Posts Tagged 'blood test'

None For Me, Thanks

Good news: I did not get the diagnosis of having gestational diabetes. That’s exactly the way I heard it. Not, “You passed the test! You don’t have gestational diabetes.” But instead, “You did not get the diagnosis.” Why the morbid technical tone? Apparently one of the timed tests came back borderline. So instead of getting to be relieved, I got to be lectured on improving my diet and avoiding simple sugars.

Do you know how it feels to have given up everything delicious (i.e., glutenous, creamy, carbonated, and caffeinated) for several years, only to be told: Do Better! Be Even More Miserable and Diligent! — especially when I don’t drink soda, eat ice cream, or snack on sweets??? To have to chug the most ridiculous amount of flavored, throat searing sugar drink and be told this is the only way to know that I’m healthy enough? Well, it ain’t a nice feeling.

Maybe I should just eat 'em all! That'll show The Man.

And then today I waddled over to the pharmacy to pick up the “prescription” for iron tabs the nurse midwives called in for me to beat this terrible anemia I seem to have suddenly developed. Guess what? These over-the-counter supplements contain 25 mgs of iron, while the ones I’ve already been taking  have 20 mgs. Wow! I’m so glad the medical world is here to test and correct every aspect of this journey! I just know those extra 5 mgs are the missing link between me and a healthy pregnancy.

Sorry for the dump, but I really want to be left alone for a while. I think this might be part of the “nesting” period I learned about in our birth class. A simple, “Let me sit on my egg in peace already! Enough fear mongering. Seriously.” Tell me, ye readers with used wombs, do I have other tests and scares to look forward to in months 8 and 9?

Speaking of our birth class… I get the distinct feeling that I’m being set up. We’re being given all these “tools” to use to have the most successful labor and birth possible, and even while I’m listening and nodding I feel all the information draining right out of my head. “Holy crap, this is a lot of pain! Oh, wait. There was something I was told to try to deal with this… what the eff was that?!” Yeah, I’m sure it’s just gonna all come right back to me in the moment.

Needle, Damage Done

The fun: ya know, it just don’t stop.

On Wednesday I had to do the glucose screening. I was dreading it because I heard the drink is gawdawful. Well, it was, but it wasn’t thick and pink or anything. The worst things about it were the burning of my throat/esophagus as I drank and the fact that I had to down it in 5 minutes while someone watched. Then an hour later they drew blood to see how I tolerated it. I got the call today that my result was 142. Below 140 is passing. I’m a big failure who eats really healthily and is not overweight but apparently may have gestational diabetes.

I will go in early Monday morning, having fasted for 12 hours. They’ll do a fasting blood draw. Then I’ll drink again, but this time it’ll be double the glucose in the solution. Then, continuing to neither eat or drink, I will be tested (with more blood draws) every hour for the next 3 hours. My main concerns: throwing up the drink (’cause I’d have to drink another), going crazy without water or food (I am constantly drinking these days and eat at least every two hours to feel relatively decent), and failing it.

I have one other thing to say in this post, and it’s about those people. People I’ve mentioned in other posts — the ones who say stupid things. After I drank the glucose drink yesterday, the nurse midwife said she (and the CDC) highly recommend all pregnant women get a flu shot. I’d never had one since I don’t get too sick in the winters. She added that if I got the flu while pregnant, I could die. So that pretty much sealed the deal for me. Plus she said their shots had no preservatives. But then… I asked the nurse who came in to give me the shot if many pregnant women decline it. She said that some do. That was a sufficient answer. But she went on to say that she never gets a flu shot anymore because the two winters she did she had the worst cases of the flu. She said this while prepping my arm and the needle. At this point I’m thinking: Wow! If I don’t get the shot, I’ll get the flu and die, and if I do get the shot, I’ll get the flu and die! Then I think: Why do people suck so bad? Why did the midwife have to say “death” (adding, “not that I’m trying to scare you into getting the shot”)? Why did the nurse have to tell me her horror stories as she’s injecting the stuff in my arm?

To Sum Up

The past few days I have felt things/messages sent to my brain from my uterus saying, “Sorry!” once again. It’s hard to explain, and… it sucks. No one believes me because how would I know what’s going on in my body until a pregnancy test tells me?

In any case the blood test isn’t until next week. So while we wait, I thought I’d take a moment to summarize where we’ve been. I feel like I’m at the end of a long chapter, and, at least in textbooks, that’s where the summary goes.

I’ve always wanted to have a children, meaning, I used to think I wanted three (one girl and two boys, specifically). But as I grew up a little, I realized I just very much wanted the female human experience of making a baby and then raising it. I became an aunt at 10 and have loved me many a baby since. Once K and I were together, I knew she’d be the one I would do this with, but she was only 20 (I was 26). We would, of course, wait until we’d been together longer and she was ready to be a mom. After she became a massage therapist and we moved to Portland, we felt ready emotionally, but decided we should have a house first. So, we got our first home. Then we felt unprepared financially and had roommate drama to deal with. After a year or so, I got a job with health benefits and a salary. If I could wait to have a baby after my two-year anniversary at this company, I would get a lot more maternity leave. So we waited. In the meantime, I began charting and we began looking at sperm banks. Like all well-laid plans… About a year after I started this job, my dad’s health began declining pretty suddenly and confusingly. None of us knew the right thing to do, and so there was a lot of anxiety. About a month into this, K almost died. I spent a full month by her hospital bed while doctors (and our loved ones’ prayers) worked really hard and saved her. I spent the next year (and still) worrying about her and supporting her as she recovered and returned to her routine. During this time, my father got worse (with a lot of mini ups and downs). I traveled home a lot, often thinking it would be the last time I’d see him. A friend offered his services on the sperm front, and we got to try a couple of times. But six months after K came home, she had another, related health scare that just threw me over the edge. My systems shut down from all of the anxiety, and we put off trying again until after my dad passed away. At that point (early 2010), we needed to find a new donor. Once we did, we squeezed the hell out of him, thinking it was bound to work one of these times. I kept thinking there might be something wrong with his sperm, so we asked him to make changes and kept retesting him. It turns out that, all along, the problem was me. Here’s the cautionary tale part of this summary: ladies, if you’re thinking of trying to get pregnant, get your estradiol level tested, not just your FSH. For some reason that makes me so crazy mad I can’t think of it for too long, I had always had my FSH level tested, but it wasn’t until we’d given up on the “old fashioned” way and went to the fertility clinic that anyone mentioned estradiol. What we discovered is that I had a rapidly declining supply of good and/or healthy eggs. If I had known this at any point earlier, I would have done IVF then. But, as my dad said soon before he left, “What is is right.” And here we are. IVF (and the hormone injections that come with it) has turned out, for me, to be more physically, emotionally, and financially draining than I thought it would be. This is why I feel a chapter wrapping up; I don’t think I can do it again. Everyone likes to tell me that we can get a kid another way. I know this. But I am losing something if I cannot look into my baby’s face and pinpoint my father’s features. It’s this loss that will be the hardest to bear.

As I said, we find out next week. The following day is our 9-year anniversary. I made some plans for us to leave town the next day because, I figured, we can celebrate good news anywhere, but I can’t imagine all that devastation and disappointment ever coming out of our rugs, furniture and drapes if the news is bad. I want to be with K far away from things and people we know. I am hoping that, if it’s negative, we can scrub me of the horrible feelings many miles away and then bring me back a shell of my former self but one that won’t ruin our home or our friendships.

I know you’re rooting for us, and we appreciate it so much. I want you to know that I won’t be posting again for a while. I’m hoping to post sooner than later with good news, but it will still be some time. Thanks for your support and patience.

Post-Surgical Update (From: The Wife)

Hello, dear readers. I wanted to let you know that Basted’s protagonist is doing well after this morning’s egg retrieval. She was very nervous by the time we arrived at the fertility clinic, especially when the procedure was delayed for a last-minute platelet check (her platelets tend toward the lower end of normal). Luckily it took all of 20 minutes to get the news back that we were good to go.

My sweetie was hooked up to an IV, a nasal cannula for some extra oxygen, and HR, BP and O2 monitors, and then she got pumped full of fluids, an antibiotic, a pain med and a sedative. Our doctor—and I!—watched on the inter-vaginal ultrasound screen as he inserted a long needle through the wall of the vagina, through the ovarian wall, and right into the follicle. Our doc/nurse team repeatedly flushed the follicle full of fluid, then aspirated all of the fluid (and the egg!) down through the needle and some tubing into a vial. Next, the vial was handed through a little window into the adjacent room, where the andrology lab techs located the eggs and transferred them into a petri dish. This was repeated six times for a total of 6 oocytes. Yeehaw!

The sedative messed with my beloved’s vision, making everyone look like they were pinned to a rapidly spinning Price is Right wheel (her words), so she kept her eyes closed during the surgery. She developed some CRAZY itching from the painkiller that started at the bridge of her nose, then slowly spread down her face to her chest and belly. The anesthesiologist pushed some Benadryl into her IV line, which helped decrease the itching. Despite her now doubly sedated state, she labored to stay awake and express her gratitude to her nurse and both physicians (later remembering her desire to tell everyone how much she loved them, but feeling just alert enough to recognize stoner talk).

As the sedation and painkiller wore off post-surgery, stabbing cramps that went from pelvic floor to diaphragm set in and our protagonist’s face went white as a sheet. 500 mg of Oxycodone, one painful vaginal ultrasound and 45 long minutes later, our lovely nurse wheeled my girl out of the clinic, down the two elevators to the parking garage, and into the passenger seat of our car. She was given hugs, a shoulder rub, and many words of comfort and encouragement along the way.

Every little bump on our way home sent a spasm of pain up through her abdomen—I think my shoulders were glued to my ears with worry! My sweet girl was desperate to sleep when we finally got home, and she stumbled across the backyard and down the hall into bed, relief spreading across her face as her body settled into a familiar bed in a warm, dark room. She’s been napping (sometimes just lying still while her thoughts circle round and round) most of the day, waking up to eat, drink water, and take Vicodin. We’ve been able to stay ahead of this morning’s stabbing cramps, but she’s still in a lot of pain. She assures me that when she’s not moving, breathing deeply, or peeing, it’s manageable. On the upside, our nurse told us that she might not feel like eating much today, but to try to get some toast down with the painkillers—yet, our brave author ate her toast and jam and still desired a very specific cornmeal blueberry pancake from a nearby diner. Two angels (who happen to be just a week away from their own egg retrieval) helped her vision come to pass early this afternoon, and when she woke up from her last nap, she was disappointed to learn that I had not put together the slow-cooked apricot chicken Shabbos dinner she’d planned out yesterday. The course of the day has altered the menu to fish sticks for tonight.

So now what? E2’s sperm was injected into my girl’s eggs today, and tomorrow morning the doc will call and let us know how many of the eggs were mature and fertilized properly. Then the next evening brings the inter-muscular progesterone injections into my poor little blueberry muffin, but this time we’re working with the hindquarters. Meanwhile, the magicians in the andrology lab will keep an eye on the little embryos’ develop over the next 3-5 days, at which point an embryo/embryos will be transferred into a very nice new home. Ten days after that comes the pregnancy blood test. Please send your positive thoughts our way over the next couple of weeks; we could sure use them. I send my love out to all of you following along and supporting us through this long, trying experience—we appreciate you more than you can imagine.

Color Me Poked

While pin cushion is the obvious metaphor for my belly the past few weeks, it would be more apt if the pin cushion swelled to unbuttonable-jeans size, felt like it’s been kicked over and over, bled on occasion, got terribly itchy hives, and bruised.

Nobody beats my blueberry muffin top

Tonight is the last shot in the gut. It’s the trigger shot, which tells the eggs, “We’re comin’ in after ya!” We’ve been going to the clinic every other day (often way too early in the morning) to check my blood and follicles. Getting blood drawn every other day would usually irritate me, but after three shots a day, I’ve learned not to care so much about needles to the arm. I’ve even gotten accustomed to the ultrasound dildo on an every Monday, Wednesday, Friday basis. But what I never expected was to feel my ovaries. I mean really feel them getting large…from the inside. Get uncomfortable; that’s the first step of pregnancy anyway, right?

So, as of this morning, I’ve got four nice looking follicles in the right ovary and one in the left. For now, we stop all meds except for the trigger shot, and I get to Fleets myself tomorrow evening, just to get in the mood.

Two weeks later: the biggies are fading, but little green ones have popped up all over!

Friday morning, they’ll sedate me, pump me with antibiotics, and go in with a needle through my vaginal wall, on either side, to suck out the eggs. I’ll start the daily injections of progesterone into my tuchas on Sunday. Woo-wee! I never thought reproduction could be so fun.

They’ll inject the eggs with our donor’s sperm and see if any fertilize. If there are some good looking ones, they’ll put ’em back in on Monday. If they look really good, they’ll let them grow a little bigger in the Petri dish, into blastocysts, and place them on Wednesday.

Then we wait. We wait and keep injecting my bum. I’ll probably cry a lot about how it’s not gonna work and how we’ve blown so much dough. Then, about two weeks later, we’ll go in for a blood test. THE blood test.

So, that’s the plan. Let’s not ever do this again.

The Proverbial Towel

Oof. Another blow. The first ultrasound in this IVF round showed a fat follicle, which meant increasing my suppression meds. The second one showed the follicle was gone, giving the all-clear for moving forward. Today’s ultrasound, following four days of twice-daily stimulation shots (which hurt and leave nasty bruises), showed four or five small follicles starting. A good thing. But then my blood test came back showing my estradiol (estrogen level) at 50 when it should be around 100. I’m all for a little two-steps-forward, one-step-back dance. But this… Every time I go to the clinic now I feel like the kid who has to go to the locker room every day after gym class even though he knows his ass is gonna get towel whipped.

So we’re upping the stimulation dosage. Hello hormones.

Look, keeping track of these things on this blog is cathartic and all, but I have to come clean about something… I give up.

My body is clearly fighting us on this. First the estradiol is 314 when it should be below 80, and now it’s swung the other way—even when it’s being directed by specialists with strong meds! We’ve already spent the insane amount of money for the IVF (we dropped $1800 this morning alone for the next three days’ dosages). So, I’ll ride it out because I’m not strong enough not to.

Anybody got an ark?

But I don’t have any good feeling about it. I know people would say I could chalk that up to the hormones, but I say no. Introduce me to one person who started with my numbers and went through the same ups and downs I’m facing now who came out of it with a healthy baby and money left over for diapers. Really. I don’t mean send me articles about lesbians who got pregnant after one try. And I don’t mean point me to others who are currently going through their own IVF struggles. I mean tell me about the woman you personally know who has gotten this done from the same place I’m starting. I know plenty of people who took some time getting pregnant. I even know people who used IVF. But I don’t know anyone whose 35-year-old body does the opposite of what it should be doing naturally AND the opposite of what it should be doing when controlled medically. AND gets the baby.

I’m sorry for the aggro rant. I just feel so fucking hopeless about this. I have a wonderful mother who checks in often and is very supportive. I have the best and most beautiful and loving wife in the world. But I don’t have anyone I can talk to, or even point to, that has succeeded where I feel like I am failing with every alternating ultrasound and blood test.

It’s been raining for 3000 days and hasn’t gone above 50 degrees. It doesn’t get brighter than a light charcoal during the day. I’m tired of my jeans being wet all day after walking the dog for ten minutes. I need wringing out. Where I’m from originally, it’s 90 degrees, with no lack of sunshine. I can’t go there because I have another ultrasound on Friday. Someone please give me a hormone shot that will knock me out until this is over or until the sun’s out and it’s 70 degrees.

Ready, Set, No!

Just when you thought you’d heard the last from me for a while, I come back with more proof of how my terrible world view is actually quite realistic if you look at my life’s track record.

We went in this morning for my suppression check to make sure that the birth control pills have been doing their job these past couple of weeks. Surprise! There was a big fat follicle screaming, “Pick me! Pick me!” totally unaware that she was so not invited to the party. I don’t get it. I have such strong estrogen that my ovaries want to produce in spite of birth control, but when I’ve needed them to work in the past, they’re all like, “Oh, sorry. You snooze, you lose. We were all spent in your early 20s. Too bad you had to be a big ol’ lezzie and couldn’t sleep with one single guy in your teens!” My ovaries star in the new Mean Girls.

What this means for me is possible cancellation of the IVF for this cycle. But because my estradiol test came back with a decent number, we’re going to try keeping me on the birth control another week and adding in another suppression drug (this would be a prequel injection I had no idea to fear). If the follicle magically shrinks? or disappears?, we’ll move ahead. You know where I’m going with this.

I spoke to my sister today, and I asked her why she thought I can’t take the hint. Do I need an anvil to fall on my head? She said that I’m very “thick skulled” (which I suppose would preclude said anvil from working anyway), and that knowing what I want and being so determined aren’t always the happiest personality traits to deal with. I also asked her why, since today’s our dad’s birthday, dad couldn’t lend a spirit hand. She finally got me to laugh when she said that he couldn’t hear my crying over the Spanish music he can now listen to whenever he wants and at whatever volume he wants. I should definitely know better than to ask for miracles during a fiesta.

(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

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