FINALLY... Some Good News!

Good news my MTHFR results came back ------ NORMAL!!!!!!!! *MTHFR is the inability to absorb folic acid and sometimes elevated homocysteine is a sign of this.*

on 7/11 my homocysteine was slightly elevated. Normal range is between 8 and 12. Mine was 11.6. The RE prescribed a supplement called Folgard which consists of Folic Acid, vitamin B-6, and B-12.

Results from 7/17 were a 10.4!!!!! Yahhhhoo!

I was told to stop the baby aspirin for now, but be sure to start up again on cycle day #1. I will remain on the Folgard indefinitely. Ouch $22 a month, maybe I can find it online for less.

Thank goodness all is well.


The Word of the Day is FRUSTRATED!!!!!!!

The cycle has been cancelled, just one word... FRUSTRATED!

I am fine, just FRUSTRATED! The follicle on the right and the left are both still at 10 mm. FRUSTRATED!!!!!!!! I did some blood work, and the doctor called back to tell me that my hormones are "wacky", my lining isn't thick enough and she feels it is best to just cancel so we can have the prime environment for the embryo. I completely agree, but FRUSTRATING! She believes it still has to do with the miscarriage, but now I am wondering if maybe this happens to my cycle more than I know. It could explain a bit of the problem.

Top three reasons I am FRUSTRATED:

(1) The study only pays for five ultrasounds, all of which have been used up. Cha-Ching! $$$
(2) I have missed 5 mornings of works and spent hundred's of dollars in gas. Cha-Ching! $$$
(3) My body sucks at obeying and my excitement for the month of July, just flew straight out the window!

So, RE wants the next cycle to be a clomid cycle frozen embryo transfer. In the past I responded pretty well to clomid. This should help the follicle or follicles (last time I took it, I got two) grow at a steady pace and help us better gage and hopefully ensure ovulation. She is hoping that we may be able to pinpoint ovulation in only one or two ultrasounds. If that is the case, we should only be out about $700. Cross your fingers for a good response and only ONE ultrasound.

What is clomid?

Clomiphene citrate (also known as Clomid or Serophene) is a medication that is commonly used in fertility treatment. Because it is relatively inexpensive and can be administered orally, clomiphene is generally one of the first medications prescribed for patients who do not ovulate regularly.

In women who do ovulate regularly, clomiphene may be used for "superovulation," where 2 or 3 eggs are produced. This increases the number of "targets" for the sperm, thereby increasing the chance of pregnancy.

Clomiphene is normally administered for five days during the follicular part of the cycle (the portion of the cycle following menstrual bleeding). Clomiphene is structurally similar to estrogen and acts on the estrogen receptor. First approved by the FDA in 1967, it has recently been reclassified as a selective-estrogen-receptor-modulator (SERM).

How does clomiphene work? The hormonal signals that cause the ovarian follicles to grow are released from the pituitary gland. These hormones are named Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Leutinizing Hormone (LH) for their actions in the ovary. The pituitary receives its signals from the hypothalamus in the brain. Clomiphene blocks the estrogen receptor and "tricks" the brain into thinking there are low levels of estrogen. The pituitary responds by releasing more FSH and LH, thus stimulating follicular growth in the ovaries.

Results from the MTHFR are NOT back, I will post once they are and still praying for some good news. I got blood drawn from BOTH arms yesterday. Did I mention that I am FRUSTRATED? TGIF!!!!!


Things are JUST Okay

Went back for a check and things are not progressing as they should. The RE thinks it has to do with this being the first cycle since the miscarriage and things are just moving slow. Today was our 4th ultrasound and the study will only pay for a total of five ultrasounds. The RE thinks I should be ready for trigger by Thursday the 17th which will be our 5th ultrasound. Cross your fingers!

On another note, the tests did NOT come back all clear. I am not going to jump the gun, and I am going to be optimistic. My homocystiene test came back slightly elevated, but still in normal range. Elevated Homocysteine can cause blood clotting, which could be a reason for miscarriage. It is pretty easily fixed, the RE called in a prescription for folic acid and that along with prenatal vitamins normally does the trick. I am not super concerned about this, but she mentioned that sometimes this is a sign of another problem called MTHFR, which is more serious. MTHFR is the inability to absorb folic acid, which is OF COURSE needed for a healthy pregnancy.

So, I go back on Thursday for a repeat of the homocystiene and the MTHFR. I am scared, but have been reassured that we can overcome the MTHFR with lots of folic acid supplements and a shot of heprin (blood thinner) at the transfer and once a pregnancy is confirmed. So lets just pray that the MTHFR comes back negative and that the folic acid can do the trick for the elevated homocysteine.

Yet another hurdle! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.


Appointment Update 7/9/08

So I had an appointment today at 9:20. We just did a quick follicle check and went over the kareyotype test and some tests from last year involving natural killer cells. Tests were fine, we ruled out any chromosome problems and natural killer cells.

The Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) gave me a lab slip to run 8 lab tests. These tests will rule out the LAST of potential reasons for miscarriage and a couple infertility tests. I am SO excited to have a doctor so knowledgeable. In the past I have felt like I knew more than my doctor did (because I had been dealing with an OBGYN who wasn't very experienced with infertility). It is so very refreshing to know that the RE has checked EVERYTHING. So lets keep our fingers crossed that the tests go well and that the two miscarriages were just a fluke.

The ultrasound went fine. We are looking for the dominant follicle, or the signs of natural ovulation. I am on no shots or fertility drugs at this time. Once the dominant follicle is close to being mature, I will get a shot of HCG (also called a trigger shot), which will help with final maturity and release of the egg. Once the shot is given the egg drops 36 hours later. Once given this shot, we are able to "try" on our own to fertilize this egg. Six days after ovulation (because the embryo is six days old) we will transfer back the thawed blastocyst. So potentially we have a shot at the "natural egg" and the blastocyst.

We need to have a uterine lining of at least 7.5 mm and one follicle at 16-18 mm to trigger ovulation. Today at CD 11 (cycle day) I had a lining of 6.4 mm , two follicles on the right side at about 6 mm and the possible dominant follicle on the left at 9.6 mm. So, we are not ready yet. It is only CD 11, and normal ovulation should occur on CD 14, but remember we need to catch it just before so we can trigger the ovulation with the shot. Then six days later we hope to be transferring our embryo.

We go back again Friday morning to get the lab work done and check the follicle(s) and lining again. I also have to use ovulation predictor kits at home just to be sure we don't miss it.

So, that was my day. All in all so far so good and right on track. I hope that wasn't too confusing.

As always thanks for your love, prayers, and support.





So I made this slaw... it is pretty good for ZERO... yes ZERO points! Gabe thought it could use a little splenda, so next time I may add a teaspoon of it.

We had it last night with Ground Turkey Sloppy Joe's. I used my Mama's recipe which is Yum-O and swapped the ground beef for ground turkey. I had only 1/2 the bun and Gabe had a full one, but normally he would have had two. He is doing very well.

We both love ground turkey, Gabe was very impressed especially since my Mama's sloppy Joe's and Meat Loaf are a couple of his favorites and he hardly noticed a difference on the Sloppy's. I actually thought they were even better. Gabe really enjoys taking some of favorite meals and adapting them, so far so good.

We also had some lemon sorbet topped with plums and mint from our yard. To drink I had a splash of Light Cranberry juice (made with splenda), calistoga sparking water, and a squeeze of lime. This is my new favorite drink. Super refreshing!

Summer Slaw
Makes 6 servings
POINTS® value 0 per serving

4 cups shredded Napa cabbage (I used coleslaw mix)
1 1/2 cups peeled shredded jicama
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Toss the cabbage, jicama and radishes in a salad bowl.
Add the lime juice, vinegar, sesame oil, cumin and salt. Toss well to serve. (Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, omit the salt; add it just before serving.)
Serving size: 1 cup.

I had everything on hand for this, so I decided to give it a try for only 1 pt. It was pretty good, not fantastic, but good. I dipped with veggies and a few pita chips. Mine was thinner than I anticipated I think it might be because I used fresh salsa and the juice.

Black Bean Dip
POINTS® Value: 1
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 0 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

This crowd-pleasing dip is a snap to make. Add some diced jalapeno peppers or hot sauce if you want it extra spicy.
15 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cilantro, fresh, leaves, loosely packed, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup salsa (I had fresh pico de gallo on hand that I made over the weekend)
1/2 cup plain fat-free sour cream
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp table salt

Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender; blend until desired consistency—either chunky or smooth. Spoon dip into a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro. Yields about 1/4 cup of dip per serving.


Yum Yum!

So it has come to my conclusion that I am not losing weight at the speed I once was and in fact I have gained some. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely proud of myself for my weight loss accomplishments (02/08, down 78 pounds since 02/06). I got down to my lowest weight while on birth control pills for the IVF, my body loves being on those... if only I needed them at this point in time things would be dandy. Well the weight was great, but then the stress of moving and renovation wore off and I pumped my body full of hormones and the weight sort of crept on with the drugs and the pregnancy.

I am about 7.5 pounds higher than I was at my lowest in February and not very happy about that. My biggest fear is letting this 7.5 go and then adding even MORE (unless of course it is from a bebe, I would gladly welcome that weight). So... I am stopping it in it's tracks and have begun sticking the the Weight Watchers (WW) plan STRICTLY yet again. I think I may have even gotten Gabe to tag along with the plan.

One of the reasons I love Weight Watchers is because you can still cook flavorful meals. I love to cook (thanks to my Gram), so I have been cooking up a storm and trying to find recipes that we will BOTH enjoy and are healthy for us. I know it is good for me and I feel so good doing it.

I will periodically post some of my new finds.

So here was last night:

Grilled Jalapeño Chicken

1/3 C fresh lime juice
¼ C honey
1/2 a bunch of fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
¼ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Pepper
3 Jalapeño peppers; halved and seeded
4 garlic cloves, chopped
6 (6-oz) skinned chicken breast halves
Cooking Spray

Place first 8 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth. Combine mixture and chicken in a large heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Seal bag and marinate chicken in refrigerate 1 to 8 hours (I let it marinade for TWO days).

Prepare grill. Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 12 minutes on each side OR until done, basting occasionally with reserve marinade.

6 servings
3 points each
159 Calories
2.6 g Fat
1 g Fiber
60 mg Cholesterol

Super yummy! I have some other recipes to try for this week. I will post them if they are any good. Happy Monday!


The Back-up Plan?

What if... and what next?

Don't get me wrong, I am hopeful... I SWEAR I am hopeful for the FET!!!!!!

I feel that I need to have a back up plan in place. That is just me, I am a planner and nothing is going to change that. I need to have something to move forward to because Christmas is inching closer and I am not sure I am strong enough to go through the holidays childless once again. So, we plan to do a couple of IUI's on injectible medications. We have pretty much been assured now that what we need is injectible medications. I can get pregnant on my own (with left over injects in my system), and I we don't seem to have implantation issues (Beta HCG 2900). So... moving onto an IUI seems like it could also work and save some money too.

What is an IUI?

An IUI -- intrauterine insemination -- is performed by threading a very thin flexible catheter through the cervix and injecting washed sperm directly into the uterus. The whole process doesn't take very long — it usually only requires the insertion of a speculum and then the catheter, a process that maybe takes a couple of minutes (60-90 seconds to introduce the catheter, then sperm injection, and another 60 seconds or so to remove the catheter.

We have done two IUI's in the past using clomid (oral medication), but never on injectible medications. In the past our IUI's were about $900 each. We would need to have probably an extra three appointments/ultrasounds which would put us at about $1500 and then another $1500 for medications. So around $3000 each. I have been saving $ like a crazy women so we will be ready to financially jump right into a heavily medicated IUI. I question it because the odds of multiples are EXTREMELY high with IUI's (have you ever seen Jon & Kate plus 8?... Yes she did IUI's).

See with IVF we can see the embryo's fertilize and then put back one, two, or three. With an IUI that is NOT an option, we hope for five or six eggs and then hope only two of them fertilize. This leads me to the question do we wait and save more money for another round of IVF ($13,000) which has less risk of multiples and also a higher success rate or do we give it a shot because I just don't want to wait anymore and I want to be a Momma so bad it aches down to my bones?


Frozen Embryo Transfer

Good news, good news, and more good news! We got scheduled for our FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer). Gabe's kareyotype came back normal, and our baseline appointment went flawless! Yahhooooooo!!!!

Tenative transfer date is set for July 19th of our six day old blastocyst. Gabe and I went to our baseline appointment which was just a check up, some blood work, and an ultrasound. We were told that everything was "perfect" and that my ovaries were " beautiful." Hehehehe. Smiles at our house this week and hopefully all month.

I look forward to a month full of hope and smiles. I am no where near as hopeful as I was with the fresh cycle, but I am excited and slightly hopeful.