Thursday, November 12, 2009

Join Me at My New Digs

Yeah, the party has moved. Click over to find my new location:

Directions on how to get the password for protected posts are on my new blog. I hope you will make the move with me!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

EPP CD 20: Moving

I have 5.5 days left of my estrogen priming protocol medication. My IVF cycle should be starting sometime next week. In preparation, I'm moving this whole show over to I have decided to password protect all of my posts about my IVF cycle details. Anyone who e-mails me and asks for the password will be sent it. One thing I realized is that I can now post pictures of myself with the password protect posts!!

My new blog will look similar to this blog. I have imported all my blog posts over to the new blog. The URL even looks similar. I hope you will all join me over there. I know it's a pain, but please update your links and readers. I have very much appreciated all of your support. I hope to see you over there! Click below to be re-directed to my new blog.

The New Tales of the Phoenix

Please e-mail me at for the password.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

EPP CD 17: Snowed

One good thing about a big snow storm before Halloween is that no one has their Christmas lights up yet.

Phoebe's backyard today

Looks like about a foot and a half of snow, huh? I just wish I hadn't gone to the climbing gym last night before I shoveled the driveway. Ugh! I feel sorry for the trick-or-treaters come Saturday. Snow melts pretty fast around these parts, but I don't think it will melt quite that fast.

I'm not sure what's going on down in my nether regions with the whole estrogen priming thing. What I am happy about is that the side effects of est.race are WAAAAAYY better than BCPs! In fact, I have had relatively few side effects. Today, I started the Pro.metrium. This is smooth sailing so far. Could it be the hypno.therapy? I had my second session last night. I really hope to blog on it soon. I am really loving it! Even though it is expensive, I feel like I get my money's worth because I'm in a session for two hours, plus I get little freebies, like Lynsi's book or CDs.

Back in June, I wrote about all the supplements I was taking to improve egg quality and general health. After getting my stellar Day 3 results in June, I scrapped most of that and went back to the drawing board. First, I added in the juicing, mostly with vegetables. I still am juicing, but I'm only averaging once a day now. It's hard to get the second one in after work, with all the acupuncture (2x/week), hypno.fertility sessions (once every 2 weeks), and support groups (1x/week). I have to cook dinner and work out somewhere in there too. I stopped the pregnenolone for awhile, but I'm now back on DHEA. I can tolerate it for short periods of time. I'm taking 10 mg twice a day. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but it's all I can tolerate. Otherwise, it gives me heart palpatations. I also don't need my voice to go any deeper than it already is. It's bad enough when I answer the phone and the caller thinks I'm Magic! I'll stop the DHEA once I start my stims. I am also taking something like 3 g of L-arginine a day. I switched to a different brand and formulation that I seem to absorb better than what I was taking before. Everything gets approved by Dr. F, with his electro-dermal testing machine, before I take it.

In July, I added in frozen wheatgrass juice. I have now switched from frozen wheatgrass juice to chlorella, my secret ingredient of success, I think, for egg quality. I switched for a couple of different reasons. First, the frozen wheatgrass juice was a pain to buy and drink. I don't do well with cold drinks, according to my Chinese medicine diagnosis, so I would have to warm it up to room temperature. Also, the quality I was getting at the store was not consistent. I switched to chlorella because it is much easier to take and is much more potent than frozen wheatgrass juice. Plus, Paul_Pritchford, the well known TCM author who wrote Healing_With_Whole_Foods, loves the stuff. My brain feels clearer on the chlorella. I really feel like it is helping. I tried spirulina, but it tastes awful. I first started taking chlorella after I had all my mercury amalgams removed from my mouth two years ago. This was one of the many things I did to try to extend and improve my fertility. Not only do I like the idea of a toxic metal being removed from my mouth, I like how my teeth look with the white composite fillings now. It was one of the best things I ever did for my health and fertility. Chlorella helps to bind mercury from your body, also know as chelation, and remove it.

My last cycle was another 24 dayer for me, which is on the long end for me, or otherwise my normal. It was also clear when my period started. No weird starting and stopping, or spotting beforehand. This tells me I must be doing something right.

Eight more days of meds for the EPP. Everything feels like it is falling in place.

Edited at 8:37pm to add more info.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I've lost a few friends during my baby making journey. Mainly the gals who just wouldn't understand what I've been through. I'm sad about this because I'm trying to reconnect with one of them, and it clearly isn't working. I haven't told her I'm going to cycle again. I know she wouldn't be able to support me in the way I need.

I attended a new support group on Thursday at our local office of BigShotClinic. It was just me and one other gal. She was a lot younger than me, at 31. She had a failed cycle at BigShotClinic and was really scared. I gave her all my good info and told her not to worry since she hadn't done anything before to improve her egg quality. I didn't really get much support myself, but I was happy afterward. I was able to talk to someone about what I was going through, what we were going through! I no longer felt like this person who censors a big chunk of my life, putting on my smiley face at work, when underneath, I'm scared, anxious, depressed, or just in the doldrums of waiting, like now. I really want to talk about this with other women who are going through the same thing, and not just do it once a week for an hour.

I really have cherished meeting the bloggers who I get to know through their blogs. I always feel happy after meeting with you. It is the same effect as I had after the support group this Thursday. I have to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who have been looking out for me since my last post. I'm very, very grateful and amazed at the outpouring of generosity!

So tell me, have you lost a BFF through your IF journey?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Process

Part of our decision to go ahead with trying with my eggs now is that we knew the whole donor egg process will take awhile. Part of the process is getting my family on board with egg donation, which I have not worked on yet. We knew we would have to wait until next year to try with donor eggs. If my family member were to agree to egg donation, we will have to fly her here for the work up, and then cycle, so we were well into next year.

I was really at a conflict about what do to. Magic surprised me with a seemingly logical solution. He said, let's try now. If it doesn't work, it will take time for us to recover before doing a cycle with donor eggs. We will also have to see where he is at with his job situation. He suggested that if he starts making a regular salary again, then we can try. If not, we would not try because we would not have the money. Having money be a barrier to having a child really sucks, but it is a reality. My motto is, if there is a will, there is a way.

I also kept thinking that if I was ever going to have a chance with my eggs again, this was it and BigShotClinic is THE place to do it. Hot flashes be damned, statistics be damned, we are going to give this our best shot. I have never thought of myself as "infertile". I'm just old and my husband had a vasectomy. We can overcome these things with the advances in technology. I just have a feeling that I've got a couple of good eggs in there still. As I told Dr. BloSun, we are not going to know what my embryos are like until they look at them in the lab. Last time I did IVF, the embryologist told me that she was surprised. My embryos looked like those of a woman 10 years younger than me. I am not someone who has been trying and trying on my own with my husband for a long time. He had a vasectomy that worked, so there is no chance of us getting pregnant doing it ourselves. I knew this when I married him, but I was naive at how intense IVF is. Even if you had a known fertile woman do IVF, there is no guarantee she will get pregnant.

I started having doubts about doing my cycle now. I've got this whole thing about having my transfer anywhere near the full moon. When I got my calendar, my estimated transfer is right between the new and full moon. I started to worry that I would be too near the full moon. I looked at the calendar, and thought a transfer in December would have been better. I started to beat myself up. Last weekend, it felt like December here, with snow and below freezing temperatures. I thought, I don't want to do an IVF cycle in that kind of weather so close to Christmas. If felt too stressful. Even though there is a good chance that I might be on bed rest or have my transfer on Thanksgiving, it feels right to do this now. On Wednesday, I read this post from Sheri's intuitive Tuesdays, and I knew I had picked the right time to do this (read my comment too). Later in the day, I read on IVF.Connections that BigShotClinic doesn't allow anyone to start stims after Dec 1st because of their shut down over the holidays, and I would have been out for December if I had waited another month to start my estrogen priming. To wait until January at my age is too risky to try with my eggs again. This is the right time for me to be doing this cycle. I can feel it!

Thank you so much for your support. I do not think I could go through these highly stressful fertility treatments without you gals.

It is time for me to ask of your help once again. I am looking for donations of any unused medications for our upcoming cycle. As much of the country has been impacted by the current financial crisis, so have we. My husband has not pulled in a regular salary in a year. My job is solid, but because I am a g-woman, I do not make enough to cover all of our expenses. We will be borrowing for this upcoming cycle anyway we can. If you have any of the following, I would really appreciate your help. I can pay for shipping and make a "donation" for your donation too!

Foll.istim, 900iu cartridges preferably

You can e-mail me at for details.

Now, I'm off to make my juice.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Hearts Have It

I've been putting this post off, because what I'm about to say next terrifies me. When I said I was "crapping my big-girl-panties" in my last sign off, I was partly feeling like I was getting yelled at by Dr. BloSunMyCha and partly feeling like, "holy crap, I might actually do this?!" I also wanted to take the weekend off from talking about fertility treatments and infertility. This last month has been so stressful, from the follow-up with Dr. BloSunMyCha, to the weighing of our options, and trying to decide what to do next. I had my first "hypnofertility" session last night. I'll post about that later. I will say that it relaxed me. Now, I just need one of these every night!

I really appreciated you gals getting all up in arms in my defense! Let me just say that I am not angry at Dr. BloSun. Actually, after the e-mail I got yesterday from him regarding my recent questioning of taking preventive antibiotics, I may take that statement back. More on that later. I think Dr. BS is mostly just doing his job, making sure I know what I'm getting in for. However, I see this as negative hypnosis. I know what he said had a huge emotional impact on me. In my heart, I still wanted to try one more time with my eggs and see if what I have been doing the last three months have been making a difference. My cycles have been basically very similar to what they were a year and a half ago when I last did IVF. My head was telling me the logical choice was to move on to donor eggs as it has the best statistical chances for us.

I thought I would never make a decision based on going against the "facts". I thought I would be a "smart" person. I also did not want to make any decisions based on fear. The fact is that by going right to donor eggs, I was allowing my fear of failure to get the best of me. I do not want to go into DE with any regrets. I do not ever want to wonder, "what if?" I can see how it affected the woman from my friend's baby shower. I see the shadow of regret and doubt in her face when she said to me, "so you got pregnant with your own eggs?" I could go straight to DE, but I also do not want that shadow the rest of my life. This is the only way to know.

We are following our hearts against the "medical experts". I feel happy about this decision, and terrified at the same time. We are trying one more time with my eggs. I also feel that it's fair that Dr. BS put some conditions on how many follicles he wanted us to have before going into egg retrieval. Frankly, I would rather he make that decision, than coming to us and saying, "what do you want to do?" I've been in that position before, and it's a hard decision to make. I also feel like I've got it in me to make five mature follicles, at least, I think I do!

Today, I started the est.race for the estrogen priming protocol. If you want to know what this protocol looks like, go over to Heidi's blog and click on the menu on the right where it says "The Protocol That Worked". Be forewarned that there is a picture of her infant daughter on her last blog post that you will see when you click over. The difference between her protocol and mine is that I'm starting the est.race on CD1 (today) and not taking it as long, as she extended hers because of a vacation. I think I will be on max stims too (been there, done that). I don't have my full calendar yet. I take the est.race orally, so I will not be among the blue skid marked smurfettes that Jill so colorfully described in her FET protocol. Maybe I'll just turn blue, but it will be out of the anxiety of holding my breath, not from the blue pills!

I'm also preparing to move this whole show over to I'll transfer all my posts over, but I feel like I just need that password protect option. I've stopped posting on my other private blog. I need to move on from the past for the sake of our spirit baby. I'll miss some of the nice features of Blogger, but I need to ensure my privacy. I'll allow anyone access that asks to my private posts. I'm still going to need lots and lots of support through this!! I just do not want to feel like a celebrity reality show, providing entertainment to the masses. If you want to lurk on my private posts, that's fine. I just want to know who you are. The other nice feature of is that I can block IP addresses. Not that I'm planning on doing this, but if I get any harassment, which happened to me on my old blog that no longer exists, I can do something about it now. It will be a few weeks probably before I actually make the move. I'll be password protecting all my posts that have the details of my IVF cycle.

Here's the antibiotic story I mentioned earlier: My nurse called me and told me I would be taking antibiotics this month, which surprised me, since I'm not doing any procedures. I'm not a big fan of antibiotics, as I think it was one of the factors that led to me getting leaky gut syndrome and developing food sensitivities. BigShotClinic makes their patients take antibiotics every time they pass your cervix, which is ridiculous. I never did this at my old clinic, and I was just fine. For the third time, I had to send an e-mail to Dr. BS asking if I could forgo the "preventative" antibiotics this month. His response was something like, "yes, you can forgo the antibiotics, but I strongly recommend that you take them, or else your cycle may not be as successful". Now I really felt like Dr. BS was living up to his new acronym and just trying to strong arm me. I also told him that I would be happy to do IV antibiotics and that this would be my preference for egg retrieval. This is what I did at my old clinic, in lieu of oral antibiotics. I basically skipped my whole gut, but still got the antibiotics. Dr. BS responded to this, saying that IV antibiotics would not reach the uterus as well as oral antibiotics. WTF?? Doesn't the oral antibiotics go into the bloodstream from the gut, and wouldn't the liver and intestinal enzymes break down some of those antibiotics? I was so baffled by his BS, that I ran this past Dr. F, my acupuncturist who has never given his two kids antibiotics EVER. He supported me 100%, which made me feel better about standing up to Dr. BS. Oh, and Sweet Georgia hit the nail on the head when she said the polar body testing was for their study, not for my benefit. I really feel the coercion after realizing that (grrrr).

It scares me how narrow an RE's knowledge is. I know I am going to get comments like, "can you change doctors?", but they are all narrow-minded in my opinion. Dr. BS is the 4th RE I've been to, and I really don't think it's going to get any better than this. I just want to get my eggs to BigShotClinics fabulous lab and hope they do their magic there for some viable embryos!

Holy crap, I really am doing this!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Answer

I did not send my e-mail right away to Dr. BS. I needed time to calm down and make sure I finished it when I was not so emotional about the issue. I began drafting the e-mail Monday night. This morning, I woke up early, and realized that I needed to make a decision by Friday about starting EPP, in case my period comes early. I finished the e-mail, and sent it off to Dr. BS at 6:30am. Being the incredibly efficient and punctual man that he is, he replied by 11:30am. It truly is the one thing I love about this doctor, his accessibility.

I needed to send Magic an e-mail about something else, so I logged on to my personal account, knowing that "The Answer" could be there. My heart pounded. It was there. I read some other e-mails first. I considered waiting until tonight to read Dr. BS's e-mail. I had already surrendered myself to "whatever will be, will be". I finally got my big-girl-panties on again, and opened the e-mail. I will paraphase the answer here. I have changed all the names and exact wording to protect the innocent.

"Dear Phoebe,

I hope that you have been well.

At our last regroup, I told you your eggs were crap and that you should use donor eggs (ed note: you only kinda recommended it after the fact, being the super sweet nice guy that you are). You don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting pregnant, let alone having a live baby. We here at BigShotFertilityClinic would not normally let someone like you ruin our statistics. But because you wanted a "last shot" at IVF, I was going to be nice enough to let you do IVF with polar body testing required. The pregnancy rate for polar body normal embryos is 17%, and by the way, don't forget that it will be a cold day in hell before you get a polar body normal embryo.

Obviously, I can not make you do the testing (ed note: really? then how could you "require" it before?), but I can't imagine why you wouldn't want this wealth of information on why your eggs are crap? If you insist on doing IVF with your own eggs, then I will require that you have 5 follicles that will be mature by the time of retrieval as determined by me. I hope you don't feel any pressure here about me cancelling your cycle, but if you agree to this, then you can waste your money on this cycle.

Have a nice day.

Dr. BloSun"

Crapping my big-girl-panties over here.

Monday, October 5, 2009


And sometimes I don't have the energy
To prove everybody wrong
And I try my best to be strong
But you know it's so hard
It's so hard

-Dixie_Chicks "So_Hard"

First, I want to thank each and everyone of you who have been leaving me comments during this difficult couple of weeks. I really appreciated the comments from NoodleGirl and Niobe who educated me about epigenetics, or the ability of the pregnant mother to turn on certain genes. I have never considered this possibility before. This really does help me let go more of my genes. Also, thanks to all the gals who have struggled with this issue, have made their peace and found happiness in having a child through donor eggs. Thanks as well to the gals who are in a similar situation as me, still struggling with the idea of donor eggs and still in limbo land hell.

Magic and I talked. He wants to try again with my eggs. I can not blame him, and I want to honor that. For me, I kinda feel like I'm fed up with my eggs. But I also realize that if there is any chance to do IVF with my own eggs now is the time and BigShotFertilityClinic has the best stats for my age group.

I am reluctantly agreeing to one more cycle with my eggs, but we still have to get past Dr. BloSun. After requesting 10 days ago for my clinical notes from our follow-up appointment (does it take an act of God here people?), I finally read in writing that Dr. BS is requiring us to do polar body testing if we do IVF with my eggs. For those of you who have never read your clinical notes from your doctor, do it. I always learn something new. For example, the new thing I learned was that Dr. BS is giving us less than 1% chance of a live birth. Neither Magic nor I recall him telling us this in our last appointment with him. I call this "emotional blackmail". It's the donor egg talk without the donor egg talk. It just makes me burn. I mean, really, why not just have the balls to say no, you can't do IVF with your eggs?

I'm so angry that I have to try to convince him out of the polar body testing. I will make my case in an e-mail and send it tomorrow or the next day. Decision time is here. No more waiting. I have nothing to lose, since apparently, he gives me less than 1% chance of having a baby with my own eggs anyway. I'm not doing IVF if polar body testing is required. It will be a lot of heartache for nothing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

So Hard

Today, Magic and I had our first appointment with a BigShotClinic counselor to talk donor eggs. This is a different counselor than I blogged about before, who I had a good first session with, and then a disastrous second session with Magic. We wondered if we scared her away, which would be a good thing. I since found out that she was courting Em, my acupuncturist, to network for infertility patients for her new private practice. I told Em that I wouldn't recommend her to anyone. Just had to get that rant out.

The new counselor was good, but there is no getting around the fact of how hard this donor egg decision is. She encouraged us to go for a "closure" cycle with my eggs if that is what we needed. I would so love to do this, but I feel like someone who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness who decides to go for treatment, knowing it is doomed to fail. I don't think I could take a BFN for $20k. I really need to try that hypno_fertility to get out of this mental rut. The counselor gave us homework. I'm supposed to write a letter to let go of my eggs. I'm not ready to break up with my eggs just yet though.

Magic and I came out of our session both exhausted. I came home and proceeded to unravel. I think I am really grieving the loss of my eggs. I don't want to let go of them. It's like when someone you love dies, and you just can't accept that they are gone. This is like a death to me. I can not accept it, not yet.

A gal in my support group that I attended before my FET gave us all a "fertilty angst" CD. I keep playing the song, "So Hard" by the Dixie_Chicks in my head. They wrote this song specifically about their own fertility crisis. This verse really speaks to me:

And sometimes I just want to wait it out
To prove everybody wrong
And I need your help to move on
Cause you know it's so hard
It's so hard

I can't do this by myself. This is so hard.

Monday, September 28, 2009

An Interesting Week

The day came and passed when I had my opportunity to do my Day 3 testing again. I decided that it really wasn't going to tell me what I needed to know. We really won't know what is going on with me until we commit to IVF with my own eggs and until I go through estrogen priming. I rationalized that I should just save my money, but the other side of me told me I was chickening out. I didn't want to run the risk of my FSH being higher and Dr. BloSun telling me IVF was out with my eggs.

After an informative chat with BigShotClinic's embryologist, we found out that we do have enough frozen sperm to do a cycle with my own eggs and one with donor eggs. Unfortunately, my lottery ticket that I bought did not provide the money to make this a reality. We are back to looking at what we would do if we only had enough money for one cycle. I also found out today that BigShotClinic now has three potential financing options to fund IVF! Back in May, they did not have any options. We'll see what my research on this will reveal and what kind of debt we are willing to take on.

I was sweating out attending my good friend's baby shower this past weekend. I was ok with it, until I found out kids were going to be there. I went because I really wanted to support my friend, who was kind enough to give me an out if I did not want to attend, and because I knew this would not be any ordinary baby shower. The shower was a friggin' romper-room of babies and young children. Every time the door opened with even more babies and toddlers, I wanted to run screaming from the room. I stuck it out because I wanted to observe these parents their children from the many different ways to build a family. There was the single mom with twins from donor sperm via IUI. Another single mom was there with her adopted three year old from Vietnam. There was the best friend who had two young daughters from donor eggs and a husband that had a reverse vasectomy. And then there was my friend at 51 very pregnant with twins from donor eggs. As far as I could tell, they didn't act any differently than the other DIY parents.

I talked at length with the mother of the two daughters from donor eggs. She told me that she thinks about her children not looking like her, but that mostly, she is grateful that she has two healthy children. She said the decision for her to use donor eggs was fairly quick. She and her husband had been trying for a few years on their own after a successful reverse vasectomy. At about my age back then, she was at a place in her life that she could not take on any more stress than life was giving her, and she just wanted something that would work. I wish she had talked about how much she loved her children, but I have noticed that people have a hard time talking about love to strangers in our society, even if it is their kids. They say things like, "I wouldn't have it any other way," or "I'm very grateful."

I was also in a panic on Tuesday night when I realized how tight our money was and how it was going to affect our ability to fund any kind of cycle. I made the decision to quit enlightenment training so that I could use the money I had been spending on that to fund our future cycle. We had a five day retreat starting the next day. I was torn. Part of me has been very angry at the lack of support I have gotten from my enlightenment training around the whole baby making thing, and part of me loved all the wonderful teachings and experiences I have had over the last 10 years. I was very busy on Wednesday morning before the retreat, and did not have a chance to talk with my teacher about it. I decided I would talk to her in person at the retreat at the first break possible. I was prepared to tell her that I couldn't afford enlightenment training anymore and that I was leaving. To my surprise, I found that I did want to stay and that my teacher was going to work with me to be able to afford the retreat. It was probably the first time in a year that I really enjoyed enlightenment training.

The material in the retreat also challenged a lot of what I have been holding on to with using my own eggs. I know that if we make the decision to use donor eggs that I will have to grieve the loss of my own eggs and genetics. I have been able to love my stepsons as they are my own, who have no genetic link to me, so I'm not quite sure why I have had such a hard time with this issue. My husband has been struggling too, but the fact that he is even willing to consider donor eggs is huge. Pride is one of the factors getting in the way. I think that I am doing this and that I can make it happen. I have had that attitude for the past four years. While it served me well, the fact is that I'm 43 now and I may not be able to fight my genetics anymore. I don't want my ego to make us go bankrupt trying to pay for more IVF cycles we can't afford. What I did learn from my last IVF cycle is that it really is all out of our hands what happens.

Magic and I have been having some great discussions about donor eggs and having a child. Because I have been having such a hard time with the idea of donor eggs, I honor his difficult process with it as well. We need to decide soon what we are going to do, in the next two weeks. I have a new list of things to do. I did not forget about the whole polar body testing issue from my last action list, but I will save that for another post.

1) Make an appointment with a therapist to discuss donor eggs with Magic and I.
2) Call family members to find out if they are willing to donate their eggs to us.
3) Follow up on financing options.

I feel great today. I don't know if that is because I am beginning to let go and that I feel that I have viable options for a baby, or that I just am appreciating life for what it is, or that I ovulated and that the hormones from that always make me feel good. For today, I feel great, and I'll take that any day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday: Rainy Day Inspiration

I'm a "Perfect Moment Monday" virgin. I usually don't have time to post this kind of frivolous stuff, but I had the most perfect moment this morning, I had to share it.

I woke up to a dark, dreary, cold, rainy day, the kind of day you want to just pull the covers over your head and go back to sleep, especially when you have the AF blues. One of my morning rituals is to peek under the blinds while Magic is still sleeping and look out the window down to my garden. I wish I could have taken a picture of what I saw this morning.

A hummingbird was taking a bath on a collard green leaf that had collected some water from the rain. The collard green leaf was one I had not picked, and was lying parallel to the ground. The little hummingbird was rolling back and forth on the leaf, having a good old time taking it's bath. I had never seen anything like that before. Life is always in fast forward for hummingbirds, so this moments didn't last long before the hummingbird flew off.

With the weather beginning to change, it won't be long before the hummingbirds will fly south for the winter. I worry about them, and hope they can stay warm on this cold, wet day.

You can find the rest of the "Perfect Moment Mondays" over on Lavender Luv's blog.

Thanks everyone for your comments over the last week. It really helps me to stay somewhat sane while making this difficult decision. I finally e-mailed my embryologist this morning to get his take on what our inventory will cover. I have a feeling that we only have one shot left.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Things That Make You Go, "Hmmmm"

Are the messages I am getting from the Universe, or my fears projected upon the world? Last week, as I felt in my gut that trying one more time with my eggs was the right thing to do, I get behind the bus with the "be an egg donor" add on it. Later in the week, I hear the "be an egg donor at BigShotClinic" ad on the radio. When I am once again thinking about cycling with my eggs as I am driving to work, I see a passenger in a vehicle who is handicapped, probably from birth defects. Part of me thinks the Universe is trying to tell me something, and the other half of me thinks it's just my fears being reflected back to me.

Here is what I do know. I had a fabulous cycle this month, 25 days with a 12 day luteal phase. I rarely have 12 day luteal phases. It has been three months since I started juicing. I cut back when I had the short cycle the one before this, but I can only theorize that the traveling screwed up my ovulation. I have since been trying to still juice twice a day, but I don't get bent out of shape if I don't have time to. Has the juicing helped with my egg quality?

I know it has not helped with my estrogen production. I still get hot flashes, more than I would like to admit. That means my FSH is probably high, but I would expect that at my age. My body is trying to crank out it's own follistim. My body really wants to get pregnant with my own eggs. The problem is if my FSH is high, then the stims won't do much in terms of recruiting more follicles. But do the hot flashes really mean that my egg quality is crap? This I do not know, but it is what the doctors tell you. I think that maybe the estrogen priming protocol will help lower my FSH, though Dr. BloSun did not blow any sunshine on this idea.

After seeing how long this luteal phase lasted for me, I'm all fired up again about trying with my own eggs. I have a few action items I need to take care of first:

1) Checking with the embryologist to see if we have enough of Magic's frozen sperm for both a cycle with my own eggs and one with donor eggs without having to do ICSI. We have already decided that ICSI is not right for us. We would certainly have enough sperm if we did decide to do ICSI, but neither Magic nor I feel good about it after our last fiasco.

2) Convincing Dr. BloSun to let me do a fresh transfer without polar body testing. I have done a little bit of research on polar body testing, though I have been having a hard time finding relavent articles. Basically, the technique was developed for countries that do not allow genetic testing on embryos. The testing methodology has lots of potential for errors, which is why I think the success rate is so low. To me, polar body testing does not make sense if your pregnancy rate is only 20% when transfering normal eggs. I have not found a published journal article anywhere that says that doing polar body testing increases an older woman's chance of pregnancy. Maybe in the case of an older woman having recurrent miscarriages with IVF, but that is not my issue. Maybe Dr. BloSun forgot that the reason I'm not getting pregnant is because Magic has no swimmers, not because we've been trying all this time on our own.

I am so angry that I have to do all this crap, the research, the negotiation, etc, etc. However, I do know that it is imperative. I can not have the attitude that this is what my I'm paying my doctor and embryologist for, because I learned the hard way once already that they do not have the time to care for me in such an intensive way. I have to do my own research and be my own advocate. It just makes me so mad.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Not Dead Yet - Part 3

I wanted to give the polar body testing issue a post of it's own, in case anyone would have a comment that might help me with it. Because what is to come next is really a much bigger deal and deserves it's own post. It is a much bigger than I ever thought it would be.

Magic said to me the night after our follow-up, "I've been thinking that this is your dream, and I don't want to be the one holding you back. I would consider it." Donor eggs, that is. Yay!!

I was happy that night. I felt like I had choices. We both agree that we would only do donor eggs if I had one of two potential family members agree to donate their eggs to us. I began to see all the advantages of donor eggs:

1) Single embryo transfer. We would reduce the risk of multiples.
2) Greatly reduce the risk of genetic birth defects. We definitely run this risk with my older eggs.
3) Much greater chance of pregnancy and birth.
4) I wouldn't have to stress out over trying to produce eggs.

Logically, everything points to donor eggs.

So why do I have a sinking feeling in my gut?

Suddenly, I'm the one having a problem with donor eggs. My heart is not into it. I feel tremendous grief when I think about giving up on my eggs. I worked hard the last four years to regain and maintain my fertility. I would say it worked, up until the last 10 months. I think the frozen embryo transfer really screwed up my ovaries. Probably getting older doesn't help either.

I have been given the donor egg speech at least three times previously. I would either find another doctor or at least find a doctor who would allow me to cycle with my eggs. I had surgery to remove a pound of fibroids. I fooled all the tests with my Chinese medical treatments. I did get pregnant with my own eggs, but we could not have predicted the very small risk that happened to us because we did IVF/ICSI. You can try to plan for everything, but in the end, you just never know what is going to happen.

In my heart of hearts, I want to try one more time with my eggs. However, reality is not only dictated by what is in our hearts. Reality is always much more complicated. The financial crisis has hit us at home, and we are not in a position financially to do both one cycle with my eggs and a donor egg cycle if my eggs are not up to snuff. Heck, we are not in a position financially even to do one cycle period, but I will find a way to make it happen. I thank all of you who pointed out that less than 5% chance of pregnancy is better than zero percent chance. If there is anyone out there that believes in my eggs enough to donate $20k towards this cycle, then I would try again myself in a heartbeat.

I am not one to give up lightly. I have struggled with this for four years. I know that I am not producing estrogen and progesterone like I did when I was younger, and I am convinced this is the reason why my test results are less than stellar. I wonder if the estrogen priming protocol would be enough to help, though Dr. BloSun doesn't think so. I know how all the statistics work, and I also know how reality works, that is, not usually the way you think it works. I've studied the literature to well know that my test results do not bode well for IVF success. I have tried all the alternative treatments. I am not being negative; I am being realistic. I do not believe that hope and positive thinking alone will get me pregnant. I have been down that road too. Positive thinking is very helpful during IVF, but it is not the deciding factor. If money were no issue, I would take the "wish and a prayer" statistics and go for it.

On the other hand, if I do get pregnant with DE, I don't want to be second guessing my decision. Would I always be looking at my child, knowing that her genetics are not mine? Will I regret not having tried again with my eggs? I tell myself that genetics are not that important to me. I know that if my spirit baby comes, I won't care about the genetics. But it is a little white lie I tell myself. I do care, or at least I feel incredibly sad about giving up on my eggs. I feel like I am giving up on myself. I feel like a failure.

I don't know how to reconcile these feelings. Magic feels much the same way. He is not crazy about donor eggs, but is considering it for me. I am on the fence and feel like I can not move. One minute, I'm convinced that I should go with my heart and try with my eggs. The next, I see that my eggs are doomed and I'm in for donor eggs. Back and forth it goes. It is driving me mad. I can not choose. I now understand how hard this decision is. It is easy when you are looking on the outside at someone else's situation and say with confidence what you would do if you were in their shoes. This is a very personal decision and will not be made lightly.

I've been having a pretty good cycle. It gives me some hope that maybe my eggs are good after all. I know I ovulated, because I have been taking my basal body temperatures and they are up. I'm eight days past ovulation, and no period yet. That's pretty good for me. Last night, I had a hot flash. This surely means that if I do my Day 3 testing with my coming next cycle, my FSH will be elevated. When things like this happen, I do feel like my eggs are doomed. I am incredibly sad, even though I do have another choice. I know in my mind that I will have to grieve the loss of my eggs if we do go with donor eggs, but to experience it in my heart is a whole 'nother thing. It makes me feel hopeless. I don't know what to do.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Not Dead Yet - Part 2

Dr. BloSun said that he would let us do IVF again on the condition that I would have polar body testing. I remember talking to my previous RE about polar body testing, and they did not do it. He said that the research was not conclusive, and it is another impact to the embryo. I was convinced back then that I never wanted to do polar body testing, but I know that BigShotFertilityClinic is big on it. Apparently, so big on it that they now want me to do it.

A polar body is a cell that is cast off by the egg when it fertilizes. It only gives you information about the egg. Some say that it is not a reliable test since a polar body cell is degenerating. I have also hear that the sperm can help correct problems with the egg. The statistics on polar body testing is that IF you get a normal egg, your chance of pregnancy is 20%. The embryos would be frozen on Day 1. You wait 6 weeks for your results. Then, if I had any normals, they would thaw the 1 day embryos and transfer then on Day 2. Dr. BloSun doesn't think my embryos would make it to Day 3.

I have a lot of issues with the whole polar body testing. It's kinda like "why bother" testing to me. If he really thinks my egg quality is that poor, then why not just transfer the embryos on Day 3 and let the embryos and my body sort it out? Why go to the extra expense and torture waiting 6 weeks for your test results? Why put your embryo through freezing and thawing? Though BigShotClinic says that their vitrification has a 95% thaw success, it's still another impact to the embryo. I don't like the idea of my embryos being messed with any more than they have to. He did mention that some women do not get pregnant with the high amount of stims in their body, but that is not my problem. I got pregnant after a day 5 transfer after being on max stims. If I was going to blast, I would insist on CGH testing, but that's out of the question now. I would really be happy with a Day 3 transfer without polar body testing at this point. Now I need to become an expert on polar body testing before I present my case to Dr. BloSun.

In the parking lot, I talked with Magic. I asked him, "what are you going to let me do?" The statistics we were just given for success with another IVF cycle were grim. At this point, Magic was the one holding me back from donor eggs. This wasn't going to be decided in the parking lot right then and there.

That night when I got home. Magic said to me, "I've been thinking..." I waited. The end of the thought did not come. Finally, I asked, holding my breath, "you've been thinking?" I closed my eyes. I didn't want to hear the bad news. I didn't want to hear that Magic was going to say that he just couldn't do to donor eggs. I didn't push him, because I wasn't sure I wanted to hear the answer...

To be continued...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not Dead Yet - Part 1

We finally had our regroup with Dr. BloSunMyCha. The meeting started with, "how can I help you?" Uhhh, did you even look at my Day 2 results from back in June? Do you remember my name?

I know now why I waited almost three months to have our regroup. I knew that the news was not going to be good with my test results, but I wasn't quite prepared for the gloom and doom talk we got. It was the "almost donor egg" speech, but we are allowed to do IVF again with my eggs, with some conditions. It's the conditions I have a hard time with. I will save that for another post.

Let's review my test results from back on June 18th. The ideal will be in parentheses next to my test results.

FSH 15.4 (less than 10)
LH 5.9 (less than FSH)
Estrogen 85.5 (less than 50)
AMH 0.2(>1.0)
Resting follicle count 2 (>10)

The number that bothers me the most is the last number, my resting follicle count. All the numbers were "abnormal" except for the LH. I know that I would not have done IVF that cycle, but Dr. BloSunMyCha is in the camp of doctors that believes you are only as good as your worst FSH. He does not believe my egg quality will get any better. I think that is BS, but the resting follicle count AND the weird symptoms I have been getting the last few months worry me. Dr. BloSunMyCha gave me a less than 5% chance of getting pregnant with IVF. Ugh.

I'm at a point that I really do not know what to do. I asked if I could do my Day 3 testing again for my peace of mind. I want to know if anything I have been doing in the last three months has been making a difference. He warned me that if my FSH goes to 20 or higher, he will not let us do IVF with my own eggs. At that point, I won't want to either. Up to this point, Magic has been adamant that I use my own eggs. I asked him after our appointment, "what will you let me do?" I can't imagine not having children. I can't imagine leaving our spirit baby out there.

I was a little upset after our regroup, but honestly, I had already done much of this grieving and I had to go to work. I had a big project I was working on for today and a big grant application due Friday. It would have to wait until after work until I could get back to processing all this.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


My Dad finished a memoir recently, which was a pretty cool thing to hand down. I learned some things about his mother that I did not know. I knew that she had a son who died at a young age, only a few months old. He was sick, and she took him to the doctor. She was told he just had a cold, and she was relieved. However, he never woke up that night. What I did not know is that my Grandmother also had a stillbirth girl about a year after that. I felt so sad reading that in my Dad's memoir. I'm sure she did not have the support she needed back then for these terrible tragedies. Eventually, my Grandmother gave birth at age 36 to my uncle. He was 12 years younger than my father, and the prized son after these sad losses.

My other Grandmother was finished having children at age 31. I wonder if she just did not want to have any more children, after basically raising all her seven siblings after her mother died, or she was just not able to have any more children. I learned some interesting things about "Grandma Cookie", as we called her, from my Dad's memoir also. She was engaged to my Grandfather after only knowing him a short time. They also did not speak the same language. He spoke English and she spoke Italian. My Grandfather proposed to my Grandma through both parents. After my Grandma accepted, they were married three weeks later. My Grandfather had to go back to the US soon after, as it was the Depression and he needed to get back to retain his job. My Grandmother ended up taking the boat to America a few months later by herself and three months pregnant. How amazingly gutsy was that of my Grandmother?! I can't even imagine how rough that journey was being pregnant with no airplanes and not speaking English in a new country.

My Dad said of me in his memoir, "Phoebe was born breech, which means that she came out butt first. She has always done things her own way." I don't know if this is a compliment or not. Unfortunately, it does seem to be true in the trying-to-get-knocked-up category. None of my uber-fertile sisters ever had any girly problems. One of my sisters did get pregnant at 40, which was encouraging to me. That was when I was 40-41 and I still had unwavering confidence in my eggs. I hope there is still a happy ending for my memoir when I write it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cycles Good & Bad

The touchiness I wrote about in my last post was what I could only suspect: PMS. I started spotting today on CD19. This is not good. It means that 1) I did not ovulate this cycle or 2) I had a bad egg. My last cycle was 26 days long, which I thought was a hopeful sign that I was turning the tides. My hot flashes had been getting less frequent, but started up again shortly after I returned from my trip, which should have been around the time I would have been ovulating.

I discussed with Em, one of my acupuncturists about my previous voluminous CM. She suggested that I put some warming things in my juice, like ginger. I started doing that and cut back on drinking juice so much, going down to once a day. As I mentioned previously, my CM seemed to have dried up this cycle. I don't understand how it can go from blowing-snot-out-my-vaj-yay to the Sahara desert.

I discussed this all with Dr. F, my other acupuncturist. He thought that maybe I was going through some kind of cleansing, and that my body was expelling mucus that could have been in my girly-parts. He optimistically said it might make me more fertile and was I still trying naturally? I had to remind him that it would be an immaculate conception, after which he apologized for forgetting my history (for the umpteenth time). I personally think that I was on the wrong Chinese herbs this cycle, but I couldn't get in to see him sooner, due to the fact that he cancelled on me twice!! Dr. F prescribes my herbs, and I take one formula between my period and ovulation, and a different formula after ovulation until I have my period again.

The PMS moodiness resulted in a mini-meltdown yesterday morning as I felt overwhelmed by all the stuff I need to do to try to retain/resuscitate my fertility. I'm feeling emotionally a bit better now, and I need to take the reins on getting this figured out. I was by a Chinese medicine apothecary today, and was able to talk to the acupuncturist. He reminded me that fertility issues basically come down to supporting the adrenal glands. I'm not sure if I should just keep working with Dr. F on this or switch to this other acupuncturist. Dr. F has 30 years experience and definitely knows what he is talking about, but I haven't always responded well to the adrenal supplements he has given me. The other guy has had 20 years experience, and a friend of mine who used to see me said that she took a lot of supplements when she saw him, which doesn't really speak to how good he is. I know that my body is very particular about what I take, and Dr. F is generally good about prescribing me herbs and supplements, but he is not perfect. I hate times like these when I don't know what to do, but know that I have to do something.

I have since cut out the ginger in my juice, as it might just be too warming for me, and I went back to juicing twice a day. I do need to get back to paying attention to my adrenal health. I think it is going to be the key to keeping my fertility going for a while longer yet.

I finally got my big-girl-panties on and scheduled a follow-up appointment with Dr. BloSunMyCha. My body just cringes when I think about any fertility treatments, but resistance is futile. My plan was to get tested again on CD3, but with the short cycle and hot flashes, I don't think that would be a good idea right now. This means that doing IVF is going to be delayed. I was hoping for a November retrieval, but with this short cycle, that would put retrieval right at the full moon, and I know that would be a failure. The full moon and me don't mix. This most likely puts a retrieval right before Christmas. Not ideal, but I can't do anything about it.

I have been trying to prepare myself for the very real fact that this may not work with my own eggs. I'm trying to tell myself that I am ready to move on, but it just isn't working. The last time I talked with Magic about donor eggs, he said "no" again. I am not ready for donor eggs, but I'm not ready to give up yet either. I have less faith in my eggs than I did two years ago. My confidence has been shaken. I'm beyond the whole "I should have gotten married/pregnant when I was younger" thing because it's a moot point. I just hate getting older.

The weird thing is that I'm having the same symptoms I had four years ago, THE SAME SYMPTOMS. The difference is that I had not radically changed my diet yet and I did not start weekly acupuncture. I have done all that (plus a little surgery), and what worked a couple of years ago doesn't seem to be working anymore. I feel that if I could just figure out what to do, I could buy myself some time. That's what I say to myself when I'm feeling optimistic. More often these days, I feel pessimistic. One of the resigning things I have been saying to myself is, "you can't fight your genetics". No one in my family ever got pregnant at my age (not that they were really trying). I hope to write a post soon on some of my family background that was recently revealed to me. It's that vicious cycle of hope and despair all over again.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Birthday Bitch

Yesterday was one of those days when it was too hot to do anything but sit in front of the TV. The movie "Meet_The_Parents" was on TV. Magic and I got a good laugh and decided that we needed to watch the next in this series, "Meet_the_Fockers", which is even funnier. Who can forget the party scene where they are pointing out all the relatives, like Dom Focker and Ima Focker?! I really wanted to see the scene where Jinxy the cat flushes the Fockers' dog down the toilet. The problem was that I forgot the whole part about the fiance having a surprise pregnancy (have you heard of birth control?), and the rest of the movie involved trying to hide it from her uptight dad. It is amazing what triggers me and that one simple thing was enough to set me off for the rest of the night into the next day. First, I was sad because Jinxy the cat is a dead ringer for the late, great Mr. B, our Himalayan cat who preceded Fluffernutter in passing. I started crying about missing him because I was so in love with him! You had to know Mr. B to understand. He just had that kind of charismatic personality, even though he was a cat. Mr. B's passing always seems to remind me of every other loss we have had since, so I was quickly a mess.

Imagine how I felt today when I opened this belated birthday card:


OMG, I laughed my ass off!! Thank you to the blogger who sent me this (you know who you are). I don't think it would take you too long to guess who sent me this, but please don't guess, or I'll have to delete your comment! You totally made my day! The funniest thing about this is that I had just left a comment on Mad Hatter's post about giving up birthday cake on my birthday. The irony of it is that Ms.-Holier-Than-Thou did have Italian chocolate the day before my birthday. Since my BFF had hand carried some over from Eat-aly, who was I to turn it down? The chocolate was the prize for answering trivia questions about our high skool daze. The second best prize was this:

The Popener

I just had to throw that one in for laughs. I guess you would have had to go to an all girls Catholic high skool, or be Catholic to appreciate this one. Thank you for the belated birthday card mystery blogger!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Love Needed

A few of my Fertile Forties friends are in need of your loving words.

The Barren Goddess got some bad news on her embryos. She's waiting for more results on this latest IVF cycle. Please give her a hug and some cheer while you are at it.

Dear Sky has lost her pregnancy. I'm in shock. Her loss has brought me to tears. Please go sit with her as she grieves this incomprehensible loss.

Some days I feel 34. Other days, I feel 43. Right now, I feel 43.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

43yrs 3d

Only 362 more days to go until I am no longer eligible to do IVF with my own eggs at BigShotFertilityClinic. I was telling Magic last week how depressing it was that I was turning 34. Then I caught myself. I have a little dyslexia creep in once in awhile, which is not age related. Then I thought about it. Why couldn't I be 34 for a year? Everyone is always talking about how having a positive outlook can help you get pregnant. Instead of bemoaning the fact that I am now officially 43, I can just pretent I'm 34. I don't feel any older than 34, at least in my mind.

I attended my 25th high school reunion this past weekend as well. This was the first high school reunion I have been to, craftily having avoided all the others. Enough time has passed from teenage angst days that I really wanted to see where everyone was in their lives. Plus, I got to stay with my BFF, someone who I don't see often these days. It is daunting to have a number "25 years" in front of anything at my age, but I would have to say that all my classmates looked great, a little weight gain aside. Some women looked even more beautiful than when we were teenagers. A little over a third of our classmates attended out of a class of 63. I could only deduce that myself and one other did not have our own children, but I did not get a chance to directly ask everyone, though that was one of the standard questions. I was hoping to meet more women who didn't have children. There was only one gal like me who got married later in life who has been trying but no luck yet.

The juicer came with me this time, half way across the country. I found a rolley bag that worked well to pack it in and didn't get hassled too much at airport security about carrying it on. I really wanted to take pictures of my juicer on my trip, in the airport, at the reunion, but I think I would have gotten odd looks from my classmates who haven't seen me in 25 years. The crazy lady with the juicer. I didn't juice as fervently as I do at home, but at least I felt like my whole routine wasn't shot from traveling. I even found my brand of frozen wheatgrass juice at the store. My CM has taken a hike this cycle, and I'm not sure how much the traveling had to do with that. I had fun catching up with my classmates, but me and my juicer are glad to be home. I think I'm good for reunions for another 25 years!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Brutal Week - Send Love

It's been a rough week for fellow bloggers on the IF path this week. This may be old news to many, but since I live under a big ol' IF rock, I'm just getting to this. Please take some time to send your love to them. Two gals miscarried this week, Mo and Will and Sprogblogger. When I read Sprogblogger's news on Friday, I just sat numb at my computer screen. This was the last of the truly bad news I had read all week on the IF blogs. Both gals have had multiple miscarriages, so my heart goes out to them.

Please send a big hug over to Nikki who got a BFN on her FET from IVF #5 with two beautifully thawed embryos. Nikki has also been on this path way too long. Kate also got a BFN on IVF #2 converted to IUI. Kate holds a special place in my heart because we are the same age : ) on the same path.

Jill's FET cycle was canceled with a WTF poor lining. She was giving it her all to prepare her body, and then this bombshell.

Finally, please give a shout out to Mrs. LastChanceIVF who has endured drama after drama for her last chance at IVF. Let's be her cheerleaders hoping her retrieval goes off sans the drama on Tuesday! Universe, can we catch a break here this week?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


It was the consolation prize to the llama packing trip. We could not convince the teenagers to go more than a few days on a trip, so we bagged the llama packing, much to Magic's chagrin, and decided to take a yoga class at a local retreat center with this gal. It was a really great getaway, but I definitely could have gone longer. Our trip was not quite long enough to de-stress entirely, but long enough to recognize how stressed out I have been.

Our yoga workshop focused on dealing with anxiety and depression. Hmmm, this might be good for dealing with IF treatments, eh? I actually went with an attitude of "I'm not going to learn anything, but it will be a good review". Not that I'm any kind of yogi, by any stretch of the imagination. I actually learned some interesting things. One was that you can have a yoga workshop with 75 people in a large tent outdoors. We froze our asses off the first night at 8000 feet and were roasting the next day. Welcome to the Rockies.

The workshop focused on restorative yoga. I kinda poo-pooed restorative yoga in the past since I wasn't getting much of a workout. I have been so stressed about this "Mission Impossible" IVF that I do need something to de-stress. Working out is important, but so is taking time to relax. I often times feel like I don't have time to relax. Time. It feels like it is constantly slipping away from me as my body parts head south. I know time is an illusion, based on my premonitions of my car accident (how could I have seen it coming?).

The highlight of the trip was this:

This is the Great_Stupa_of_Dharmakhaya which_liberates_upon_seeing. I never got tired of visiting it. We made many hikes up to see the stupa, at least a couple of times a day. It was breathtaking at night. Even the Dalai_Lama has been here, but you don't have to be Buddhist to appreciate the stupa. It was build as a symbol of peace to inspire people from all kinds of backgrounds.

I'm happy to be back to my juicer though. No juice of any kind to be found at the retreat center. I definitely noticed a difference, with less energy by the end of the trip.

I'm on CD25 today! Another slightly longer than normal cycle. Let's see how long this one goes for. I'm guessing AF will be coming tomorrow. Maybe in time for the lunar eclipse?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You Are a Smart Bunch!

This enhancing your fertility gig is my second job right now. Unfortunately, it does not leave me much time for blogging. My addition of frozen wheatgrass juice and vegetable juices seem to be working. Now, if I just had some time for sleep!

TMI Alert Ahead (You've been warned)!
I am having the most crrraaazy cervical mucus. I shared this with my 51 year old friend, who is currently pregnant with twins from DE. She said, "you mean like the stuff I had back in college?" I said, "yeah, that's the point." I'm completely in awe. It's like back then, when I was in college and I didn't really understand what all this goop was in my underwear. Only now, I feel like I am blowing snot out my va-jay-jay (I did warn you). Em, my acupuncturist, says that you can't have too much cervical mucus. Not a problem right now!

You all were right about the Elk_and_Fairy art work from the card I pulled (see last post). I interpreted it as showing that I have lots of follicles left, and there is one, the big one the fairy is pointing to, that must be "the one". The elk is not my husband. Actually, I thought it was a stag, which is my patronus, another good sign.

It has been hard, staying the course. At first, I was very confident in this new path, but it's a major effort everyday. I question myself constantly. I think of myself as 43, but in reality, I'm still 42!! I really have to work at not letting those negative thoughts get the best of me. The grief started to creep back in as well. Em helped me this last session with communicating with the spirits, including my spirit baby! I didn't know she had it in her. It was very interesting. I also got feedback to trust myself and to continue the juicing! The feedback I got was that it doesn't matter what the number of my age is. The juice is helping to reverse the aging of my cells by preventing oxidation and clearing out free radicals (or something like that). Yes, this was the feedback from Em's spirit helpers. My instincts are right on!

I will request to be retested in September. That will be 90 days since I started the juicing, and about as long since my last lousy test results. If all is well, I want to start the estrogen priming. We'll see if my doctor goes along with my plan. I still have not done a follow up since my test results in June. I figure, what's the rush? I do need to take care of that. One step at a time. Let's hope I can turn the clock back with this crazy juicing obsession of mine.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's in the Cards

I use cards as an oracle to get guidance. The deck that I have been using for the last couple of months has been the "Magical_Messages_from_the_Faires". Some of the backstory of how I came to use this deck is here. I recently discovered that Weebles Wobblog's sister, Sheri, who also happens to be an intuitive, does weekly readings on her blog, Wild Women of the Universe, pulling cards from various tarot decks and interpreting them! She did a wonderful reading for me on Wednesday. Go check it out!

Part of my inspiration for juicing was brought on by cards I was pulling from the deck. When asking about what I could do for my health/fertility, I pulled the "Vegetarian" card. I thought, I'm not going to go back to being a vegetarian. I knew that I needed to get more vegetables in my diet. I was already eating as many vegetables as I could cook in a day and was frustrated by trying to figure out how to eat more. The only way I could practically get more vegetables in my diet was to juice them!

I recently used my deck again for this question, "what guidance do you have about my fertility and having a baby at my age?" (or something along those lines)

I drew this card from the deck, "Travel". I didn't get much out of the message, which was

An upcoming trip proves to be life-changing in positive ways.

I was actually disappointed in the card.

What I have learned about this oracle deck is that the words are not always what I should be paying attention to. As I stared at the beautiful artwork, I realized that there was a very profound message for me. Click over to this page to see the image. Do you see what the amazing message is? Please tell me how you interpret the Elk_and_Fairy artwork. I'll follow up with an update on what the message I interpreted was!

Hint: only women who have had frequent ultrasounds on their girly parts will probably pick up on this one.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Feeding the Elephant

I was serious about my last post. Juicing has taken up all my free time and money. It is amazing how much produce I go through in a week. It's like feeding an elephant!!

This will be a quickie post because my life has been completely taken over by work this week, and I have 10 minutes (better type fast).

After drinking fresh vegetable juice twice a day for a week, I had the best CBC blood test ever. For once, my protein levels were normal instead of elevated. My cholesterol rocked at 154. I've also noticed some other improvements. My cycle was 25 days long! Those of you who have been following my blog know that this is one day longer than my average. I thought this past cycle would be a bust with the hot flashes and high FSH, and surely AF would have come earlier. Also, I had no spotting before my period this time. I still have hot flashes, but not as much or severe as the beginning of my last cycle. The down side is that my period was pretty scant. Ah well, Rome wasn't built in a day!

I've also gotten a lot of questions, like, does you juice taste good? Why yes, it does! Here is one of my favorite recipes:

3-4 kale leaves
4 sprigs of parsley
3 carrots
1/2 apple

Juice the greens first up to 1/4 cup. In general, don't drink more than a 1/4 of greens or anything from the broccoli family, like cabbage, at a time or it could upset your stomach. For me, drinking juice from kale is like drinking a glass of milk. Since I don't do dairy, I have to get my calcium from somewhere! Next, juice the carrots and 1/2 apple up to 1 cup of juice. Add more carrot if you have less than 1 cup. Stir well. Mmmmm!

Also, thanks to Jill for turning me on to frozen wheatgrass juice. I found a brand called Evergreen Juices that is carried at my local health food store. The taste is much better because this wheatgrass is grown outside for a longer period of time than inside for short periods of time in trays that can have problems with mold. It's like drinking lawn clippings, which to me tastes better than icky sweet fresh wheatgrass grown in trays. I have a lot more energy since combining both juices, sometimes too much energy!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gone Juicing

Now that I'm on a two glass a day juice habit, my little free time has been sucked up by prepping veggies and cleaning up. I did invest in a new juicer because my cheapy one was so loud, it was waking everyone in the house up in the morning. I was about to have a riot on my hands. I can now juice to my heart's content in the morning without any of the sleeping beauties slamming doors in irritation.

I have to say that something seems to be working with the juice. I know it's going to take awhile to really see a difference, but my whole attitude has changed from doom-n-gloom to "failure is not an option". I just have a feeling that this is going to plump up my wilting ovaries. I wake up feeling happy instead of anxious or depressed. Today is day 23 of my cycle and I have not gotten my period with narry a spotting in site. I've been high-fivin' my ovaries all day. You see, my last two cycles have been a whoopin' 22 days long. "Normal" for me is 21-24 days. It's been that way all my life. With my crappy Day 2 results this cycle and hot flashes, I just assumed this would be an anovulatory cycle and I'd get AF by day 19 (it's happened before, though rarely).

A few days after juicemania started, I decided to get a shot of wheatgrass at Whole Foods Paycheck. Even though I sipped it, I thought I was going to hurl afterward. Wheatgrass is the most veilest of juices. This stuff is good for you? I even tried mixing it in my veggie juice at home and I couldn't finish it. A dab will do you. I read in Julia_Indichova's book that she drank it because she read somewhere that it improved the fertility of cows. Well, since cows eat grass, I can see how they would do well on wheatgrass. Now I know why my cats always puked up the grass they ate. Although I feel bloated like a cow sometimes, I don't have four stomachs. Nevertheless, I will start adding wheatgrass to my juices in small quantities because it's supposed to be so great for you. No more shots for me. It's like drinking a strong shot of pure stevia - ick.

I fear that if this juicing really works, I'm going to become a fanatic, like this spoof Jim Carey did of Jay the Juiceman:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Reading #2

The day after our BFN, I called Walter. I needed to know what happened with our spirit baby. I needed to know if she left. I needed to know what I did wrong. It's been almost three months, and we finally had our reading.

Our spirit baby is still with us, but she has been laying low. She is grieving too. Walter said that all of my feelings of sadness may not be my own. Sometimes, she is hanging off our necks and crying. Unfortunately, he did not get much information from her about why she did not come. From the answers to the questions I asked, I got the impression that it didn't have anything to do with Magic or I.

At first, I felt happy after the reading because at least she is still around. But I also feel hopeless, which makes me feel incredibly sad. The reading made me feel as if there is nothing I can do at this point. Alternatively, I feel I have so much to do and I fear that if I put that much energy into it again, I'll just end up heartbroken once more. I worry that she will not believe me when I tell her that I love her and that I really want her to come. All I can do is try to move through the grief and depression. I also have to try to keep my fertility up for a few more months, a feat that is not easy at my age, especially when you feel the situation is hopeless. The reading confirmed that the grief and depression are not doing anything for my fertility, which I already knew. We can not rush this. The earliest we will try again is fall, if that is still an option for us.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Choosing Life

This has been my motto since Friday, "chose life". What point would it be to go around moping about my bad statistics? What spirit baby is going to want to come into my life if I just think about offing it because I can't get pregnant. What illusion am I buying into? No matter what, I am going to chose life.

Friday morning after the bad news, I didn't feel like eating. I went into the basement and dug out my juicer. I grabbed whatever vegetables I had in the frig and juiced up a big glass of veggie juice. I also got so mad that none of the "Sea of Supplements" helped me, that I took a supplement holiday. And you know what? I feel great. The juice really seems to be helping me. I've been juicing now twice a day since Friday. I can't eat enough vegetables in the day, so this makes sense to me to get more veggies in liquid form. My body likes it.

The real reason I started juicing is because somewhere in the back of my head, I remembered Julia_Indichova's book "Inconceivable" and how she started sucking down the juice to get pregnant with her high FSH. I actually went to one of Julia's workshops between IVF #1 and IVF #2. While I think she is a bit dramatic and very opinionated about IVF (did you miss the part where I said we had no choice because my husband had a vasectomy?!), I like her basic message that is to be your own authority. I pulled out her second book again, "The_Fertile_Female; How the Power of Longing for a Child Can Save Your Life and Change the World". It's a tall order, but I want to see just how far this longing will take me. I put all my confidence in my acupuncturists, and I didn't listen to my body. I didn't pay attention to all the stress I had been under with Fluffernutter passing away. Grief is so physically exhausting. I had my schedule, and I was sticking to it. Death is so inconvenient.

In a way, I am glad I got the bad news. It was a wake up call. I don't know if I can turn the tide of time against me anymore. I did pull it off for awhile, though I have not given up yet. Sure, I spent a day wallowing in self pity, but I needed a swift kick in the pants to wake up. This is not going to be easy at age 42 and I'll probably be 43 by the time I do IVF again (if they let me). I have to up the ante. I also have to listen to pay attention to myself better and try try try to get out of my head. Giving grief its space wasn't in the plan, but I see that I should have respected that. Another hard lesson learned. I hope to post more soon about my recent overhaul.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Craptacular News

I'm in shock. I had my Day 2 testing done today at BigShotFertilityClinic. I thought all the acupuncture and herbs I've done over the past couple of months would have helped improve my numbers. They have gotten much worse. I'm crushed.

Resting Follicles: 2
FSH: 15
E2: 85

I don't know what to say. I knew this was a possibility, but I had hope after my last testing I had done. Dang, I should have had my Day 3 testing done back then, but would it have just given me false hope?

I had acupuncture last night, and I had hoped that would help me. Now, I wonder if it made it worse. I had bad hot flashes last night. I thought, "maybe I should wait another day", but then I rationalized that maybe the hot flashes just meant that my estrogen was low. That was stupid magical thinking. I was impatient.

I discussed this with Em, my acupuncturist. She didn't think my results would have been radically different a day later. We'll see if I have any hot flashes tonight. She thinks it's normal at my age for FSH and resting follicles to fluctuate. So do I, but BigShotFertilityClinic does not. I've discussed this before. She is encouraging me to work with an out of state clinic that specializes in high FSH and basically does not do an IVF cycle until your FSH is low. I would prefer to do that with BigShotFertilityClinic. I checked this other clinic for their stats, and their numbers suck for my age group. BigShotFertilityClinic still has the best stats for my age group, even though that number is still pretty low. I suppose I'll have a WTF appointment with Dr. BloSunMyCha. My plan to impress him has been shot down in flames, so we'll see what he has to say. I think I can predict what he has to say. I'm going to bring in my last lab results and see what he thinks.

To say that I am bummed out is an understatement.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Psycho PMS Bitch meets Grief Beast

The uncontrollable crying started yesterday. The tip off I had that this was PMS related was that I had the same thing happen last month; the sobbing while not really sure where it was coming from - from nowhere and everything at once. The other tip off was that I started spotting this morning. Why is it that PMS magnifies any sad feelings you are having a hundred times?

I was doing laundry today, and it reminded me of Fluffernutter. What cat doesn't like sleeping in the dirty laundry? That made me cry. I cried again for those who never were and were lost. With every new loss, the past losses feel as if they are happening fresh all over again.

I asked Magic to make dinner tonight. I smell something burning from downstairs and come up to see the kitchen filled with smoke. He left to go to his office and thought I would somehow magically intuit that I need to watch the soup. I was in such a rage. It was a good thing neither he nor Fluff were here. Screaming like that really does not make me feel better. It makes me feel psychotic and gives me a sore throat.

I can bear this knowing that it is transitory and will only last a day, the PMS that is. I wish there was an antidepressant I could take for a day or two only for PMS. Should I have known that if I suffer severe and sometimes suicidal mood swings during PMS that I would have pre-natal suicidal depression? Not even the neurotransmitter precursors I am taking as a supplement help with this type of hormone crash. I suppose I should be happy that I have any hormones to crash. I'm hoping that is the silver lining in all of this.

I had a couple of disturbing dreams the other night. I dreamt that Fluff was alive and healthy. I said to Magic in the dream, "how is this possible? She was dead?!" He said, "I need to give you and explanation." My mind was frantic, thinking, "did I take her to be cremated and she was actually still alive??!" I never got an answer, as that was where the dream ended. The next dream was about a cat who had markings like Fluff, but was not as fluffy. She came to me, as many of my cats do, and had a long stitched up scar along her body. She was someone else's cat, because she had a collar with tags on, but I didn't want to know who she belonged to. I wanted to keep her. Grief has a funny way of working its way out in your dreams.

I've had moments of feeling exhausted over the past couple of days. It's that monster, grief again. When I let the exhaustion really overcome me, the tears soon follow. I know grief is crushing me and I need to let it out. I guess I haven't really let it sink in how much of a hole in my heart has been exposed by Fluffernutter's passing. My super-ego says, "she was just a cat, get over it." I come home and look for her, but she's not here. She's not in the laundry. She's not anywhere. I can't even hold onto her in my dreams.

This is like some modern day horror movie, Psycho PMS Bitch meet Grief Beast. I wish it were entertaining like the cheesey Godzilla meets King Kong. I wish it was a movie, but it's all too real. All I can do is hold on and hope tomorrow is a better day. I'm still waiting to be happy again, someday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fluff the Magic Kitty

I've been in a funk since Monday. I'm no longer interested in having children.

This may have something to do with the fact that our geriatric cat, Fluffernutter, went to kitty heaven yesterday. Last week, we made the difficult decision to stop giving her subcutaneous fluids when we saw that they were not helping much anymore and just prolonging the inevitable. She hung on for a week.

In March, I think I predicted that she had three to six months to live. Last year, I worried that she would die after our loss. Not only did she stick around, but just after her 19th birthday in July, she became sweeter than ever. She did something that was so characteristically un-Fluff. She started sleeping with us in bed. She would jump on the bed as we were brushing our teeth, meowing for us to hurry up so she could dive under the covers with us. We wondered who swapped our kitty while we weren't looking, but she still looked like Fluffernutter.

You have to understand that Fluffernutter was one of those neurotic pure breed cats who would beg for pets, then run away when you tried to give them to her. The fact that she would come to you for attention was a real shocker. When I met her, she was just this white blur you saw when she was running away. She also lived in the shadow of her younger brother's big personality, aka Mister B. Mr. B was always shoving Fluff out of the way when it came to giving out pets, eating her food, and taking his pissy moods out on her. Mr. B was dumb as a box, and Fluff was the smart but silent type. They were inseparable.

Fluffernutter and Mr. B, aka Frick 'n Frack,
in fluffier days

When Magic was a bachelor before we married, he left out dry food for his cats 24/7. I told him this wasn't good for cats, but he felt guilty denying them. Mr. B ended up with diabetes, and Magic finally let me teach him how to make a raw food for them. Mr. B needed less insulin with the new diet, living another 4.5 years after being on the brink of death, and Fluffernutter became not so nutter. Loud sucking noises could be heard whenever she was eating, she loved the new food so much. Suddenly, she became a much more personable and sweet kitty. When Mr. B passed two years ago, I think Fluff finally came into her own now that she was the only cat in the house.

I worried that Fluff would die right after our FET failed. She was the one that spent the most time with me through two bed rests. She held on while I grieved for two months post-FET failure. I am grateful that she lived until now because I don't think I would have been able to deal with her loss any sooner.

I started singing this song (below) this past weekend. Fluff stopped eating about last Thursday. She joined me on her own last Saturday while I was gardening. I took this picture of her enjoying her last day outside. I couldn't believe that she had the energy to make it all the way outside and back inside again. She was the amazing magic kitty who we were beginning to wonder if she would ever die.

It all fell apart on Monday, Fluff's body. This is the day I thought I do not want to have children. Running a kitty hospice was more exhausting than I thought. I just didn't want her to suffer anymore. Tuesday, our vet was able to help her go to kitty heaven while still laying in her favorite spot on our bed.

Goodbye Fluff, we'll miss you (*sniff*)!

(sung to Puff_the_Magic_Dragon)

Fluff the magic kitty lived in our house,
She was so sweet and very meek, and couldn't catch a mouse!
Little Phoebe Phoenix loved that rascal Fluff,
And brought her strings and cat toy things and other fancy stuff. ohhh

Fluff the magic kitty, she was our friend,
She fought to live, though really sick, up to the bitter end!
Magic and his sons loved that crazy Fluff,
And gave her pets and kisses wet, and other lovey stuff!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Sea of Supplements

When you are 42, almost 43, you know it's not going to be easy to get pregnant on your own, never mind the fact that DH has no swimmers, except for those under deep freeze. While I was going through my FET, I thought, "well at least I don't have to worry about egg quality!" I wasn't as careful about what I ate. It was kind of nice not to freak out about having chocolate or a beer (gluten free, of course) once in awhile without worrying, "OMG! This is going to affect my egg quality!! I'll never be a mother!" Oh yes, I can't tell you how many times I've had this internal chastising with myself.

I'm back to the optimizing egg quality campaign, which I have dubbed "Mission Impossible" IVF. Let's just call it MIIVF (is that pronounced miffed?!) for short. You know how it goes - the darning impossible chase/escape scenes, but the good guy always wins, right? That's pretty much how it goes in my MIIVF fantasy too.

My campaign involves forking out a lot of money for acupuncture and supplements, but in reality, it's all a lot cheaper than IVF. I have acupuncture once a week. I will start acupuncture twice a week at least 4 weeks before egg retrieval.

In this post, I will just discuss the supplements I am taking, and what I think they are doing or supposed to be doing. Keep in mind that this is constantly a work in progress. I work with my health care providers on what I am taking, which is mainly my two acupuncturists at this point. I also do my own research and get approval from my acupuncturists before I add something else into the already complicated mix.

Supplements Specifically for improving Egg Quality
Pregnenolone 30mg twice a day
L-arginine 2g
Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLAs), roughly 2g
Proanthocyaniadins in the form of Grape Seed, standarized to 109 mg; once a day
CoQ-10 90mg daily

Chinese Herbs:
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan for nourishing Kidney Yin before ovulation
Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan after ovulation

I discussed in this post about the reason I take pregnenolone, which is a precursor to DHEA, and not DHEA itself. I go into a big long discussion about why DHEA doesn't work for me, mainly because of it's affect on my heart and how it makes me feel like I'm going to die. If you have already read the post, I edited it because I discovered that part of it got deleted in some weird code error, so you may want to re-read it. Pregnenolone can have similar side effects as DHEA, but they don't seem to be as severe in my experience. I think you basically take as much pregnenolone or DHEA as you can tolerate to improve egg quality, and that is different for every woman. Not everyone can tolerate 75mg of DHEA twice a day, which is what was recommended to me by my RE at BigShotFertilityClinic. DHEA is not harmless, and here is one study in which it proved harmful. My adrenal gland health also seems to be improved, as I am no longer taking the adrenal gland supplement (Iso_Cort) and I have lowered my dose of pregnenolone. I could tell I was taking too much when I felt as if I was on caffeine high, which I never drink, and also means I felt like crap.

I could write a whole post just on L-arginine. There were two studies done on L-arginine and IVF, one in 1999 and one in 2003 by similar authors. The studies are essentially the same, with the difference of the first one having a mean age of 40 for the IVF participants and the second study having a mean age of 33. The first study showed success in using a whopping 16 GRAMS of L-arginine on number of eggs retrieved, number of day 5 embryos, and pregnancy rates. The second study also used the insane dose of 16 GRAMS of L-arginine, but the IVF protocol was different. The results were almost opposite as the first study, and the authors concluded that L-arginine might be detrimental to IVF outcomes. L-arginine is precursor to human growth hormone, so you will see it in formulas for body builders. The idea for older women and poor responders is that human growth hormone will help with egg quality, hence the reason HGH (Sai.zen) is used in some protocols for IVF. The problem with JUST studying L-arginine is that a drug model is applied to a nutritional building block that has synergistic effects with other substances. Meaning that just giving L-arginine alone might not help, but including other nutritional factors may increase the absorption and effectiveness of L-arginine. So, I would say the jury is out on this one. It does seem that the research on L-arginine and IVF has come to a screeching halt, which is a shame. Other studies are done with L-arginine to help with circulation and heart issues, which I am speculating may help with blood flow to the ovaries and uterus.

My acupuncturist recommended that I take evening primrose oil to increase my AMH. I have not figured out what the difference is between evening primrose oil and borage oil in terms of effectiveness. Randine_Lewis seems to think that evening primrose oil is better, but borage oil has more Gamma Linoleinc Acid, which is the main active ingredient in evening primrose oil. For now, I am focusing on taking a flax oil/borage oil combo. I try to take 4 Tablespoons a day, spaced throughout the day. It definitely affects my, uh, bowel movements, hence the reason I don't chug it all at once, not like I could stomach that anyways. I did discover a bulk omega oil product, Barlean's_Total_Omega_Vegan_Swirl, that has lots of GLAs and is flavored to taste like a smoothie. The whole family has discovered it, and I have to beat off my DH and stepsons now from sucking it all down at once, it's that good. I might also add in some evening primrose oil to cover all my bases.

The proanthocyaniadins (also called pycnogenol or OPCs) and the CoQ-10 are also recommended by Randine_Lewis to improve egg quality for older women. These are both supposed to help with circulation, again, with the idea of improving blood flow to the ovaries and uterus. They also help with free radical damage. Here's what Randine has to say about it:

"One of the hallmarks of aging is damage to mitochondrial DNA caused by oxygen metabolism and the presence of free radicals in the system. This damage has also been shown to contribute to age-related decline in egg quality. A way to improve cellular function is to supplement your diet with enzymes like Co Q-10. Antioxidants (vitamins C, E, A, zinc, and selenium) and superantioxidants (pycogenol) also help prevent free-radical damage to cell mitrochondria."

They also have the side effect of lowering my blood pressure. I went to my GP the other day, and my blood pressure was 104/60! The dose on both is 100mg a day. With the proanthocyaniadins, you want to make sure you are getting 100mg of this standarized ingredient, and not just 100mg of grape seed or whatever the ingredient is.

The Chinese herbs I take are for Kidney Yin deficiency with Liver stagnation. If you don't have the same Chinese medicine diagnosis as me, don't take these herbs!! I never recommend self-prescribing on Chinese herbs anyway. Always have an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility prescribe your Chinese herbs!

Supplements for Mental Health
Zinc 20 mg
Fish oil/EPA-DHA

Again, I could write a whole 'nother post about the supplements I'm taking for my mental health. Why am I taking supplements for my mental health? Well, we all know how uplifting and calming infertility treatments are. This will just be a summary post on another complicated issue.

I found an interesting article last year on mental health supplement research. I thought it was going to be another recommendation to take fish oil, but it wasn't. Go over an read the article when you have time. It's a fascinating read. William_Walsh (PhD) was doing research on convicts to try to understand how chemical imbalances and nutritional deficiencies or toxicities were affecting their mental health. Here is an excerpt from the interview with him:

"We’ve found that nearly all women with a history of postpartum depression have a tendency for very high copper levels in their blood. It is especially problematic for women, because estrogen and copper are proportionately related."

When I read this, all sorts of bells and whistles started going off. I had the same symptoms of postpartum depression, except I had it while pregnant. Was there a solution in here for me?

Awhile back, I had some hair testing done for metals. I was mainly concerned about toxic mercury levels, which I seemed to be ok. I had all my mercury fillings removed before I did IVF to improve egg quality. The problem with removing mercury fillings is that you can mobilize a lot of mercury in the process, but I did it with a dentist who specializes in mercury amalgam removal. Still, I'm sure I got more exposure to mercury at the time. I did some mild chelation with chlorella, but nothing more. Mercury toxicity can cause mental illnesses, but my hair analysis didn't indicate that I have a mercury toxicity problem. My copper levels were also tested, and they seemed to be ok. However, my Zinc/Copper ratio was abnormal. I was basically deficient in zinc, which could mean I have too much copper in my system. William_Walsh says this about treating excess copper in the interview:

"By normalizing a protein that removes excess copper from the body. We slowly, gradually introduce the nutrients that stimulate the synthesis and the functioning of that protein. People who are high in copper invariably are zinc deficient as well, so we also slowly and gradually normalize their zinc levels. Then the protein begins to function and, in most cases, the copper levels return to normal. It’s about a two-month procedure for most people. If we did it very suddenly, and we gave them high doses of everything, the excess copper would be dumped from tissues and the blood levels would go even higher. You could see a decline in health before the patient got better, as all the excess copper is exiting the body. So you have to be somewhat careful with overloads."

My zinc deficiency was confirmed by the hair analysis testing and muscle testing with my chiropractor.

I recently started taking the supplement Neuro_Replete at the recommendation of Dr. F. Last year, I was on the antidepressant Well_butrin for about four months. I was on the verge of looking to take another antidepressant after our FET failed, but Dr. F put me on this stuff. I was skeptical in taking it because of the amount of 5-HTP in it. I had taken 5-HTP before to help me sleep. It is a precursor to seratonin and seratonin helps you sleep. If you take too much, you can end up with seratonin syndrome, which manifests in disturbing dreams/nightmares. The Neuro_Replete website has lots of fascinating information on neurotransmitters, their precursors, and how antidepressants eventually deplete your neurotransmitter levels. For example, I learned that just taking 5-HTP alone will deplete your dopamine levels. The Neuro_Replete has a blend of neurotransmitter precursors. It works on a synergystic level, and not just adding in one precursor or supplement, similar to as how I described the L-arginine example above. I've been sleeping better and feeling more calm since taking the Neuro_Replete.

Other Stuff I take for General Health
Multivitamin without iodine and iron
Iron supplement, since my multi doesn't have it
Vitamin E, mixed tocopherols, 1000 mg daily
Vitamin D, 5000iu daily
Calcium for osteopenia, 1200 mg daily
additional Magnesium, 300 mg at bedtime for my heart, muscles, and to help me sleep
Probiotics for my sensitive digestive system

The multivitamin is a double edged sword. I found one without iodine. I don't take any iodine and I try not to get extra in my diet. None of the salt in my house has iodine anymore. I tend towards hyperthyroidism, and iodine seems to exacerbate it. The multi also has copper in it. I could take a multi without copper, but then it would have iodine. I can't win.

Whew, I think I covered it all! Now I think it's time for me to go choke down another another pill. I'd love to share notes about what you are taking, or not taking, to improve your egg quality and chances at IVF.