Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Munchies...

Sorry for being MIA, but sometimes a blog break is good! 
I'm back with an easy, delicious, crowd pleasing recipe and I know plenty of you are trying to finish up things from your pantry in preparation for Passover.  This recipe calls for a cake mix, and I have plenty of cake mixes lying around!  

Oreo Ripple Coffee Cake (The Kosher Palette, Original) 
24 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup chocolate chips (mini semi-sweet are recommended)
1 16 oz package pound cake mix
3/4 cups water
2 large eggs 

1 cup powdered sugar 
4 teaspoons milk 

What's great about this recipe is you can swap some ingredients to make this cake whatever you want! I usually use a vanilla cake mix, but this time I used chocolate cake mix, and I'm sure this would be good with many other kids as well! Swap out the chocolate chips for any other flavor and the combinations are endless! Although this is called a coffee cake, it has the texture of a regular cake and I serve it for dessert.  I also swap the butter for margarine and still use Oreos, because how many of you have jumped on the Oreos are pareve bandwagon?!? #winning 

Prehead oven to 350 and grease a 9 or 10 inch tube pan (I have used bunt pans and 9x13 pans).  

Combine chopped cookies, flour and butter in a medium bowl.  Stir in chocolate chips.  

Prepare the cake mix according to the directions using the water and egg amount listed here.  

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan, then sprinkle 2 cups of the cookie mixture on top.  Top with remaining batter and cookie mixture. Be sure to press the top cookie layer in slightly.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool before removing from the pan.  

Combine the powdered sugar and milk and drizzle over the cooled cake.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Moving Forward: The Plan

Yesterday, after a day filled with patients, I finally had my turn with Dr. B. I had hoped to get it done earlier in the day, sans kids, but he was busy. So of course, a few minutes into the conversation I touched Hannah's blankie and she throws an all out tantrum.  He chuckles, "oh, she's throwing a tantrum!" Yes, because I touched her blankie...
"so women are temperamental even at such a young age?" 

His initial "offer" and I say offer because the way it works in our relationship, is that we have an active discussion.  We each share our thoughts, ask each other questions and discuss expectations.  It is never a one sided conversation and decisions are made together.  I have never felt I was forced into any decisions and I always feel heard and understood. So his first offer was to change my protocol. While I don't know if that's the right answer, I don't know enough to weigh in at all, so if he thinks the protocol should change, I'm ok with that.  

He does not think there is anything structurally wrong which would impede implantation.  He said he would have seen something significant.  However, after asking around, and posting on a couple Facebook groups, I'm discovering that hysteroscopies  are done routinely either before the beginning of a new IVF (so not after each individual failure, but when you start back again for another baby), or after a loss, and eventually after enough failures, but more often then not-they're done routine before beginning an IVF.  I presented this as an option before moving forward.  He does not think it's necessary, and he doesn't think he'll find anything.  However, finding "nothing" isn't actually nothing-it eliminates one cause of a failure.  To me, the more information supporting that it's just a matter of time, the better! Otherwise, I'm constantly wondering what I'm missing that I should be looking more and more of my embryos slip away.  

This is also why, I think, testing the embryos is ideal, especially since Dr. B keeps reminding me that 50% of my embryos are going to be bad, combined with whatever else that could have gone wrong that needed to have gone right in order to have implantation. I've heard people say they don't want to know a failure was with a normal embryo-because that makes the failure worse, thinking it must be abnormal saves you from acknowledging your personal dysfunction. I, personally, disagree.  However, I told a friend yesterday, testing my embryos wasn't financially possible.  I took a risk by entering treatment for this year, holding onto the belief that it wasn't worthwhile for my age.  That might not have been the right decision, but there's nothing I can do about it now.  I will continue to move forward. 

The choice to do the hysteroscopy is mine, he said.  It could be done two ways:
1) sedated-and that would have to be done in his next round of IVF, in about 1-2 weeks, because that's the only time of the month he has sedation available.  And, if I want to do an April transfer, it has to be in the March IVF. 
2) in-office-although painful, he believes it would be quick and less pain than someone who had never given birth. most of the pain comes from going through the cervix, but once someone has given birth, the cervix remains permanently open just a bit-enough that it eliminates the pain.  

He also wants to do an endometrial biopsy-if I do the hysteroscopy, it will be done at the same time.  If not, it will be done on it's own. I've had those done several times, and they're not a big deal, since going through the cervix is no longer an issue.  

For now, we move forward.  

Exactly how I feel about my weight loss journey. Im coming back a fighter and I wil be a KNOCK OUT!:

Transfer #5, here we come.  

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Results...

A few people have messaged me, so I figured I might as well get this update out:

The results of this past transfer, transfer #4, with our 5th embryo, were confirmed this afternoon by blood, to be:


Doctor's response via text: ugggghhhh...stop your meds and call me tomorrow am. 

I will update tomorrow...

:) except the only thing that is always certain is that God loves me. And He knows me, and He is working on my behalf. It may not be certain to me, but God has already seen every one of my days before they came to be <3:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Ruby Necklace

I know many of you are my #fellowinfertiles, but for those of you who aren't, you should know that while going through treatment, routines are acquired, traditions are made. 
When I was doing treatment while still living in the Bronx, I wouldn't get to work in time to drink my morning coffee, rather I'd stop at the Dunkin Donuts on the way to work and get my iced coffee.  Now that I don't eat before my appointments since I drive in so early in the morning, I go for lunch at my favorite Moss Cafe.  It is almost always a cause of anxiety if I can't stick to my routine.  
I haven't heard of many people who have routines for their regular appointments, but traditions become established at the culmination of the cycle: special transfer socks, a particular lunch afterwards, I always take my picture with Dr. B, and I recently heard of the traditional ruby necklace.

The even takuma (pronounced evan tah koo muh) is a raw ruby stone worn on silver necklace. I did not know about the silver part when I ordered! It is to touch the skin and it's believed to promote fertility and prevent miscarriage.  This is a kabbalistic belief, a segulah: something we do to promote the good of something, in this case, fertility and pregnancy. 

I searched for ruby necklaces on Etsy, and was thrilled when one of the stores, Annalis Jewelry, was located in Israel. I felt that made the connection even stronger.  

I know, of course, that this necklace does not hold the power to control the outcome of any treatment, or the success of a pregnancy.  However, it does give me something tangible, a constant reminder, of who is really in control of the situation.  

How dainty is that clasp?  

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I donned the necklace the morning of my transfer, in the parking lot of the office, right before walking in; I have yet to take it off.  I've gone to the gym in it, showered in it, slept in it, and not thought twice about how it looks with any given outfit.  

I often forget I'm wearing it, but then it will get a little tight on my neck and I have to readjust it.  And in that moment, I'm reminded just where my faith needs to be.  

Tomorrow is 10 days post transfer.  We pushed back the pregnancy test until Monday so we have a more clear picture, as oppose to what we went through with low hcg numbers and then ultimately a complete drop a few days later.  

Ironically, the two symptoms I've had in every other cycle: heartburn and exhaustion, have not been present. Ironically, I'm no longer looking for symptoms.  Ironically, as if a sign to remind me who is really in control-the night after starting progesterone, I had some bad heartburn, a common side effect, making it clear to me symptoms were not going to be an indication of the success of this cycle.  
One of my close friends, so lovingly confiscated my pregnancy tests so I wouldn't be tempted to check early and fall into the rabbit hole that is comparing lines on a positive test.  
So here I sit, 10 days later, with not a single idea of what tomorrow's at home pregnancy test will read.  

Because I do like to have some light material, I will share a funny maybe symptom related story from this morning. As it is Dr. Seuss' birthday, many schools celebrated.  The school I see kids in was making green eggs and ham. Now, having not been exposed to much ham and bacon growing up, I usually find the smell repulsive.  The first time I smelled it in 8th grade home economics class,  I almost had to leave the room to prevent from vomiting.  When I see people eating meat in the morning, I just don'  But today that ham smelled so good, I wish I could have sat in the room all day! 

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