Monday, June 30, 2008

The OWL Exam

I'm bursting with pride: Ron passed his OWL exam! Those of you who have read the series, know that Ron is not the brightest of the bunch--he's usually begging Hermione for help. But guess, what? He did it all on his own this time.

His test score (a.k.a. my beta results): 539

I was coaching him to get at least a 280--really essential for a viable embryo at 19 dpo. So when I heard "Everything looks great!" I was expecting right around the 280-290 ballpark. Ron, honey: you hit a home run. Thank the Lord! With the number we got, that's a doubling time of 1.51 days.

I am well aware how precious each day is. We have a ways to go yet, but I promised myself (and Mook) if we got good results today, that I would REST from worry until our next step: 1st ultrasound will be July 14th.

You all humble me with the comments and e-mails you have sent our way; I won't ever be able to thank you enough. Please know that each thought, prayer and good vibe means the world to us. You have calmed me in my shakiest moments, and brought light out in the dark.

::thank you::

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hide.....and No Seek

Mook has hidden the pee sticks.

But...I asked him to. On Wednesday morning, I took my first ever positive home pregnancy test, and it was wonderful. So beautiful watching that 2nd line come up. I'll never forget it--and I might not ever throw it away! It's still sitting on my bathroom vanity, and I look at it every time I go in there. So Thursday morning, I woke up and did the same thing....and then I proceeded to freak out.

Yes, the line was still there...even a bit darker, but not blindingly darker. My eyes started going cross-eyed looking at them, and when Mook came in to see me in a daze, I looked up to him and just started crying. He took my hand, and we got back into bed and he held me for a while...just reminded me that at this point it's out of our hands, and we just need to enjoy this time.

Mook left early for work this morning, so when I went into the bathroom to feed my addiction, the sticks were no where to be found. At first I wanted to cry/scream/pout, but it really is the best thing. I got back in bed and slept peacefully for another 2 hours...

So the waiting never really does end. I'm beyond grateful to be here...just in this moment even, because for right now, all I do know is that there is someone growing in there. As much as I want Monday to be here, I also want to live in this ignorant bliss a little bit longer.

I was well aware that when I typed my beta number, that a lot of you probably gasped in fear--wanting to offer well wishes, but being concerned. BUT please, please--just keep those prayers and good thoughts coming.

I have to BELIEVE that it's possible.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Daily Prophet: 6.24.08

Can you imagine what your Patronus is?

For Harry Potter, his Patronus is a stag--his protector in times of evil and attacks from the Dementors.

I've felt the presence of Dementor's a lot over the past few weeks: they come at me in my weakest moments, and I feel them trying to suck the life out of me.

Last week, the night after transfer, I went to sit on the back porch. I absentmindedly started to watch a bluebird flying from tree to tree-and cracked a smile thinking about how the bluebird is my mom's favorite bird; she says they are good luck. So I started to talk to the bluebird (in my head, of course) and asked him to bring me good luck.

So one night last week when I felt the lowest I have felt in a long time (the Dementors were attacking) the bluebird landed on the post right in front of me, looked right at me and flew off.

My Patronus must be a bluebird.

This was me this morning:

I gave it my one last EXPECTO PATRONUM!!!!! and let it be...

My beta was 34.4, progesterone is 23 (they like it over 15)
(I'm 8dp5dt or 13 dpo)

I've of course been a bit shaky with the numbers, and I don't get a 2nd beta until Monday (chewing my cheeks!) but I will live in bliss the next 6 days, and maybe now I'll get those blasted pee sticks.

And folks, I have zero symptoms. Nada. I feel like my period could start any moment. Let's hope it doesn't.

I have been utterly blown away from the prayers and support--I cannot thank you enough. I wish I could thank each of you in person. It did feel like I had all of you in the room with me this afternoon when I found out. I would greatly appreciate if those prayers and support continued...we have a ways to go.

Oh, and just so you know...of the three, I think it's this one who made it:

Ronald Bilius "Ron" Weasley

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mook Waiting...

Ever stand out by the paper box at 3am waiting for the paperboy to chuck the daily news over to you? How about come home from work and plop down on the couch and anxiously await the start of your favorite news program? Well for me news is what I see/read/hear when there's nothing else going on. Although news is mostly important, it pales in comparison to the news I actually to experience.

Unfortunately, in this case, the news I want to hear I am waiting for... And sadly, there is absolutely nothing to be done that takes this out of ones head because this news is THE news; the news we want to hear, the news we have already waited so long to hear.

My wife, JJ is comfortable venting online. Blogging has saved her sanity and given her an outlet to release the mental stress this process can carry. I know with the support and love she has already received from you all, this experience has been as wonderful as it could have possibly been. So thank you for everything; your hopes, prayers, laughter and tears.

In this time of waiting, I can't think of anyone I'd rather be waiting with. No matter what, there is no blame here, there will just be my open arms and a comfy couch where we can grow old together. I love you.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Daily Prophet: 6.22.08

I said I would document, so I should document.

But document what?

Sometimes I forget that even the smallest piece of my day can be blog-able. Like the fact that Mook and I have laughed a lot this weekend. We've stayed close; we've cuddled, watched movies, and said "I love you" a lot. Yesterday in the grocery store, while Mook pushed the cart and I lagged behind, I saw this pack of cookies called Hit. So I did just that. I picked them up off the shelf, and I whacked Mook in the arm-hard. He wasn't happy at first. Then we both broke into a huge giggle fit. It felt so good...

I've also worried a lot. I've also been sure that I was pregnant. I've also been sure that I am not.

I'm cleaning a bunch--like Izzy on Grey's Anatomy bakes, I clean. I clean because it makes me sweat and feel like I'm washing out the obsessive thoughts in my mind. It also gives me a chance to put on my ipod and sing at the top of my lungs while I vacuum, and singing makes me happy. Cleaning can also have a downside: just minutes ago, I opened a pocket in Mook's bag to find a "Great Mom's get promoted to Grandmother's" bookmark--I know he wants to give that to his mom so of course I lost it and burst into ugly crying.

With 2 days to go until we know either way, I've already decided that I will not being POAS. (peeing on a stick for anyone who needs the lingo-decoder). I know that might drive some people insane, but as I told Sully the other day, it's my way of holding onto hope for as long as possible. That's the only way I know how right now.

Gryffindor status: all is quiet. They're just studying hard for O.W.L. exams, right? (see, I'm doing my part to be positive) Nothing that I have felt up to this point has been any different than PMS symptoms. I can't depend on my ta-ta's to give me a sign, because even after a trigger shot, I'm only semi-tender and not enough to complain about. But cramps are the same-I feel more in my ovary area, but that's due to the new cysts. I hope I can explain this well--my actual vaginal walls ache--I feel like my va-jay-jay might literally fall onto the floor. Does that make sense? Don't get excited though, I've had this sensation before.

So at 6 days past a 5 day transfer, I feel: ______. It's impossible to put one word there. I'm a mix of so many things, but as far as feeling any symptoms, there ain't none.

Thank you for all the continued support and tales of no-symptom successes. You'll hear from me either way Tuesday, just be prepared for anything...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Daily Prophet: 6-19-08

Mook and I have agreed that documenting this part of the process is good for both of us, so while I am not back to reading blogs and commenting (believe me-I miss you!), I need to continue to write and gather my thoughts.

The Gryffindor House is quiet....too quiet for my liking.

Since I was only able to post the basics on Monday, let me give you a little deeper look into the past few days...

On Saturday, the embryologist called and said that our embryos were progressing slowly, and that there was not enough evidence of which one of the remaining 7 would be the best to transfer. I almost made him promise me that we would have embryos still growing by day 5...but of course all he could do was say he was confident we would.

So on Monday, with a 'comfortably' full bladder, Mook and I sat down in the conference room and listened to our embryologist and RE. First, I am glad we were able to wait until Monday; come to find out that the front runner on day 3 had stopped growing. After he told us that, he slid a picture of three embryos across the table and explained that they were late-stage morula's and that he had performed assisted hatching. My heart rate picked up a bit, because I know that by day 5, you should have blasts. Both of them reaffirmed that, if they kept progressing like they should, the embryo's should be at blast by that evening. I hope they made it...

That is why we transferred 3...I'm sure some of you gasped at the thought of 3 blasts...and to be honest, we had 2 blasts last time--and that didn't get us too far.

I feel normal as normal can be...well, not emotionally. I am having a really hard time, gals (and guys) I hate that I feel so doom-and-gloom...but when my body is not sending up smoke signals or giving me the slightest hint of this working out, it makes me panic.

After getting out of the shower this morning, I went and sat in the would be nursery and sobbed...and sobbed...and its making me tear up now. I feel this emptiness that I can't explain to anyone--it doesn't fit into words, or thoughts. I'm consumed by the fear that I am letting everyone down...letting Mook down, letting my family down, letting you all down....

I want to (and NEED to) have a chance of hope in all of this...I don't want what my mind and heart feels to affect possible growth inside of me. But I feel nothing.

I'm trying (and succeeding so far) to stay away from Dr. Google, but its so hard right I will reach out to you all (again) for support and help. Am I crazy? Should I expect to see those smoke signs at 3 days past a 5 day transfer? Can a morula transfer work?

Please Harry, Hermione and Ron--keep Voldemort out of the House of Gryffindor.

P.S. I have developed cysts on both ovaries (this hasn't happened in a long time) and we didn't have any to freeze.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Today's Daily Prophet

Today's Headline: JJ's uterus has become a home to wizards and a witch!

On Monday, June 16th in the year 2008, at approximately 11:32am, a 5-day-transfer occurred.

For the time being, Ms. JJ's uterus shall be known as the House of Gryrffindor, since 3 prominent members of this House are now calling it their home.

Please give a warm welcome, your positive thoughts, and sticky vibes to:

Ron, Harry and Hermione

Let's all continue those hopes and prayers that they will find it comfy and cozy and stay for the next 9 months!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mook pleads to you all

Hello blog-o-sphere. Two posts in one week...I know, I know...Please hold all applause until the end of my presentation plea. This is merely a begging of mercy from me, the husband not your usual attempt at comic relief.

As you all know by now, JJ is in her resting state after the current IVF with ICSI. As most of you know by now JJ is self admittedly a worry wart. She has more than enough reason to show concern with our current point of life (and I am right there with her). I can not however get enough help in easing her mind.

I assure JJ that the "Planets" (cause there's nine! Pluto counts damnit!), are in the best possible place they can be in. These doctors know what it is, that they do. I jokingly bring up the evidence of me not being able to keep up with a pair of socks much less nine microscopic embryos, so its a good thing they didn't send them home in a cooler. She doesn't quite find the humor in my speech. So, I digest. (A little Family Guy there...anyone? anyone?)

I have asked that JJ take a small break from the blogging world. This isn't to say she won't be chatting it up on email. Two reasons: 1.) She lives on the Internet with both work and normal life and 2.) Shes stubborn as a mule when it comes to things like this. I have simply asked that she refrain from Internet searches (preggo/IVF related) as well as yous guys' blogs. I hope you all can understand. I really just want her to relax and keep her mind occupied. This is a short term thing, I swear!

So my plea to you is to be understanding in her short absence and I certainly welcome any and all positive comments or support. She is a great woman and I love her dearly. So, with everything I can possibly muster, thank you for everyone's support and understanding. You all are wonderful!

Cloud Nine?

I'll just come out with it:

All 14 were mature.
Today, out of the 14, 9 have fertilized.

I need to be OK with this--I am having such a hard time not comparing this cycle to last. Just as a refresher, they got 15 last time, 14 were mature and 12 fertilized.

Not too far off, but...

See, this is where you will really see the neurotic part of me. This is where I crumble and doubt myself and wonder how I can stay on this emotional roller coaster.

I know I need to hold onto that peace and hope...I am lucky to have 9 embies growing and I need to focus on being positive. Talk me down here, people. Please don't think I am ungrateful, just anxious as crap.

We are tentatively scheduled for a 3-day-transfer on Saturday at 10:30am...unless he calls to tell me we go in Monday. We were able to make it to day-5 last time, so we'll see.

Thanks for giving Mook the love--he looks forward to his guest blogging!

Before I go, I've had a few people tell me that when they open this blog in Internet Explorer, it crashes. Anyone else having this issue?

Please, please, please let me stay on Cloud 9...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Follow Mook from Room to Room

Mook here with no doubt, a highly anticipated update.

The day started early this am. Nerves were bond in anticipation on both our parts. I dub this "nervacious." We made our way over to our star studded cast, (you RedBookers will get that one), at the local knock-up center at around 8am...all the way, I'm trying to mind the roads, watch out for the bad drivers and take the quickest route.

Not so easy when you are deliberately trying to do so. Can you rent yellow flashy lights to put on your car for a short period of time? Like, "HEY! Precious cargo! BACK OFF! Don't you see my makeshift police/ambulance lights a flashin' up there?"

Once we arrived at said clinic, we made our way inside to the "Waiting Room" just long enough for my attention to be caught by whatever gab show was on TV. Like most men, I don't watch these shows, by choice, but when you are in a place that is 95% inclined to a woman's tastes, you take what you can get. So, just as my attention span grazes the point of understanding the current Hollywood scandals, we were called by our IVF nurse, "Kate" from Lost. (Only our Kate isn't an escaped murderer on the run, or so we think...)

We then proceeded back to the "Explanation Room", had a seat and again waited for the doc to appear and make sure we are who we say we are and that we understand whats going to go on in the actual retrieval process. The anesthesiologist comes in first. A cool guy, (looked and talked just like Gary Oldman), made us both feel at ease.

Then comes another nurse, Robin. This is where my morning turned comical. She leads me to another room, the "Andrology Room", giving her routine spiel the whole way. She explained to me where I was to sign my name, how I was collect the sample, etc., etc., etc.

(Important tidbit is that you understand I am from the South. My mom and pops did a great job of putting some manners into my daily life. So the whole time the nurse is talking, I respond to each instruction with a, "Yes Ma'am." )

She finally turns to me and says to stop being polite, I was making her feel old. Which I understand and we both got a good laugh out. Then she looks down at my info and chuckles. "I guess I am old enough to be your mom!" Great! Thats what I want to hear right before I get down to business. Thanks Robin! As she leaves, she dims the lights for some, as she explained, "mood lighting," and says, "The good stuff is right there under the tv!"

OK, there are three things wrong that statement.
Number one. The stuff you have, ain't that good.
Number two. The stuff you say you have, aint there (some poor sole that was there ahead of me had apparently needed the DVD collection for home practice sessions)
Number three. The glossy print version of "the good stuff" was all stuck together. No explanation needed.

So this left me in quite the quagmire. I had nothing but the ole imagination to get me goin'. But, have you ever noticed, and the guys can attest to this fact, when you are doing your deed for man and country in there, isn't it crazy odd how quiet the rest of the building seems to get? At first, all I could imagine was the entire nurse staff outside with glasses held up to the door. Pervs!

Well I finally finished up, and deposited my "romance in a cup" in the little specimen door, washed my hands and headed out. Robin yet again surprised me with, "Thanks over achiever!" Like maybe she thought I put way to much effort into that sampling... ???

Long story short (too late) everything went well for JJ today. She pulled through with miraculous efforts and made the complete process a success. 14 curvaceous beauties were recovered and the docs seemed optimistic with the whole shebang. We will have more details soon as far as the number of matures and fert report. She is doing great; home all day on bed rest, in the Bed Room. She is a tad more crampy than last time but is in overall good spirits...still has an iron grip (see previous post)

I have to say thank you to JJ for being such a trooper and going through this entire thing. She truly is fabulous! No matter the outcome, we will be happy and we will make this life together a spectacular one. I love you babra!


I'm enjoying a few minutes of silence this morning, before all the activity of the day ensues.

As the title states, I feel at peace--and I know I have all of you to thank for that--the prayers, good vibes and hope have been keeping me focused and relaxed.

We all know that hope and peace are fleeting feelings-we want to hold onto them as long as possible, but they can be ripped from our grasp in a heartbeat.

I'm holding onto both today with an iron grip.

Time to go...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Turn on the Tractor

Why are these barrels of hay illegal?

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Because the cows don't get a "square" meal each day.

Hardy, har...there's a lame southern joke for ya. Every time we drive by a field (and there are lots in these parts) and Mook says, "Those farmers are going to get arrested." I am either right there to catch the joke, or I get worried and ask "Why?!" and then he just gives me that, "Helllloooo, blondie" look.

I'm not planning on producing any illegal barrels of hay, but I am hoping to produce a good crop of eggs. Just got the phone call that I am to trigger tonight at 8:30pm, so that puts my retrieval at 8:30am on Wednesday morning.

Dude. It's time.

I was sort of hoping to push stims one more day, 'cause wouldn't ya know that my E2 levels today are only a few numbers shy of my 3rd blood draw last time, but my progesterone level is creeping up, so it's time. So I will take all of the positive words of encouragement you all have offered, and hope the universe is giving us one big do-over.

I don't want to get all sappy, but I'm nervous as all-get-out (another southern favorite). I feel safe in this place I am right now, and I'm nervous to leave this protected mental state. In just a few days, I'll enter the dreaded 2ww and be in a constant state of wonder (notice I didn't say worry). I value each and every lesson I have learned through dealing with infertility--I just feel like I'm ready to 1) take the test; 2) pass; and 3) graduate. Please. Oh please...

Mook and I both appreciate every single word of prayer, encouragement, hope, love...etc. To be able to picture this big cosmic force of love hovering over us is what keeps us going-truly. So at 8:30am on June 11th, will you send a little bit of cosmic love our way?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Call Me Consistent

Today's estradiol level: 848.

Sort of eerie that on my 2nd monitoring scan for IVF #1, my estradiol was: 848.

I won't, I won't, I won't let this take me down a gloomy path:
Well, since my numbers are the same, the outcome will be the same...
I will, I will, I will keep affirming that:
This is a healthy number. My follicles are growing steady and strong. I will produce a good number of follicles.
I am to stay on the same protocol until Sunday night, when I will take out one vial of Menopur. 3rd scan is scheduled for Monday morning--and after the scan and blood work results, I should find out when retrieval will happen.

Plans for the weekend: naps, catching up with my DVR'ed shows, drinking lots of water, more naps. I forgot how tired I get during this phase-I'm taking that as a good sign that my body is devoting all its energy to producing super follies!

So over the weekend, I should stick with the I will, I will, I will....(right?!)

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Always a good word to hear, so this post if full of healthy goodies.

I had my first monitoring appointment yesterday
morning. Before showing up for my early-bird appointment, I had to get my hair-did (thanks LeeAnn!) so that I'd be stylin' for my hottie RE. Actually, I was just in desperate need of a now my hair is healthy!

My date with the stirrups and probe showed a ne
w lining forming and some follies cookin'. Like last time, my left ovary is the superstar while my right is lagging behind. The technician was able to measure 6-7 on the left, and only 2 on the right. I asked, "Are you sure there aren't any more?" She said there are some smaller ones she is pretty sure will catch up, but I left the u/s room a little bummed--just wasn't feeling the warm fuzzies. But I guess those fuzzies have been lacking overall this time. I had to wait awhile to give my blood sample-poor girl before me passed out! Thank goodness, I did not.

Before I drove away from the clinic, I said a quick prayer asking for good results and a sense of peace--and no cheek chewing! As I looked up to drive away, this was happening right in front of my car:

I think I'll take this as a good sign that it will be healthy for me document those "Kodak Moments" What a neat picture for me to have as a reminder that you see signs of life everywhere...

So yesterday afternoon (I didn't chew all day!) I got the phone call with the news that my estradiol levels are "very healthy" at 452, after 4 days of stims. Maybe there are some other follies hiding somewhere? I am to stay on 2 vials of Bravelle and 2 vials of Menopur for the time being-I go back tomorrow for the 2nd monitoring appointment. I am definitely starting to "feel" my ovaries!

Along with my physical health, I want to remain in good mental health through this process-I have mentioned before that I have this thing called co
ntrol issues...not good to have when dealing with infertility. I am focusing on doing what I can to keep those peaceful thoughts flowing, and cheek chewing to a minimum.

Playing a big part in maintaining my mental health, are the wonderful connections I have made in this community. So in keeping with my new Kodak frame of mind (ha! I just re-read this and caught the "frame" pun...ok, sorry for the distraction), let me share something that is keeping me at peace:

I received this beautiful charm (horseshoe with a four leaf clover) from Mel for my birthday, and it has been hanging around my neck ever since. This definitely gives me warm fuzzies, and I am so grateful for the hope and support that came bursting out when I opened the box. :thank you:

So let the record show that on Thursday, June 5th: JJ feels healthy and dare I say....hopeful.
Many thanks to each and every one of you for holding my hand through this...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Kodak Moments?

I have six shoe boxes, numerous albums, plus a gigathingamajigy of space on snap-fish, of photos that have captured a moment in my life.

This is a huge perk for me, since I'm a visual learner. No, it's not like I forgot who the freckle faced kid was at my 5th birthday party--I just needed a refresher! And I haven't forgotten that goofy toothless grin I gave the camera when I was missing my top four teeth all at the same time. Or the time I was enjoying playing in a germ infested plastic ball-pit at Busch Gardens...I just wanted to look at my cute pig tails and remember how much my legs hurt when I got out--its hard walking in plastic balls!

Of course we must have a moment of silence for the days when you couldn't proof a picture before adding it to your forever memory pile. Gasp! The horror of not being able to check and see if I'm smiling so that my eyes don't squint (this is a constant issue for me) I'm sure my mom might have asked us to do this picture over again--my brother looks utterly horrified. It looks like he's praying:
"Please God, have mercy on me--I have two sisters!"

Let's not discuss my Farah Fawcett hair-doo-doo.

Then there is the...dun...dun...DUUUUN: Black-Mail picture. You had no idea that this photo would come back to haunt you. It was taken without the notion that you would dread the thought of it being shown at one family gathering after another. "Isn't this soo cute!" A lot of these "cute" pictures follow you all the way to your wedding day. Of course your husband-to-be needs to see you in one of your most embarrassing moments.

There are also those photos that you would run into a burning house to save. The one that packs so many emotions into that one captured moment. I have no mental memory of this photo, but I bet the other person in this picture does. The look of love on my mother's face, as I hug her, is worth a thousand words.

Recently I have been going through these shoe boxes, albums and digital photos-wondering what my memories would be like if I didn't have a photograph to remind me; the mind has a funny way of distorting a memory. Would my mother's hug mean any less to me if I didn't have a physical reminder of it? Would I be slightly less mortified if I wasn't snapped wearing just winter accessories, and we just talked about it at family gatherings?

So with those thoughts in mind, I've been debating on whether or not to take more pictures during this infertility journey. I recently switched cell phones, and as I was cleaning out my old one, I came across a picture I had totally forgotten about: Mook snapped a picture of me on the exam table before our first IUI. The hope that I can see in my face is palpable.

I have seen other bloggers document their journey with an array of pictures as they go through treatment. Some are simply pictures of meds, others are are more extensive--bruises on the belly, walking in for retrieval, abstract views of legs/feet as someone is on bed rest.

Of course I'd like to say I'd love to have pictures to show our children one day, after all of this is behind us. I want to be able to share many things: this blog, cards, letters, e-mails. But the thought of looking at pictures of a painful time may be too painful. I keep trying to think ahead to my future self: "Future self, do you want to have physical reminders of this phase of your life, whether the outcome is good or bad?"

I just don't know. Besides, what category in my shoe box would I put a picture labeled: "Mook injects hormones into JJ's butt" ?

As my ovaries start to ache with the presence of (hopefully) growing follicles, I realize I need to make a decision...the longer I wait, the more moments will go uncaptured. Should I be snapping?

She never made a video for this song, but if you have 2 minutes, I highly recommend watching Mya perform Take a Picture.

Sittin here thinkin of my yesterdays
Things weren't this crazy
I wasn't so emotional
I didn't cry at commercials
Sometimes I feel like a mess
And people laugh at how I dress
And sometimes I act like an ass
And watch sand through an hour glass

I wanna take a picture so I remember this moment forever
I wanna take a picture so I remember this moment together
So I can show my children one day...