How Old Is Blob? And Other Confounding IVF Questions

I am 5 days past our embryo transfer, which means Blob is 11 days old.

Or is he?

Blob was conceived on November 11th of last year.  Technically he has been on this planet as a viable life for 4 months.

After Blob was whipped up in a Petri dish, our precious little ball of cells grew and divided for 6 days before an embryologist removed all of the fluid from him and flash froze him. In an instant, he stopped growing. And stopped living?

I don’t know. He was sure enough alive when they warmed him up a few short days ago.

Even more confounding, our daughter Spork was over a year old before she was transferred and I became clinically pregnant with her. While Spork is advanced for her age as any child of ours would be (gag), she is still very much two years old, not three.

All this ocassionally makes me ponder when life begins. I sporadically question when soul and spirit develop if I think about it too much.

I try not to think about it too much. Infertility adds enough uncertainty to a couple’s life without having to perfectly resolve feelings on the universe and life’s purpose.

Image: Don McCrady via Flickr

Image: Don McCrady via Flickr

My mind first started swirling with these universal questions when my wisdom teeth were removed as a teenager. Going under and then instantly waking up with no sense that any time had passed made me question where the identifiable inner “me” went for that 30 minutes or so. I experience the same thing when I go under during egg retrieval.

It’s freaky deaky Twilight Zone stuff.

Image: Allen via Flickr

Image: Allen via Flickr

If I had more time and energy, I would explain what scientists are learning about the “block box” experienced when a patient is down for the count. Maybe someday when I am feeling less pregnant I will “nerd out” again and tell you all about it. Until then a Radiolab podcast I recently heard does a fine job of beginning to peel back the layers on the mystery of anesthesia.

If you have never heard of Radiolab, it is the best podcast out there for amateur geeks like me. If you carry a dweeb gene you should definitely add it to your Stitcher favorites.

Click to navigate to Radiolab and stream live audio of "Black Box"

Click to navigate to Radiolab and stream live audio of “Black Box”

Now back to IVF.

These are just a few of the many reasons why IVF can be so controversial. It touches on some ultra- sensitive subjects. Embryo freezing is the tip of the iceberg. There are other touchy topics like embryonic research, the morality of gender selection, selective reduction of multiple pregnancies, embryo destruction and donation, and now the over-blown and largely misunderstood concept of designer babies.

Speaking of gender selection, my clinic already knows whether Blob is a boy or a girl. They won’t tell us until we are 12 weeks in order to avoid possible legal and moral issues associated with gender selection. I tried to convince my nurse to come out for a couple of giant margaritas so I could pull it out of her, but she swore that only the embryologist knew.

I tried but he wouldn’t talk.

Image: Bradley Gordon via Flickr

Image: Bradley Gordon via Flickr

All we want is a healthy baby, but of course there are those on the fringe that push the moral envelope of Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART). Debating IVF issues is not my agenda.  If you wonder why, simply read the title and subtitle of the blog. Heated spiritual and moral arguments don’t fit with my mission.

I just like to think about it all from time to time.

 

 

Personal Update: As I mentioned, I do feel pregnant. I am bloated and have tightness and subtle aching in my lower abdomen. I am totally exhausted. “The ladies” are a little bit sensitive. These are all good signs, but could also be the high levels of hormones or the start of PMS. Oh Saturday! How I long for you…

Prodigious Progesterone

It’s a slow news day. Day two after transfer is creeping slowly along like most days between now and the blood test will.

That means its time for me to get all nerdy on my readers again and explain a bit more of the science behind this miraculous process. In previous posts I’ve described the role of lupron and estrogen. Both hormones are pretty awesome and make it possible for Blastocyst Blob to grow into a bonafide baby. However now an even more captivating hormone is in play.

Prodigious Progesterone.

If all the IVF hormones and drugs were characters in the movie Grease, Progesterone would be Danny Zuko. It’s one slick dude and most definitely the leader of the pack.

Image: John Irving Via Flickr

Image: John Irving Via Flickr

For the last several weeks my reproductive system has been in a holding pattern. The lupron injections stopped ovulation. The estrogen patches and pills helped build the uterine lining. Theoretically this could have gone on forever with no effect or change, but of course that’s not the point.

Once the lining ultrasound scan and blood work checked out okay we added our final drug, progesterone. That is when things really heated up in this radical game of chance.

Blob needs a perfectly prepared endometrium in order to nestle in and grow into our bundle of joy. For this to happen, my lining must be receptive and ready for him to implant. Amazingly, there are only a few short days in which Blob and the endometrium can make a love connection. Progesterone starts the clock on this critical time frame.

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Progesterone changes the lining, making it slightly thinner and replacing the triple layers seen on an ultrasound with a white cloud-like appearance. Whether in natural pregnancy or through assisted reproduction, progesterone gets in the game 5 or 6 days before implantation begins. Administration of progesterone for IVF is timed when ovulation when ordinarily occur in a natural cycle. In a natural cycle it is secreted by the corpus luteum and eventually by the placenta.

During the five and a half days prior to transfer of the embryo,  progesterone helps the endometrium develop tiny little finger-like structures called pinopodes. Those pinopodes typically appear 5 to 7 days following ovulation, right around the time the blastocyst hatches from its shell and begins to excrete enzymes which will allow it to attach. The fingerlike pinpodes are only present for two to three days and it is theorized they must be present for implantation to occur.

If you research implantation, you will find many studies show the window can be as much as 6 days or even more, but its solely a function of not being able to pinpoint exactly when all these necessary steps take place. The true implantation window is likely equal to the life of the pinpodes. This time frame has to be matched with a blastocyst that is hatched, healthy, and ready to go.

If the blastocyst is too slow to develop, game over.

If the blastocyst develops, hangs out, and then dies before the lining is receptive, game over.

Image: Mykl Roventine via Flickr

Image: Mykl Roventine via Flickr

This sliver of an opening is occurring inside me right now. For me to meet Big Blob someday, at this moment I need to have pinpodes that are closing in on Blob who has re-expanded and continued to grow to the point where he is burrowing in and about to excrete enzymes.

If Blob doesn’t make it, the absence of HCG will tell my body its time to begin the process of shedding my lining in which would normally occur in a week or so.

Isn’t it mind blowing that anyone ever gets pregnant?

Isn’t progesterone one bad mamma jamma?

Progesterone for IVF is also like the young and spunky Travolta character in that it can be a little oily.

Image: Thom Wong via Flickr

Image: Thom Wong via Flickr

There are three ways to administer progesterone, by pill, vaginal suppository, and injection.  The pill metabolizes inconsistently so only the suppositories and the injectible are used in IVF. The injectable is progesterone suspended in oil and astutely called “progesterone in oil” (PIO). I am taking both because my doctor likes to hedge his bets.

The PIO injections are hands down the most painful in IVF. Intramuscular injections, progesterone shots cause bruising and soreness in the hip area where administered. Many women need to ice the area prior to the shot and comfort the target area with a heating pad and massage after.  This process helps alleviate some of the discomfort.

Endometrin (a disolvable insert), Crinone (a gel), and Progesterone in Oil

Endometrin (a disolvable insert), Crinone (a gel), and Progesterone in Oil

Side effects of progesterone are pregnancy symptoms which are experienced when taking the hormone at high levels whether pregnancy occurs or not. This totally messes with the mind of a hopeful momma wannabe as she ponders continuously;

Is it pregnancy or progesterone???

These side effects include bloating, abdominal pain, nausea , breast tenderness, headache, drowsiness, mood swings, irritability, and vaginal discomfort. Of all the drugs it mimics pregnancy the most, but for me at least it seems to balance the effects of estrogen and I feel better when I am on it.

Outside of its reproductive role, progesterone boasts many other riveting attributes. Progesterone relieves water retention in cells which is why some of my bloating from other drugs subsides for a short time when I begin taking the hormone. Most interestingly, progesterone inhibits the breakdown of the feel good neurotransmitter serotonin. As a result, the hormone has been proven to successfully treat addictions like nicotine and cocaine.  The hormone is also being tested as a treatment for multiple sclerosis, certain skin disorders, and cancers.

Finally, it appears a reduction of progesterone is associated with cell death and scientists theorize administering the hormone could slow the signs of aging. Yes! Its a well deserved upside for those of us who have been on and off the hormone for years.

Our eggs may be getting older and we may not easily get pregnant, but at least we get to sip more than our share from this hormonal fountain of youth.

At least there is that.

Image: Sarah Veale via Flickr

Image: Sarah Veale via Flickr

UPDATE- This post was written yesterday during my long wait at the airport. Today we are three days past transfer so Blob should already be nestled in tightly. Now he should be dividing into two layers that will eventually become the baby and placenta. Unless of course he divided into two identical twins or is a little on the slow side. I am feeling a little crampy and bloated which could be a good sign. Unless its just the progesterone.

It will be at least another day and probably more before Blob is producing enough HCG to turn a pregnancy test positive.

Not that I am thinking of testing…. I am not thinking about that at all. Nope. Not happening. Really. It’s not. Never.

To Pee, Or Not to Pee

Once upon a time, many cycles ago, there was a naive wife and banker who never ventured outside of her simple yet pleasant little northern village. Life for this young wife was easy. She developed a blossoming career and married a prince of a husband. The merry couple traveled, played, enjoyed friends and family, and nestled into their quaint little corner of the world to live happily ever after.

Then one day this wife decided she needed more. Something was missing and she knew just what it was and where to find it. Thus, the determined wife and her doting husband set off on a sojourn to the Kingdom of Parenthood.

The merry couple knew others that made the trek many times without event. Therefore the couple was confident they would safely arrive and be warmly welcomed into this coveted community. However, along the way the happy pair was tragically lost.

The merry couple awoke one day shocked to discover they were stuck in the Land of Infertility.

At first, they tried to find their way to Kingdom Parenthood with only the help of the doctors. But after a few wrong turns, the wife eventually met and was warmly taken in by the Royal Family that rules the Land of IF…

The Queens and Princesses of Pee.

Image by Scott Andress via Flickr

Image by Scott Andress via Flickr

Bill and I didn’t try to conceive for long prior to learning my tubes were blocked and IVF would be the only way for us to have a baby. In fact, by the time we started IVF I took more pregnancy tests hoping not to be pregnant than I took praying for those two magical lines. As a result, after our first IVF it never occurred to me to take a home pregnancy test. I simply assumed the clinic knew the exact date your pregnancy test could be positive and taking a home pregnancy test before the scheduled blood test would be futile.

WRONG.

Once that first cycle failed, I did what any type A overachiever would do and began surfing the web in attempt to understand what happened and how I could fix it. Four years later I still don’t have those answers and never will, but what I do have is a community of women, and a few men, that I can lean on for advice and support. These strong people are my close neighbors in the Land of Infertility.

Among women living in the Land of Infertility there are two distinct groups:

Those who POAS (Pee On a Stick) during the two week wait, and those who don’t.

Most women are fanatics either way and actively try to recruit other infertiles to their side. Self titled “Pee Princesses” are the worst of the bunch and among them are a few higher ranking queens. These Queens of the Pee are so hooked on home pregnancy tests they aggressively work to convert other hopeful infertility sufferers to their cult. I assume The Queens are attempting to live vicariously through aspiring Pee Princesses when they themselves are between cycles and can’t get a fix.

By the time our third transfer rolled around, I decided to dip my toe in the water and give peeing a try. For me, an over-thinker and worrier, the choice was devastating. I started testing at 9 days past retrieval which is not the earliest you can get a positive result, but its close. At 9 days you are still more likely to get a negative result than a positive.

Of course my test was negative. And so it went for days 10, 11, 12, and so on. I was a weeping mess by the time of the blood test. A horrible, negative, stressed out, depressed, weeping mess.

I promised Bill I would never do it again.

The next cycle gave us Spork and I kept my promise not to pee after the last emotional disaster. Instead my blood was drawn as scheduled at a random clinic in South Carolina while I was there for 10 days on business.  I learned the best news I ever received by listening to a voicemail while on a break from a meeting. I was finally pregnant! Of course after the call I immediately went out and bought several pregnancy tests just so I could see that beautiful second line for the first time in my life.

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Spork tainted my pee and turned pregnancy this test positive on May 19, 2011

Two years later in our effort to give Spork a sibling I forgot my promise to Prince Bill and dove head first off the pee wagon. I even went so far as to buy 50 cheapie tests from the Internet for our fresh cycle last spring. When those ran out I ordered 50 more and eventually used every last one of them.

 

Its not pee stick related, but who doesn't like funny cat photos?

Its not POAS related, but who doesn’t like funny cat photos?

During second cycle for baby number two, our miscarriage cycle, I was testing three times a day or more to assess whether the lines were darkening. I lined all the tests up chronologically and glued them to a piece of paper to review the progression, writing my HCG levels next to them on blood test days. I compared my obsessive little chart to others on the Internet, attempting to divine the outcome of the difficult cycle with the erratic blood test results. I tested every day for TWENTY days.

Wondfo Insanity

These are only the best of the tests.
I took a total of 44 over the course of the cycle.

For our most recent cycle in January I had only 5 tests remaining from the original 100 and vowed they would be the last sticks I would ever douse with my pee.

Every test, every day was Negative. Negative. Negative.

I would stare at the tests under different lights and even go outside to see if I could spot a line in natural light. I revisited tests several hours after I took them, examining the result area closely for what seemed like hours. I even fished tests out of the trash the next day to make sure that a line didn’t develop overnight.

I spent countless hours on Countdown to Pregnancy, my favorite Pee-Aholic site. It is one of literally hundreds out in cyberspace dedicated to fueling this horrible addiction. The sites will tell you how likely you are to score a positive result by brand of pregnancy tests and by number of days past ovulation. You can post pictures of your pee sticks and have others weigh in on whether they see a line. And so much more…

 

Countdown to Pregnancy

Who knew such a network of pee stick pushers existed? Sadly, I became one of their highest ranking members. I was a full on Queen of the Pee and I needed to kick the habit. It was hard on me and it was even harder on Bill. His hope was also dashed with every negative test, but he had the added bonus of dealing with my sadness every time my pee would let me down.

This cycle I am turning in my crown, stepping down from my throne and going back to life in the other camp of infertiles.

No more pee sticks for me. Not now. Not ever.

Make no mistake, there are advantages to peeing on a stick. The miracle second line could appear, showering you with exultant joy and taking the edge off the two week wait.  Additionally, for long time inhabitants of the Land of Infertility, learning that you are pregnant the “normal” way is quite appealing. So much of what we go through to get pregnant is is clinical. Learning through a home test instead of yet another blood draw just feels so natural.

Finally, some women let their pee flow because they like to be prepared mentally for the phone call from the clinic, especially if it is bad news. Its no fun crying to a practical stranger over the phone. This was a primary motivator for me, as much to make it easier on me as to make it easier on the nurse calling me. No matter how many times they do it, I know those calls are hard for the nurses.

So there are many arguments for peeing prior to the HCG test. I do not begrudge any princess her tiara. It would be hypocritical for this reformed abuser to do so. Unlike many recovering addicts, I also refuse to push my new perspective on anyone else. I’m not saying my way is the right way.

Its just the right way for me.

Knocked Up

It’s done!

And yet it begins.

“Blob” as we are calling him (or her) is now resting peacefully at home, preparing to burrow into my lining and take root for the next nine months.  It was a harrowing, exciting, and ultimately pleasant experience which began with our wondering whether we would be transferring Blob at all.

Blob's First Baby Photo

Blob’s First Baby Photo

Yesterday at the top of Breck’s Peak Six, I picked up a call from the clinic asking if I could come in right away for a cautionary ultrasound. It seemed the doctor was concerned about my cyst and the pain from the night before. Rather than blow our day of boarding we opted to arrive very early this morning to check on the status of my temperamental reproductive system. Until about 7:30 this morning we feared we would be coming home empty handed (or in this case empty “uterused”). Luckily the lining, ovaries, and vitals all checked out fine and we continued with the embryo transfer. 

Our first hurdle overcome.

Next up was the transfer. 

Because our ultrasound and lab appointments were at the break of day, we had time to kill before the 11:45 transfer. We spent it at Target where I picked up these groovy lucky socks. These socks were so perfect they jumped into my shopping cart and I was wearing them before we left the parking lot.

Fertility green and orange with the luck of the Irish thrown in for good measure.

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So far the knee highs worked their magic.

Ease of transfer is one of the many critical factors that lead to enhanced odds of success. A fundus (top of the uterus) touched by the catheter used to transport the embryo is a lousy precursor for implantation. Much effort goes into making sure the depth and shape of the uterus is understood before the procedure so the doctor can avoid the edges. It’s like that game of Operation we played as kids, except on a fuzzy black and white ultrasound screen with no buzzers to tell you when you screw up.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image by Mykly Roeventine via Flickr

The doctor gracefully guided our little bundle of cells to the exact right spot without a single hiccup.  Dr. S navigated Blob to the sweet spot with the precision of a fighter pilot landing on a aircraft carrier. What makes this feat more impressive is the embryo can barely be seen by the naked eye. Try landing that in a tiny little spot on a computer screen with only a bit of guidance from an ultrasound tech.

Way to go Dr. S.

Catheter releasing Blob in the perfect spot

Catheter releasing Blob in the perfect spot

Another hurdle overcome.

Blob was a busy little fellow this morning and hatched completely out of his shell prior to transfer, earning a final grade of 6BB. When the lab flash froze him after genetic testing back in January the embryologist graded him a 5BB. He’s overachieving already.

You can see the incubator holding Blob who is waiting in the background while we prepare for transfer

Blob’s incubator in the background

You may be wondering, what the heck do those letters and numbers mean?

Embryo grading is a complicated process, but essentially this means Blob was at stage 5 when he was frozen. This is the final blastocyst stage right before he hatches and burrows into the lining.  The letters are grades for the inner cell mass (ICM) and the Trophectoderm Epithelium (TE). The ICM is a clump of cells that will eventually become a baby. The TE will grow into the placenta which will replace all the hormones I am taking between 7 and 10 weeks.

6BB is a good quality embryo. 6AA would be perfect. Both are fully capable of becoming future Rhodes Scholars.

Slide1

Blob as a Rhodes Scholar

Typically an embryo reaches stage 6 on the fifth day after fertilization. Blob started slowly and took six days to get there. This is the main reason Dr. S gave Blob slightly lower odds than other genetically normal embryos. However, Day 6 blastocycsts like Blob fair much better with a frozen cycle like ours.  This is due to the surprisingly short window in which the lining is receptive. Unlike in a fresh cycle, in a frozen cycle the doctor can control the timing of the lining receptivity and match it to Blob’s developmental stage, increasing the odds he will stick.

While our overachiever was quick to break out of his shell, he was slow to expand. If you have ever taken a balloon from a warm place out into really cold weather you know it shrivels up and loses its fullness until warmed again. Embryos are the same. They compact when frozen and then begin to expand when warmed. We are slightly concerned that Blob didn’t expand more prior to transfer, but encouraged that he is still developing. Most important, every last one of Blob’s cells survived the warming process.

A final hurdle overcome.

Post transfer I remained on bed rest for an hour before being wheeled to our car. We are now at the hotel where I will spend today and tomorrow at a 45 degree angle, able to rise only to powder my nose. Butler Bill enjoys this part of the process because it is the time he is most involved in IVF. I enjoy abusing my personal butler and make the most of being cared for by the love of my life at this sensitive stage.

If you look hard enough you may be able to see all the way to Blob through those nostrils.

If you look close enough you may be able to see Blob through those nostrils.

Butler Bill will bring me food, water, and medicine for two solid days. I will read, watch stand-up comedy, blog, goof off on the internet, meditate, and try not to obsess about possibilities. I am allowing myself only a half hour with Dr. Google to see what I can learn about slowly expanding embryos. After that half hour I am firing that negative jerk in order to relish being pregnant.

Pregnant.

In the IVF community we describe this part of the cycle as being PUPO (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise). I am so  done with the uncertainty implied by “until proven otherwise.” This mama has decided she is straight up knocked up. I plan to prove it on March 22nd.

Our countdown begins anew…

And Then There Was One

It’s almost here. Only one more day before transfer. Only one more embryo to transfer.

As of this morning, I’m still waiting for the call to tell me the time of the procedure along with my instructions. I am sure I will be in the middle of a ski slope when the clinic calls and our never ending game of voice mail tag will commence. Over the years there have been hundreds of phone calls back and forth between me and two different clinics. In that time there was only one time I recall a live person picking up the phone. One.

As important as this is, I refuse to sit around the phone waiting. The lifts open at 8:30 and I plan to be on one.

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Boarding, massages, and dinner were all amazing yesterday. Bill joked that if I ever wanted sympathy for our condition I lost any chance of that after bragging about our Breck and Vail adventures. Never a big fan of sympathy, I can live with that. Undergoing IVF makes planning vacations near impossible, so I will take it where I can get it.

Fortunately we found our snowboard rentals right at the base of the mountain.  Breck was pelted with snow all day, but not so badly that we were uncomfortable.  If anything it kept the hungover Spring Breakers at bay for most of the day and the lift lines short. The snow was perfect and visibility above the tree line was crystal clear. Too bad for them.

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On the way down the mountain at day’s  end, we learned  the road to Denver was closed for much of the day due to the weather. This made me more than a little nervous since my clinic is on the other side of that closed road and there is no other way there.  Bill calmed me by committing to rent a helicopter if needed. Luckily we won’t need to be airlifted out of here. Today is clear and we should have smooth sailing on the slopes and at the end of the day as we head back toward our clinic to prepare for our reunion with “The One.”

Last night the sailing wasn’t so smooth, unfortunately. I awoke at 3 AM wrought with terrible cramping. The pain persisted until 5 AM when I broke down and took Tylenol and listened to a 20 minute intuitive self healing meditation.

I haven’t mentioned it here, but I have a large cyst on my left ovary.  I can’t be sure, but the pain this morning felt like it ruptured which is common with my cysts, even though the timing stinks.

I will discuss with the clinic this morning if there is any impact at all to the success of the cycle and we will make a determination from there as to whether we move forward. We have been monitoring it all along and I have been constantly reassured it won’t be an issue. However we never discussed the possibility of it rupturing the day before the procedure.

I prayed for the two hours of torture to maintain the confidence I have in this cycle and that we will be on track with no impact to the outcome of the procedure. I am feeling well both physically and emotionally now.

In all likelihood The clinic will bring our baby back to me tomorrow.

Our one little embryo.

Its a strange feeling only transferring one. We have always transferred multiples, but 17 of 19 of those embryos weren’t genetically tested. We knew it was statistically likely only one would stick. While the idea of twins is appealing from a financial perspective, sort of a IVF BOGO deal, it brings risks that we always hoped to avoid. Still, after every single transfer the mother in me couldn’t help but root for all the embryos.

We always grew excited about our potential twins or triplets.

For this transfer, twins are still possible if the embryo splits into two babies. It is right at the stage where that can happen. In fact, identical twins are more common in both women over 35 and IVF patients.

Check. Check.

But the likelihood is still amazingly low. So this is the first time I will be thinking about and rooting for only one baby. Its not a bad feeling, just a new one.

As they say, “it only takes one”. Unlike 6 of our 7 other transfers we know this one has a very good shot because of the chromosome testing. Ironically, the 35% success rate for this one is slightly higher than that of the success rate for our past multiple embryo cycles. And the upside to only having one is that we can focus all our positive intentions and prayers on this one little burgeoning clump of cells.

Like I said, I have a really good feeling about this little guy or girl.

Making the Most of It

We made it.

We are finally in the same state as the 100 celled baby we are taking back home on Saturday.

Even though real romance is a no-no at this stage in the process, we are making the most of it by tagging on two days of snowboarding prior to transfer. This is our fourth trip to Colorado for fertility purposes and we are infusing some fun and sport into the journey. On the last trip we ventured to Vail. Now we are giving Breckenridge a go. We both love boarding and are paying for the flights, so why not? Especially since I hope to be done with boarding for the next nine months.

We discovered a rustic mountain lodge only a few miles away from Main Street and were upgraded to a mountain view suite without even having to play the “we are here to get pregnant card.” Sweet.

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We arrived just in time for some grocery shopping and a leisurely dinner last night. We hit up the local Safeway to pick up a prescription, beer for Bill, and water for me. Turns out the labs from Sunday yielded low estradiol levels, again. Now I am on four estrogen patches and also talking estrace orally twice a day. Holy estrogen overload!

Once again, this shouldn’t be an issue as long as we fix it by Thursday morning. The lining is nice and thick and my progesterone levels are right where they should be to make a cozy home for baby.

When the clinic called to relay the need to pick up more meds, we also learned that Bill has to have blood work done prior to transfer. They want to make sure he hasn’t picked up any communicable diseases before they send us home with a baby. The sadistic side of me is eagerly anticipating him getting poked too. Its only fair.

But today we put all the meds, labs, and procedures in the back of our minds as we enjoy two pristine days on the slopes.

Breckenridge is crawling with people, its one of the busiest weeks of the year. The first board rental store we stopped at was completely sold out of boards and bindings for Bill. We start the search anew today. Worst case scenario, we will buy new ones. Both of our boards back home are more than 10 years old and its past time. Still, the trip to Breck is stretching our already taught budget and we hope to score rentals.

Despite the crowds and not having a reservation, we consumed a delicious dinner without having to wait. Tonight we aren’t risking it and made reservations at an upscale, gluten-free, vegetarian restaurant. Simply perfect for our pre-baby making meal.

I booked an apres ski couples massage in the hotel spa today. Between shredding the hills today, the massage tonight, and the clean dinner I am doing the best I can for my body and should be toxin free by Thursday.

As far as how I am doing, physically I feel amazing. Stopping lupron has done wonders for me.  Emotionally, I continue to feel unusually optimistic about this cycle.

On the plane yesterday I meditated multiple times. I visioned all the cells in my body breaking apart and joining with all the matter in the universe, including all the cells of our chilly little embryo. Then I imagined bringing those cells back into me. It was beautiful. I feel as though my body is calling our baby home. I have felt this way before, but this time is more profound.

Only two more days and we will be reunited with our baby and will hopefully be done with trips to Colorado for “medical purposes.” While we appreciate writing off the travel expense on our taxes, the next time we come back we hope it is as a family of four.

There still may not be much room for romance then, but that will be okay with us.

 

 

Denver Bound- Luckily

Today is the day we leave to go get our snow baby! I am feeling really calm and positive because my luck simply has to change.

Yesterday our little play date group threw a shower for the best ultrasound tech in the world. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. My sister reminded me that everything happens in threes which means that the embryo transfer is a sure thing.

We totally got the “juju out” over the weekend.

The casino themed party was wrought with bad luck before it began. First, Spork spiked a fever the day before the party. She is better today just in time for our trip. Fortunately, but also sadly, she is not coming with us (kind of hard to be on bed rest with a toddler around). My family is watching her in our home so she need not go to daycare today.

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Next, my go-to baker went into the ER right as she was about to bake our adorable cake the night before the shower. My resilient friend and co-hostess Kari immediately went into action saying

“no, problem, we will have a cake baking party.”

Translation: I brought her all the goodies to make the cake  and watched her get started so I could get back to my feverish child. She was up past 1 AM frosting it. God bless you Kari.

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Finally, the highlight of the party was supposed to be the masseuse we hired to give us all 30 minute massages.  An hour and a half before the party she was t-boned by another car while pulling left out of an intersection. The view of the oncoming car was blocked by a snow bank.  Her car was out of service and she was hospitalized for minor injuries. She is also my aunt so we were doubly relieved when we finally heard how she was doing.

Thankfully everyone survived the accident, the trip to the ER, and the baby shower of the century with only minor bumps and bruises.

The rest of the shower went well and included a couple of great “gifts” for me in recognition of our trip.

Kari and the other girls wore orange panties to the party in a showing of support. And of course I was able to drink out of a pregnant lady’s glass.

What wonderful friends I have!

We went with the casino theme because we know Kristy likes to go from time to time an we thought it was unique and adorable.  Who knew it would turn out to be such a gamble?

Here’s to hoping our luck has indeed turned and we come up aces on Thursday.

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Karin, Katie, Kari, Kristy, Me
At the Baby “Sprinkle Spangle” as Kari likes to call it