good quality. That is good awesome news.

For anyone wanting a visual, below is a picture I got off the Internet. We are at the pink line with six of them and the orange line with the other two.














If all goes well, they will put two of them back tomorrow and freeze the rest.

Here's to hoping they like me as much as the petri dish.

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Fertilitze this

What a terrible wife, I didn't even mention Ben's clinical duties in my last post. He too was adorned with white Crocs before heading into his own private room to preform his manly duties. The room came equip with both magazines and movies for his viewing pleasure. What a nice staff. They even offered that I go in the room with him. But alas, I had my own fun stuff to get ready for, and magic red sweats and a sweatshirt don't exactly qualify as sexy, so I entrusted him to Kim Kardashian and crew to get the job done.



I'm beginning to change my mind about Crocs...He looks pretty good sporting them


He was waiting for me in my room when I was finished, so everything must have gone well on his end..... I have to say, of the two of us in this whole thing, he's gotten off pretty easy, although he will have to answer to this picture in Croc's a time or two in the future.

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Eggs a plenty

I scared even myself the other day when I realized that I have become so accustomed to taking injections that I don't even care where we are when I have to take one.


That picture was taken right after my last and final trigger shot. Hooray! The scary part is, that is the exact spot where it was taken.







I blame Ben for that particular spot though, and here is why: I had strict orders that the shot needed to be taken at 9:00 p.m. We happened to be at dinner when nine rolled around, so I suggested we hole up in the bathroom and do it there. Ben thought that would look too suspicious, both of us coming out of one bathroom (snicker). So instead, he thought behind a tree right outside the restaurant would be a better option. No matter that it was a beautiful day and everyone was eating outside, right on the other side of the tree (if you look closely, you can see a chair right next to the tree). I thought he might be right about the bathroom, so, like the classy couple we are, behind the tree it was.

Fast forward 36-hours-later.

Time for the egg retrieval. I was glad to have those little buggers out of my mango sized ovaries because they were starting to become uncomfortable. And when you have 100 stairs to climb to an over-sized metronome monument expressing Prague's freedom, it's no fun having those things drag you down.

So away I went to face the bright lights of the surgery room.

I should have known it was going to be an unpleasant experience when they made me swap my shoes for a pair of white Crocs. But it only got worse from that point on.

I'll spare the exact visual, but I will say this: Like riding a horse vertically, and one huge bright florescent light shining somewhere, but not on my face.......

And this is where I sat for what seemed like eternity. They had to ask me all kinds of questions, get the equipment ready, talk amongst themselves, etc. All the while, I was hanging out in the most awkward position ever. Finally, they spared what was left of my dignity by putting me under.

So I don't remember the rest, until this point:

In one piece


A-OK!


They retrieved 14 mature eggs when it was all over. Well done Krista (insert pat on back here). It must have been all the wine and beer to stimulate blood flow.

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Riddle me this

"A popular bar had a new robotic bartender installed. A guy came in for a drink and the robot asked him, "What's your IQ?" The man replied, "130." So the robot proceeded to make conversation about physics, astronomy, and so on.

The man listened intently and thought, "This is really cool." Another guy came in for a drink and the robot asked him, "What's your IQ?" The man responded, "120." So the robot started talking about the Superbowl, dirt bikes, and so on.

The man thought to himself, "Wow, this is really cool." A third guy came in to the bar. As with the others, the robot asked him, "What's your IQ?" The man replied, "80." The robot then said, "So, how are things in Poland these days?"


Sorry, I couldn't resist.....

I had two days between appointments, so rather than take it easy (like I probably should have), we kept the car for a couple extra days and headed to Krakow.

Besides being one of the most amazing cities I've ever visited, it was also one of huge contrast. While one of the most obvious contrasts was the modern vs. communist buildings, another one sticks out in my mind just a little bit more.

To Ben's good fortune, this is what all the women in Poland look like.

But to my misfortune, all the men did not.....

But aside from the genetic makeup of Krakow's finest, the city was also a stark contrast of incredible and vibrant buildings vs. communist dorms (but now is mainly awesome buildings.)
One of the 235 (or something like that) amazing churches in the city...All of which had weddings the day we went to tour them.




Communist's have no architectural style













I also thought it was interesting that despite all the reminders of the country's rough past, the people still seem to have a sense of humor.



These guys need a one-way ticket to Comicon, and a couple of girlfriends.

While it was necessary that I go to Auschwitz/Birkenau, it was also a mix of: Krista + massive amounts of hormones + Auschwitz = What was I thinking?









All in all, I was far more impressed with Krakow then I could have ever imagined. After all, who wouldn't love a city that tolerates a guy dressed as Luigi trying to look like he is urinating in a fountain off the main square?





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Compare and Contrast

After four appointments here, I feel like I can accurately compare Arizona Association of Reproductive Health with Gennet for a winner takes all throw-down.

Clinic Location
Gennet:Over the river and through the woods, behind several major streets, in a small courtyard, with one tiny sign to lead you there.
AARH:Right off the freeway

Winner: AARH

Clinic itself
Gennet: Ikea could take a picture of this place and put it directly into its magazine.
AARH: Typical Dr. office furnishings, down to the floral couches and oak tables.

Winner: Gennet

Nurses
Gennet: All under the age of 30 wearing translucent white scrubs and multiple colors of thong underwear.
AARH: One high-stress Russian woman with a sour attitude.

Winner: Gennet

Wait time:
Gennet: We show up a half-hour late, they get us right in. We show up a half-hour early, they get us right in. We show up on time, they get us right in.
AARH: We show up on time, we wait 45 minutes.

Winner: Gennet

Dr. accent
Gennet: Czech, with an old communist twist. Level of understanding 80 percent.
AARH: East Indian. Level of understanding. 60 percent.

Winner: Gennet

Dr.'s attitude
Gennet: Dr. Danek - prescribed me pain killers for after the egg extraction because I might feel "some discomfort." And even if I don't, "these pain killers will help you with relaxation," followed by a laugh.
AARH: Dr. Patel - scolded us with a pointed index pointed finger for having ever consumed an alcoholic beverage.

Winner: Gennet

Dolla Dolla Bills yo:
Gennet: Dr. Danek apologized for having to prescribe us $700 worth of extra prescriptions because my eggs were growing a little too slowly. Then he scheduled an extra ultra-sound, but made sure I knew it wasn't an extra charge.
AARH: Charges $100 for every 15 minutes you are in the office

Winner: Gennet

Dolla Dolla Bills yo (part 2)Total cost of one cycle:
Gennet: $5,500
AARH: $16,000

Winner: Gennet

In the appointment:
Gennet: Dr. Danek - talks for 25 minutes about all the medical stuff, and 25 minutes about things like the cost of speeding tickets in Switzerland and which trams I should avoid in order to keep from being pick-pocketed.
AARH: Dr. Patel - Spends 5 minutes looking through his charts after he forgets I'm even his patient. Then another 10 minutes talking about how low Ben's sperm count is and how IVF is our only option, even after he already told us the appointment before that IVF is our only option.

Winner: Gennet

Best Dr. quote:
Gennet: (in a Czech communist accent) "We must change the recipe for you." Referring to my medication.
AARH: (In East Indian accent) "Ah, Ben, his sperm count is berry berry low. Yes, berry berry low." Followed by 100 more berry berry low's.

Winner: Draw

Stripping down
Gennet: Shamless: 6 times in 4 appointments, no sheet to cover up, Dr. waits in the room.
AARH: Separate room to undress, paper gown to put on, buzzer to press when you are ready.

Winner: AARH

During stripped down appointment
Gennet: A couple minutes of explaining the ultra-sound on the screen, then finished.
AARH: Mid-probe, asking who my doctor is, even though it's him.

Winner: Gennet


Total:
Gennet:9
AARH:2

Glad we decided to come to Prague

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