Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Male Infertility Research & Acupuncture Question

Researching male infertility online is frustrating. DH hasn't had a vasectomy and he doesn't have azoospermia. I laugh when I read about someone having male infertility and their sperm count is over a million. I know it's low but we've never had a million in a count, not ever, not once. The highest we ever had was 980,000 and the lowest 9,000.

There's so much information out there about infertility and IVF but it seems like I can never find exactly what's up with us. I want to know that it worked for another couple exactly like us.

Favor: Tell me everything you know about acupuncture and FET. I keeping reading more and more about women who are doing this before their IVF and FET and I feel like I'm missing the boat. I am worried about needles being stuck in me. Did your doctor prescribe it or did you just decide on your own? Please share your experiences! Thanks ladies.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Surrogate Surprise

At my job, I deal with my kids and their parents. Last year, I noticed one of the moms was pregnant. It was a little odd since the youngest was already 8 but I figured they just wanted another and went for it. Today, I saw the mom for the first time since last summer. I asked about the two oldest kids and how they were doing. Then I asked, and how old is your youngest now? She gave me a confused look. Then she gave this, OH! look and said, "Well..." and my heart sank. I was thinking, OMG! I just asked how her baby was doing and she must of lost it or something happened. I'm such a horrible person!

I was trying to figure out how to recover when she said, "Actually, it was my sister's baby. I was just carrying it for her, I was a surrogate." Whew! The baby's fine-thank goodness! And how cool is that! I asked her if she did it in the area and she said yes. I then asked where at, but first I stated sorry if this is too personal, and guess what. Know what she told me? A TOTALLY DIFFERENT clinic than any of the others! I just have to laugh, how funny is that! So now, our current clinic included, we have 5 different options. I looked him up online and the website is very informative but included some pictures I could have done without. I'm really hoping we don't have to look too intensively at any of the other clinics. Praying for strong totsicles and thankful for ladies like the mom today whose willing to help us infertiles bring babies into the world.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The other clinic (with the doc that's not board certified) has a monthly webchat. I thought I'd hop on and check it out. It was SO interesting!!! However, it was like 20 women bomboarding the poor guy with all our questions so it was a bit slow. Anyways, here are some of the questions and answers I asked.

What do you do after a failed IVF? (Failed meaning no pregnancy)
After a failed cycle, I review the circumstances, the stimulation, length of the stimulation, egg quality, embryo quality, ease or difficulty in transfer & any other circumstances that might have impacted the result. I also consider running this battery of tests which I call both the "recurrent pregnancy loss panel" or "implantation failure panel"

Remember my ET story about my SUPER full bladder? Well I asked if he thought that had any effect on the result of our IVF?
At the end of the day, we will never know. We can only guess. I think it's very important for you to be comfortable during the transfer. In fact, most of the data about acupuncture revolves around transfer day. Generally speaking, the more difficult the transfer, the less likely success.

Are you board certified? (What can I say-I just straight up asked!)
I am board certified in OB/GYN, I have been practicing IVF since 1993, was first involved with IVF in 1985, and apprenticed with one of the world's leading fertility specialists for 10 years.

Fee for storage included in price or not? 2nd opinion included in $175 consult?
Freezing & storage is an additional fee of $500-$600 and it includes one year of storage. Then we transfer to a company called Reprotech whom we have found to be most reliable and reasonably priced. And as far as the consult, if you have insurance and a diagnosis that I can code without going to jail (heh), I'll bill it to your insurance.

One per month?
We currently only have one batched cycle per month.

What is batching?
Batching of cycles is a technique that has developed in the fertility world that seems to bring a lot of benefits. Patients prior to cycle are put on birth control pills when they start their period. Some remain on it for just 3 weeks, some up to 5 weeks. Everyone stops on the same day, so they are "batched" together. This has benefits for the patients and is helpful for the work in the clinic, the quality control in the lab.

Success rates?
Not everyone gets pregnant, unfortunately. Our success rates will be published in Jan of 2012 by the CDC - that is my understanding. Having said that, I would say we are doing above the national average, especially with poor responders, where our results are astonishing.

IVF success with male factor?
Male factor represents over 30% of our patients and I would have to say that it is probably in line with the rest of our success - that is, above the national average. We routinely perform ICSI. We have made beautiful embryos and pregnancies from TESE sperm. I feel that we can offer the best possible care for just about any male diagnosis.

Random comment: I have hundreds and hundreds of PCOS patients. I also have been using Metformin in this part of the world longer than anybody because I fought with WU's department chief in the 1990s over its use! I have the first Metformin babies in this area. I am a big believer in its liberal use - of course, as long as there's no history of kidney disease.

Egg donor?
General rules for egg donors are under age 32, BMI under 35 because "obesity" is often associated with PCOS, which is associated in turn with poorer egg quality.

See interesting, isn't it? Some things I liked, some things I didn't and some things I was indifferent on.

*Follow-up after failed IVF.
*Egg donor.

*Frozen storage-don't like moving the tots around but that's just me.

*Batching-not sure I'd want to be on BCP for 5 weeks.
*Board certified answer.

The random comment has nothing to do with me but the doctor he fought is at my current clinic. I know longer really look at success rates, as you know Dr. Val's figures are always 50-50 and we always seem to be on the bad side of the 50. And, of course, not everyone gets prego but the "poster kids" are the ones that do. I thought his answer about my full bladder was an interesting one...

It was eye-opening, gave me info to think about and some questions that my current clinic hasn't been able to give. I did follow up with the egg donation thing and I'll do a seperate post about that later.

Side note: Three periods post IVF and I'm still irritated. First cycle was 31 days, second cycle was 26 days and the cycle that FINALLY started today, 30 days!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And Yet ONE MORE Clinic!!!

My second grade teacher just shared news with me that her son and DIL got pregnant through YET ANOTHER clinic in our area. She knew we were stuggling and didn't tell me! I found out through a comment someone left on her FB page. She said she didn't want to tell me because it was right when we got our BFN. This is the first "known" avoidance pregnancy announcement and it really hurt BUT at least now I've found out about YET ANOTHER.

I looked at their website, requested pricing and found out that Dr. Dub-ya likes golf, tennis and chess. Yes, this was on his website. Also on his website, right on top where you can't miss it, "Board Certified Reproductive Endocinologist." Looks like he's at the OTHER hospital in town-seriously, there's like 5 major hospitals if not more.

Whew! I'm exhausted. Good thing I don't have to worry about this for awhile and hopefully won't EVER have to!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ANOTHER Clinic! And Our Decision

So after fretting about the "other" clinic and our current clinic, my co-worker tells me ANOTHER clinic and how much she LOVES them. Sigh...MORE DECISIONS!!! They are through another hospital and this doctor IS bored certified and they are still closer than our current clinic. I haven't called for any info yet but it's only the ONE doctor, like the "other" clinic. So points to the "other" and the "another" clinic, is that it's just ONE doctor and not a crapshoot which doctor you'll get like at our current clinic.

DH and I have talked and discussed and talked and discussed more and we've made our decision. Our totsicles are snug as a bug in a rug at our current clinic. We know the staff there, we know the procedure, we don't want to risk moving our tots around or if it fails, questioning what if we had stayed. So at this point, we're going to go ahead with our FET at our current clinic and pray and hope and cross our fingers, toes, legs, eyes that our totsicles get inside me safe and sound and grow grow grow!

Now let me talk about the $175 consult at the "other" clinic and why I'm having a hard time accepting that fee. I know in the big scheme of $13,000, $175 is NOTHING but here goes my 'plaining. Okay, based off our current clinic and the research I've done, I truly and 100% believe that IVF is the only way DH and I will have a child together. I feel that my body responded "beautifully" to the protocol they had me on, I mean 16 eggs and 5 embryos is nothing to frown about! So I, in my non-medical opinion, believe that any other clinic we go to is going to agree, yes, IVF is the answer and they'll probably put me on the same/similiar protocol. Our decision to move will be based on location, price and personality. Location-we already know. Pricing-we can find out before a consult. So this is where I have an issue paying $175 to decide whether or not I like the doctor's personality or not.

So the game plan is, if the FET fails, it'll be at least 1-2 years before we can do a fresh IVF cycle again since insurance pays nothing. When we feel that we can financially try again then we'll meet with both the "other" and "another" clinic and decide what's best for us at that point. So there, problem solved and decision delayed for 1-2 years or hopefully not at all!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


First off, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! I'm hoping that 28 is going to be a fantastic year for me so stay tuned to see if it is or not.

Secondly, check out this link. RESOLVE, which is the National Infertility Association, asked for submissions from ladies going through IF about whose been by their side through all the ups and downs. There's been SO many but the ones I decided to focus on were...YOU!!! You all have been awesome and I love you all so much. So head over here and check out what I wrote. I'm the first story on the page and they're looking for more submissions.

Thanks ladies for being AMAZING!!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Conversation II

Seriously, I'm sitting here in my living room CRYING the day before my birthday because some people just don't get it. Back story: My parents are divorced. They don't really talk. They don't get along. It's been over 15 years.

A few minutes ago, my mom calls me to tell me she ran into my dad at the grocery store and she thinks she said something she wasn't supposed to. Great...Somehow they got started talking about me and the "baby situation." One of them said, "What do you think about A?" and the other said, "I wish she'd have a baby." This was said really for me, not because of grandparent status.

Dad: I wish she'd just calm down and something would happen.
Mom: Well, um...based off the percentages they've told me, I don't think they'll be able to naturally have a baby.
Dad looks at her like she doesn't know what she's talking about.
Mom: Well, hopefully something will happen this summer.
Dad: Summer?
Mom: Yes, that's when they're trying again.

So now my mother told my dad something that's not true and he's probably upset with me. I have told BOTH of them as well as everyone else, that we'll be trying something in the fall...not summer.

It also frustrates me that my dad thinks I should just "stay calm and something would happen." I don't know how many ways to get through to him and my in-laws that I WILL NOT BE GETTING PREGNANT NATURALLY IN THIS LIFETIME!!! Let go of the hope, stop telling me to stay calm and pray about it-IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, not that way!

Now I have a headache and tears streaming down my face, I can't get ahold of DH, I called and vented to my sister who was in the middle of Old Navy so she couldn't do much and the dogs are driving me bananas barking outside. Proof again that one phone call can change your mood.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Remember during and before our IVF process, I told you all about how my in-laws were urging us to tell other people? When DH and I first started going through this, it was a very private process and we weren't going to tell anyone, which is part of the reason I started this private and annoymous blog (which really is no longer but hey-whatev!).

Well, they kept pushing and pushing and wouldn't drop it so fine, we started telling people. Everyone was excited and praying for us and it was nice to have the support and not have to "hide" our secret.

A couple weeks ago, DH and his dad were working at their farm. Their conversation as relayed from DH:

FIL: So when are you guys going to try again?
DH: Sometime this fall.
FIL: Last time you went through it, you told so many people and they got all excited and then it didn't work. Why'd you tell so many people?
DH: Because you and mom pushed us too!
FIL: Must've been your mother, I didn't say anything. I think when you try again, you should just do it and not tell anyone.
DH: Then why did you just ask when we were going to try again?

AGH!!! Seriously!?! Tell people, don't tell people! It's OUR life, it's OUR journey, its OUR decision! Yes, I know many people got excited just like us. Yes, I know many people were disappointed, just like us. When we got the call about the BFN, I told DH when we did this again, we weren't going to tell a SOUL, NO ONE!

And that, my friends, is our plan. Mum's the word so please don't ask and PLEASE don't tell me how disappointed/upset you were with our BFN, I think DH and I understand.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Prayer Journal

Today is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. I did a whole post on my non-IF blog about what I was giving up and adding. I'll be giving up potatoes, complimenting my husband every day for 40 days and trying to attend church every week during Lent. I will also be starting a prayer journal which I wanted to expand on. I find that on my IF blog here, I tend to me a little more open and let my real thoughts and feelings out. So here goes, the reasoning behind the prayer journal:

For the prayer journal, this one is tough for me. I've always been a Christian, I've always believed in God but I haven't always felt I had the "right" to pray. I don't lead a perfect Christian life, I don't normally attend church on a regular basis and someone wants to talk to be about God? I tend to shy away. Just writing this post is tough for me! I mean I've only mentioned religion a handful of times on this blog and I'm always worried what kind of comments I'm going to get from it. When I attend church, I feel like I have the "right" to pray but when I'm not, I feel guilty asking God for help or things. I've had this attitude for YEARS!!! I can remember my dad and I discussing this during high school.

After our failed IVF right at Christmas time and going through all of 2010 questioning WHY to everything, I realized that I can't get through all this without God or without prayers. I needed to pray, not for a baby, a BFP or anything along those lines but for patience, guidance, understanding. I needed to pray to be a happier me, to be someone I loved. When things happened to my friends or family, I wanted to pray for them but never felt I had the "right." So in 2011, I started praying....for friends, for family, for me, giving thanks, praising him for answered prayers. My prayer list is getting kind of long, both in the need area and the thanksgiving area too. So for Lent, I want to start a prayer journal. Some place to list out my prayers in details, to write what happens with those prayers whether they get answered how I ask or maybe another way. I think this will help me to keep all the prayers I have straight and it will be a place that I can look back and see how good God is with all the praises and thanks that I list in this book.

There you have it, my game plan for Lent. So tell me...what are you giving up or adding to your life for Lent this year?

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I already posted this on my non-IF blog so sorry if you're reading this again BUT I wanted to share with my great IF friends because I think you should do this too.

Okay, so for the past 1+ year, I've really had an issue with my self-image. It's horrible! I've wanted to blog about it but I didn't want it to come off as a pity post just to get comments that "I'm great!"

Well a couple weeks ago, I woke up feeling down about a comment that DH made to me (hey, we all hurt each other feelings from time to time even if by accident), and hopped on FB. My good 'ole friend (and very CUTE friend at that!) S had on his FB status, "Compliment Yourself! Share something great or one of the favorite qualities about yourself."

Ten hours later, he posted another status, "There are 2800+ friends on my list and when asked to compliment yourselves, 15 hits??? That's all? If this were a trivial comment or something negative we'd JUMP on it. Give yourself Shine! Write it, then read it so you believe it. Compliment Yourself =) Share something great or one of the favorite qualities about yourself."

How true is that? We're all over statuses/blog posts that we disagree with or that come across negative but asked to compliment ourselves and we can't think of a single thing. Maybe it's because we're too hard on ourselves, maybe it's because we're afraid of coming across as cocky but today, I say WHO CARES!!! My challenge for you is to leave a comment COMPLIMENTING YOURSELF! Tell me about your great hair, your awesome personality, your pretty eyes and NO DISCLAIMERS! Just tell it like it is! I'll get us started:

*I'm proud of myself for coming this far in our IF journey. It's made me feel strong and special despite all the other feelings I have because of IF.
*If I say I'm going to do something, I will.
*I'm loyal.

Okay, so there, I complimented myself so now it's your turn...what makes you SHINE???

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Twit

I follow the "other" clinic on Twitter. They post random articles here and there, some I read, some I don't. Every single time I've commented on one of their tweets, someone has commented back to me. This always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside especially since my clinic doesn't email and most of our communication is done via voicemail.

On President's Day, they posted a link to an article about how milk can help increase your sperm count. I responded, "DH would drink a gallon of milk a night if I let him and his sperm count still sucks." Seriously, if I bought 7 gallons of milk a week, he'd drink all of them and I would get none! Anyways, so they comment back, "That's what makes infertility so challenging. What works beautifully for one falls totally flat with another. Frustrating." I respond back with, "So far nothing has worked beautifully for us!" Later in the day, they tweeted how alcohol consumption can reduce the success of IVF (duh!), I commented with, DH and I had ZERO alcohol three months prior to our IVF and got a BFN. I should have just let it go but it was a rough day!

The next day I check my email and I have a direct message on Twitter from them, "So sorry you've struggled w/infertility & IVF. Is there anything we can do to help? Info? Support groups? We want to help." Do you know how many times my clinic has offered a support group? None.

I replied back, "Thx! DH & I are discussing what to do next including a consult w/ you. Sry to be a downer yesterday, some days are harder than others."

Their reply, "No need to apologize at all! Infertility has been found to be as emotionally difficult as cancer diagnosis. We're here for you." Know what Dr. Val said to me after telling us IVF was the only way for us to have a child of our own? "Why are you crying?"

I've gotten more personal attention from the "other" clinic than my own JUST through Twitter!!!

I did find out that at the "other" clinic, you have to pay $175 for your first consult-which I'm having trouble swallowing. I'll post more about that at another time though.