Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
The happy news also takes the edge off the fact that I look like a manatee right now.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
This one will only be two weeks of injections instead the whole month. They say it is more aggressive because they have cut off two weeks of Lupron prior to the stims. I guess shortening the Lupron suppression will give more oomph to the stims. We’ll see. I will be done around December 15th and get the results by the end of the month.
I can’t believe how “no big deal” this is becoming. But I still just want it to be all over so badly.
I told a person from church what my timeline was and she was pretty sympathetic to the fact that I would be getting the news around Christmas time. This had occurred to me, but really, take your pick as to which day would be the worst, because at this point I think I have had them all. My birthday, his birthday, anniversary, anniversary of “trying”, Thanksgiving, on the day of a baby shower I was throwing, on the day of my niece’s birth, many, many days of people announcing their pregnancies… I have been getting the kick in the gut on a monthly basis for over six years now. The bright side, I guess, is that is has gotten easier to handle. I think the worst days were the ones in the first two years. And contrary to what one might think, this has not made me feel isolated or lonely, it has opened my eyes to how many people live with sad things and still do their best to have full, happy lives.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I haven’t written about this because it’s one of those events that are not even slightly humorous in the moment. I have gained 20lbs or so since January.
To set the scene: We are at the very end of a long day, of which we have spent at least 5 of the last 4 hours together. I am in my work clothes.
H: Babe, you don’t look comfortable. I think you need to buy new pants this weekend. I am just concerned about your comfort.
Me: (Rage and humiliation swirling in my head and heart, but trying to keep cool because I have foolishly asked for his honesty if ever an intervention such as this was needed) I am not very comfortable, does it look like I am smuggling Christmas hams in my pants?
H: Mmmm…. (biding time because he is afraid to answer)
Me: (losing it) OH MY GOSH. HOW BAD DO I LOOK? AND HOW LONG HAVE A LOOKED THIS RIDICULOUS AND YOU DIDN’T TELL ME. HOW LONG!!!
H: You don’t look bad, you just don’t look very professional. I don’t really want men to see you.
Me: What the hell!
Me: (Calming down, again recalling that at some crazed point I thought marital honesty about my body was a good thing) So are you saying I look like a mall worker?
Epilogue: I bought new big girl pants. Was very upset about it at first. Have now discovered that buying new, looser fitting clothing is almost as good as losing weight. I am indeed more comfortable now. And I am still married.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Oct. 25, 10Pee lesson #2: When taking a blood pregnancy test you do not have to hold your pee
I woke up this morning for my first of two pregnancy tests absolutely dying to pee, but I know (once again because I am a huge know it all) that morning pee is the strongest pee of all so if I am even a teeny tiny bit pregnant, I want that the good stuff going on my tests. Only the best for me man. My appt was at 9:45 am and I did the incredible feet of only peeing out a small bit and stopping mid stream, just so I wouldn’t pee my pants on the drive to the clinic, but still saving that great, nasty early morning stuff so I could be an A plus student for my tests. I did take the pleasure of bragging to H about my amazing mid-stream pee stopping discipline several times along the drive. We pull up to the office 45 minutes later and H says, “You do know this is a blood test today, right?”
I swear I saw a little smirk on his face.
I have a positive pregnancy test sitting in my cupboard at home. It is the one and only positive I have ever had in the last six years, so it a novelty, and I don’t want to chuck it just yet. It does not mean I am pregnant, it's just the test I had to take the day after my HCG trigger shot to ensure that the HCG was really in my system. And even that was not a positive on the first go round.
The morning of the test I woke up full of first morning pee, took out the test and hosed it, then set it on the countertop, then read the directions. Yes. Exactly opposite of what any smart, careful person would do. But I am not careful. I think I know it all, especially about peeing on sticks. The directions did not even have words, just pictures - Pictures clearly showing a woman peeing in a cup then putting 3 tiny drops of urine on the test window. BAH. So I never got a positive or a negative, just three completely flooded out windows staring back at me. I told H it was inconclusive, and went on my merry way to work. Like a smart careful person, H called the nurse to tell her the inconclusive status. She said I’d have to just go buy an over the counter pregnancy test and try again. She was baffled why it didn’t work and asked if H thought it was the test or if it was user error – likely a polite way of saying is your wife a heathen who ruined my test by hosing it down like a Labrador to a fire hydrant? H called me back and asked me if it was user error, and I confessed. He laughed so hard I had to cover the earpiece of my work phone so my whole office didn’t hear about the urine antics. All I can think is “wow” – pregnancy tests are sort of gross and un-lady like in the first place, but I even thought I was Joe Cool about that – and had to have a humbling pee lesson. Oh man. Please tell me this is bottom.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
The tough part was that the doctor gave us the option to transfer all three. I guess the risk of triplets is only 3%, so H and even the doctor agreed that for them that is a tolerable risk. For me however, triplets and beyond is so scary and horrible. That 3% is higher than zero, and that makes it a no go for me. So H and I had to argue it out for a while the doctor waited in the hall. Also, I might add that the doctor said he could tolerate the risk of triplets in order to have a better success rate in light of the fact that he doesn't have a problem reducing the pregnancy. I have discovered through this process that I have no judgment whatsoever about people reducing their pregnancies, because I would really do nearly anything to not have triplets. -Except you don't do a reduction until around 12 weeks, and after struggling this long to have a baby I know I couldn't end a fetus' beating heart. Thankfully, because we were at an impass, the doctor went in to get an update on the cells, and we now had two front runners and one straggler, so I won. Just two in, and we will let the runt grow in the lab until day five to see if it is good enough to freeze.
I recounted the events to my mom and I could tell she was doing the dumb acknowledgment laugh that means she agreed with H. Look, I know it is crazy not to do whatever I can to maximize my chances for pregnancy but I am not scared of triplets because it would be hard to have three babies. The stork could drop them off on my doorstep today and I would be elated. But triplets are born 2 month early on average, and nearly all stay in the NICU for some amount of time and end up just healthy and fine. But 25% are born even earlier than that. Maybe with lifelong health problems, and I don't even want to be in the situation of thinking that it is my fault because I got greedy trying to maximize my odds of pregnancy. I feel so strongly about this it really ticks me off that my opinion isn't respected. I feel like these are the closest things I have felt to protective motherly instincts and I am going to stand by them even if it means I am won't be a mother this go around.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
The source of the sadness is H still not having a job. Nothing like having new drama to minimize old drama, because honestly I just haven't had any mental energy to care about the IVF at all and that at least, has been a great thing.
After the first IVF failed my boss called me into his office to offer his sympathy and opened up to me about the death of his 19 year old son, who was killed instantly in a car crash while serving a mission in Africa. Man that was sad stuff to even hear. And though he was really generous in comparing my plight and his, the two just aren't even in the same hemisphere of suffering. His conclusion at the end of the chat was "Trials can be awful, but after all is said and done I wouldn't trade mine for anyone's else." I thought about it for a minute and I agreed. I hate the infertility but I know it, and I have learned some things from it, and I have made a sort of peace with it. It's a familiar bag that I have gotten good at carrying.
I cannot say the same thing for the layoff. At times I feel this is eating me alive. I see no good in it. I have learned some lessons and I certainly see many things differently now, but I don't at all feel like the lessons learned outweigh the bad. My main hope is that in the future these last few months will fade to small insignificant memories. I would give this away, I would trade it away.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
In my family, and probably many others “going #2” = taking a dump. So I felt this title was appropriate for the beginning of my second round of IVF
On most levels I am really relaxed for this round. I don’t have high expectations, but I do have just the right amount of hopefulness. I am not at all pre-occupied with injection fear and all the other anxieties I had last time, and I now have two lovely supplemental insurance policies in place: Aflack and Beneficial Life, that make me feel way more at ease about the possible negative outcomes this could produce.
So far I am not impressed with this clinic I am using. And If I ever thought that smaller was universally better, I was wrong. Last round at the U, I was just a nameless cog in a big machine, but a very well oiled, smooth running machine. This clinic has only 1 doctor who I will be seeing and two nurse practitioners. There could be upsides to this, but so far I have only experienced the downsides of them being quite disorganized, and having really lame office hours (9am to 4pm).
I did have a day of insanity/anxiety when I went in for my meeting last week to schedule my protocol. I have been asking since June about my tentative dates and the nurse could not, or would not provide them. So what do I discover – my really horrible week of swelling and doctor checks are going to be the first week in October and the scheduled retrieval is between Oct. 13 and 15th. Bloody hell lady. This is why I was asking about dates for months. Because I am a tax accountant. Because October 15th is a large deadline for me that is usually non negotiable. And now that I have taken the Lupron and purchased my drugs, going forward with IVF feels emotionally non-negotiable too. Also, my third Lupron shot was left off the schedule she provided me, and her reply was “oh you haven’t had the third yet? Well, no big deal”. Really? No big deal? – I thought three mandatory shots was why I couldn’t do IVF in August in the first place. Funny how important certain things are until a nurse or doctor messes up, and then they aren’t important at all. Also, it was really sucky that they were going to provide me with two free sample shots, but made me purchase the uncovered second shot last month. And now my third “free” shot won’t even go to me. They also forgot that I am taking an estrogen pill daily for my endometriosis. I am no doctor, but I would think that estrogen might mess with all the ivf junk, so I called to remind them. “Oh yeah, no big deal” was again the reply. The only reason I am here is because of the sweet shared risk plan I am using, or I should say HOPEFULLY using, because my contract has lapsed since they had to delay me for the “vital” three month of Lupron. I had a contract this summer, but now I need to have new blood tests done today and hopefully I will re-qualify. It’s ugly to picture what I will do if I don’t. As we were checking out at the reception desk at the appointment I felt the stress moving from my gut up to my throat, and I tried really hard to not cry. On the drive home I opted to have a scream fest about how much I hate doctors and how stupid the clinic is which really helped relieve and distract. I didn't want to touch the unexpected horror of feeling an irrational flood of very real, indescribable, bad feelings rise from the grave. I thought they were dead and buried. It is so hard for me to describe the feelings and how it not about how I was feeling in the moment, but that I was NOT in control. At all. I had no idea I had that much crap stored up somewhere in me. In fact, the creepy part is that I felt like those feelings couldn't possibly have been anywhere in me. There is no way I had that much grief and didn't even know it. It's very disturbing feeling to be alarmed by what lives within you. It made me fear my ability to cope with something actually tragic.
It has been days since that emotional zombie showed up unexpectedly, and to add to the creepiness, I have been perfectly fine ever since that day, and I can't even make myself feel that bad, or go to that zone if I tried. It's just gone for now.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Tough to know where to start: I got accepted into a shared risk IVF program, where you pay a boatload up front but in return get up to three live rounds and three frozen rounds to make a baby. If you aren't successful you get a little bit of money back. I was thrilled to have conned someone into letting me into such a program because the U turned me down for theirs already, and they were my last treating doctor; (translation: The U told me I sucked and wouldn't place their bets on me, and I believe them.)
New doctor decides I need to go on the Lupron Depot shot to "quiet" my endometriosis as much as possible before IVF, so I need to go in for monthly shots three months prior to my IVF.
I am all hung up on the terrible horrible side affect that dumb shot can have, so finding out it isn't covered by my insurance and costs $700 a shot is depressing beyond belief. I put the ball back in the clinic's court and tell them I don't want the shot, and they magically procure me two free shots. Yay. Suddenly I have less hang-ups.
In the meantime, H is laid off from his job. His job at OUR workplace. We work together. My best friend there is also laid off. I now find myself in work hell. Really. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I can't find words to describe these last few weeks, I just wish they could be wiped from my memory someday. As most people (and begrudgingly, even I) would point out, at least I still have a job, and a decent income at that, and a means to pay our mortgage and feed our faces and stuff. Yes. I am grateful, I am in relatively little pain in comparison to the thousands of others in this same situation, as we have lost one income, but still have one remaining. Unfortunately, my baby ambitions do require two incomes. And a third or fourth income would really take the edge off.
As some demonstration of faith, or denial of reality, I went ahead and got my first Lupron shot today - crossing fingers and toes that H will have a job in three months. Really, I feel like it was this huge demonstration of positivity, and hope that someone up there knows what it takes for me to make such leaps.
So now to the current, ugly part.
We go to Target and peruse the dollar section. I am looking for a beach ball. H finds some nostalgic childhood crap toys. I know he loves things like this. He has told me many times how happy things like this make him. He throws five into the cart and I start having a ton of anxiety and panic about how I hate tiny, crappy plastic things, how I moved a chest of drawers out of my play room recently and had to dumb a whole other load of crap toys I already own onto the floor, how I know the new crap toys have no place to go. How those toys are mostly frequented by my 2 year old nephew and yet H has chosen the pack of 100 tiny choking hazard soldiers that I will step on and find down my toilet, and find pooped out by the in-laws dog...!!!...
My heart was racing in the store, but at that point I was aware that I was being looney, so I decided to not say anything and simply smile at the crap.
Then we got home and (I think) in the meanest possible voice I asked him to take his crappy junky toys immediately out of the kitchen, out of my face because I thing they are the dumbest thing on the planet and they are a ridiculous wasteful purchase based not on reality, but the nostalga that he carries only because he only had those crappy poor person toys, and no kid in this day and age will ever use those toys because they have a million cooler things now, and he is welcome to keep them and prove me wrong, please, but until the nephew comes over don't let me see them because I have anxiety about them, and he isn't living in reality buying crap when we are eating up our precious savings every month.
Then he had a fit trying to find the receipt to take them back - and I told him he was a pussy for now needing to take them back and if he likes stupid toys he needs to own it, and grow a pair, even if I don't like them (the toys that is). Because I am allowed to not like your things, and it doesn't mean you have to take them back and waste our gas taking back lame toys. Many more ridiculous things were said - by me - then H came down and declared that he is hoping this is just a hormone surge brought on by my shot.
The shot? Oh boy. I hadn't even thought of it. But was this a crazy hormone surge? YES. Is it due to the shot that I just got this morning? Is that even scientifically possible? I am not sure, so I will own this ugly event. But I will say I haven't felt that much anxiety, panic, indignation, irritation, and rage all in such a short period of time ever before. And now all I feel thinking of a grown man having to take his $5 toys back to Target is deep sadness and regret. I am going to say that is because somewhere I am still human. I am not chalking that one up to the shot.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
How to be Good Friends with an Infertile
I have quite a few ‘normal’ friends (i.e. not infertile) who read this blog. (I am so far out the closet it is frightening, even my brother and ex flirts read this blog). Imagine how confusing most of the lingo must be for them. Anyhow. Back to the point of this post. One of those friends said to me “I wish you would write about how to be a good friend to an infertile person”. Which is really sweet of her and shows she has already passed one of the requirements. So I started thinking about writing a post on this and realized what a hard task this is. How do you become a Good Friend to an Infertile?
Firstly, I have to say that this being a Good Friend to an Infertile is not an easy job at all. It is a job with fluid parameters, a thankless job sometimes and one where it might appear that no matter how hard you try, you never seem to get it right. There are times when you will be extremely busy and the job is very demanding. There are other times where you will benched, forced to sit on the outside looking in. There is not often any logic in this change of demand. Be aware of the volatility of work pressure when applying for this job. It is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Secondly, there is not a universal job description, and worst of all, your job duties will change over time. There is not a universal job description because Infertiles come in different flavors. True, one can categorize these flavors to some extent, but variations will always exist. Your eternal optimist / newbie / completely uninvolved infertile doesn’t need too much in the way of special friendship; they believe the problem is temporary and will get resolved soon. They don’t feel broken, different or an outcast. Your longer term / highly involved infertile is a very tricky beast, and is one to be handled with great caution and protective gloves (for you, not her). This person feels alienated from society and carries great pain and angst in their souls. They might not show it all the time, but there is a very sensitive, raw spot in their souls that is easily bruised. Then you get the older timers, who’ve been doing this so long it just becomes part of who they are. These infertiles have gone through the great angst and intense pain of the ‘dark years’ and have come out realizing that while infertility is shit, it is not all consuming. And instead of crying, they laugh. Because infertility is actually a comedy of errors, sometimes.
Infertiles tend to move through these stages at different pace. Which makes it very hard being a Good Friend to an Infertile, because the type of friendship involved is so different at each stage. It is very very hard being a Good Friend to someone stuck in the dark stage of infertility. It is a very painful place for an infertile to be. There is no hope, just a great deep dark sense of despair. You feel totally alienated from the rest of the world and you are consumed by your situation. Every thing hurts, and every thing has the power to hurt you. Your world shrinks to the world of infertility and you fight tooth and nail to protect the fragile hold you have on sanity. The best advice I can give to a Good Friend at this stage is to offer friendship and support, from a distance. Say things like “I am here for you if you want to talk, or not talk, or drink, or swear, or shop. But if you don’t want to that’s perfectly ok. I’ll be here waiting for you when YOU are ready to come out the cave”. If you can bare it, hang in there, your friendship should return to some semblance of its previous form once your Infertile has worked her way through her dark despair. It has nothing to do with you or you ability to friend, it has every thing to do with her coping with the horrible reality of her situation.
Being a Good Friend to the eternal optimist or the good-humored veteran is a lot easier, with these few survival tips.
1. Good Friends never judge. Remember that unless you’ve walked in the person’s shoes, you can’t say “well I would never….do IVF/terminate a pg/spend so much money on ART etc” To be honest, who likes judgmental people any way.
2. Good Friends will educate themselves about what their Infertile is going through. HUGE proviso: see point 3 before putting any thing into action. Read up about infertility so that you get a high-level understanding of the intricacies involved. Know little things like eggs are retrieved, then fertilized and they become embryos. Then the embryos are put back. Just small things so that when your infertile does share some of her world with you, you will understand. I think this shows commitment to the friendship.
3. However. Do not willy nilly offer advice, or hot off the press latest research about a fantastic new procedure that is sure to work. Remember the stuff they write about in your local woman’s magazine is stuff that your Infertile did in Infertility 101. Been there, failed that. ICSI is not a new procedure, I promise. And yes, we have heard of taking cough syrup to increase cervical mucous. Oh, and for my Aunt, yes I have heard of lying with my legs in the air after having sex. Unfortunately, I have PCO and don’t ovulate so I could be lying with my legs in the air doing bicycle movements till the cows come home and all the sperm are going to do is mill around confused asking where the %$#$ the egg is, bemoaning the fact that this has been a useless trip out and they might as well have had a wank. Which goes back to Point 2. Educate yourself about your friend’s diagnosis so that you can avoid offering pointless advice. And please, what ever you do, never, ever be so stupid as to say “just relax”. Would you say to a cancer patient “just relax”? Would you say to someone who can’t see “just relax”? Of course you wouldn’t. Plus you have to know that “just relaxing” will not change the medical diagnosis that is causing your friends infertility. Because of course you’ve done enough reading to carry on an intelligent conversation, if your Infertile decides to engage you in one.
4. Platitudes. Never ever offer platitudes. This is a totally selfish act any way because all platitudes do is make you feel better and the Infertile feel worse. Saying “maybe you are not meant to have children” is an incredibly stupid thing to say. You wouldn’t say to a diabetic “maybe you weren’t meant to have insulin etc”. Infertility is a medical condition. Not some factor in the universe’s bigger plan for the Infertile. Similar to “its God will”. How do you know? You have a direct connection or what? How about “are you sure you want kids?” lovingly looking at your own screaming kids. No dear, I am spending thousands and enduring physical, emotional and mental anguish just because I am obscenely stupid. Or “you can have mine”. Now that’s an incredibly stupid thing to say. What kind of mother are you to give her kids away? Oh you were only joking? What was the funny part? That I don’t have my own kids? Sorry, but I am not getting the joke? Call me stupid. In addition, please don’t tell me about your friend/cousin/co-worker who got pg naturally after 8 years of trying. It doesn’t make me feel better, it depresses me. Good for her. It’s got nothing to do with my situation.
5. The tricky one. Announcing pregnancies / baby showers / births and other kid things. The best advice I can give here is trust the Infertile to know what she can or can’t handle. Don’t hide things from her, but respect it when she says to you “I don’t think I am going to be able to handle that”. Your Infertile knows when her good days and bad days are, and what she can or can’t handle. But do invite her, give her the choice of saying no. And then respect her to know that sometimes she needs to protect her own fragile soul more than she needs to fulfill social obligations.
6. The level of involvement. Infertiles differ in the level of involvement they engage their Good Friends in. Some, like me, are pretty open about the whole thing. Every Friend and their Mother knows when I am going in for ER, ET or whatever. Other people prefer to keep their infertility private. Find out what your Infertile prefers and operate at the level she feels comfortable with.
7. Which brings to me to my final point. If you don’t know how to act, ask. I love that my friends ask me how I want them to act around me. They also know that if they ask the question “how is it going with your treatment” I will either tell them or I will say “irritating, I don’t want to talk about it now”. They totally respect that and don’t push. I have great friends.
There have been many articles written on the web about what to say and not to say to an Infertile, how the family should act etc. I wont go into those. If you are a Good Friend you will have done a little surfing and read those things anyway. Besides, this post is already way too long.
To end off, if you decide to accept the job of Good Friend to an Infertile, I applaud you. Because it is not an easy job. It really isn’t. As I have said, it’s a pretty thankless job and one in which your job description is so fluid that what is required today is wrong tomorrow. I thank those of my Good Friends who have stuck around so long with me. I know it hasn’t been easy. I appreciate your friendship, I really do.
Read more: http://tertia.typepad.com/so_close/2004/05/how_to_be_good_.html#ixzz0nDMw82vI
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
She was really eager to place three siblings under five with us. I said no. Too little, too much. She said - I have three siblings age 7-9. I am not kidding, I really wanted them. That day. But we let her know we are mentally committed to seeing things through with the possibility of the Texas teens, and we would need to hold off on placements until we get a yes or a no from TX.
Despite the talk of poo-smearing, tiny sexual perps, firestarters, heartbreaking neglect and other heavies, we were left with an overall feeling that was good, and peaceful and happy and exciting and natural. I imagined a banner floating above our heads that read "This is the road! This is your family!" It was written in multi-colored, bubbly handwriting. It was a great day.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Unfortunately we got the answers, or lack thereof that we were expecting. There was no identifiable problem except the poor quality of our embryos. And there is really no explanation for that. So if we were to do this again (internal cringe) the only thing that they would do differently is give me a higher dose of stims, to hopefully better our chances via simply retrieving more eggs. Doesn't sound like rocket science to me.
So the doctor said that statistically, our odds the second and third time are about the same as the first. But after three your odds plummet. I wonder if that is because many patients can't finish treatment the fourth time because they are too busy setting themselves on fire. I'm just saying, I can think of better things to do with my sanity and money, thank you very much.
I also am left to wonder what it really means when your doctor strongly suggests looking into adoption. STRONGLY. (More on that strange part of the conversation in another post) I guess I appreciate her realism. I also wonder where it leaves me that when I asked her if I can and should get on a drug to suppress my periods - and therefore my endometriosis (and therefore the chance of every getting a freebie pregnancy) she didn't answer yes or no, just simply my various drug options.
And furthermore, I am really left trying to deal with the fact that when I asked if it would be a good idea to suppress my period and try again sometime in the next five years she directly answered "I would try within a year".
It's a premature death I am not ready to handle. I was expecting to lay my last eggs around 35. Not next year. I am so sad.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Within less than five minutes she escalated from minor weeping and hugging to "WHY DID THIS HAPPEN!? (screaming and fist shaking) HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED! (googly-eyed desparation) WHEN CAN YOU START AGAIN? (wild eyed and pacing) Break.
At this point H tries to interupt saying, "Mother, we don't even know if we can or will do this again, we need to talk to the doctor first." I am thinking "So this is how magical checks are written - under extreme duress. How much will a massage in Greece help my fertility?" We are both cut off by her next thought: "AUNT NINA GAVE ME A PAPER WITH THE NAME OF THE DOCTOR WHO HELPED JENNA SAUSILITO IN THE 2ND WARD GET PREGNANT WITH TWINS (hunting through piles of paper) IT'S GOT TO BE HERE SOMEWHERE (frantically hunting through piles of paper) HIS NAME WAS JAPANESE. OR MAYBE IT WAS INDIAN. ARE THERE ANY DOCTORS IN SALT LAKE WHO ARE JAPANESE OR INDIAN. I THINK I WILL KNOW IT WHEN YOU SAY IT. WHAT WERE THE NAMES OF YOUR DOCTORS. OH I CAN'T FIND IT. NAME YOUR DOCTORS. START NAMING OFF ALL YOUR DOCTORS. NAME ALL THE DOCTORS IN SALT LAKE! (throwing papers, running from room to room.)
Fortunately we were able to quickly calm her down by assuring her all doctors have the same statistics and there really was no magical doctor who only creates pregnant patients with twins. I also asked some gardening questions about when to plant peas. She never did return to writing a blank check.
Though funny and sad at the same time, I was touched by the hysteria. I have only seen that level when the beloved Boston Terrier was lost on a snowy evening. And she LOOOOOOOVES that dog. So I guess this was proof of how much she loves us too.
Thanks to everyone. Every one of you said the perfect thing.
I had a cavity that needed fixing this weekend which necessitated a weekend stay with my in-laws. Probably not the best place for being sad or working through it, but maybe that is why it seemed to work well. I didn't know how to be sad. I don't know how to work through it.
It was very weird to have to, in various ways, tell the 10 or more family members who were privy to the not so secret mission of the last couple months. I had read it was really stupid to tell very many people because it made the failures harder. I have nothing to compare this event to, but I have found that sharing sad news with people who love you just isn' t that bad. Everyone reacted very differently, but bottom line was I felt really loved.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
So in order to make a long story short: I am not pregnant.
And in order to make light of something that isn't here are some funny ways to say you are "riding the big red wave"
"Miss Scarlett's Come Home to Tara"
"Taking Carrie to the Prom"
"Game Day for the Crimson Tide"
"Falling to the Communists"
"Rebooting the Ovarian Operating System"
Now I will focus on recovering my bludgeoned muffin tops from the misery that is PIO injections. There's my silver lining.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
And I did say a cuss word very loudly in the hallway at church right before I burst into a brief hysterical sob. I remembered the meltdown for sure, and fortunately there was only one witness plus H and a few startled passers-by. I did not remember the swearing. H just reminded me of that. I think it was just hell or damn though so I really feel no guilt.
But yes, a very kind acquaintance sat by me and said "Did you hear ---- is pregnant! I am so excited for her! You know she was basically on the verge of having to go through IVF but then she found this herb doctor and now she is pregnant! I need to call her to find out what that doctor did because it totally saved her from having to do IVF!" I was smiling and nodding in excitement and agreement while dying on the inside. *
Oh, so this is how those horrid stories are born: As in ..".I knew a girl who tried everything, and then was almost having to do IVF, and then decided to (insert here anything you can possibly think of: see an herbologist, acupuncturist, Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor, chiropractor, ...go off dairy, meat, sugar... say more prayers, just relax, adopt...take up yoga, start running, stop running, join the circus...." Fact is, someone knows someone who has fit into every category under the moon. And I won't knock the validity of anyone's personal story. But these anecdotes are awful and horrible and should be never passed along to me. For as long as I live. And not at my damn funeral either. Even if I go off dairy tomorrow and get prego on Monday.
*Note: This girl has no idea I am doing IVF. Though I am pretty sure she knows I have been infertile for a gazillion years. I am confident she would be the one dying if she knew, which is certainly not her fault. She was just being happy for a mutual friend. Totally understandable.
In college my husband and I spent a summer term in Guanajuato, Mexico. It was lovely and safe town, but still had its share of extreme haves and have-nots. Cardboard shacks next to mansions, that type of thing. Walking back to our apartment from dinner one night, I watched a family celebrating their child's birthday. An entire extended family gathering around a five year old to watch him open a huge wrapped present. It was really fun to watch. And then I noticed I was not the only one watching the party. A little beggar boy, the same age had been watching from the corner and probably unknowingly had walked closer and closer to see what was going on. The birthday boy opened his present - a new bike, and squealed and his family laughed and hugged him. It was picturesque. And I looked back at the beggar child expecting to see jealousy on his face and what I saw was indescribably worse than jealousy. I could see his little wheels turning, but didn't see anger, excitement, sadness. Just a tiny little boy with nothing attempting to take in a scene his own life had given him no ability to digest. I cried night after night because of that look. And still cry thinking about it now. I still have found no word for the look on his face, and though my situation is FAR different, I have felt that feeling.
It just is.
And I imagine that though I don't know anyone personally who is further along the IF road than me, if I did, then there would be someone out there who I care about who I would have to tell the happy news "I am pregnant"( if indeed I am.) And I wouldn't filter my own happiness. And I wouldn't expect her to give me the cursory "I am so happy for you" but of course she would.
We just do.
I was going to write a triumphant post that the PIO shots are not nearly as bad as I was told, but that very night my shot was horrible and they have been all over since. So my verdict on them is you just never know how they will be. And I think that physical pain triggers my emotional pain. The night of the bad shot I had an ugly "I never even wanted to do this, you made me do this, I hope you get closure from this you big jerk because we will have to part ways if you don't" rant. It was emotional baggage dumping on my husband and he bore it kindly, and certainly didn't deserve it. This has been a rollercoaster for him too. But though my words were meant to hurt, I feel they were true. I won't do this again. I was done before we started. I feel no need to test out a bad road, before getting on a happy road. But H did. And the bad road, though unnecessary for me, could lead to a baby, or at least the closure H needs. I hope for either.
It was a very nice calm and sympathetic voice saying something like this: "...your embryos were not even morula's on the day of transfer and we were hoping they would grow into morulas and then even reach blastocyst stage. We only freeze blastocysts. Your embryos continued to divide, but then began to die today, having never even made it to morula stage."
All that week I had been comfortable with the idea that embryos were being weeded out as our numbers dwindled. But for some reason thinking of the last two scrawny cell clumps struggling to survive and then just dying in a petri dish really tore me up. I cried a little bit listening to the message, but just took a minute in the bathroom to pull myself together and went back to focusing on anything but the things truly weighing on my mind.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The doctor sat down with us and informed us that we had four embryos still dividing. All four were of medium quality. None were blastocysts yet, which is the desired stage, so not only were we ineligible to participate in the single embryo transfer study, she strongly recomended we implant two. It was maybe not the greatest news, but almost laughable that we had been so distraught about the decision, and here it was, essentially made for us. I am actually really happy with how things went.
The stage of my embryos are called morulas. The two that were not implanted are going to hang out in the lab one more day, and we will get a call tomorrow to tell us their status and a recomendation on whether they are even worth freezing.
I was under the impression that I could just go right back to work, but they gave me some Valium which rendered me good for nothin anyway, and told me I really should have bedrest today and tomorrow. Sounds good to me. According to the doctor, I have about a 40% chance of pregnancy. That also sounds good to me.
So let the countdown to the pregnancy test begin...
Sunday, February 14, 2010
I will have a day 5 transfer which means that the embryos are strong enough and in high enough number that the lab thinks it is best to let the embies continue to weed themselves out, hopefully giving us a better indication of the top contenders to go into the womb. So basically more may die, or fail to thrive between now and Wednesday. We will get our next phone call on Tuesday to give us the revised count and appointment for the transfer.
As with everything in life, I want to have options but am easily overwhelmed knowing that the choices I have are my responsibility. I am grateful to be in the position to freeze some embryos, but this also means we will have to decide whether to implant one or two.
Right now our doctor's office is participating in a statewide study to investigate if single embryo transfers can be as successful as dual embryo transfers. Medically, doctors consider multiple pregnancies to be undesirable because of inherent risks involved when adding just one more baby to the mix. We have signed the consent form to participate in the single embryo transfer, but we can opt out if we wish. If you participate, only one embie is implanted, and the remainders are frozen free of cost, and the cost of the next frozen round (about $4000) is free - whether you have a baby or not on the first go-around. You have 3 years to do the frozen round free of cost. We are still unsure if we want to implant one or two. The count on Tuesday will help in making that decision. I am quite torn between my fear of complications of a twin pregnancy, and my adoration of fraternal twins. This decision is a scary one for me. I feel that if something went wrong with the multiple babies, I would never get beyond knowing it was my "fault" for getting greedy. On the other hand, if one embryo does not implant, I will wonder if an additional embryo would have resulted in a pregnancy. And I will worry that perhaps I played it too safe and let $$ dictate my choice. So much to think about between now and Tuesday, and yet I just want time to fly.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Then 5 minutes later he comes up stairs in full seriousness and says "I am sad".
"Because I can't have a Jimmy John's sandwich shop in my basement. I just want to walk down the stairs, point out my delicious sandwich, and eat it on the way up."
I totally feel that pain.
In answer to Melissa's question, yes I am crampy after the retrieval, but it isn't specific, really bad squeezing cramps, just the overall hot and fussy feeling in the uti that I often get before my real period comes to town. Not too bad, but definitely chill in bed with a blankie kind of cramps.
However: I will say this tiredness is getting old. Yesterday I slept all day because of the drugs with the exception of a three hour break to eat and watch Disturbia, the scariest PG-13 movie ever made. (OK no, the Skeleton Key is still tops, -thanks for the lifelong nightmares on that miss Jennifer) Not even the second scariest movie ever could stop me from having a lovely little 12 hour sleep. Breakfast this morning was too much. All that bowl to mouth spoon action required a little nap from 11 to noon. The nurse called to check-up today and said this tiredness is due to the progesterone. Apparently it mimicks pregnancy tiredness. WHAT!? Ladies with children please tell me how you adjust to constant sleepy? My eyes have been opened. How do you do it you amazing women you?
Friday, February 12, 2010
So there you have it. I have 12 little eggs hopefully being courted and knocked up by sperm at this very moment. (Yes, Court I am doing ICSI). I am so happy at this outcome.
I have heard many infertiles talk about loathing their bodies and such and it always seemed like such a sad way to view things, but when my stupid ovary went into hiding, I finally got my share of irrepressible feelings of loathing and failure and guilt. I couldn't even get my bod to cooperate during the procedure meant to help it.
The embryologist will call on Sunday morning to tell us how many surviving embryos we have at that point and hopefully schedule the transfer for Monday (if it is a day three transfer) or Wednesday (if it is a day five transfer).
I called my mom to thank her for having the optimism and faith that I just couldn't muster at the time. And to everyone else who was rooting for me. Thanks just doesn't even cover it.
This picture shows one of the bulls-eyes the nurse drew on me to ease H's aim.
And the picture below: I had wanted to post a pic at the time of the original post, but first had to learn how to load the pictures. I am acutely technologically impaired. Also, I was tired after taking no less than 30 shots to get just one picture of my face that i deemed OK. Call it vanity, call it insecurity. I am sure it's both. And the needle was not supposed to look like it is going up my nose. I had to drop pickiness 28 pictures in. I was just going for drama and sympathy. That is one big needle.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Well I am ripe and ready to go, so on Friday I will go in for the retrieval. I take my HCG trigger shot tonight. The nurse circled the part on my butt where it needs to go and H is ready for his debut as Nurse Nancy.
After the removal I also start having to take the progesterone shots known as PIO (progesterone in oil) Word on the street is that these are horrid - Long, fat needle, thick oily shot. The nurse says people universally complain about them until their positive pregnancy test, then suddenly people don't complain anymore. Imagine that. So I will be taking them from Friday until the pregnancy test at the first of March, and then a couple of months beyond if I have that elusive bun in the never used oven. I guess low estrogen is a common factor for miscarriage so this is the attempt to at least address that.
Now if I don't actually make at far as the implantation, I can stop the PIO. Which I guess is the silver lining on a dark cloud day. Oh, and I do actually have the option of taking vaginal suppositories three times a day! They are more expensive, and I have yet to see if they are covered by my insurance, but if day one of the shot is miserable you bet I will be doing some research. Picking one of those two poisons has been rough. Yucky yet efficient shot, or painless high maintenance vagi drama in my nasty work restroom. Yeah, the shots are on order, but verdict is still out.
Looks like I have six eggs on the left ovary available for the retrieval. There are eight on the right, but that ovary is still stuck behind my uterus, so the eggs are unlikely to be retrieved. What a bummer.
I do realize this has dramatically hurt my statistics (that was what all the wailing on Monday supposedly was addressing), but I am feeling pretty good. I just keep thinking. Just one embryo. That's all I really need. Just one good egg.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Last week the doctor looked at the crazy fuzz on the ultrasound screen and told me I had about 20 potential eggs that could mature. I am always amazed how they read those things. So today was day of reckoning numero uno. (Yes in my world there are many days of reckoning.) I was going in to see if my little follicles had mature eggs sitting in them. There was a chance the drugs could have over or under stimulated me. Too many are dangerous to your health and too few just decrease your odds of success. Well the doc counted them up and there were only ten. Which isn't terrible, just mediocre. She also informed me that due to my endometriosis my right ovary has been dislocated and is sitting behind my uterus, making it difficult or impossible to reach those eggs when they do the extraction. So basically I only have about 5 or 6 potential eggs.
Where do I begin - I guess anywhere that doesn't involve me making crazy high pitch squeeling noises as I cry would be productive. Hmmm. That doesn't leave a whole lot else. I did manage to squeek out this question: "How did I get this far into the process with nobody noticing my funked up ovary?!" Answer from doctor is that they just wouldn't have been able to see this until I got all puffed up from the drugs. My fluffy uterus and bulging eggsacs pushed things around I guess. And she said there is some chance that it could move between now and Wednesday when I go back in for another ultrasound. Well Moses parted the Sea and my mom just might move my ovary. She is dead set on making it happen between now and Wednesday so I feel like I am at least covered in the faith department there.
Doctor also mentioned that my low quantity probably isn't the fault of my drugs because endo patients just tend to not stim as well. What? Where was this disclaimer earlier on? I feel like I can handle a lot if I know the pros and the cons. But I really (naively perhaps) did not see this one coming and had actually hoped, yes HOPED that I would be the model 20 egg patient. I hate you hope. You make me look stupid.
So Doctor said that Wednesday we will see how things are progressing, and then she will have a better count of the true potential eggs. She said that less than three, they will not proceed, which is called a cancellation. 3-6, they have a serious discussion about whether it is worth proceeding -And we may be having that talk on Wednesday. H and I are both leaning toward proceeding. If I stop at this point I will be out the cost of the drugs plus a couple thousand bucks, but they will refund the rest. But I will also be at square one all over again and I don't want to go back there.
My sane side realizes it just takes one embryo to make a baby. So all I need is one good egg, that turns into one good embryo, that turns into one naughty baby. So this is not the end of the world, and I still have a chance. Sigh.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Cleary I have done a dumb thing. I am already armed to defend my decision.
I have picked a really stupid time to do IVF. I am already busy at work with no end in sight, just mounting stress and deadlines. I am being buried. And this is no different from last year. I just imagined that I could control and handle things better this year. Yes. I felt confident I could be more efficient and better at handling the stress of the tax season while simultaneously creating human life in a petri dish via massive doses of self injected crazy hormones. Umm. I am so glad blogs don't talk back or judge so I can just type in a defeated whisper: I am a freaking idiot. I messed up. I lost my mind. WHAT HAVE I DONE (In a wail, shaking fists at sky).
I had been told that the safety inspection was no sweat. But I sweated it anyway, and sure enough, it really was nothing to sweat. My too little fire extinguisher was deemed adequate. The inspector didn't look in my sock drawer, or say my sheets didn't match. My garage of hazards passed inspection with merely the lock on the exterior door. The only change I have to make is locking up my detergent and bleach in the laundry room. That's it.
He said I should expect to be licensed in about a month. Woohoo.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
But still, here it is Thursday night and I haven't done a thing yet.
Basically, a caseworker/inspector will come to my house and make sure that I don't have any obvious safety hazards. Only certain breeds of dogs allowed, gates around swimming pools, that sort of thing.
The state requires all medicine (prescription and non prescription) and all cleaners, and all flammable material (even hairspray and stuff) to be under lock and key. They admit it is draconion, but aren't flexible on this one. I purchased the magna locks to put on several of my cupboards, but haven't installed any yet.
I also have to have a proper size fire extinguisher in the kitchen. (We bought one a few months ago, but apparently it is too small)
We have to have working fire alarms on each floor (need to test), and a carbon monoxide detector in the house (check.).
I need to put together an IKEA dresser that is currently in a thousand pieces under my bed. Been putting that one off for a while...
I need to check my first aid kits to see that they have all the essential (except actual MEDICINE, as that needs to be under lock and key - go figure) One for house, one for car. I think they are practically good to go.
The best thing is that the caseworker told me I do not need a bed and dresser at the homestudy to qualify for a child to be placed. I thought I had a major shopping trip to the furniture store ahead of me, as I am short two bed frames, one mattress and two dressers.
The worst thing is that that whole "lock and key" business applies to everything in the garage and shed as well. Can I tell you how many dangerous items are in a garage? Many. Fertilizer, gas can, paint, bug sprays, garden everything. I don't have the cash for those nice storage closets. We have been trying to find some or think of a good solution for over a year now. So I am simply going to lock the garage door (it is detached) and pray that counts.
I have a highschool classmate who just adopted two teenage foster daughters and she told me the homestudy is NOT as big of a deal as they make it out to be. I hope she is right.
We will also be interviewed together and separately to evaluate our mental fitness. They like to separate you to see if your answers jive. This part I am not so worried about. It will be interesting to see what it is like, and what sort of things they will ask. I'll keep you posted. I think after the homestudy is done, it goes to a board of review and it should be about 6 weeks for them to look it over and issue our license. Crossing fingers...
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
After about three months of waiting, hoping, emailing, ignoring, denying, and finally just praying my heart out that it could finally happen, my background checks finally came through and I will have my homestudy next MONDAY!
I can't even believe how excited I was. I thought it was just a tiny thing. Another box to check on my list. But it feels like so much more than that right now and I was so excited to receive the good news from the adoption coordinator, I had to fight not to cry. Tears of happiness! How shocking. And exciting.
And then the bummer: I told a friend about the homestudy excitement and her reaction was "cool. - So how is the IVF stuff coming?" Perhaps I was reading too much into this but I took this really hard. Like the adoption stuff is the ugly stepchild to my "real baby" aspirations.
This could have been benign, but it comes on the back of being schooled by this friend that "older kids have so much baggage. You need to take your nieces and nephews into consideration in this too." I feel anger as I type this now... Focus on happy things, focus on the homestudy, focus on the 100 things on my to do list I need to get done before Monday. Happiness is returning.