IVF 2 Stim Day 3 – The 411

baby - ivf 2 stim day 2

 Today, I mixed my meds with ease and worked out a schedule for getting them all in and spaced far enough apart that they do not react or cancel each other out.

Yesterday, I tried to inject the meds with the 25 gauge needle and the needle would NOT go in !  I went through FIVE needles then finally just used the insulin ones. Today, I went back to the original game plan and I iced for 20 minutes before trying to inject and it went in with ease and I did not feel it.

I did my two injections in record time and then I iced the injection sites again for 15 mins or so and surprisingly, tonight I did not get the dreaded Lupron headache.

I got the shock of my life tonight when I went to the store to get fitted for a new bra because NONE of my gorgeous bras fit since my miscarriage and I was spilling out of the ones I have. I knew that my breasts were porn-star status bigger than my usual 36C, but I almost fell out when the lady in the lingerie department told me I was now a 36….. DDD !  WTH?  WHAT the WHAT????? 

My name is NOT Pamela Anderson… I do not do DDD ! If they got THAT huge in that short of a time, what in the world will they look like after 40 weeks and then milk coming in?  I will have utters at that point !  Talk about a woman as nervous as a hooker in church !  LAUD !

Okay ladies, I will keep you updated !!   I go in for monitoring on Friday, then Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week.  I am in Washington this week and next for my film premiere, so I made my monitoring appointments with a local hospital’s Radiology department and will do blood work at LabCorp.

#prayingmybreastsgobacktonormalsoIwontchokemybabies

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The Big Lie In Putting Off Pregnancy – by CNN

(CNN) — Blame it on the baby bump and our pop cultural infatuation with celebrity, but today, regular women have yet another reason to feel inadequate: motherhood.

In the past decade, for the celebrity set, babies have become as fashionable as Birkin bags. The media has fueled the fertility frenzy by outing every pregnant, or potentially pregnant, Hollywood starlet. But then there’s more — with every aspect of a celeb mom’s glamorized pregnancy reported, from excessive weight gain to dramatic post-partum weight loss, regular women are fed a distorted depiction of pregnancy.

But perhaps nothing does a tragic disservice to women more than the media’s coverage of those over-35 celebrities who seem to easily get pregnant whenever they choose, writes Tanya Selvaratnam in her new book, “The Big Lie: Motherhood, Feminism and the Reality of the Biological Clock.”

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“For the celebrity set, babies have become as fashionable as Birkin bags,” Wendy Sachs writes.

We’ve all seen the US Weekly and People magazine images. There’s Halle Berry having a baby at 47 years old, and Kelly Preston doing the same. Uma Thurman had her third child at 42. Julianne Moore, Tina Fey and Salma Hayek each had daughters at 41 years old. Jane Seymour had twins at 45 and Mariah Carey birthed hers at 42. Not only do these women look ageless, they defy biology.

“One of the reasons I wrote the book was because I was frustrated by the conflicting messages and information out there,” Selvaratnam said. “We see celebrities having kids seemingly without any problems and we have no idea what they went through. We see the end result, but not the struggle.”

Ironically, motherhood has never been so chic at a time when so many women are struggling to get pregnant. The number of women between age 40 and 44 who remain childless has doubled in a generation; in 1976 it was one out of 10, by 2006 it was one in five, according to the U.S. Census.

In Selvaratnam’s deeply personal and provocative book, she shares her own journey of three miscarriages, multiple IVF treatments, cancer and the ultimate toll it took on her marriage. She explores the impact of delayed motherhood and the bad information that women receive, not only from aspirational celebrity images, but also from their own doctors.

Selvaratnam writes that after her first miscarriage at 37 years old, her OB-GYN told her that she still “had time” to get pregnant. So instead of rushing to a fertility center, she waited, and that was a serious mistake.

The “Big Lie,” she writes is that women can do what they want on their own timetables. They can delay motherhood until they are emotionally and financially ready, secure in their careers and have found that perfect partner and if they have trouble getting pregnant, modern medicine will miraculously give them a child.

Forty may be the new 30, but our ovaries have not gotten the same makeover. Even with all the advances in reproductive technology, our eggs have a finite shelf life and the odds of having a child over 40 years old are shockingly slim.

Tiny miracle after massive heartbreak

Having a family when there’s infertility

Family adopts embryos, gets a surprise

According to the Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine, a woman in her 20s has a 20-25% chance of conceiving naturally per menstrual cycle. In her early 30s, the chance of pregnancy is 15% per cycle. After 35, the odds of pregnancy without medical intervention are at 10%. After 40, that number falls to 5%, and women over 45 have a 1% chance of conception.

The number of childless women in the United States today is growing. According to a Pew study conducted in 2008, about 18% of women in the United States don’t have children by the end of their childbearing years. In 2008, there were 1.9 million childless women between 40 and 44, compared with 580,000 in 1976.

From the Pew report: “Among older women, ages 40-44, there are equal numbers of women who are childless by choice and those who would like children but cannot have them, according to an analysis of data from the National Survey of Family Growth.”

Perhaps one of the greatest myths today is the ability of science to step in and make babies for women at virtually any age. Selvaratnam says that we see the success stories, but rarely hear about the huge numbers of failed attempts. A 2009 report on Assisted Reproductive Technologies, or ARTs, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the single most important factor affecting the chances of a successful pregnancy through ARTs is a woman’s age. Selvaratnam reports that at age 40, the chance is 18.7%; at 42, it’s 10%; at 44, it’s only 2.9%.

“We are the guinea pig generation for testing the limits of our fertility, or our chances of having a child. The shock and the lack of preparation when you’re not prepared and the pressure women feel in general about our reproductive selves adds to the shame women feel when they can’t get pregnant,” Selvaratnam said.

She also argues that feminism may have misled Gen X women by avoiding the topic of motherhood and biology. The trend of delaying motherhood was meant to empower women, but ironically it may have boomeranged, leaving scores of women infertile and desperate to have a baby. Selvaratnam believes that we need to reset the conversation and reconcile motherhood with also being an educated, independent, successful woman.

Like birth control, Selvaratnam suggests that information be promoted about fertility and the realities of delaying motherhood. She suggests that every young woman be shown a chart of her overall fertility so she understands when her eggs are best and when the number will start declining. She thinks that with the information, women can be more strategic about trying to get pregnant or at least not be blindsided if they have difficulties because they waited.

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The attrition rate of our eggs is startling. Selvaratnam reports that the number of eggs at a girl’s first menstrual cycle is 300,000 to 400,000. By age 30, we’re down to between 39,000 to 52,000, which is about 13% of the eggs we had at puberty. By age 40, we have only 3% of our initial cache of eggs — about 9,000 to 12,000 eggs — and many of these eggs will not be viable.

Ironically, in our uber-sharing age, infertility still remains shrouded in silence. Selvaratnam wants to de-stigmatize miscarriage and infertility and get people connected and talking.

“When women have miscarriages or infertility we feel like failures. I want people to realize how common these issues are. When you see the statistics, it becomes clear you are not alone,” Selvaratnam said. “You look at celebs and think ‘What’s wrong with me?’ when it seems to work out for all of these other people. But the truth is, for most people, it doesn’t work out.”

Selvaratnam is also hoping that her book will be a policy changer. She’s advocating for better health insurance to cover infertility treatments as well as better public education for women. Changing the paradigm for women in the workplace, increasing work-life flexibility and creating more affordable child care, she believes, is also intricately linked with supporting women so they can become mothers. Taking some time off from your career, or easily coming back to your job is a fundamental issue for easing the path for women to have a baby in their late 20s or early 30s — the optimal time for fertility, but often a terrible time to interrupt careers.

“We place so much pressure on women in regard to … their reproductive selves and on their careers. So many women are suffering,” Selvaratnam said. “We need to find ways to advocate, small and big. Instead of judging each other,we should be supporting each other. I want people to look at my story and see and see how they can prevent it from happening to them.”

IVF Medications and Possible Side Effects- The 411

IVF Medications and Possible Side Effects- The 411

I am on cycle day one and will be starting Estrace in twenty more days ! YAY ! I got my detailed medication protocol this morning and got some awesome documents from my doctor which explains the various medications, their purpose and possible side effects.

► Clomiphene Citrate: (Clomid) This medication increases the amount of FSH the pituitary gland will secrete. This is often used to stimulate ovulation in women who have absent
periods, infrequent periods or long cycles, or unexplained infertility.
The dosage is usually started at 100mg a day and taken for 5 days. Dosage may be increased if ovulation still does not occur. Potential side effects from Clomid include:
Increased incidence of multiple birth, Hot flashes, nausea, and breast tenderness, Headaches or blurred vision
Depression and mood swings, Ovarian cysts and pelvic discomfort from over stimulation of the ovaries

► Follicle Stimulation Hormone (FSH): (Gonal-f, Follistim, Bravelle) This is an injection given just below the skin (subcutaneous injection) that bypasses the hypothalamus and pituitary glands to directly stimulate follicle growth in the ovaries.

Potential side effects include:
Increased incidence of multiple birth, Breast tenderness, swelling, rash at injection site, Mood swings, fatigue and depression, Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome which includes enlarged ovaries, abdominal pain and bloating

► Human Menopausal Gonadatropins (hMG): (Menopur, Repronex) An injection that contains equal parts of FSH and LH (Luteinizing hormone), given to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs during one cycle. Menopur is the most common hMG used. Potential side
effects are the same as noted for the FSH.

► GnRH Antagonists: (Cetrotide, Ganirelix) This is an injection given just below the skin (subcutaneous injection) that helps prevent premature ovulation by decreasing the amount of LH released from the pituitary. It is started when the follicles are of a certain size.

Potential side effects are:
Tenderness, rash or swelling at injection site, Headaches and nausea

► GnRH Agonist: Lupron (or the generic form leuprolide acetate) is an injection given below the skin (subcutaneous injection) designed to prevent mid-cycle LH surge which can result in premature ovulation.

Potential side effects include:
Hot flashes
Headache
Mood swings
Vaginal dryness
Decreased breast size
Painful intercourse

►Human Chorionic Gonadatropin (HCG): (Ovidrel, Novaryl, Pregnyl, generic HCG) HCG is intended to induce ovulation. In the case of IVF, HCG is administered 36 hours prior to egg retrieval to provide final maturity to the developing egg.

Potential side effects include:
Nausea, Tenderness, rash or swelling at injection site

► Estrace: (Estradiol) This is a medication that comes in pill form that will be taken at a designated time in your cycle. You may be instructed to take this medication vaginally, orally, or both. If you are instructed to take this medication vaginally you will insert the pill as high into
the vagina as possible.

Potential side effects include:
Breast tenderness
Mild nausea
Bloating
Vaginal itching or discharge

► Progesterone Support: (Crinone, Endometrin, progesterone in oil) is a medication that will be taken at a designated time in your cycle to support the endometrial lining.

Potential side effects include:
Breast tenderness
Menstrual like cramping
Nausea
Mood swings and depression

Risks and Side Effects

Ovarian Hyperstimulation:

Hyperstimulation of the ovaries is potential risk when taking ovulation induction medications. Ovarian Hyperstimulation occurs when the ovaries become enlarged. In mild to moderate cases of ovarian hyperstimulation, a person may experience abdominal bloating and/or abdominal pain. Approximately 20% of people will experience mild hyperstimulation. Symptoms usually resolve with the onset of menses, however with a pregnancy may continue for several weeks.

In severe hyperstimulation, you may also experience a significant accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, dehydration and a decrease in urine output. Clients who experience severe hyperstimulation may require hospitalization.

Mild to moderate uncomplicated ovarian hyperstimulation, which may be accompanied by abdominal distention and /or abdominal pain, occurs in approximately 20% of clients treated with Gonadatropins an hCG. It generally resolves without treatment within a few weeks, or with menses. However, if pregnancy occurs, it may persist several weeks into the pregnancy. Clients experiencing mild to moderate ovarian enlargement usually report pelvic fullness and some abdominal pain and discomfort, usually about 2 to 6 days after administration of hCG. The degree of ovarian hyperstimulation is related to both the estradiol level and the number of follicles.
Multiple Pregnancy:

The administration of fertility medications increase the probability that more oocytes are developed in the ovaries. With the production of more oocytes the risk of multiple pregnancy increases. Multiple pregnancies are associated with an increase risk of complications and premature delivery. Multiple pregnancies can result in the need to reduce the number of fetuses. This procedure is called selective reduction.

Sperm Donor Search- Decisions and Devastation – the 411

Sperm Donor Search- Decisions and Devastation - the 411

I thought I had found THE perfect donor ! He had everything I wanted in a donor. The problem is, I realized that Xytex allows 40 families. YES, FORTY FAMILIES!! Not pregnancies, but families. That means there could be twins, triplets, siblings, etc.

Fairfax Cryobank allows 20 families.

The Sperm Bank of California only allows 10 families and will pull purchased vials and make you select another donor if reports come in that pregnancies are confirmed, and it does not matter if a live birth occurs. TSBC is very strict.

I feel like an arrow just went through my heart. I have to weigh my future children’s feelings and also protect them. It is a bit ratchet and scandalous to have 40-100 “diblings” running around. I also wanted to do an open id donor so that my children can one day meet the person who gifted them life and if 40-100+ kids show up before them, that is a “baby-mill” situation. No chance of my children getting to really know and possibly bond on some level with their biological father.

I have reservations with TSBC as well because they only have baby photos. I know that my baby (ies) can come out looking just like me or they could look the donor or even his family and not him. My sister has a baby girl and she looks like me and nothing like my sister and she has my other siblings feet !

I am so devastated right now but I will grieve today and them move one and select another donor and a few back ups. It may not be a bad thing to only have baby photos or the donor so there is nothing to use as a constant comparison. I did feel it was kind of neat to be able to purchase lifetime photos of the donor to have for my children to view.

#backtothedrawingboard

Planning Life As A Single Mom

It is Christmas.  Exactly one year before I am planning to venture into Mommyhood !

I have spent a lot of time these past few months soul searching and mourning Plan A; you know the fairytale… the happily ever after where you meet Prince Charming, have the fairytale wedding, have children and live in eternal bliss?

That is not my reality.  There is no Mr. Right on the horizon, but was is in plain view is my ever ticking biological clock !

I had been beating myself up wondering if I should wait on a life partner before delving into motherhood. I felt that my fertility situation, particularly the sense of urgency I had, would put too much pressure on a new relationship for it to be successful. I didn’t yet trust myself to pick a more genuine partner to spend my life with. So, that leave me with a long thought out, heartfelt decision that I would go this alone.

If I continue to let time pass waiting for something that may never happen, I will be remiss because I want to have a child.  I want to be responsible for nurturing, loving, and rearing a little soul into becoming a dynamic, God-fearing, loving, intelligent, talented and well-rounded person.

I have now completed all of my testing and have made a firm commitment to go to the gym and to drop as much weight as I can over the next 2.5 months.

I admit, I am a bit vain and I do not want to be a chubby mommy when this is all over with.  Gotta keep it sexy !  🙂

Acupuncture for Infertility- The 411

Acupuncture for Infertility-  The 411

For those considering IVF, acupuncture increases your chances of conception by 65% !

A surprising new study has demonstrated that women undergoing in vitro fertilization have a higher rate of pregnancy and live birth if they receive acupuncture at the time of their embryo transfer. The study, which looked at 1,366 women in seven different studies undergoing IVF along with acupuncture, a sham treatment or no additional treatment, found that the odds of achieving pregnancy were increased by 65% if a patient underwent acupuncture within 1 day of embryo transfer. One of the strengths of this study, is that it included women of different ages, types and durations of infertility.

These results probably don’t come as a surprise to the Chinese, who have been using acupuncture for centuries to regulate the female reproductive system. While modern scientists don’t know why acupuncture impacts fertility, they hypothesize that it could be related to neurotransmitter release, increased blood flow to the uterus, or a decreased stress response from the release of naturally produced opioids.

The 65% increase shown in this study means that for every ten women undergoing IVF, one additional woman would successfully become pregnant. Considering the cost of in vitro fertilization, which averages at over $12,000 per cycle in the US, any safe and effective means for increasing the success rate would be well received by the 10-15% of couples who seek fertility treatment at some point while trying to conceive.

Reasons to NOT use Assisted Hatching – the 411!

Reasons to NOT use Assisted Hatching - the 411!

I was researching today about assisted hatching- the procedure in which the doctor pierces the embryo to “help” it attach to the uterine wall. Well guess what…. it can cause DEFORMITY, DEATH, or CONJOINED TWINS ! I do not think so ! I have not waited ALL this time to have a baby and then get pregnant and have to deal with this. Not only can the increased risk of conjoined twins, deformity, or death be possible, but this procedure can cause other problems. (see below)

“Risks Associated with Assisted Hatching”

Unfortunately, there are some risks associated with assisted hatching procedures. In particular, assisted hatching procedures do seem to increase the likelihood that you will have identical twins (also known as monozygotic twins). This is because the micromanipulation technique used to break through the zona pellicuda can sometimes cause the embryo to split into two identical halves.

There is also an increased risk of:
damage to the embryo, potentially causing death
fetal complications
physical deformity
conjoined twins

The procedure can sometimes also cause complications for the mother, including:
high blood pressure
infection
nausea
mood swings

I will take REGULAR OLE IVF with NO TINKERING for 1000 Alex ! 🙂