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Archive for August, 2009

I went to the local Czech acupuncturist today – the same one I saw last time I was here.  She’s a bit of  a trip. 

She is not exactly the soothing, supportive type; she’s more the shake her head negatively while feeling your pulses and tell you how bad your energy is.  I am sure she means well – but it’s not exactly comforting.

So, again this time she tells me my energy is low.  I said “yeah, that’s what you told me last time too” and smiled.  This time I wasn’t going to let it bother me.

She only speaks a little bit of English – so she keeps reminding me to speak slowly, and runs to her computer to figure out how to translate a word here or there.  She does try so very hard.  She even gives you a list of foods you should be eating based on your horoscope and energy, always very interesting.

The acupunture philosophy here seems to be to find the spot that hurts the worst and then jam a needle into it.  It only hurts for the first 10 – 15 seconds though. She also burns some moxa (smells like a cross between incense and pot) on your belly and tells you to let her know when it gets too hot so she can move it around before it burns you. 

But the real reason I will always remember her is the nails in the ear.  Apparently meant to assist with implantation, they are permanent needles that are supposed to stay in for 1 month.   Mine didn’t last quite that long last time – but my dear friend T also got the ear “nail” last time and now has twins to show for it, so I figured it was worth doing again. 

So, I’ve been officially “nailed” by the acupuncturist.  Now I just need to remember to turn the darn thing with a magnet every day without demagnetizing my credit cards or computer in the mean time.

Tomorrow is the big transfer day.  I have no idea how many embryos are still growing.  I decided against checking on them yesterday, so it will be a surprise.  Hopefully a good one. 

The progesterone has fully kicked in already with all of the exciting accompanying symptoms – but I’ll save the fun details of that for another day. 

Wish me luck, peace, and sticky vibes tomorrow!

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I made the journey from Prague to Brno yesterday.  I was a bit sad to leave Prague, it is such a gorgeous city!  That architecture and skyline is just amazing.  It was only a 2 1/2 hour bus or train ride to Brno though, very comfortable and uneventful.  No sign of the supposed road construction, it was a smooth and easy trip. 

Arrived in Brno safely.  Brno is a very small city, even though it is the second largest in all of the Czech Republic (second to Prague of course).  I checked in to one of a few 4 star hotels here.  It is spacious, clean and very comfortable – the right choice for this trip.  Last time I stayed in an apartment, also very nice, but reminded me a bit of an Ikea store.  🙂  The Grand Hotel Brno is right in the center of everything – across from the bus and train station, and a few blocks from the main square.  

The trams leave from almost in front of the hotel, so it is easy to get anywhere quickly and efficiently.  There is something to be said about the good public transportation here in Europe – we could learn from them. 

Had a quick dinner in a Chinese restaurant next door.  I’m convinced they believe that if they don’t speak English, they aren’t responsible for actually bringing the exact food I ordered, as long as it is close.  I ordered Tom Ka Gai soup (chicken coconut milk soup), and they delivered some clear broth soup instead.  Then I ordered beef asparagus, and they gave me a beef dish with every vegetable except asparagus – green beans, snow peas, broccoli, green pepper, bamboo shoots, carrots, etc.   Not a stalk of asparagus to be found.  Doesn’t matter though it was good.  

The only thing that always makes me do a double-take is how accepted smoking is here.  Walk into a restaurant, and you’re lucky to be able to see through the smoke because everyone seems to chain smoke throughout their dinner.  Blech.  I sure do appreciate our no-smoking laws in California.   

After dinner I meet up with some friends that are here at the clinic too – enjoyed a nice glass of wine and catching up with them.  I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by people that understand the process so we can support each other throughout the process.  Tomorrow, catching up with two more friends – it’s a social weekend.   

More from Brno later!  🙂

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I have no idea how I waited this long for my embryo update without going crazy.  I guess keeping busy is a good thing.   I had missed the Thursday update, the Friday update, and then I missed the window of opportunity to call the clinic today for the update.  I figured it was time to break out the doctor’s cell phone number and check in. 

I spoke with the doctor himself this evening and he confirmed that all is well.  We have 6 growing embryos, and are scheduled for a 5 day blastocyst transfer on Tuesday.  He said they look really good and thinks we may have 4 or 5 left on transfer day, but I assured him that I didn’t want to transfer all 4 or 5.  LOL 

So, a day of dawdling around and meeting with friends tomorrow, then massage and acupuncture on Monday in preparation for the big day.  

My fingers are crossed and I’m so fortunate to have friends all over the world sending me good wishes for strong, growing embryos and sticky vibes for implantation.   Keep up the good, positive thoughts everyone.

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Arrived in Prague  – the weather is almost perfect – 80s during the day, 60s at night.  Occasional clouds in the sky. 

The trick for me to European travel is to stay awake until bedtime in the city where I arrive.  That means that by the time I finally finished my day yesterday and went to sleep last night, I had been awake 31 hours.  What can I say, I just can’t sleep on planes. 

I’m very pleased with my hotel, centrally located clean and fairly new.  Wait, fairly new by European standards.  That means this building from the 14th century was turned in to a hotel which opened in 2001. It has gorgeous architecture, a charming courtyard, and wonderful mostly English speaking staff with modern bathrooms (hey, that’s where new really counts). It has free WIFI, is heated and has air conditioning too (a nice bonus around here).  It is steps from the Metro and a Tesco (grocery store), about 10 minutes walking from Winceslas Square or 10 – 15 minutes to Old Town Square & the Charles Bridge.  Near everything, yet on a quiet little street that is really just a cobblestone lane wide enough for one tiny car.  The breakfast is a better than normal European breakfast – cold cuts, eggs, cereal, breads, yogurt, fruit, coffee, tea, etc. – all included in the price of the hotel room.  Great way to start the day.

Update from the clinic says we got 10 eggs, 8 were mature.  So, we’re waiting to hear how good the party in the petri dish went between the eggs and frozen swimmers.  I always visualize these cartoonish embryo and sperm having a big beach party in the petri dish. Hopefullly later today we’ll get the number fertilized, quality, and a confirmation of our transfer date.  I have to admit, my call to the clinic this morning definitely created the butterflies in my stomach.  I just kept reminding myself that really there was nothing I could do about whatever information they gave me, so it won’t do any good to be nervous – but, the butterflies apparently weren’t listening to my logic.  😉

So, I’m off to do a little more exploring.  I wonder, how did these craftsmen create such amazing structures and sculptures without power tools?  I guess there is a reason they were called craftsmen and artists – such amazing detail and beauty.

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Although I’m no Bo Derek, I always wanted to be a perfect 10. 

But today, I was never so happy to hear I was an 8.   My lining that is-8mm.  

Now, for a little background.  Last cycle, my lining was only a measly 4.6 at this stage of the game.  That was almost thin enough to cancel the whole darn cycle.  Fortunately, by increasing the  medication, that time I was able to get it to 8mm before my transfer.  But, the result was a big fat negative.

So this time, I have been understandably nervous about my lining. The doctor changed my protocol and started me on a higher dosage of estrogen right away.  That was good, but two days ago, I started bleeding.  Not a lot, but enough to scare me.  Usually that’s the sign of shedding your lining – possibly the LAST thing you’d want to have happen at this stage. 

So, I went to todays ultrasound definitely concerned, but hopeful that I’d get at least 5mm (given the fact that I just lost part of it by bleeding).  I knew that whatever that doctor told me would determine whether this cycle is still a “go” or whether it would be cancelled.  The minimum acceptable lining for a transfer is 7mm.  No pressure.  LOL

You can’t imagine how shocked and happy I was when the doctor told me it was 8mm.  I still have 5 full days of lining building estrogen, so chances are good that it will be even thicker by egg collection date.  That is some good news to get at this stage of the game. 

So for today, I’m very happy being an 8.

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About 7 days from right now I should be landing in Prague.  Wow, time flies when you’re having fun.

Seriously though, I go back and forth between “I thought this day would never come” and “yikes,  how did this date get here so quickly”.   I actually was put on the clinic waiting list last November, got my confirmed date in April, and here we are. 

In many ways, this trip will be very different from my last trip to the Czech Republic.   First, I’m traveling alone this tme.  We left the “frozen swimmers” on ice last time we were there, so this time there is no husband required.  Sure, I’ll miss traveling with him.  But on the other hand, a little “me” time and just doing what I want, when I want to do it sounds rather appealing right now. 

My attitude going into this trip is different too.  Last trip, I was SURE that it would work the first time.  In retrospect, I’m not quite sure why I was so positive it would work, but I was.  Well, the fact that I’m going back is probably a good clue that it wasn’t the outcome we had hoped. 

This cycle, I feel strangely at peace.  I can’t figure out if it is because I’m finally resigned to the fact that really there is not much I can do to improve my chances of success, and just have to hope it works.  Or if it is my head protecting me from getting to wrapped up in this process and avoiding the disappointment if this time doesn’t work.

So, I’ve turned every stone, and done everything in my power to be physically and emotionally ready for this. It is officially out of my hands.  

Now all I can do is remain hopeful that the baby I believe we are meant to have will choose THIS time to come join our family. A girl can dream after all.    🙂

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I wish it were simple – instructions for building the perfect lining.  But not so.  Ask 20 people for their recommendations, and you’ll likely get 20 different answers. 

I am amazed that this one element is so critical to a successful IVF cycle and yet for every “must do” there is an opposing “never do”.   Not even the doctors can agree on what kind of estrogen.  Some swear by Delestrogen and others by Estrace, some do both.  One nurse told me never take generic Estrace, and another doctor in the same clinic told me he had no idea why someone would have told me that. 

One thing is clear–estrogen is key.   And gosh, what an unappreciated hormone it is…..until you take the Lupron that completely depletes it from your system that is.  Hello hot flashes, night sweats, and dry skin that makes myriad wrinkles appear overnight.  Makes you relish the day that you add back the estrogen. 

Now, back to building the perfect lining.  Here’s the “to do” list I have so far.

  • Prenatal vitamins with lots of folic acid, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin E, Raspberry tea
  • Flax oil, or someone else says fish oil because the body metabolizes it better.  Make sure to pick a good quality one, or you’ll have fish burps all day.  Yuck!  Bad enough under normal circumstances, completely nauseating when the progesterone (or hopefully pregnancy) is making you queasy anyway.
  • The acupuncturists say “no cold foods or drinks”, so drink gallons of lukewarm water and no raw vegetables – skip the salads and instead cook the greens.
  • Nuts & seeds – the list includes pumpkin seeds, almonds and brazil nuts
  • Pineapple – especially around the time of implantation (for the enzyme bromelain, found in greatest concentration in the core of the pineapple, which augments the endometrial adherent molecules necessary for implantation)
  • Eggs – hey, after all this is all about good eggs, right?  
  • Beans – black beans, kidney beans, red beans, string beans, mung beans, peas, chickpeas, bean sprouts
  • Green vegetables (preferrably cooked) – spinach, more spinach, broccoli, asparagus, turnip greens, watercress, seaweed, chlorella, spirulina
  • Organ meats such as liver, kidneys, brains, hearts. bone marrow (all from organic, non-hormonally treated sources)
  • Shellfish – clams, oysters, mussels
  • Fruits – Apricots, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, mulberries, pineapple (see above), apples, bananas, lemons, mangoes, melons, tomatos
  • Grains – wheat, wheat germ, bulgar, tofu, millet, barley, brown rice, amaranth
  • Lots and lots of water – at least 96 oz – especially after transfer
  • Cut out artificial sweeteners
  • In general, eat fresh whole foods, limit carbs, sugars & processed foods.
  • Only gentle exercise, don’t raise your body temperature too much, no saunas or hot yoga
  • Warm baths, heating pad or hot water bottle on your stomach – only prior to transfer
  • Femoral Massage – I won’t even attempt to describe it, for more info read here: http://www.liholistic.com/articles/Femoral+Massage
  • Lots of sleep, and for some reason, someone said rest between 5p – 7pm, but I have no idea what that is about.
  • Last, but not least, one doctor (and a friend of mine with twins who followed his orders) swears by the glass of wine post-transfer to relax you.   So far, it’s my favorite item on the list and the one I really look forward to.

Surely I’ve missed 20 or 30 things that could be added to the list.  So, if you happen to know of something that didn’t make my list and you think it should have – drop me a comment and I’ll keep updating the list.

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