Thursday, July 30, 2009

To my baby

Dear little one:

You have done such a great job, I am so proud of you- you have survived 5 days in the lab and grown big and strong, now you are back home where you belong, with me. Please stick around for a few more months, 9 to be exact. Daddy and I are so in love with you already- I cannot stop looking at your first baby picture, one day I will show it to you and explain the journey that brought us to you.
I love you with all my heart and cannot wait to meet you, hold you and love you.

All my love,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Our blast and future child

We had our embryo transfer this afternoon. We transferred one great looking blast- and two others will be frozen tomorrow. Our doctor stated that we should transfer one because of the great quality and my young age. He said that transferring two really only increases our chances of having twins. Our clinic specializes in single embryo transfers (SET) because they do a special test (embryo marker expression test) to check and see which embryos have the best chances of implanting, all three of our blasts scored well on the test. So here's to a few days of rest and relaxation.
Please God let this be it!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fertilization Report!

I can barely keep the tears from flowing as I write this, but wait, they are tears of JOY!! I was not expecting to hear from the doctor until this afternoon, but lone and behold he called at about 10AM this morning. When he called he said, Hey Shannon it's Dr. F I have your fert report then he said "are you sitting down" I though oh no, here it comes bad news. But no, he said first off all 10 eggs were mature- there was one that was a little slow- but it caught up so we were 10 for 10 for mature eggs, and then on top of that we had a 100% fertilization rate- all 10 eggs fertilized!
I think my heart stopped when he said that! He said they are going to do the marker test, which helps them pick the best embryos to transfer- and we are still pushing out for a 5 day transfer on Tuesday, other than that I didn't hear anything else, I just kept saying 'thank you so much' over and over and then hung up and burst into tears. I am so happy! I know we still have a long way to go, but this was great news and I need to just enjoy this for the time being.

I cannot beleive what a change from our last IVF- we had a 50% fert rate before, so to go from a 50% to a 100% is huge! I think it's a combination of better quality eggs, a better lab, and fertilizing the eggs sooner.

Wow, just wow that's all I have to say right now, I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Dear eggs letter:

You have heard of a Dear John letter, well this is a twist on that- I call this my Dear Eggs letter.

Dear Little Eggies:

Thank you for growing the last week and coming out healthy and strong. Daddy and I love you so much already. We know that you are going to all fertilize and divide and grow to be rockstar embryos so we can put you back into my nice ware uterus for you to grow and thrive for 9 months. I know that you cannot wait to come home with us, but I need you to be strong and grow in the lab for the next 5 days, so snuggle into your petri dish for the time being, and in just a few days I will bring you home and never let you go.

Love you lots,

First PIO shot tonight!

Tonight I did my first PIO (progesterone in oil) shot. These are considered the devil shots in the infertility world. Honestly it was not that bad, it was much better in my mind that it was in reality. It's definaltey a large needle and it's thick, because it's oil, but it's not that bad.

I have read such horror stories online about it and watched horror videos about it on You Tube that I was scared to death. My suggestion would be to others is DO NOT research it. As much of a message board junkie I am, I love, stay away from reading the posts about the shots. Just suck it up and judge for yourself. The PIO and the Lovenex injections were not as bad as everyone made them out to be.

Good luck!

Egg Retrevial today!

Today was my egg retreival for IVF #2 it went very smooth and I have almost no pain afterwards. I came home and slept for several hours and feel pretty good right now (about 6 hours post retreival) they got 10 eggs, 9 of which were mature. It's a good number, our doctor was expecting 13- but obviously 3 follicles did not contain an egg. We are still waiting to see if that final egg was mature or not- so we may have 10 out of 10. I am happy with 9 mature eggs though- hopefully they will be better quality then last time. I am counting the hours down to our first fert report to hear how things look this time. We had a horrible fertilization rate last time so I will be interested to hear this time. I pray things are different. This IVF has gone so fast, I feel like I have not had any time to think about it, which I think is a good thing, I almost feel numb, like I am just going through the motions. Maybe that's my way of dealing with things so I don't get hurt anymore.

Tonight I start my PIO shots- I am scared- that needle is so big!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

WOW! Stimming fast this time.

I had my ultrasound today to check my follicle process after 6 days on stims, and I have 16 follicles that are looking to be mature, with a few lagging behind. I cannot believe it! I am on a lower dose of meds this time and for less days and I have more eggs, who knew!? I think it was the Menopur that screwed me up last time, the Luveris seems to be working much better for me. I go back tomorrow for another ultrasound and I should be triggering tomorrow night and my egg retrieval should be on Thursday. So excited!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

4 shots a day!

Today I added yet another yet to my drug use, my Luveris. This is a new drug for me, my last cycle I used Menopur. My new doctor feels that the Menopur is way wrong for me, and that it damaged my eggs, he feels the Luveris will be better for me, and it helps with getting better egg quality.

The shot itself was easy, its in the belly and the medicine doesn't hurt at all. I really feel that I could have a serious career as a druggie if I ever needed to. As bad as that sounds it's so true. My PIO came today, which is the progesterone in oil, and I am a bit scared of that. Its a big needle and the medicine is thick, it's an oil, and it goes in your butt so I am not looking forward to that, but I don't start that for awhile.

I have my first ultrasound to check my follicle growth on Monday, I am excited to see how I am progressing, in the past I have been a slow responder- so I am expecting my dosage to be increased, but we shall see.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 2 of Lovenex Injections

I could barely sleep on Sunday night because I was so terrified of my first Lovenex injection that I had to give myself on Monday morning. Well, much to my surprise it was super easy. Its a sub q injection- so it's given in the belly- where the fat is, and its a small needle. It doesn't burn, but it does sting a little when it's done, but nothing that I could not handle. I watched a video on youtube, which totally freaked me out- the girl in the video stated that to avoid bruising you should put the needle in very slowly, not pinch the skin and inject the medicine very slowly.

I have to disagree with the video- I say pinch the fat- hold the needle like a dart and go for it and inject. The syringes are prefilled and they have a very springy plunger- s it's very easy to inject quickly. I say screw the bruises- who cares if you get a bruise- it's your belly.

I was seriously so upset for no reason, they were a piece of cake. I will have no problem doing these shots for 9 months- hey if it gives us a healthy baby, I will do anything.

Monday, July 13, 2009

IVIg alternative- Intralipids

For those women who need IVIg therapy but cannot afford the heafty price tag that comes with it will be happy to know that SIRM doctors ar pioneering the field and have had great success with Intralipid treatment.

SIRM physicians have long advocated aggressive treatment of immunologic implantation dysfunction in women undergoing IVF. In cases where there has been Natural Killer Cell activation (Nka) (as evidenced by an abnormal K562 target cell test) we have championed the use of IVIG to down-regulate (deactivate) the Nka. In this manner, many women who otherwise might not have achieved success with IVF have gone from infertility to family.

Adviating the use of IVIG over the last decade, has come at a considerable price. Clearly, women requiring IVIG have been concerned about the cost (more than $4000 per dosage), reported side effects and, given the HIV/hepatitis scare, have been reluctant to receive a blood product. To make matters worse, under-informed critics have for unexplained reasons played on such unfounded fear often raising it to the level of alarm. The fact is that over the years we have administered IVIG to thousands of women, without a single report of viral transmission and few significant (but always transient) side effects.

About a year ago reports began to surface regarding a low cost (about ten times less than IVIG) synthetic product called Intralipid, which upon being infused more than a week prior to embryo transfer would lower Nka and further more, was virtually free of side effects.

About a year ago, we began evaluating the effect of Intralipid in patients who had activated Natural Killer cells, and for whom IVIG therapy would otherwise be indicated.
Thus far we have treated more than 30 women with Nka using Intralipid 20%. More than 60% of the patients achieved viable ongoing pregnancies, showing Intralipid therapy to be at least as effective (and perhaps even more so) than IVIG. There were no significant side effects and patient tolerance of this treatment was high.

Against this background, SIRM physicians have collectively decided to virtually abandon further use of IVIG, in favor of Intralipid.

Below are some clinical details about Intralipid:

Intralipid (IL), is a synthetic product composed of 10% soybean oil, 1,2% egg yolk phospholipids, 2.25% glycerin and water. Based on research performed at SIRM and elsewhere, infusion of IL lowers Natural Killer cell activation (Nka) as effectively as does, intravenous gammaglobulin (IVIG.) When indicated IL (as with IVIG) is infused 7-10 days prior to ET and one more time again after a positive pregnancy in women whose Nka is due to an autoimmune causes (antiphospholipid antibodies and/or antithyroid antibodies). In cases of alloimmune implantation dysfunction (DQa and/ HLA matching between the embryo recipient and the male partner) the same applies but in this situation the infusion is repeated at 2-4 week intervals until the 24th week of pregnancy.
SIRM physicians have supplanted IVIG with IL therapy in a significant number of women undergoing IVF , and who had immunologic embryo implantation dysfunction. The results thus far have been excellent, way beyond our initial expectations.
At last we now have a safe and inexpensive alternative to IVIG therapy...Intralipid! What is more, IL costs about 10 times less than IVIG, is not a blood product and is without significant side effects.

So there is now hope for women who need IVIg treatment, but cannot afford it. To get more informaiton about Intralipids and the nearest SIRM center visit,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

What is IVIg Therapy?

Having to go through one miscarriage can be terribly upsetting; experiencing multiple miscarriages can be devastating. However, depending on the reason for your recurrent pregnancy loss, treatment may be available to help you maintain a pregnancy. Intravenous immunoglobulin G (IVIg) is an intravenous drug given to women prior to conception through to the sixth month of pregnancy. Although it won’t help all women, those who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss due to autoimmune factors may find that IVIg is just what they need to maintain their pregnancy.

Using donor blood that has been washed and processed, IVIg is made up of human-derived antibodies. These antibodies help to keep your immune system from recognizing an embryo or fetus as foreign and attacking it. More specifically, IVIg aids in minimizing the actions of natural killer (NK) cells. Amplified levels of NK cells can prevent an embryo from implanting as well as interfere with the proper development of the placenta, which in turn prevents the embryo from developing normally. All of these factors can result in a miscarriage.

Precisely how IVIg works is not entirely clear. It is thought that the drug may block those antibodies that cause your body to reject a pregnancy. However, it is also speculated that IVIg may work by soaking up and defusing the harmful antibodies that can interfere with a pregnancy.

In general, women who have elevated levels of natural killer cells resulting in recurrent miscarriages are thought to benefit the most from IVIg treatment. Yet, recent research has also shown a connection between increased natural killer cell activity and antiphospholipid antibodies (APA): it appears that those with APA are more likely to have elevated NK cells.

Typically, women whose miscarriage problems were linked with APA were treated exclusively with heparin and aspirin. Because of the relationship between APA and NK cells, however, more fertility specialists are testing women affected by APA for NK cells as well. If there are elevated levels of NK cells, then these women will likely be treated with IVIg instead of the common treatments for APA.

In general, IVIg therapy should be started from the first month of pregnancy and continue until the 28th week of pregnancy. However, there is some evidence to suggest that administering IVIg infusions even before pregnancy occurs may be beneficial in preventing miscarriage. IVIg therapy is often done monthly and doses can be given anywhere from one to three consecutive days.

Because IVIg is administered intravenously, to receive this treatment, an IV catheter will be inserted into a vein in your hand or lower arm. This will allow the IVIg solution to slowly drip into the vein and enter your system. Although IVIg can be administered in your home under the supervision of a nurse, the very first time you receive treatment you will need to visit your fertility specialist. The first infusion is always done in a clinical setting under proper supervision in case you experience a severe reaction to the drug.

In order to guard against unpleasant side effects, IVIg infusion must be done slowly. This means that one session can take several hours to complete. However, if you seem to be dealing with the treatment well with minimal side effects, it may be possible to complete treatment sessions sooner. Just how much IVIg a person should receive can vary as dosage is calculated according to your weight.

IVIg can greatly improve your chances of having a successful pregnancy after recurrent miscarriage. Some studies have shown a success rate as high at 80% with the use of IVIg therapy. However just like fertility treatments this therapy comes with a hefty price tag.
Depending on how much IVIg is required for your treatment, each dose could cost as much as $1500. This means that receiving IVIg therapy during your pregnancy could cost in excess of $10,000. Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not cover IVIg therapy (although it doesn’t hurt to contact your insurance provider to double check). As a result, not every couple will be able to afford this treatment.

There are some alternatives to this therapy that are more affordable for women, I will discuss these alternatives in our next blog entry so stay tuned for some valuable information.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I had an apifiny today!

I was talking to my friend and co worker- today is her grandson's 5th birthday and she was saying how the sun rises and sets in his eyes, and she is so serious! She is so in love with her first grandson Tyler its adorable. Now, Tyler has a brother Gavin and he is almost 3 years old. I asked her if she loved Tyler more- and she said yes and no. She said he will always be her first grandchild and that holds a special place in her heart. Now let me say that she reminds me so much of my mother- it's almost scary. And that's when it hit me! I now realize why my step sister having a baby before me bothers me.
First off my mom and I are super duper close, like almost too close! Now I am an only child, but I have 2 step sisters. One of my step sister's is not married and she is not close with my mom at all. My other step sister lives in NC (which is about 3 hours from my mom) and she is pregnant with twins. Now she is close with my mom, not as close I am, but still somewhat close. And it bothers me that my mom will have her children first and grandchildren and they will be so close to her.
Now my step sister is very close with her mother, who lives in Florida, so I know that those babies will be much closer to my step sisters mother then to my mother. But in a way I am mad that my sister is making my mom a grandmother before me, its the ITS MY MOMMY and I want to make her a grandma first.

I know that my step sister is not blood related to my mother, and I am her baby, per say- but still it's hard. I think also the fact that my step sister is close to my mother and I am 3000 miles away is hard. I hope that I can make my mom a grandma soon, becasue she will be such a great grandma. I think part of why I want to be a mom so bad is because I have such a great one, and all the love that I have to give needs to go somewhere.

So this was my realization today, it all makes sence now. I explained this to my friend who said she agreed with me, but not to worry to much, she said once the babies come, both my sisters and mine we will just all seem like one big happy family. I know my mom has enough love to go around, she has a big heart!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lovin Lovenex!

Yeah right! More drugs came in the mail today. First off I must say how much I love our insurance- I paid a whopping $50 for all my Lovenex and my Luveris- they are both very expensive drugs and I am very grateful to have insurance coverage for all of it.
But can I say the Lovenex injections are kinda scaring me. They look like little guns-at least they are small needles- and they are sub q shots- so they go in the belly. I just keep hearing how bad the medicine hurts. I will do whatever it takes to get pregnant and carry our child to term, so this really isn't not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but goodness how much does one person have to go through to have a baby. Not only do I have to go through IVF, but I have to shoot myself up with drugs on a daily basis. Poor John thank god I don't have to ask him to give me my shots for me, because he can't even stand to be in the room when I do it. I think it's more he feels bad for me because all he has to do is jizz in a cup.

This is my first time with the Lovenex and I really hope this change helps things, I keep hearing how good it is to have the medicine before you get pregnant when you have the clotting disorder I have. So here's to the lovin the Lovenex and may it do its job!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Paying tribute to "the best daddy"

I think the entire world's hearts cried today with the Jackson family and especially when little 11 year old Paris Jackson stood up at her fathers memorial service to pay tribute to her father, who she called "the best daddy". Today Michael's daughter came out from the behind the veil and the masks that Michael Jackson kept her behind for years and years and put the dad hat on her dad. For once we all saw Michael as a dad, a person, not just a persona or the "King of Pop".

Rest in Peace Michael.

Lab Created Sperm?!

A team of British scientists have claimed to have created human sperm using embryonic stem cells, in a medical first that they say will lead to a better understanding of fertility.

Researchers led by Professor Karim Nayernia at Newcastle University and the NorthEast England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) developed a new technique that allows the creation of human sperm in the laboratory.

They stressed that the sperm, developed from stem cells with XY chromosomes (male), would not be used for fertility treatment, as this is prohibited by British law and in any case is not their main interest.

"This is an important development as it will allow researchers to study in detail how sperm forms and lead to a better understanding of infertility in men -- why it happens and what is causing it," said Nayernia.

"This understanding could help us develop new ways to help couples suffering infertility so they can have a child which is genetically their own."

He said more investigation was needed to decide whether the so-called in-vitro derived (IVD) sperm, could be used as a fertility treatment, for example for boys who became infertile after receiving chemotherapy for cancer.

While such a treatment would not likely be developed for at least a decade, Nayernia said legislation should be put in place "sooner rather than later" to allow the technique to be licensed.

The team's work involved developing stem cells that had XY chromosomes into germline cells -- cells that can can pass their genetic material to future generations.

These were then prompted to complete meiosis, or cell division, which then produced "fully mature, functional sperm."

Stem cells are immature cells that can develop into different cell types.

The scientists tried to develop cells with XX chromosomes (female) in the same way but they did not progress beyond early stage sperm, called spermatagonia. The team concluded that the genes on a Y chromosome are essential for sperm maturation.

The research, published in the journal Stem Cells and Development, could also lead to a better understanding of how genetic diseases are passed on.

However, other scientists expressed doubt about the work.

"As a sperm biologist of 20 years' experience, I am unconvinced from the data presented in this paper that the cells produced by Professor Nayernia's group from embryonic stem cells can be accurately called 'spermatozoa'," said Dr Allen Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield.

"While the cells produced may possess some of the distinctive genetic features and molecular markers seen in sperm, fully differentiated human spermatozoa have specific cellular morphology, behaviour and function that are not described here."

So whatever comes to be with this new information this is a huge step forward in the world of fertility- this shows that infertility is becoming an true disease, like cancer, and AIDS and we need to find ways to cure it or at least treat it, so that couples around the world can fulfil their dreams of parenthood. IVF was a huge step in the fertility world many years ago, but there is so much that we do not know. Especially when it comes to the actual egg and the sperm, we do not know what makes a bad egg or a bad sperm- if they can figure out how sperm form then we can figure out how to fix bad sperm.
This may not be the end all be all in sperm testing, but its a step forward in learning more about the sperm. Who knew it was so complicated?!

Monday, July 6, 2009

And we are off! AGAIN!

Well, here we go again. I officially stated the Lupron shots a few days ago and the birth control pills has been completed. I go Friday for my baseline ultrasound to see how everything looks. This is our first cycle with our new doctor, so I am excited with the changes in the protocol that have been made.
This IVF is a big secret- we are not telling anyone- not even my mother knows and I would prefer to keep it that way. I hate having to tell everyone what's going on and keep everyone updated. I would just to announce our pregnancy- instead of the entire process that it took to get there.

I feel great- the hot flashes have been minimal, I was a bit concerned considering that it's over 100 degrees everyday here in Vegas, but I am on a smaller dose of Lupron this time so I think that he helping.

Friday, July 3, 2009

An Infertility Prayer

A girl on the nest posted this and I really liked it.

God, please help me overcome what I can't control. Please give me and my husband the pleasure of becoming parents. Please bless my womb and control the destiny you have already written for me. Please allow us the chance to teach a new child your ways and to be able to overcome this obstacle you chose us to have. Thank you for each and every day you give to us and each and every day that we have each other. I want to rejoice in one of your greatest gifts. You have already blessed me with so much, including your love and my husband. In your name I pray and plead again for your greatest love and kindness to bless me with a child. In your name I pray. Amen."