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

My farewell to progesterone

These last 10 weeks, I have not written one bad thing about how much I despise my progesterone suppositories.  I have not mentioned how gross they are, how they leak, how Ben has asked me more than once if I have toilet paper in my underwear.....(hey, desperate times call for desperate measures). There is a reason behind my lack of complaints this time around, which Ben so eloquently reminds me of every time I get ready to go into a progesterone tirade.



The story goes something like this:

September 8, 2011, our first round of IVF had just wrapped up and we decided to celebrate by flying to Bulgaria for some seaside relaxation.  We were flying Wizz Air, which charges for carry-on baggage, so we just brought a backpack.  We didn't need much, just our shorts, swimsuits, passports, and my progesterone.

So one two-hour Wizz Air flight later, we land at Burgas Airport (which by the way, was bombed 4-months later in an attack against Israel.  We sure know how to keep it excitingl!). 

Anyway, we pick up our rental car and off we go to the black sea.  After some sightseeing and lunch, relaxing at the beach is exactly what we did.

That first night I went to take my progesterone.  Oops.  I had brought the box that only had 1-full-day worth of pills rather than the full five-day box I thought I had brought with me.  At first I tried to be reasonable about the situation.  I would ration the pills over the course of the 5 days that we were in Bulgaria.  Yes, that would work.  I would take one in the morning and one at night rather than the two.  But then I did the math.  That wouldn't work at all.  Panic time.

I spent the whole night worrying about progesterone.  I couldn't sleep.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.  
The next morning I rationed.  One instead of two.  I did the same that night.  But then I had no more pills for the next three days.  "How could you do this to yourself?" I thought.  I jeopardized the whole IVF process.  All the money, all the effort of going abroad, all the shots in the stomach, everything.  I could have potentially ruined everything because of three days worth of progesterone supplements.  

Once again a sleepless night.  Except this one was even worse.  I had no more pills to ration.  All the thoughts came creeping back.  I had to tell Ben the next morning.  Would he blame me?  How could he not?  I had just ruined the whole experience with one oversight.  

It was a horrible night in Bulgaria.  And it didn't help that the bed in our condo was uncomfortable and the room smelled like sewer.  But the worst part about it was that I was positively sure that I single handedly ruined any chance of a baby Hummel. 

The next morning was confession time.  I spilled my big secret to Ben.  No more progesterone.  Dooms day.  Did I throw in tears?  Maybe.  But when you know you just wasted thousands of dollars, how could there not be tears.

He was annoyed.  But then he said the magic words, "I bet we can find a pharmacy around here that would sell it to us."

I was convinced we couldn't.  Nope, we were doomed.  There were no pharmacies.  But he was sure there were.  So off we went in search of of a big green neon cross.

Less than 2 minutes down the road we spotted one.  First challenge out of the way.  We went in and saw a pharmacist.  Did she speak English?  Not really.  I asked if you needed a Dr. note for medicine and she said yes.  I was devastated.  I needed a doctor.  

But Ben wasn't so quick to give up.  He showed the progesterone box to the lady and asked if we could buy it.  Finally understanding what we wanted, the lady sold us two boxes of the stuff.  What did I do?
I started crying.  Hysterically. I'm talking can't breath, suck the wind up sobs.  And I couldn't stop.  Ben was so startled, he quickly paid for the progesterone, told the lady that I was super hormonal and ushered me out of the store.  I ended up crying out the pharmacy into the car and back to the condo.  I had never been so happy to see those gross white balls in my life.  Two days of worrying myself sick.  Two days of thinking, no, knowing that I had ruined our chances of children.  Two days of hating myself beyond imagination.  And it was all solved in 20 minutes.

So now, whenever I start complaining about how gross it is, Ben reminds me of that day, and I quit my whining.

So, as I prepare to "take" my final progesterone suppository tonight, I must salute those little white balls and the progesterone they give my body to carry a baby.  

But I will not miss them when they're gone.


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A little bit of happy, a little bit of sad

We went into the doctor for our first ultrasound the other day.  The good news?  I managed to keep the picture from the doctor's office until it made it into my scanner.





Yep.  This time I won't have to use a random "7-week-ultrasound" picture off the internet for baby B's photo album (sorry Ellyette).

The bad news?  We did have two babies until one quit growing and developing a couple weeks ago.

I know this is a very common occurrence with twins and especially IVF twins, but I don't think that knowledge helps when you are looking at an ultrasound with two sacks, two stems, etc.  But only one heart beat.

I think as a woman (or maybe it's just me....) My first thought went to, "What did I do wrong?"  Even though I know I did nothing wrong.....Or maybe it WAS going right back to work after getting back from Europe.... I AM fairly sure that work causes most life issues.

And it doesn't help that my doctor has the bedside manner of a rock.  In her words, "if you wouldn't have seen this ultrasound, you might not have even known about it.  This sort of thing is very common."

And

"You might have to go through a miscarriage.  Bleeding, cramps...that sort of thing.  It shouldn't affect the other baby."

Thanks doc for your kind words.  I'll just go home and have a miscarriage then.  And after that, I'll throw up with morning sickness just for good measure.

Vent over.  After seeing both babies, I feel even more incredibly blessed with the one healthy pregnancy that I do have.  It puts into perspective what women (especially infertile women who suffer through miscarriages) deal with emotionally.  As a person who has had such success with pregnancy after IVF, I had my first glimpse into the other painful side of the infertility coin.

So my goal for now is to come up with an equally awesome name as Ziggy Stardust and to dust off my photoshop skills so I can dress up my new ultrasound baby.  Thank you technology.


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Is it over yet???

I am less than two months into this pregnancy and boy, it has already been rough.  The things is, I hate to complain about being pregnant.  After all, I'M PREGNANT!!!!  More than a lot of my fellow IVF'ers can say....But I'm going to complain anyway because opening up the refrigerator door makes me vomit.  And so does waking up in the morning.  And changing Ellyette's diaper has put me over the edge a few times as well.  And looking at this computer screen is already starting to make me nauseous.

But the truth is, feeling horrible all day with a one-year-old wanting to hang on my leg all day hasn't even been the worst part. 

I thought I had kidney stones the first few weeks.  I went to urgent care, a chiropractor, my OBGYN and a ultrasound lab to get answers because the pain was unbearable.  And what did they find?  That I did not have kidney stones, but a polyp on my gallbladder that can only be removed surgically after the baby is born. 

Fantastic news!!! Thanks doc.

Fortunately, the pain that feels like I am being stabbed in the kidney has currently subsided until the next possible flare up.  It's a good thing I can take a Tylenol for pain.  Not.

Maybe I will have the good fortune to vomit it out before the first trimester is over....



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My Apologies



In all my haste to go over to Prague and get pregnant, I completely forgot to post my 2013 IVF extravaganza pictures.  Silly me.  So without further ado......





Let's start with dessert first....

Of course the sperm and egg cake that I insisted Heather make for me again.  It's so bright and colorful. And who doesn't want to eat a cake with swimming sperm.  I did forget to mention that our sperm was directly injected into the egg with a needle, but that would have just make the cake look weird.

And on the left side is a picture of all the fortune cookies that we didn't eat from a year's worth of Chinese take-out.  And to my good fortune, I received all kinds of wise tidbits such as, "It is a happy talent to know how to play," and "do not forget that a half truth is a whole lie," and drumroll please... "do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain."

Good idea! I should handle scorpions to rid myself of fearing them.  Not.





And then of course the drink......

Oh sangarita from Los Dos Molinos.  I will miss you for the next 10 months.  Sigh.  You are worth the wait.


And ode to the wine.  Always the prelude to a great evening, it shall temporarily be replaced with Trader Joe's blueberry sparkling juice.  Temporarily.





And then the food......


In true extravaganza mode, my girl Angel made us a send off dinner that included baked salmon with mango salsa, asparagus, salad, potatoes, wine, and brownies.  It was amazing.

And a couple days before departure, Ben made me a board of all the soft unpasteurized cheeses that I can't have for the next 10 months.  What a guy.








 
Gifts......

Gifts for extravaganza's are not a necessity, but we did have a little extra love this time around.    Just in case I didn't get pregnant, the royal bitch bag was ready and waiting in case of a BFN.  Very important to have a backup plan that includes drowning sorrows with friends and a lot of sangria.

My sister gave us an "airplane pack" for Ellyette for the ride over.  Very cool not only for us and her, but also for everyone around her who didn't hear any tantrums, crying or fussiness in general.  Thank you Nicole, from everyone on Delta flight 8731.

And finally, we got a family picture of the three of us before there were four.  So very cool.









So that about sums up this years extravaganza.  But kind of like wedding's and baby showers.  I'll be stoked if that was my last one....

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Lightning does strike the same place twice

Ben and I are the luckies SOB's this side of Prague.  For the second time in a row, we have had an amazing trip, worked with amazing people and in the end gotten a:





In the words of Quincy from 'Little Einstein's,' "I DO NOT BEEELIEEEVE IT."



Oh no, did I just quote a cartoon character from a really annoying Disney show?  I'm going to have to soul search that when I have a chance.  Yikes.

Anyway, right now I'm just feeling grateful for all the support we have gotten from family, friends and even strangers.  It's been really awesome.  Especially because this time, less people thought we were crazy for going abroad to do this.

So while I really believe that it was the staff at Gennet who knows what they are doing, who knows,  It might have been because we rubbed the lucky egg both trips.  Or ate at the same restaurants.  Or bought the same souvenirs, or.....






In the end, it doesn't matter.  We are just so fortunate and so lucky.  So tonight, I will raise my glass of sparkling cider and toast to the new Hummel.  Watch out world.  Here we come.







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Question:

Here is a question:

What do the following countries have in common? 

Italy

Bosnia

USA

Czech Republic

Germany

Croatia










Give up?


Yep.  We went to five countries and stayed in Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, flats and apartments and almost all of them in all countries were completely or partially furnished by Ikea.  Tables, coffee cups, chairs, cabinets, duvet covers and more (does Ikea sell toilet paper?)  If they do, then the store provided that too.

Not that I'm complaining.  I have my fair share of Ikea at the Hummel Cantina despite Ben putting a ban on ever putting together one more particle board piece of furniture.  I love the stuff myself.  But who would have thought that the Nordic giant would find itself in Bosnia?

But it has.  I'm pretty sure it is working on taking over the world.  My hat is off to you Sweden and your giant blue and yellow 20 block stores.

Here is a fun Swedish fact:  It is legal to masturbate in public.  

Who would have thought.



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And here I didn't think I was superstitious



 I didn't think I was that superstitious. However, after reflecting on both rounds of IVF, I think I might be just a little bit.  Not anything gross like wearing the same underwear for the duration of the IVF treatment (really).  Or weird like eating 12 grapes at midnight the first week of every month.  Just a few little things here and there that I did last time that I wanted to do this time as well.

Case in Point:



 Heather's BFP cake from 2011                                                                         And again from 2013






Magic Red Sweats


Rubbing the same strange Czech egg that was a few doors down from our favorite pizza place (which I also felt the need to eat at the day of egg transfer both times)


.
.
.
.
.
.





Thumbs up from the Gennet Bed

Visiting a "spa/bathhouse" (although, one was in Budapest and the other in Karlovy Vary)










And a bunch of other things I don't have pictures of.  It seemed like a
lot of our decisions were based on, "well, we did it last time and it worked, so I think we should by our new egg christmas tree ornament from the same store as last time...."













Oh well, in the words of Dr. Danek, "Whatever works for the patients mind might just help. You never know."  - spoken like a man who deals with crazy ladies all day, every day.

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kick your shoes off and make yourselves at home



It's done. 



It's done.  Two embryos transferred into yours truly, and two cycropreserved for possible future Hummel greatness.




A couple key players getting ready for the big move.  On the right is Nikola (our coordinator), Ellyette and Ben in his saggy gown (gotta keep his signature style regardless of what he wears...)

On the right is the lady who makes all the magic happen.  It's our embryologist.  She was Ellyette's embryologist as well.  Let's hope she can make another miracle for the Hummel's.
Here is Ellyette a couple minutes before the transfer and right before she decided to go poop.  Good luck maybe? ummmm...


And guess who didn't bring any additional diapers because she was too wound up about the day to think rationally about anything else?  That would be me.  So we took her, sticky diaper and all into the transfer to show all the doctors what they'd really helped create.

Fortunately, there was a store that sold diapers right next to the clinic, that Ben went to while I was recovering.  Of course he bought swim diapers thinking they would be great for Croatia.  And they will be.  But they aren't to be used as a regular diaper we found out after she peed all over Ben at lunch.  Twice.



Along with the diapers, I also forgot an oversized shirt.  Fortunately in the last two years, enough people have forgotten their coverups that Gennet began providing some of their own.  Thankfully.  As if a stinky baby wasn't enough.  If I had to walk in naked with a stinky baby they might have just changed their minds about transferring anything.



I think the reason I was so out of sorts was because we were anticipating a day five transfer and Nikola emailed us three hours before the transfer on day 4 letting us know we were going a day early.  So of course, I have a mild freak-out about what went wrong with our embryos that we had to transfer a day early.  Note to self: Google isn't always the best source of information when trying to keep calm about a stressful situation.  

Anyway, we went in and talked with the embryologist and she was happy with the quality of our embryos as four were just beginning the blastocyst stage (a great stage for those of you who aren't savvy in the IVF language). 

Overall, it was a great day.  A big thanks to Ben for saying that traveling to Salzburg, Austria with my parents was too far, even after I pouted for an hour.  Three hours to show up for a transfer in a city five hours away doesn't add up.

So yes Ben, you were right.  (There I said it)

Now it's time for the two week wait.  Hello Croatia.  I'll see you soon.


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Calling all embryos


The first 48 hours of embryo news is in:

15 follicles out of Krista

9 mature eggs

7 fertilized

And today we are still 7 strong.  They are 2-4 cells, which is great news.



Day one visual.

Day 2.  Look at those little guys divide.  Here's to hoping another Hummel is one of those little guys below..



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the buildings


What do you think of when you see all these buildings in Dresden, Germany?








Some would say beauty.  Others would say how incredible the architecture was.  And still others would reflect on the war torn city's history and the rebuilding process that has taken place over the last 70 years.  


However, when I see these buildings, I think of how each one was built so intricately that the echo of a single baby's meltdown can transcend throughout the entire central district.  The unbelievable procession of which the sound bounces off each building onto the next and the next and then the next, without skipping a single area.  Was this intended?  Was it a communication outlet during trouble times where the entire community could respond to a single echoing siren?  Who knows.  

What I do know is that this is the place Ellyette chose to have her first major meltdown of the trip.  Do I blame her?  Not really.  In the last two weeks, we have gone from Prague to Venice then over to the Cinque Terre.  Then back to Milan to fly back to Prague.  Then to southern Czech to visit Ceske Krumlov and then back to Prague.  Then Dresden and Berlin Germany.  So for her to have finally had enough with the planes, trains, buses, car, trams, boats and metros is understandable.  But leave it to Ellyette to have a complete and total screaming meltdown in the middle of a Dresden plaza that echoed thoroughly with tourists all around to get her point across.

Can't lie, the kid has style.




Meltdown plaza

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Extraction complete




In my "Gennet tour" post, I had a picture of a bright yellow chair with microscope eyes attached to it.  I thought I would be in that yellow chair this morning for my extraction.  Nope.  I had a chair that was much more daunting.  Imagine getting into the yellow chair from previous post, but having this baby shining on you.  And by you, I mean certain parts of you.




What it looked like

















What it felt like from the stirrups



Thank goodness they knocked me out cold after a couple minutes of looking at nothing but that light and various nurses and Dr. Denak walking around.


But 13 eggs and some tea and cookies later, I felt like a million bucks. Well, if you exclude the whole hurting uterus and coming out of general anesthesia part.  Although, it is amazing the positive effect tea and cookies can have.




Ben also did his duty, which the embryologist said was "sufficient."  Ha!  That Ben.  So we wait until tomorrow to find out how many embryos 14 eggs and sufficient sperm can create.  Go team Hummel!

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Borderline Junkie?






When Ben and I were on our way to the train station the other day to attempt to rent a car for a couple days, we passed under a tunnel where four guys were pulling out needles to shoot heroin (I presume).  I was shocked that they didn't' even care that we were walking by and kind of grossed out.  After we got out of the tunnel, I said, "can you believe those guys?  They were right out in the open shooting up.  They didn't even care that we were walking by.  Crazy!"

Then Ben said, "I know.  But look at where you have taken your shots over the last two weeks."

And it's true.  With all the traveling that we have done, and needing to keep a pretty tight shot schedule, I have had the pleasure of taking my shots in about as many places as we have changed Ellyette's diaper.  

Without further ado.


Guess where we will be taking the meds?
The car rental facility in Milan, Italy
Down by the river in Prague
The bus headed to Ceske Krumlov
On the bus
And the final trigger shot - a rest area outside Dresden, Germany


Those guys have nothing on me when it comes to taking shots.  A little scary.







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