Oh My God Sweet Baby Jesus ! This JUST Got REAL ! – the 411

Oh My GawdThat moment when you speak to the nurse coordinator about your upcoming cycle and learn that since today is CD1, the very next CD1 is the first day of your IVF cycle !   OH LAUD !!!

After starting my day annoyed by people’s posts on Facebook (1) regarding the recently orphaned teen girl who was physically assaulted by a “police officer” in South Carolina and the rude, arrogant, judgmental statements spewing out of the mouths of racist individuals I actually thought were decent people (until they posted the most ignorant and racially charged words a person could say) and (2) a thread which started yesterday about people being allowed to bring children to a fertility clinic for their treatment which turned into a conversation about secondary infertility-  I feel that if you are a parent, and you PLANNED to be a parent, then be an adult and hire a babysitter and stop bringing children to places children have no place being- moreover, I do NOT want to be at a fertility clinic watching women fawn all over their existing children when mine never made it to birth…  it is rude and inconsiderate !  and while I feel for any woman who is battling infertility, there is NO comparison of SI to a woman who has never had the opportunity to be a mother.  There is a different level of pain.  These are two different situations and one does not negate the hardship of the other, but it is just different….  SO after reading this foolishness, I was annoyed until…. My nurse called to discuss the plan for my upcoming cycle and to go over what to expect.

Well, color me surprised that I start taking birth control pills after my next cycle !  In 5 weeks, I will be back to CD 1 and will start the pill along with the donor to sync our cycles YIKES !  This Just Got Real !!  Now I have butterflies in my stomach ! I take birth control pills then I will be on Lupron until I am instructed to start taking Estrace to thicken my lining.  I will also be on two different antibiotics (Doxycycline) and some other one that begins with a C that I have never heard of that is taken vaginally.  I also will have to take PIO and Endometrin plus all my normal autoimmune meds. My meds have been ordered and I will fill them over the next month !!  THIS JUST GOT REAL !!!

I have to purchase another all access pass to Xytex again and look through the all of the profiles to make sure that I do not want to change my donor for a better model (lol).  I have not looked at the donor list since 2013 when I selected my donor, who I used for all of my cycles.  I am going to make sure there are no newer donors that I may like better.  I am kinda nervous about changing donors, but in almost two years, I am sure some new people have surfaced possibly and I may like them better….

In other news, my film has been screening as a final selection of the Reel Recovery Film Festival all across the USA.  I was invited to do a live appearance for Q&A at the New York and Los Angeles festivals and next Saturday, it is screening in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  I am elated that all that hard work paid off and I am now an award winning film producer !

I am still dealing with Ms. Lunatic, Cristal !  For some reason, she is under an illusion that calling my phone from spoofed numbers, posting negative reviews about my books on websites and the like will not be tied back to her.  There is this little thing the Police and FBI do called INVESTIGATING IP ADDRESSES and they can track things back to the originator.  That coupled with public death threats and ones she has made over the phone and via text from spoofed numbers, it is just a matter of time before she lands herself in a padded cell.  It has been since MAY and this woman is STILL obsessed with me.  WHO does that? Insane Assylum-bound idiots !

On the family front, my sister and I are throwing a Tiffany & Co. Themed baby shower for our niece next week in Washington DC and it is a surprise for my niece.  I have been busy learning how to make cake pops and purchasing all the favors and items for the shower.

My mom is scheduled to start her reconstructive surgery on December 2nd !  We lucked out that she no longer has to have her stomach done to fix the breasts ! No flap needed !  She will be getting two new implants and the left breast lifted and made smaller to match the right one. We will be in Northern Virginia for a week while she recuperates.

I am excited about being there because I will be able to spend some time mentoring pregnant teens with the Mary Elizabeth Project and also have time to volunteer at two shelters I support.

I am headed out shortly to Dollar Tree to go shopping for cases of items needed to make blessing bags for the homeless.  My friend, former American Idol contestant, Frenchie Davis, is doing these bags for the homeless on Skid Row in LA this year so I am buying items to help out with her cause.  I also opted to donate the money I was going to spend on myself during my annual Christmas Shopping Spree to a cause my make up artist is heading up to purchase Christmas gifts for homeless and low income children.   I normally buy myself a new coat, boots, jewelry at Macy’s sales, and new clothing I find on sale, so this year, I will not be buying gifts for myself but for children and I feel pretty darn good about it.

In ME news, I have been doing my walk/run intervals every morning for 3.5 miles and again in the evening for 2 miles.  I also go to aqua zumba 2-3 days a week.  I am awaiting a call back from a great ballroom dance school and I am going to take lessons.  I am truly enjoying living on the ocean and waking up to waves every morning or looking at the moon sit and shine over the ocean at night.  I know now that this is where I belong !  ON THE SEA ! lol.   Now if God can get that memo and make my pockets match up so I can buy a house on the Pacific Pallisades and a nice 100 ft yacht and all will be well with the world !  As you can see, I am big dreamer… but hey, you have to have something to work towards.  🙂

I am headed out to Dollar Tree and then off to a consignment shop to look for baby boy clothes for the teen I am sponsoring.  I will also look for cute clothes for my niece and my niece’s baby… onesies are sooooo cute ! 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone !!

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Updates – The 411

baby - looking for somethingI miscalculated when my CD 1 (cycle day 1) was to be.  I am now at CD 34.  My menses are lost out there somewhere.  If someone has Aunt Flo’s number, tell the heifer that I am looking for her and when she finally arrives, we can go get that sonogram done as part one of the mock cycle for DE IVF !!

On Monday, my mom and I left for New York City for my upcoming annual physicals with my Internist and my OB.  On Monday, we met with my make up artist for lunch at an amazing Italian spot called Carmines.  The food is phenomenal !! That night, I took my mom to my favorite hangout to listen to Cheryl Pepsi Riley’s band, which two of my friends play in.  Some of my colleagues came out and hung with us.  It was a great night.

Tuesday morning, I had my first appointment with my Internist and he went over mounds of blood work from April on that I had done during stims.  He was very concerned about the amount of prednisone I have been taking and the length of time I was on it.  I have gained a lot of weight this past cycle because of the steroid.  I had to have additional labs done for diabetic screening as well as a full work up.  My TSH, T3 and T4 and a few other tests were run to determine the correct dosage of Synthroid I should now take.  The last labs done at the hospital when I was in the ER showed my T3 and T4 to be normal, but not my TSH.  Medications taken during stims make the TSH bounce around.  I will get the results by Friday.  My Internist is in agreement with me doing DE IVF and he signed off on my medical authorization form.

Later that morning, I had my OB appointment.  We went over my IVF treatments and the procedure I had done in January.  I got a referral for a 3D mammogram and got a sign off on the OB portion of the medical authorization form.

I have no idea why Aunt Flo is trying to be cute.  It very well may be because I am overly stressed out.

I am NOT looking forward to this move as I HATE packing and unpacking and having to find a place to put things.  It is no fun.

My mom is recuperating from surgery very well and is very sick off and on because of side effects of the radiation and back to back chemo treatments.  Her doctor warned her that this would be the case and that in six weeks she should start to bounce back and feel more and more like her old self.  She has a birthday coming up on the 9th !!

I hope everyone else is doing well.  I keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

IVF # 5 – Blood Clot – The 411

ivf 5 - blood clot

ivf 5- albany medical center 1    ivf 5 - albany medical center 3      ivf 5 - albany medical center 2 ivf 5 - albany medical center 5                                                                        ivf 5 - albany medical center 4

So, I spent the night after retrieval in excruciating pain.  First it was the awful gas bubbles in my tummy that were trapped and had no where to go.  I was ridiculously uncomfortable.  I way lying in bed and then noticed the backs of my knees were also hurting pretty bad.  I could not get comfortable and  my right knee pain was radiating down into my calf.  I was finally able to fall asleep after the Dulcolax I took earlier in the day kicked in.  I was still bloated and the abdomen was distended and my legs ached.  I told my camera man to keep an eye on me and if he noticed my breathing change to call 911 immediately.

I talked to my nurse when she called with the fertilization report and she suggested I go to Albany Medical Center.

When the camera crew was leaving, I arranged for a cab to come pick me up to and take me to the emergency room. I got there in about 20 mins, checked in and waited for a room.  I was seen by an ER doc and then sent to radiology in the middle of his interview.  I gave him my list of meds that CNY printed out for me to take over the next few days and off I was rolled to radiology.  That was THE longest ride ever !  I had a doppler done of the groin and both legs and the scan did not show anything above the knee.   After I was done, I was rolled back to the room #13 that I was previously in and two more ER docs and an assistant came in shortly after and explained that doppler scans and xrays do not show much below the knee and that it was suspected that I had a clot in the right leg in the calf. The good thing was that the Lovenox was started again after egg retrieval, so it will help dissolve any clots, being that it works very quickly, unlike Cumadin and other blood thinners that take days to build up in the system.  Lovenox begins to work within two hours of the injection. Next, the insurance coordinator came in and got my information, registered me, and took copies of my insurance card and id.  I relaxed on the cot and watched television for two more hours before they finally let me go.  It took AN HOUR for a cab (after calling 2 different companies) to show up to pick me up and take me back to the hotel.  I ordered pizza on the way back and it arrived within 20 mins of my return.

I was instructed to walk several times a day to increase blood flow and to monitor for various symptoms.

The leg pain was gone by last night before bed, so I was happy about that.  The bloating has done down some and I am no longer in pain.

This morning, I got up an inserted the estrace, Endometrin, did the PIO injection, took the antibiotic, and later took the Prednisone, Claritin, and prenatal vitamin.  I have to insert the Estrace three times a day and the Endometrin twice a day.  I was going to do the Delestrogen, but since my elevated hormone levels are the cause of the blood clot, I will just stick to the vaginal dosage.

Tomorrow, I have to report to CNY Fertility Center and Spa in Albany at 9 am for acupuncture and then I will be having my transfer of prayerfully all three of my embryos at 10:30 am.  I called today, but they do not check the embryos again until tomorrow so I am praying and hoping all three of them are still with us and growing and dividing strongly.  I won’t know about the 4th one until tomorrow either.  I have had dreams about three and so has my mom, so I am going to go with THREE !

IVF #5 – Stim Day 19 – The 411

ivf 5 - keep calm stim on bear

19 days and counting…. Just two more days of stims and then hopefully Thursday night is trigger #1 and Friday is trigger #2 and then I can get these little eggs out of me before my babies come out looking like Benjamin Button ! lol

I did my normal injections this morning of Ganirelix, Lovenox and Neupogen.  I took the 20mg of Prednisone, Claritin, and also took my prenatal vitamin.  This afternoon, I took the Folate and also the Synthroid.  I will inject Gonal-F tonight (ran out of Follistim and the two are interchangeable) and the Menopur.  I have a pm prenatal that I take along with more Prednisone and the Vitamin D emulsion.

I just packed up my clothing, shoes, notes for my book, sheets, and heating pad into a box and have it sitting waiting on FedEx to pick it up and ship it ahead to the hotel.  I am elated to not have to drag luggage with me all around New York while I am in the city for the funerals.  I will leave from the funeral and head to midtown, grab lunch in Penn Station or nearby and then hop on the train to Albany.  It will be nice to be in a quiet hotel suite, equipped with a full kitchen, and no grandmom to ask me every five minutes if there is something she can help me do !  Thank you Jesus !   🙂    She means well, but at times, it is taxing. I wish she could do some of my writing so that I can take a nap LOL.

Today, my mom had her first radiation treatment.   All went well and we met with the doctor afterwards. I took her to lunch at PF Chang’s and then home we went.  After she worked for a while, I made her go to bed to take a nap and rest.   She is probably downstairs on her Ipad or cellphone playing around on Facebook lol.

In regards to my swelling ovaries, I spoke too soon !  Those things seem to start filling up late last night about 11-12 and felt like they were being blown up a bit kinda like a balloon for several hours.  It was so noticeable that I could not sleep from the discomfort.  My tummy is now a bit distended so I am hoping that nothing is growing out of proportion or too fast and I end up having the surgery on Friday.  I was looking forward to having all day Friday to relax and maybe catch a movie at the mall up the street from the hotel, hang out in the huge Border’s Bookstore and get a juicy burger from Five Guys in the food court.   Hopefully I will be able to get that in.

More tomorrow after my scan…. I am going to take a nap before I have to go to infertility support group meeting tonight !

IVF #5 – Stim Day 18 – The 411

ivf 5 - thou shall respect the stim

Today is the 18th day of stims.  I went in this morning for monitoring and blood work.  I have 11 follicles on the right and two on the left according to the technician who did today’s scan.  I have not logged into the patient portal as of yet to read the follicular report, so I am just regurgitating what was told to me this morning.

I did my morning injections of Ganirelix, Lovenox (which is causing to me to bleed from the little scabs on my tummy where I have been injecting the past 18 days) and the Neupogen.  I took my synthroid today, which I have been taking every 2-3 days because my TSH plummets when I take it daily and I also took the prednisone, prenatal vitamin and Claritin.

This evening, I will take my vitamin d emulsion and inject the Menopur and Follistim.  I will also take the second dosage of Prednisone.

So far, I do not have that overly full ovary feel that I am used to having.  By now, on the other protocol, I would have had a hard time sitting up straight by now.  My nurse said my largest follicle is 17 mm so I have a little ways to go.  I am scheduled to trigger on Thursday and my retrieval will be on Saturday morning.  I assume that my transfer will be on Tuesday or Wednesday.  I am not doing a five day transfer, but a three.  I want to get back and spend Mother’s Day with my mom.

ivf 5 - stim day 18 scan

I am relieved that my uncle is going to come get my grandmother the day before I leave for New York and keep her until I return.  My mom started radiation this week (tomorrow is the 1st actual radiation as today was just practice) and I was worried about how the radiation will affect her.  My grandmother is a sneaky little thing and if left unattended (while my mom is asleep) she will plunder throughout the house or do things she knows she is not supposed to do, like feed her dog my $23 pot roast complete with rice and gravy, as my mom caught her doing while I was at the theater on Sunday, lol !

It is akin to having an 83 year old child in the house.  You can not leave your mail or documents lying around unless you want them read.  Alzheimers or dementia causes the elderly to become extremely suspicious.  I am not exactly sure what it is she thinks she is going to find…. It drives me mother crazy and I find it hilarious.  Well, I found her antics funny until she fed that damned dog my pot roast !  I made the pot roast for myself and got a really good cut.  I gave my dog and her dog what was left over on my plate that I had as an early lunch, so I guess in her mind that translated to FEED THE DOGS POT ROAST !  When my mom came into the kitchen, my grandmom was preparing a plate for her dog and almost jumped out of her skin when she got “caught”.  She knew I was gone because she can see me pull out of the garage and out of the driveway from her room.  I think she assumed my mom was with me and she was at home alone lol.   We have cameras up all over the house so even when away, we can see what she is doing.

I am excited to report that tomorrow is the first day of filming for my cooking show. I got my final SAG documents today and I faxed them my taft hartley paperwork so that I can get my SAG AFTRA card.  I got a cute grey and white pj set to cook in.  I only wish my make up artist were here to beat my face, but for a cooking show, I can pretty much handle a simple make up job.   I can not wait for you guys to see my logo !   🙂

Have a great evening ~

IVF # 5 – Stim Day 17 – The 411

ivf 5 - stimmy day

Today is stim day 17 of my fifth stim cycle !!  WOW !! That is a long time… 28 days of being on some type of hormone, developing and cultivating follicle and eggs and still three more days of injections to go at least before we can pull these bad boys out !  I just hope my babies do not come out looking like they are Benjamin Button because I have been making the eggs so long LOL.

This morning, I did my injections of Ganirelix, Lovenox, and Neupogen.  I took 20 mg of Prednisone and one prenatal vitamin.  I later took the optimized folate and a Claritin.   The vitamin d emulsion, I take with dinner and then in the evening around 6pm, I inject the Follistim and Menopur.

I decided to do a me’date day and I took me to the movies.  A friend of mine, Terrell Tilford, is starring in the new film, Blackbird, so I went to the Arclight Theater in Bethesda to see it.  Nice theater !  I love the fact that theaters have full bars in them now.  I of course indulged in a glass of Moscato and a little bucket of popcorn with butter.   I won’t be able to drink for the next year or two so, hey.. enjoying it while I can !

I just whipped up some vanilla bean butter cupcakes the other night so I finally got around to making browned butter frosting to top them.  Saturday morning at 1 am, I was restless and craving sweets, so I came down into the kitchen and whipped up cupcakes.  I ate one and went back upstairs and climbed in the bed !

I am going to spend the rest of the evening writing my book. I am finally getting somewhere with it.I will be glad when I have all the chapters outlined an underway.  Then I will work on figuring out which recipes I will put in the book at the end.  I am simultaneously working on another cookbook.  I am going to create a second edition of my first best selling cookbook and renaming it.

I have a crazy week ahead !  My mom starts radiation tomorrow a few hours after my monitoring appointment.  I have to come back in and pack and box up the clothes and things I am shipping to Albany and get Fedex to pick it up along with the frozen waffles and pancakes I put up to ship to friends in California.  I am actually glad that I am shipping my things to the hotel so that I do not have to lug a suitcase around New York City on Thursday prior to hopping on a train to Albany that afternoon.  I will not get into Albany until around 7pm on Thursday and will have to report to the clinic at 8 am, if all goes as planned.  On Tuesday, we will be filming the first episode of Valerie The Pajama Chef, my cooking show.  I have to pick out some new pjs tomorrow at the mall for the shoot…  I am nervous and excited at the same time !  Wednesday, I have monitoring and then I am leaving for New York on Thursday and will leave from the city for a week in Albany.  Busy week indeed !

Have a great night everyone !!

IVF # 5 – Stim Day 16 – The 411

ivf 5 - keep calm and stim on

Today is stim day 16 !  Wow !!! 16 whole days of injecting medications into my belly AFTER popping birth control pills for 21 days plus injecting Lupron for 7 days.  This has been the longest cycle…  37 days on this protocol thus far.

This morning, I popped the Prednisone and then injected the Lovenox, Ganirelix, and Neupogen.  I had a class to attend at Howard University School of Divinity this morning that ran until this afternoon.  On the way to my mom’s I stopped off at Target after lunch to grab another box of Claritin, that I take every morning as a part of the immune suppression in this protocol.

I pray that all this long drawn out effort brings me two of the sweetest, most intelligent and gorgeous babies this side of Jordan ! lol

Tonight, I will mix up the Menopur and inject it and also my Follistim.  It is so hard to believe that I only have a few more days.  I still do not have the swollen ovary feeling I normally have on the Gonal-F.  Maybe it is because I do not have a ton of oversized follicles yet.  I thought that I would feel something by now.   I wonder if it is attributed to the new meds?

I hope everyone is having a great weekend !  Tomorrow I am going to church very early and then going to see Blackbird at the theater in Maryland.  I have to pack my things for Albany and ship them out on Tuesday so that my clothing, sheets, meds, and gifts for the staff will arrive on Thursday.  I will be heading to Albany after the funeral on Thursday, provided I do not have substantial growth this weekend and get pushed to trigger and report earlier.  Right now the plan is set.   I so not want to haul luggage with me to a funeral, so I will pack a box and ship the things to the hotel and then just ship them back home the day I leave.