Day 3 report card

30 09 2012

Two 8-cell grade As

two 8-cell grade Bs

one each C & D, which were defragmented to try and help….

Already doing better quality-wise than my prior cycle with Sher, never got to 8 cells…



Report card, day 2

28 09 2012

1 died without fertilizing.

1 just matured and got ICSI fertilized today so will get graded tomorrow as day 1.

1 is a 2 cell grade C.

2 are 4 cell grade Bs.

2 are 4 cell grade As.

please keep praying and wishing them well!

All seven!!! :)

28 09 2012

The four who were mature are fertilized.  They matured one by last night, which is also fertilized… and then this evening we learned that the last two *also* matured and were fertilized.  Now we are just waiting and praying.  Grow embryos grow… thank you God and Mother Mary.  God is great, God is good.

Just seven.

26 09 2012

Seven eggs retrieved.  Seven, out of at least double that number of follicles.  Actually I was told only six when I was in recovery (from ER, today) but Dr Braverman called me back and told me Carlo the embryologist managed to find one more.  Four ripe, three being matured via in vitro maturation.  Dr B says it’s a sign of poor egg quality.  I’m vacillating between pissed, distraught, grateful that I got even that many… though last time (in May– when I was thirty nine– can it make that big a difference?) I had 13 eggs, 11 ripe, 9 fertilized…


I feel like Shelob…

24 09 2012

Remember, the big spider in Lord of the Rings (also in “It” by Stephen King) who was dragging a big fat sac full of eggs?

I’m not complaining really, just noting. 

Here we are in Long Island and I have loved every minute so far.  Got in Friday, staying with my cousins Joey and Kathy, and we’ve been in the lap of family ever since.  Dr. Braverman is SO nice, and I am very happy with their handling of me and my case so far. 

Tonight is trigger night 🙂  I have at least 7 good-sized, symmetrically-developing follicles on each ovary, and I go in to the Manhattan IVF clinic (Gramercy Fertility near Union Sq) on Wednesday at 630am for egg retrieval.  I think we’ve decided to let them grow till day 5 before vitrification, and we’ll come back for a FET later.  When depends on how aggressively I want to treat the cytokine problem.  If just with IVIg, then mid-November.  If I want to do IVIg + Humira, that means one shot in two weeks, second shot in two more weeks, wait 3 weeks, then retest, and if need be, a second go-round with Humira.  Dr. B says it depends whether I want to throw the sink at it now or not.

Dr. Braverman released me from gluten and dairy restrictions on Friday, so my cousin Joey (proprietor of several pizzzerias) made us homemade gourmet pies for dinner.  A clam pie, a fresh mozzarella-tomato-olive-prosciutto pie, and one with just herbed goat cheese on the crust, melted, then sprinkled with fresh arugula, red onion, and balsamic glaze.  SO good.  Also we ate at a Colombian restaurant called Pollo El Paisa– my simple humble roast chicken with rice was ridiculously good thanks to the chimichurri and the caramelized onions… and the rice made with butter and garlic… Mmmmm!

But for right now, my belly feels distended and I have to lean back a bit in my chair.  Last dose of Gonal F tonight and I’m really excited.  And hopeful.

How to pray for fertility

20 09 2012

This series of thoughts comes from Stacey on her blog. I am grateful that she put these quotations together in such a strong way and was willing to let me share.

First she recounted some lessons learned about Hannah’s prayer which she attributed to this site:

Hannah’s prayer had four characteristics:

(a) It was sharply focused.

Hannah’s prayer was direct. She prayed to God to give her a son. Her request was unconditional.

(b) It brought her misery to the LORD.

She said in all honesty: “if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me….” Hannah told God how she felt. It doesn’t hurt to tell God when we are upset, disappointed or sad. Hannah felt better after her prayer. We read that: She went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. v18.

(c) It appealed to God’s grace.

Hannah did not complain to God. She didn’t say to God, “It’s not fair! All Hannah did was ask – the grace of God did the rest. God does not owe us anything. He sent us his own son to be our Saviour and Redeemer and we shall ever be in his debt for this indescribable gift. Whenever we petition God we must throw ourselves upon his grace. We should depend upon God’s goodness alone for answers to our prayers.

(d) It addressed her master.

Hannah was aware of the privileges of her relationship with God. She prayed: “If you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me…..” A faithful servant puts her Lord’s interest first but a good master acknowledges an obligation of care to his handmaid. Christians are not only servants of God but also his children. Jesus says: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Mt7v11.

And then, from the wonderful, but now closed, website Shanan Trail, Stacey also reposted this:

First, human value is not bestowed by one’s ability to reproduce. Human beings get their worth from the fact that we are created in God’s image and loved enough that Jesus died for us on the cross.

Be committed to fervent prayer concerning issues with infertility. It is God, not human technology that opens the womb.

Infertility will cause your countenance to fall! Genesis 6:7 teaches us that we are at risk of sinning when we are angry and hurt by the circumstance in our life. God told Cain, “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” How can we make sure we don’t follow Cain? Stay closely connected to your power source! “Lord, open my womb,” takes less than 2 seconds. The rest of your prayer should be focused on asking God to adjust your heart so that you can choose well. While struggling with infertility, pride and jealousy are especially bothersome sins. I am not more worthy of conceiving than a teenager, welfare mom, or a mom that already has a lot of children. In God’s economy, our worth is identical.

Don’t complain to others (not even your husband) about your lost dreams and sorrows. I am not talking about being dishonest with others. But there is a huge difference between stating, “We are praying for a baby,” and complaining. Complaining is grumbling and insinuating that God has not been fair. It makes others uncomfortable and, more importantly, misrepresents God. God is sufficient to carry your burdens; leave them at the cross.

Finally, learn to be content with the blessings God has given you already. Focus on what God has given you and how you can be a good steward of your time, talents and treasures to be a blessing to others.

Thank you ladies.  Much appreciated.

Trying to be the new me.

20 09 2012

I’ve been doing so much soul-searching lately as hubs and I have traveled this lonely road… I am being drawn closer to God, and I’m urging myself to pull myself closer.  I am really trying to do the right things, feel the right ways, be patient, trust God, align my will with His.  And yet I find that with this first hiccup (HAHAHA, I mean first hiccup with this IVF cycle) I’m back to sadness and worry and panicky-mode almost.  Pretty pathetic.  I mean, if I’m really following God’s will and truly wanting “thy will be done,” this stuff (finding out no embryo transfer next month and that my inflammation is even higher) should be no biggie.

And yet, it sometimes seems like it’s leaning towards “biggie.”  I’m very good at catching myself when I lean so I haven’t crossed over yet (which I’m sure a therapist or two would frown at.)  It’s just that when I need to cry, I’ll give it a good cry, and if I can stave that off a little ways, I’d rather.  Because I can get so much more done at work (researching IVIg and Humira, ahem, I mean working) when I’m focused and purposeful.

I have been saying the Rosary every morning during my walks, and now I’m attending Mass every morning too.  I find its meditative space is ideal for the kind of work I need to do, spiritually and mentally.  One of the things I am paying attention to, as I listen to the readings and prayers, is how often the ones we are told are sinless are still very human. 

  • Jesus actually asks God to change plans midcourse, if possible– though he follows up with “unless that’s what we have to do and then, okay, I’m with you.”  (Sorry if my informality annoys.. sometimes, God and his minions speak like modern people when I am doing the thinking.) 
  • Mary, conceived immaculately (meaning without original sin), was “full of grace” and sinless in Catholic doctrine– and still when the angel comes to talk with her, she says something loosely translated as “What are you talking about? I’m a virgin, you nut.” 
  • Later at the wedding in Cana, she asks Jesus to make more wine, and when he tells her it’s not yet time to reveal himself, she doesn’t backtrack or change her request– I’m sure she just looked at him with those big brown eyes and he went right to work making miracles. 

So I know from just those examples that it’s totally okay to question God, to ask why, to need explanations, and to even request favors and surcease from pain.  As long as you always finish up with something like “But yeah, that’s just my thought on the matter… whatever you want is good.”  So I am always saying that, and always trying to mean it.  Sometimes more than others.

This morning I found a way to think of the news from yesterday that was almost like hindsight… I told myself that if I hadn’t been forging this closer connection with God and Mother Mary and all the patron saints I’m pestering, I might not have been cycling with Dr. Braverman, or been so willing to just go along with his suggestion.  And then I might have dropped the only blasts I’d ever make (or whatever) into a redhot furnace of a uterus just snapping its cytokines in hungry anticipation.  Instead, I’m blessed with modern medical technology and wise doctors all around, so hopefully this is just a hiccup, another delay, on the road to … a big round belly, fat(ter) ankles, raccoon mask, and nausea. 


A good prayer, one of many that I begin and end my day with.

“O my God, I thank you for this cross you have allowed me to carry.  Please give me the strength and faith to persevere so that I may bring glory to your name while withstanding the burden of its weight.  Thank you for offering me a share in your suffering.  I know that you have always been, are now, and ever will be, at my side every step of the way.  Thank you also for every “Simon” that you have sent to help me bear this cross.  I have prayed so often that this thorn in my flesh would be removed, but I trust that your grace is sufficient.  Change my heart’s troubled cry of “How long, O Lord?” to “However long, O Lord.”  May I seek only to do your will and to unite my sufferings with your passion.  Help me to not get lost in my own self-concerns, but may I find in these trials a way to greater virtue, a call to prayer and a path to trust in you alone.  Permit me not to waste my pain, but to make of these struggles a sacrificial offering for others.  Lord, when I am weary and I fall, exhausted under the weight of this cross, please give me the courage to press on as you did.  Lord Jesus, I embrace with love my cross, as a share in your own.  By your grace, may I carry it all the way to the vision of your glory.  I abandon myself totally to your will.  Jesus, I trust in you.  Amen.”

(by Pedro de la Cruz)

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