Friday, December 23, 2005

Twinkle Twinkle

So this week’s freak out was caused partially by being so close to deadline on these papers (I’m working through the final edits right now) and mostly by the fact that at Monday’s u/s we saw two sacs. Yes, I’ve been holding out on you. The news freaked us out more than it should have, and talking about it would have made it more concrete than I think we could comprehend at that point. I mean, it’s not like we didn’t know that was a possibility, and we transferred two excellent blasts, and did acupuncture, and everything else we were supposed to do, but I don’t think we really imagined that this is how it would end up. So we spent a couple of days adjusting, and freaking out, and researching, and eating lime popcicles (okay, that was just me), and slowly got used to the idea just enough to contemplate that it might really happen.

And then came today’s ultrasound, where we got to see two twinkly little heartbeats.

Ohmygodwhathavewegottenourselvesinto! I know that we are so incredbily blessed by this possibility and I don’t want to come across as an ingrate. But I also know that this complicates things now and in the future. That it raises some risks. That it increases the chances of having a complicated pregnancy, of gestational diabetes, of preeclampsia, of a premature delivery. I am not anticipating the worst, but I’m not trying to sugar coat the risks. I have watched too many people struggle with even singleton pregnancies - I know it’s not all just ginger ale and flowers from this point forward in any pregnancy, but especially so with twins. And a bit of me is in mourning - I’m not one of those people who looked forward to twins because then we’d be done with all of this. I definitely want more than one kid, but I always imagined them coming one at a time. We have an embarassment of riches 11 frozen blasts, and I was looking forward to using some of them. And yes, I know we still might (I just can’t think that far ahead right now). And I know that just because there are two now doesn’t mean I’ll end up with two in the end. But for all of these reasons, it’s complicated and I needed some time to process.

I have to say, I do so love the internets. First, for worrying about me and making sure I was okay when I didn’t post as expected. I feel so blessed to think that there are people out there thinking about me. And I love that there are other bloggers who have gone before me - that I can read through Persephone’s post at a similar point and be reassured that my internal conflict seems competely normal - at least based on my admittedly limited sample size. (In fact, Persephone said almost EXACTLY what I would have said if I could focus just a bit more. So go read it, and mostly that’s what I’m thinking.)

So, yes. We are still adjusting. My mom was in town this morning so we brought her back to the exam room to see the twinkles. Otherwise, we haven’t told anyone. I think we’ll tell J’s parents on Sunday after we get to DC. (And my dad too, at some point. I think he was hoping for twins, actually.) And then we wait.

I know it’s still early and things could change. But for now, my twinkles are doing fine. And that is a fabulous gift.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


For those of you who were wondering, I’m fine. (And thank you so much for caring. Really, I feel so lucky to have such fantastic friends in the computer. MWAH!) There’s no crisis. Just a bit of a freak out paired with my desperate attempts to finish these papers this week. I swear I will provide a report just as soon as I can - hopefully tomorrow if I can polish up the conclusion to the second paper tonight. But rest assured, NBHH.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Saying the words

Thank you all for your birthday wishes - it turned out to be a pretty good one. We went to LA to take my Grandmother to a cousin’s Bat Mitzvah, then spent a couple of hours hanging out at my mom’s house (even though mom was out of town) to rest and watch the Gilmore Girls episode where Rory has two birthday parties, and then we had dinner with my Dad and his girlfriend at this fantastic all-you-can-eat Mongolian BBQ, where you go through and get raw meat and veggies and all sorts of sauces, and then they cook it up for you on the big grill. Yummy! (And good for me, since I’ve been SO hungry lately. Seriously. I need to eat all the time. Except when I’m napping.)

So even though we saw family last weekend, we didn’t tell anyone any news. It was so new and fresh. If they didn’t know about the cycle, or the specifics of the timing, I think we could have waited another couple of weeks (at least until our first ultrasound, if not until we saw a heartbeat). But they knew, to varying degrees, the cycle timing, and so we figured it was about time to share. Which we did, by phone, last night. We managed to tell 4 people, in three phone calls, without actually using the “p” word. I mean, we used a different “p” word - saying that so far, our tests are “positive”. But no actual speaking of the big “P” word.

I’ve said it a couple of times, in passing, but J can’t seem to do it at all, yet. (He was also the one who REALLY wanted to wait another couple of weeks to tell anyone.) He says that it’s so fragile, and new, and he’s scared it will go away. And I completely understand, but I also think that right now things are okay, and we shouldn’t act as if we think things are going to go wrong (even though I don’t think we’ll ever be those hyper-enthusiastic uber-fertiles who start decorating the nursery at the first sign of a second line). And he agrees with me on this, too. So we’re slowly getting used to the idea. And crossing our fingers and everything else for our first ultrasound (this Monday) - it will probably be too early for a heartbeat (5w5d, I think), but it’ll be something concrete. I mean, I didn’t even get a follow-up beta, so I’m staring at my pile of HPTs and walking on eggshells until I have something more to hang onto.

I will share this, though: I’ve been switched from PIO to suppositories three times a day for the next 5 weeks or so. I’m not having huge amounts of discharge or anything as I’d been warned I might, but I’m really not such a fan of the suppository thing anyway. My vagina seems to find the prospect of things being shoved in it to be less than pleasant. Like, “Hey, I wasn’t even really involved in this process, except when I got a big needle poked through me that one day, so why are you shoving things in here now? I mean, really. Can’t a vagina get a rest?” So that’s been fun.

And in the meantime, I have all sorts of questions, and I can’t bring myself to ask them or to buy the sorts of books that might have the answers. Not until Monday, at least. And then we’ll see if we can say the words.

Friday, December 09, 2005

4w2d(?): Speechless

Beta was 459. Yes, 459.

No repeat beta scheduled, but ultrasound (twins?) on the 19th.

Shock and gratitude and speechlessness.

I still can’t quite say the “p” word, but I did think it once.

My birthday is tomorrow. Best birthday present ever.

That is all.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

9dp5dt: I can’t think in weeks yet

The lines on my new best friend, FRED, were darker today than yesterday. Still fidgeting anxiously until Friday’s beta. This afternoon, I was so numbingly tired I cried. And I’ve been really hungry. But mostly just tired. Oh so tired. I could just sleep from now until the beta.

On the plus side, I think, I watched an entire commercial filled with babies, and instead of feeling bitter, I felt hopeful. And during one of those “talk to your kids about drugs” commercials, I thought - hmm, someday I guess we’ll need to do that.

I’ve been so focused on the process I haven’t been able to envision what comes next. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still incredibly cautious about this whole venture. Incredibly. But for a few minutes here and there, I’ve been able to imagine a time beyond this one. And it felt good.

Please, universe, don’t let this all crumble away.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

8dp5dt: Motivation

Okay, so I managed to do the PIO myself, with much coaching from J. It sucked, though. But I did it. Not sure how I’ll do alone, but success makes me a tiny bit more confident. (Of course, after I did the shot I had a huge meltdown and sobbed all over the couch. Hormones, right?) J has promised to be on the phone with me when I do the shots (on speaker phone, sillies - I certainly can’t imagine doing the shots while holding the phone - I don’t have enough hands as it is!).

Have I mentioned lately how much I lurve all of you? I told the nurse at the clinic that I knew it could be done because I had friends who had done it, and she asked if maybe one of these friends could just do my shots for me. Yeah, that would have been a nice option! Oh, how I wish we could all just drop in for snacks and shots any ol' time we wanted. (Gives new meaning to the phrase “body shots” doesn’t it!)

The one saving grace that I think will get me through the shots for the next couple of days is this: I took two HPTs today, and they were both positive. And not just in a squinting and hopping on one foot kind of way. J could even see the second line on the FRER in the somewhat dim light of the bedroom, with no coaching. So, um, I think maybe this worked? At least for now. Beta on Friday.

Monday, December 05, 2005

7dp5dt (still): Help!!

Internets, we have a problem. Or at least, a situation.

There’s been a death in J’s family, and he’d really like to go to the funeral, which is Wednesday. That’s not exactly the problem (neither the death, which we knew was coming, nor J’s ability to get to the funeral - assuming he can rearrange work obligations). I really liked this man*, but I don’t think I can make it to the funeral. The stress of the travel, my allergies, the tension of waiting for my beta, and the papers I desperately need to finish all make it seem like not the best idea right now. Although in some ways it would be the easiest option.

So here’s the problem: if J goes to the funeral, I will have to figure out another method of administering the PIO shots for several days. I see a few options, but none is ideal.

1. Do them myself. I know it’s been done, but I’m having trouble envisioning how I’d contort myself to do them, and it seems like it’ll hurt way more if I do them myself, and while I got over the self-stabbing with tiny needles, this just seems different.

2. Find someone we know to do them. If we lived closer to family, or if I had any really really close, medically-inclined friends, this might work. But right now, I can’t think of who I’d ask to do them.

3. Find a nurse to do them. I think that there are nurses at the after-hours clinic run by the Evil HMO. So, if I think they know what they’re doing, I could try to make appointments for each night J would be gone and then take my stuff over there. It seems on the surface like this would be the easiest option, but something about it isn’t sitting right with me. For one thing, I’d be around a lot of sick people (I mean, that’s who generally uses the after-hours urgent care clinic). For another thing, I don’t actually know if they know how to do these shots. I suppose that’s less of a hurdle, though, since J didn’t know how to do them either, and he’s been fine. And finally, where am I going to heat my little heating pad? And will I get to rest for a few minutes afterward? And will they be nice and use my Hello Kitty band-aids and sing to distract me while they do the shot? I suspect not.

Sniffle. Poor me. And, um, help?

* I didn't mean to be glib about the death part of this whole story. He was a dear, sweet, jokester of a man - J's great-uncle, or something. The sibling of a grandparent, I think. He was a jovial man - full of life. The last really nice memory I have of him is from Thanksgiving a year ago. He was playing with his new granddaughter (adopted from China, actually) and the look of joy on his face as he watched her was just fantastic. He was beaming. I’m sorry we didn’t get to see him while he was sick, but I’m glad the vision I have of him in my head is a healthy, happy one.

7dp5dt: Miscellany and distraction

So, I was crampy yesterday. And a bit nauseous. Though that might be from pondering the crampiness. And trying to decide what brand of HPTs to buy (FRED, I suspect, but since I won’t let myself buy them yet I’m keeping busy by exploring my options). Did I meantion the crampy nausea? Beta’s not until Friday (16 dp retrieval!) so I have a long way yet to go. And no, I’m not going to wait that long to do an HPT.


On an entirely different, and totally trivial, subject, I said I’d review all the flavors of Ga.torade I tried. Here are the reviews so far: Lemonade was pretty good. Tasted about like how all fake lemonades taste. Not too sweet. Pretty drinkable. Watermelon Ice? Blech. Not sure why I finished it. (Oh yeah. Because I was on bedrest and J wasn’t around to bring me another flavor. Bah.) Orange/Tropical blend? Eh. Not bad. I’d drink it again, but wouldn’t seek it out. I think I’m not all that into orange. The big winner, though, was the Fruit Punch. First of all, it wasn’t claiming to be something it’s not (e.g. an actual fruit flavor), plus there’s that whole childhood fruit punch thing that made it seem rather pleasant. Especially since I pretty much wasn’t allowed to drink fruit punch as a kid. So that’s my new flavor - now I have two to mix and match. (I also tried another of the Frost flavors - the turquoise one. It wasn’t bad, either, though I still prefer the purple.) Only I have to drink it right out of the bottle - something about pouring icy blue liquid into a glass is just weird - it looks like anti-freeze or something. I am a big fan of the sport bottles though. Very satisfying. And the fruit punch looks okay in a glass (though I still prefer to drink from the bottle). But now I’m a little bit addicted, especially to fruit punch. In fact, yesterday I bought it in the gallon-size bottle, which might last me a couple of days.


One more random point: I’ve always liked Australia in concept. I’ve never been, so I don’t know firsthand, but this seems like yet another reason to like ‘em. Basically, there’s a proposal that’s been put forth to add ART and IVF to the topics covered in school-based sex ed classes, since it’s an issue that has a wide impact. Their point is that there will likely be students in the classes conceived through the use of reproductive technologies (not that the students will themselves be in need of the technologies) but still - demystifying IVF and bringing it out in the open? Sounds good to me.

Friday, December 02, 2005

4dp5dt: Progesterone lullabies

I went in today for a progesterone check. Nurse Sweetie was there, as was Nurse Newbie, who I’d thought had experience in another office and just not theirs (but that might have been another of the army of new nurses). So Nurse Newbie did my blood draw. Or tried to, anyway. Here’s the thing - I’m an easy stick (except after a week of daily monitoring). My veins today were lovely. Honestly, I probably could have drawn my own blood (except I think that if giving myself shots made me squeamish, drawing my own blood would be even worse). So, Nurse Newbie poked, and didn’t get anything, and rooted around a bit, and still nothing, and Nurse Sweetie came over and maneuvered a bit until I said “ow” and then pulled it all and started over (at which point she managed to do the whole thing smoothly and without any fuss).

Nurse Newbie (the same one, I think, though again I really can’t tell - the first time I met one of them was at transfer when I was lying spread eagled, doped on Valium, and everyone in the room (J included) was wearing those paper jumpers, hair covers, and face masks - so I’m justified in not knowing which was which) was the one who did my callback this afternoon. Apparently, my progesterone was a bit low (18.5 today) - they like to see it above 20. Though what she actually said was that they like to see it in the 20-80 range, which made my paltry 18.5 seem dire. I think a different nurse might have anticipated my reaction and provided more reassurance. In fact, I think this may be one of those times when I’d be better off with fewer details. I’m trying to remind myself that it’s not that low, and that increasing the PIO should raise my progesterone levels, and that it’s normal for them to adjust the dosage. Breathe in, breathe out.

My mom called right before we did the shot tonight, so she provided my evening distraction. Usually, J sings to me to keep my mind occupied while he’s doing the shot (one day, he did the Jeapordy theme song!) so I asked mom to sing, and she sang me a simple little song with infinite variations - the same song she used to sing to me when I was little. And she was out shopping at the time, which made it even more special - my mommy sang me a lullaby while she was out in public. It’s the same thing I’ll sing to our kids someday (whenever that day comes) when they’re sleepy or fussy or getting a shot. It’s a good mommy thing to do.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

2dp5dt: Transfer tales

We arrived at the clinic just before 10, as instructed. The waiting room was more crowded than I think I’ve ever seen it. At one point, there were two small children (one well behaved, one annoying - I think the well-behaved one is about to become a big brother). We sat, and waited, and waited, and sat. There seemed to be another transfer ahead of us (judging from her bloated, scruffy, water-bottle chugging presence). All well and good, but it was after 10:30 before we even met with the embryologist and at least 12 before the transfer prep (my transfer was scheduled for 11, of course). Due to a mix up with the nurses and my acupuncturist* (who was fantastic), I didn’t get my valium until after I was in the proceure room with my legs in the braces. It might have been nice to have been relaxed before that point, but whatever.

Transfer was fine. There was a bit of a thing with my bladder - we waited so long I had to pee like 5 times before we actually got in there, and just before it was time I had to, um, poo (and as the nurse politely acknowledged, “There’s no delicate way to say this, but I find it hard to go to the bathroom one way and not the other”) and then they decided my bladder wasn’t full enough and made me drink more, and then by the time they were ready to do the transfer, it was too full and they had to drain it a bit. Not the most fun ever, but more comfortable in the long run, I think. But otherwise, transfer apparently went very smoothly. Never having attended a transfer before, I have nothing to compare to, but Dr. Piles and Nurses Sweetie and Bruiser Positive (who I like loads more now that she took excellent care of me at both retrieval and transfer, and then mentioned that she went through IVF treatments herself, plus the thing about the poo) all seemed very positive.

And the best part was the embryologists report, which I think I’ve hesitated to share until this point due to some preliminary variation of survivor’s guilt. We transfered two 5-day blasts - one “perfect” and one “near-perfect” - and had 11 blasts to freeze. Yes, eleven. Even the embryologist was impressed. I am bowled over. This is better than even my fantasies of a good outcome for this cycle.

And now we wait, and hope that our ability to make lots of hardy embryos will translate to an ability to make actual babies. I mean, I’ve heard there’s a connection, but I’ve also heard you can get pregnant from having sex, so...

* The clinic usually works with this one local acupuncturist. Not my acupuncturist. I’ve been seeing my acupuncturist for about a year - starting after I gave up on my first clinic, all the way through the second, and now into the third. I think it’s great that the clinic has someone they like to work with, but the system shouldn’t rely on it. Apparently, the usual acupuncturist gets the gown and robe for the patient (from the nurses area, so I don’t really see how mine would have thought to do that) and somehow arranges the Valium (or tells the nurses when it’s time?). My acupuncturist (actually not my regular one, but another from the same practice who I’ve seen before) was just trying to go with the flow. If any of them had bothered to talk to each other, it would have been fine. But instead there was a bit of confusion. Oh well - it all worked out in the end.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A tale of two clinics, finally

I think I may give up on ever finding the perfect nickname for my RE. The closest I’ve come is Dr. Piles of Files, so named because when we had our first meeting with him (while we were in the process of choosing a clinic) I noticed that his desk was piled with files, and articles, and journals. It looked a lot like my office looks - cluttered with projects and ideas and research. And then we met with the second clinic and the RE’s office looked like it was straight out of a designer magazine - spotless, and beautiful, but with the air of being a showplace rather than a functional office. It was a lot like some other features of the Clinic That Wasn’t - Dr. FancyPants and the whole Fancy clinic were shiny, and pretty to look at, but it wasn’t clear how that would translate to my experience as a patient there. (The final straw, though, was a perky but completely clueless medical assistant/nurse who I learned would be our primary contact. Um, no thank you.) So back we went to the Clinic That Is - which is much more humble. No fancy pants decor, no shiny surgical suite with separate entrance, no staff of millions. But it means that I know all of the nurses, that my RE did all of my wandings (except once when the other RE did a baseline - but I haven’t seen him since), that I chat with the receptionist, that I don’t get lost in a maze of hallways or staffing issues, and that he actually reads articles, and journals, and patient files. In my current state of optimism, I’m pretty sure I made the right decision. I didn’t have a cookie cutter protocol. I had close monitoring. I saw my actual RE regularly. He waved at me on days when I was just there for bloodwork. The other clinic is very highly regarded, and proposed a totally different protocol that might also have worked well. Who knows? But I know for sure that I’d have had less direct contact with Dr. FancyPants than I have with Dr. Piles.


On a totally unrelated note: I’m getting sick of G.atorade. I stocked up on what used to be my favorite flavor of G.atorade, and I’ve been faithfully staying hydrated. But it’s pretty much the only flavor I know, and I’m getting sick of it, and I have no idea what to get instead. The G.atorade labels can be so daunting - “Frost” and “Fierce” and “Xtreme” (oh my!). So, anyone have a favorite G.atorade flavor I should try? I’ll do a taste test and report on my findings, if you’d like.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Out of 20 retrieved, there were 15 mature, and 14 fertilized. We’re set for a 5-day transfer on Monday. I’m feeling better, though still a bit achy and bloated. Mostly, though, I’m just feeling incredibly thankful that we’ve made it this far.

Yesterday, when they came to take J back to contribute his part in all this, I was still pretty drugged and emotional. I said, “it’s not fair” which he took to mean it wasn’t fair that I was lying in a recovery room and he was going to jerk off. But really I meant it wasn’t fair that we had to do this at all when so many other people just get drunk one night and magically become pregnant. But when the embryologist called today I felt a huge wave of gratitude - that we were able to do IVF, that J’s parents were able to help us pay for it, that we had access to fertility clinics in our city, and schedules flexible enough to allow us to go through with it, and that we might actually have something to show for it. Every so often we look at each other, or hold hands for a moment, and whisper “fourteen.” It’s the magic number of hope, promise, potential. And I am incredibly thankful to have that to hold onto today.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

More information than I can process

20 eggs retrieved. 12 are probably mature. The others are various categories of over or under maturity, but I couldn’t really tell you. J wrote it all down so maybe later I can make more sense of it. They also gave us some stats on his “specimen” which I completely ignored. For a girl who always wants all the info, all I wanted to hear was how many retrieved, and that the sperm were fine. So 20, and they are.

Soup, then bed.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Stims Day 12: Green light

Lining: 11mm
R: 20x20, 22x18, 16x16, and a bunch more that Dr. Smiles (hmm, maybe) didn’t measure
L: 17x15 and a bunch more

After what feels like forever, we’ve been given the green light. Circles have been drawn on my ass for the trigger shot tonight. Retrieval will be Wednesday (pending today’s bloodwork, of course). My body is looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow, and having one precious needle-free day. My left ovary was being shy, as usual. I asked if they were going to have trouble getting to it at retrieval and Dr. Jokester (nah, doesn’t have the right ring) said they’d charge extra. But then Nurse Sweetie admitted I’d probably feel the effects of the digging. Yeah, I figured.

Also, I have a cold. Dr. NoDrugs (just for this) doesn’t want me to take anything - not zinc, not Benadryl, not Sudafed, nothing. Oh, except Tylenol. And fluids. And rest. As I expected. It’s just a mild cold, but it’s the final straw in how crappy I feel. I spent the entire day yesterday lying on the couch, drinking liquids and napping, but I have to go to work today, since I’ll be out for a week after this.

Nurse Bruiser was incredibly perky and positive when she heard I was triggering. “Aren’t you excited?” she asked. I had to think about it for a minute - probably a minute too long. I guess I’m excited to be moving forward with this whole process, but I’m scared of the physical aspects of retrieval, and scared that my eggs are crap, and scared that J’s sperm will have a bad day, and just scared all around. I’ve heard that excitement and fear are two aspects of the same emotion, and if that’s true then sure, I’m excited.

Strap me in - the next phase of the roller coaster is beginning. Please keep all hands, arms, and syringes inside the vehicle at all times.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Stims Day 8: On the rise

My E2 has finally gotten with the program - it was up to 66 yesterday, and 159 today. I still have no idea what it’s supposed to be, but I know it’s supposed to be going up steadily - and it is - so I’ll just be happy with that for now. And this all almost makes up for the fact that I’ve suddenly become a hard stick - it took a couple of tries, a juice break, a heat pack, and a more skillful nurse to get blood today. Apparently I only have one vein in each arm - the right was bruised from a bad stick a couple of days ago, and the left was feeling okay but apparently felt the need to stage a revolt (and then I got dizzy and nauseated like I used to when I got blood drawn before it all became so commonplace).

I say all of this like it’s my body’s fault, but really I feel entirely comfortable blaming Nurse Bruiser, who gave me that first bruise a couple of days ago, and then tried and couldn’t get blood today. I have now reached the point in this process where I will demand that only certain nurses be allowed near me with needles - Nurse Bruiser is very nice, and she did a fine job of writing down Dr. StillHasNoNickname’s notes on my follicles (he’s still only measuring one on each side - at about 10mm each - though there are others that are a bit smaller that he’s not measuring), but she’s absolutely not going to do my bloodwork again. Nurse Fantastico, who finally succeeded (with little trouble, once I had some juice and felt better, and after she warmed me up because I was so cold my veins were constricted), can poke me whenever she wants - I’ll wait for her to be available, no matter how long it takes. And while I’m introducing (and naming) all the nurses, there’s also Nurse Coordinator (well, that’s what she is!) - she’s organized, and skilled, and businesslike - who is probably the only other I’d allow to stick me at this point, and Nurse Sweetie, who is very good at phone contact, and calling my meds in to the pharmacy, and answering questions. As long as they each get to do the thing they’re best at, it will all work out.

Did I mention that there’s something living in our attic crawl space? I know I wanted to hear the pitter patter of little feet, but this is not what I had in mind.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stims Day 6: Low and slow

Six days of stims and my E2 finally broke 20 - now it’s a whopping 21. Talk about slow. Geez.

I seem to lack the focus for narrative, but here are the things I’m thinking about anyway:

Thing 1: My E2. Yeah, it’s low. But we’re hoping that now that they’ve ramped up my dosage I’ll start moving along. It does make my anticipated cycle calendar a lovely relic. No idea what the schedule will be at this point. This really is the most draining aspect - I anticipated mood swings and physical discomfort, but the emotional roller coaster of stims is something else entirely. And not particularly pleasant at this point (though better today than yesterday).

Thing 2: After waiting forever for instruction callbacks yesterday (I called 4 times, but the lab was slow, and then they had the numbers but didn’t have instructions, and then the doctor was on the phone so they still didn’t have instructions) I checked my email and found, of course, a birth announcement. I actually suspect there’s a story here, since the birthdate was mid-October, and the announcement just came yesterday? I think mid-October was maybe a month early. Who knows? All I can think about this right now is how it’s not fair that the lesbians were able to have a baby before me. (Disclaimer: As I’ve said before, I don’t have any problem with gays and lesbians and single people and whomever else having kids, but it’s really a kind of slap in the face that the lesbians who between them have two uteri but no penis managed to conceive more easily than us.)

Thing 3: I was reading over some of my past blog entries (somehow #100 came and went and I totally missed it) and I think I used to have more to say, and say it better. I’m just not feeling so satisfied with my ability to express myself.

Thing 4: I have been working on these papers forever, and they’re still not done, and I’m not getting a lot done because I’m trying to keep my stress down and the papers are stressful. Though really, it’s the not-being-done that’s stressful. But I just read that article on infertility and stress in Psychology Today and it reminded me that it’s really okay for me to try to keep my stress level down - at least the parts I can somewhat control - while we’re doing this cycle. But I don’t know how I’m ever going to finish my papers at this rate.

Thing 5: I am trying to come up with a nickname for my RE. I have a contender, but I have to see if it still resonates next time I see him, or if it was something specific to today’s visit. I’m sure you’re all anxiously waiting for this news, right?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Stims Day 3: At a snail’s pace

Today’s E2 was still under 20, so I’m off to a very slow start. They’re upping my Follistim to 75 and dropping the Lupron to a more normal 5 units. As long as the E2 goes up tomorrow, I think it’ll be fine - just slow. (Better slow than too fast, though.)

I’m going up to my grandma’s house tomorrow - my mom will be there and I thought it would be nice to just hang out. J is working a bunch this week (not the best timing, but he should be free next week between retrieval and transfer, which is what I was really worried about) and the other day I thought, “I want my mommy.” I suspect this won’t be as supportive as I’d hoped in that moment, but if nothing else I’ll get to show off my injection skills to my mother, who I think can’t quite believe that I’m actually doing this. Me, the one with the major needle phobia. So I’m strangely looking forward to doing an injection as if there’s nothing to it. I might even bring the mixing stuff for the Menopur, even though I won’t need it, so I can show her what that’s like (because the FolliPen, while a cool contraption, isn’t so iconic an image as a good ol’fashioned needle and syringe - if that makes any sense).

I read an academic article about IVF once that pointed out that while we use the phrase “IVF” to refer to the whole process, the actual aspect of in-vitro fertilization is just a tiny portion of the larger experience, and one of the few parts that doesn’t involve the woman’s body. The rest of the process - the blood draws and ultrasounds and injections - make up a large portion of the experience of going through an “IVF” cycle, but are largely invisible or unacknowledged in the medical perspective. I think my desire to show-off my injection skills is part of an attempt to get some recognition for this part of the process. I think people who don’t know anything about IVF end up focusing on the sexy medical aspects - the frankensteinian medicine, cutting edge technology involved in using donor eggs or gestational surrogacy - and largely ignoring the personal experience of the process. Like me, stabbing myself in the gut with three needles a day, for example.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Stims Day 1: Let’s get this party started - updated

Not that I feel like partying, mind you.

Baseline yesterday was fine. They were training a new nurse (she was just observing) so there was a bit of extra explanation from the doctor - why is it called E2 (the experienced nurse said, “Because it’s shorter than estradiol” which was cute) and the like. The injection training was also useful - I was worried that it would just be a description, but they had a fake cartridge for the pen, and they showed me how to use the Q-caps that came with the Menopur (only after I asked - initially, she showed me how to do the mixing with the needle). So that was good. And those Q-caps are very cool. Initially I scoffed - I’m not afraid of the mixing needle or anything - but they’re really nice to use. (See update below!)

Here’s the protocol: I’m staying on 10 units of Lupron (higher than their normal protocol) and adding 75iu (one vial) of Menopur and 50u (whatever those units are) of Follistim. I asked for an explanation of the Gatorade thing, and whether I should just stock up now (it’s on sale this week, y’know?) and Dr. HasNoNicknameButWillSoon chuckled at me like I was some cute paranoid freak and told me they’re trying very hard to keep me from needing it. Which is all well and good but given how crappy my response ever was to oral meds, and given that I have no history with injectables, I’m scared they’re going to end up being too cautious.

In any case, the shots today were okay. The Menopur hurt a bit going in - I think it’s just the volume of fluid. The Follistim really did sting as I’d heard about but forgotten. But I didn’t ice for the Folli so maybe that will help for next time. Getting the pen all set up was a bit daunting, but once it was all assembled I can see how it’ll be much easier to use.

Nothing much else to report. Though maybe tomorrow I’ll share what Dr. Groovy had to say about my current state of mind.

Updated to add: Here’s a link to instructions on using the Q-cap, since I didn’t seem them in the package with the Menopur. Basically, the device screws on to the syringe - so you screw off the big mixing needle that probably came attached to the syringe (at least mine did) and screw on the Q-cap. It has a sort of poky-needle thing in a kind of collar. You push it down over whichever vial you’re working with, and it pokes through like a needle and the collar sort of clicks over the rim of the vial to hold it on. It looks weird the first time, but I think I like it - not for any fear of the mixing needles, but it’s easier to hold. Let me know if you need more guidance (and the link above lets you download instructions with pictures, too.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Anticipation and anxiety

Tomorrow morning is our baseline scan (Again. I had what I thought was a baseline before starting the BCPs, but I guess this one checks that I’m actually suppressed now?) and injection training (hopefully) and then I’ll probably be starting stims on Thursday. At least according to the original cycle calendar, though I’m trying not to get very attached to it, because it could change and all that.

I tried to recreate the clinic’s calendar in a better format, so I could have a space to write the dosage for each day and check off when I’ve taken various meds, but I couldn’t make it work. Which is unfortunate, since this morning I almost left the house without doing my Lupron injection, and at bedtime I always have to double check that I’ve taken my evening meds. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when I add in all the injectables.

I opened back up my big box of needles and potions, and maybe I’m weird, but I’m not sure I like the Follistim pen. Sure, it comes in a snazzy case and all, but it’s hard to pull it out of those elastic straps, and I don’t really understand the needle-in-a-cup thing, or the spinning dosage thing, and I’m sure I’ll be convinced with how easy it is later on but right now it seems far more complicated than just mixing the powder with the water the old fashioned way.

Apparently, over the past couple of years I’ve developed a fear of the unknown. Sometimes I get really anxious about finding my way someplace I’ve never been, or calling someone I’ve never met, or knowing how to inject the medication properly. (Okay, maybe that last one would happen regardless, but otherwise I didn’t used to be so fearful.) You can imagine how great IVF is in this regard - one big bundle of unknowns. Most of the time I cope pretty well - I think watching this process through so many other blogs makes it feel much less unknown. But when I confront something and don’t already know what to expect, I get anxious.

Also, while I really like that my clinic knows that I’m a control freak (Hi Heathers!) and is willing to give me the numbers instead of just telling me that things are “fine” - I’m worried that they’re being a bit too lax sometimes. It’s fine right now, because I take good notes and I follow up on things that don’t match up (the prednisone I’m on, for example, didn’t make it onto my cycle calendar until I asked when I was supposed to start taking it - maybe they would have noticed in time, but maybe not), but what if I slip one day and forget to follow up on something that they really should be taking care of? At some point I’ll have to let go and trust that they know what they’re doing, but that’s so hard to do.

Basically I’m feeling overwhelmed. And a little bit dazed. And my heart is racing. And I think all this general anxiety has rendered me unable to write anything more substantial than this mindstream of a post. Hopefully I’ll have something more coherent (or even, dare I hope it, prosaic) soon.*

* Maybe I’ll even be able to get some of my actual academic writing done, since I’m supposed to be finishing a draft of one of my papers this week. Ha!

Monday, November 07, 2005

I really missed you guys too...

...only this had nothing to do with Disneyland.

I went to a screening of a film about menstruation. It was interesting, I guess. I’ll hold off on critical analysis for a moment, but I’ll start with an observation - people in the “real world” are not used to talking about the nitty gritty of their bodily functions in public. The number of times I had to restrain myself from saying things like “I need to run to the bathroom and see if I’m still spotting” was boggling. (Actually, I was restraining myself from having any sort of deep conversation - I was trying to be in small-talk mode. Didn’t completely work, though I only shared my deeper analysis with a tiny group of people, two of whom I don’t even know that well...)

The film is, as I said, about menstruation. Specifically, it centers loosely around the question of menstrual suppression - using Depo Provera or continuious BCPs to reduce the number of bleeds. My first bafflement of the evening was the realization that lots and lots of women don’t understand how their bodies work. Women don’t realize that the period they’re having when they’re on “regular” BCPs isn’t really a period at all, but just withdrawal bleeding. They don’t investigate the future health ramifications of Depo. Many of them wish they could just stop getting their period all together.*

What I found most disturbing was the absense of attention to the concept of fertility. I don’t just mean that they failed to mention the potential after-effects of something like Depo on a woman’s fertility, but that the notion that menstruation is tied to reproductive functioning seemed like it was missing from the film. How do you talk about menstruation without acknowledging its link to fertility and reproduction? Many (most?) women use BCPs and other forms of monthly or longer menstrual control/suppression not to rid their bodies of menstruation, but as contraception.

Another angle on the same point: Getting a period means (in most cases... there are exceptions... standard disclaimers apply... blah, blah, blah) that you’re not pregnant. If you’re 17, that period after you missed a pill is probably a big relief. If you’re 27 (or whatever) and TTC, that period is like a punch in the gut. Both mean you’re not pregnant, but not being pregnant signifies different things to different people.

Obviously, I don’t expect the filmmaker to have incorporated every aspect of menstruation in the film. That just wouldn’t be feasible. But I do think that some general reference to the notion that periods are inherently linked to women’s reproductive functioning might have been in order. I’m just saying.

Now I need to run to the bathroom and see if my period is really starting so we can get this show on the road.

* I certainly understand that there are circumstances (fibriods, endo, and the like) that would warrant menstrual suppression. But lots of women just don’t want the bother, which seems very different to me. Not inherently bad (though I fought so hard to get my body to have periods that it’s a bit foreign) but very different.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Didja miss me?

Okay, so I wasn’t gone that long. But it was fun and relaxing and just what we needed. Plus, I’m back and I still have a bit of weekend left...

Disneyland was great. We went for the full day on Friday, arriving just after opening and staying until just before closing. (The picture is actually from our brief side-trip over to California Adventure. Yep, that's us - or at least, our backsides!) We rode Space Mountain twice (it would have been more, but the ride was closed for a while). The second time we sat in the front and it was fantastic and fun and exhilarating and I still hope I can’t do it again for a while. But, you know, it was good. We also really enjoyed the fireworks show - they’re running a special show for the park’s 50th Anniversary, and it incorporates bits (sound and otherwise) from some of the attractions. Hard to explain, though it included fireworks being volleyed back and forth like cannons in Pirates of the Carribean (which seems longer every time I ride it, and not necessarily in a good way - though that could also be attributed to the gaggle of teenagers on our boat) and lasers and a big explosion from Star Tours and the castle lit as if it was part of the old Main Street Electrical Parade... like I said, it’s really hard to explain, but it was really fun. And we did lots of the smaller rides, too (including the Teacups - that's us trying to make the cup spin before the ride even started!)The whole trip was great, actually. We found a good deal on a nice hotel a bit removed from the Disney chaos, and we had a comfy bed and it was clean and we ordered room service and it was just really nice. (And I managed to transport the Lupron and the needles and all that smoothly and without too much fuss, and I took the last of my BCPs, so we're really close now...)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Like a kid on Christmas

I got a big box in the mail today full of all the things every kid dreams of - vials and powders and pills and, best of all, lots and lots and lots of needles. Oh it was just a swell package! If you don’t have one, you should run right out and order your own. (And then I promptly boxed back up everything that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, so I can get the joy of opening it again next week when I’ll actually get to play with use it all.)

In other kid-like news, we’re off for a quick getaway to Disneyland to ride all the rides that I will hopefully soon be unable to ride, and to see all the fun 50th anniversary special events and displays and the like. A last hurrah, if you will. (Also a last hurrah before I start stims next week.) We managed to find what’s turned out to be a really nice hotel (I’m using the free wireless internet in the lobby!) and we’re going to order room service and relax. And maybe watch some HBO (since we only have basic cable at home).

I’ll update when we get back...

Monday, October 31, 2005

Like butter

You are all very very wise, and wonderfully reassuring, and I thank you. As predicted, I did freak out when it came to the needle aimed at my skin, and I had to try a couple of times to actually do it. And then, of course, it was fine. J was hovering the whole time, because really, what could he do (besides take over the shot giving, which I didn’t want him to do).

Things I am pondering now:

  • The cap on the Lupron vial said “Flip off” - what are they trying to tell me?
  • I need to go to the Container Store to get a nice box for all of my supplies. I thought I had it under control, but I think more shopping is in order.
  • What am I going to wear today?
  • Is it wrong to be so focused on this when my father was in the hospital twice this week (he’s fine now, though) and my grandmother was in the ER yesterday? All of my “maybe I need to go up there” plans are laced with logistics and cool bags and calendars and appointments. And, you know, work stuff. Hopefully things will sort themselves out today so I won’t have to figure out the logistics. (And yes, I know people travel while on Lupron all the time - I just didn’t plan on that being ME.)
  • No really, what am I going to wear today? It’s Halloween, and while I liked the idea of the mad doctor costume in concept, I think I need something a bit less involved, but still identifiable, or else people scratch their heads and say, “uh, what ARE you?” (a question to which there are many answers, but few I’d want to share at work!)
  • Should I switch to Typepad? I love the idea of categories, but I’m not sure about getting everything moved over there smoothly.
  • Sunday, October 30, 2005

    10 Hours and Counting

    I am numb. No, seriously, my fingers are so cold they’re numb. But I can’t bring myself to turn on the heat, because that would be admitting that it’s cold, and here in the tropics where I live, we like to think of ourselves as being above the whole notion of seasons. Plus, we haven’t been able to get anyone out to inspect the chimney, so I can’t use the fireplace, which is what I’d rather do instead of turn on the heat anyway.

    This is another of the many ways I’ve been trying to distract myself from the fact that (like so many before me, I know) I will be aiming a needle at my belly tomorrow morning and taking the plunge (get it? plunge? ha ha) Unlike many, we skipped from oral meds (Clomid and Femara) straight to the big guns. So, while J has given me a shot of HCG in the upper outer quadrant, I’ve never jabbed myself. Oh sure, I suppose I could have him do this, too. But honestly, it seems like that would make a bigger deal out of it than just doing it myself. Plus I’d still have to see it, which is part of the problem. Plus, our schedules being what they are, I can’t really expect him to be around for all of my shots, which means I’d better figure out how to do them myself at some point, so why not tomorrow?

    I’ve been acting very blase about the whole thing - it’s a small needle, so many people have been through this before, it’s no big deal, did I mention how small the needle is? And yet I suspect I’m going to freak the fuck out tomorrow morning when faced with the prospect of actually poking the small needle into my not-so-small belly. Have I mentioned that I’ve had a needle phobia for most of my life? I’ve been tackling it bit by bit with all of the blood draws over the past couple of years, and the acupuncture (it’s a totally different kind of needle, of course, but I still had to deal with the needle phobia to start seeing an acupuncturist), and the HCG, and the tattoo. I can even (usually) watch a shot on TV without turning away like I used to. So I put on a nice little show about how fine I am with all of this. Except when I actually think about how I’m going to be poking myself with a needle. Tomorrow.

    And my hands are freezing.

    Better late than never

    Rings I met J early in my freshman year of college, and fell in love -- with his apartment, his roommates, his grown-up lifestyle. They had a kitchen, after all, and I was living in a dorm. The guys became like my big brothers, at first (though initially I dated J’s roommate!). Midway through the next year, after becoming very good friends, J and I had our first kiss, and the relationship grew from there.

    The summer after I graduated from college (and after a year of our living together), I went with J’s family on a trip to Disney World. I pretty much knew I’d be with him at that point, and I half expected him to propose with a Mickey Mouse ring someplace on that trip. (I was picking up on the vibes correctly - he was thinking about it, but didn’t do it!) [It was on this trip that I bought my first piece of contraband - a small, classic Pooh-bear that rattled.]

    When it finally happened, the proposal was nothing like I’d pictured. As we were getting ready for bed, we both realized that we’d forgotten to celebrate our anniversary the night before. And then, totally anticlimactically, he proposed. I think we both already knew, so the proposal itself was a bit of a formality. I wasn’t sure it was coming at that point, because we hadn’t really talked about rings. Sure, he knew that I didn’t like yellow gold, and that I liked the idea of the diamond having some company on either side, but otherwise we hadn’t really talked specifics. So, while I wasn’t all that surprised when he asked, I was bowled over that he had a ring. My ring. A beautiful ring.

    Sparkly RingsMy engagement ring was originally given to his mother as a pinky ring to mark her graduation (from high school, we think), and was made from stones originally belonging to J’s great-grandmother. So it is full of history. The ring is almost exactly what I would have picked if I’d designed my own ring from scratch, and coupled with the idea that his whole family was supportive of our engagement made it incredibly special.

    As it turns out, he’d been carrying the ring around, and had almost asked me at least a half a dozen times, but didn’t think it was the right time or place or moment. I think in the end it was more special that he let go of his plans for the perfect proposal in favor of just taking the leap and moving forward.

    Mickey ringOn our 2nd anniversary, we went to Disneyland, and he bought me the ring I’d expected in the first place - a Mickey ring.

    (My little piece of the 2nd Annual Infertile Bloggirl Engagement Ring Fashion Show...)

    Sunday, October 23, 2005

    Starry starry list

    I’ve been following, with interest, the various discussions about pregnant infertile bloggers. I get the whole survivor’s guilt thing. And the not knowing how to talk about it. Heck, I'm not even sure how to talk about my impending IVF. But I also get the desire to follow the story, to maintain the connection. Pregnant infertiles (and infertile moms) are like little rays of hope - reminding me that pregnancy and motherhood are possible, and achievable in many ways, and that’s encouraging and inspiring. It’s also painful, sometimes. And that’s okay, too. I want to know that the stories are there. Most of the time, I want to keep up with the details - the news, the progress, the ups and downs. Sometimes, when I’m not feeling particularly strong, I want to take a break from those stories. But even then, knowing the stories are out there when I’m ready to pick them up again helps me envision a place beyond where I am right now.

    You may have noticed that I’ve recently annotated my blogroll. I know this sort of reorganizing is sometimes contentious, but in the interests of self-preservation, it was something I had to do. I didn’t want to break up the blogroll, but on those days when I’m feeling really fragile, I wanted a way to remind myself to tread cautiously. Some days, I’m fragile hearing about pregnancy symptoms. Some days it’s baby stories. I don’t want to stop reading these stories. I feel incredibly invested in their outcomes. But I need to be able to control how and when I catch up. Hence the star system. [I’ve indicated pregnant bloggers with a * (generally waiting until well into the pregnancy to do so, as much for superstitious reasons as anything else). I’ve indicated blogs that are largely about babies with two **. ] It’s rough, and it may change with time (hearing about babies - at least those whose conception was not taken for granted - is sometimes uplifting, actually) but for now it’s my imperfect attempt to buffer the world I’m in from the one I long to join. It’s also my way of putting a warning on blogs so those bloggers don’t need to warn me each time a post contains mention of pregnancy. Because, really, once you’re pregnant it seems reasonable that many of your posts would contain mention of pregnancy.


    Oh, and the pregnant friend whose impending delivery I mentioned in my last post? She delivered a healthy, HUGE (really, majorly huge) baby by c-section a couple of days ago. I was fine, initially. Caught up in the sheer size of the infant. And then I went to look at the pictures, and found a chronicle of the whole pregnancy, and comments from the adoring grandparents (this is the first grandchild on either side) and I lost it. Sitting in my office, sobbing quietly because I didn’t want to upset J, I couldn’t help but think, again, how unfair this all is. I don’t begrudge these friends their joy, at all, but it’s still So. Damn. Hard.

    Countdown: 8 days until Lupron.

    Monday, October 17, 2005

    Random updates

    The saline sono and trial transfer went smoothly last week, save my tremendous difficulty with the whole full-bladder thing. I had only vague instructions about what constituted a full bladder, and after Lindy’s experience with a not-full-enough bladder, I was a bit freaked. So I think maybe I overcompensated. And then they were running late (they had a couple of retrievals that morning and had tried to bump my appointment, but I really wanted J to come with me in case it was terrible, and his schedule wasn’t flexible) and then they did the trial transfer (needs a full bladder) and the saline sono (doesn’t need a full bladder) all at once, which I guess made for quicker work overall, but meant I had to try not to pee on the good doctor for even longer as he poked and prodded. So it was not fun, but not due to pain or anything. The other problem was that I felt really exposed (moreso than usual) - the RE had the speculum and the catheter and whatever else up the ol’ vag, and the nurse had the abdominal US, and J was just standing there holding my hand and looking around, and I don’t know why they even bothered to give me the little paper sheet since it wasn’t even in the picture. So that part wasn’t really fun, either. And after the doc and the nurse left, I had a bit of a meltdown (maybe the fluid had to leave my body, and my eyes were the only way?) before I was able to get to the bathroom. Oy. Note to self - next time, the bladder doesn’t need to be quite so full! (Do I have to lie there for the 30 minutes or whatever it is after transfer with the full bladder? Because I could really see the merits of a bedpan at that point. Really.)

    J went for another SA last week. Results are still pending (part of the test has to get sent out so it takes longer, and then I couldn’t call AT ALL today, so I’ll try tomorrow) but I managed to eke out a brief report on the “collection room” since it’s the first time he’s done an onsite “collection”. He didn’t say much, but when pressed reported that there was a loveseat (me: “Did you sit on it?” him: “Yes, but I spread out a towel.” me: “Good.”) and a big TV and he made use of the video materials. Which makes sense, since he doesn’t get a lot of that at home. Pictures and stories are easy to store under the bed or browse in a store or on the internet, but movies are a bit of a rarity, and automatically more exotic. I didn’t ask what kind of movie it was, and I think I’ll leave it that way. I was really fascinated this time around, but it’s already a bit creepy to think that this little room will be part of our babymaking adventure, so if I have to think of it at all, I’m going to concentrate on the towel (hey, we use towels to clean up after sex at home, too!) and leave it at that.

    Things yet to do in the preliminary stages:
  • Check on the results of J’s SA. (He’s been on an acupuncture/vitamin/herb regimen that hopefully has helped his morphology. A teeny-tiny voice in my head thinks this will somehow get us out of the ICSI camp, but really, any improvement will be good and increase our chances, even with the ICSI.)
  • Tell the clinic which pharmacy I want to use. (I think I’m going with the Apothecary Shop in AZ - they had great prices, and the pharmacist was really nice and knew people at my clinic by name, which seemed reassuring.)
  • Order up the first round of drugs. (Or all of the drugs? I’m not really sure how this works.)
  • Schedule a massage and mani/pedi for the weekend before I start Lupron. (I’ve been holding on to a gift certificate from the holidays last year because I couldn’t figure out when to go or what to do.)
  • Add some items to my “comfort box” which currently contains nothing but reading materials. (I’m not sure what else to put in there, but I really like the idea. Any suggestions?)
  • Get up the nerve to start Lupron on Halloween. (I’ve been instructed on the use of Lupron, and I won’t get any more info about stims/dosages until my suppression check - November 9.)
  • Brace myself for the birth of our friends’ baby - because it will probably happen the day I start Lupron or something. (Of course, I’m happy for them blah blah blah but within this particular group of friends, we were really supposed to be next. And we’re not. So it sucks just a bit.)

    In the meantime, I’ve been working on the story of how we chose our clinic, because I think the RE’s nickname will come from there, and because other than the very (very very) long brain-dump above, I don’t have much cycle-related news. I'll try to be more interesting in the future (I know, I know, the point isn't for me to be interesting, but it seems like that would be nicer in the long run) but for now I guess I just needed to catch up with all of this.
  • Friday, October 07, 2005

    bad blogger. no cookie.

    Yes, I’ve been a bad blogger. Thing is, I don’t have much to say.

    Baseline appointment was fine. Having blood drawn with a butterfly is worlds better than having it drawn with the regular needle like they do at the regular lab, so that was good. The other RE (who REALLY doesn’t have a nickname yet, since is the first I’ve seen of him) did the scan. Greater than 10 follicles on each side, which he seemed pleased with. My ovaries looked about the same as they always look, so it was funny for that to be a good thing. I did manage to keep him in the room for an extra 5 seconds to ask a question, but then I was back with the nurse, who seems good so far. I think I’ll call her Nurse Good Humor (or, you know, HumoUr for all you folks across the various ponds) - she actually laughed when I made some side comment, which was a nice change of pace. E2 < 20, FSH 6.8, DHEAS 269. (That DHEAS is high, and they’re going to put me on prednisone with the Lupron. What little Googling I’ve done has freaked me out a bit, so I’m holding off trying to hold off on further Googling until I get to ask the RE about it on Monday.)

    I got my calendar - going to have the full month of BCPs as originally planned, so I’ll start the Lupron (and the prednisone, I guess) on Halloween. Maybe I’ll dress up as a mad doctor and go around scaring people with needles (though the Lupron needles aren’t so scary - J suggested using a mixing needle left over from the last round of HCG instead). Or maybe I’ll stay home and eat (sugar-free) chocolate.

    I go in Monday for a trial transfer and a saline sonogram (aka saline HSG or SHG or... that thing has too many names!) I’m planning to take a bunch of advil in anticipation, and I guess drink a whole bottle of water on the way, but any other tips would, of course, be most welcome. J is going with me, but I hadn’t planned on taking the day off - will I need to? (He might also do his repeat SA then - he’s always done collection at home, but for the actual IVF he’ll probably need to do it onsite, so I suggested that he might use this as a trial run, so to speak. We’ll see.)

    I feel like I should have some exciting story to tell, but nothing so far. Just the boring cycle update. But I’m trying to come up with good nicknames for the doctors, and Monday’s appointment will probably generate some stories (though hopefully not like Lindy’s experience) so maybe the next post will be more exciting.

    Sunday, October 02, 2005

    so it begins

    Obligatory cycle update: CD1 today. Called the clinic to set up my CD3 stuff (labs and ultrasound, with saline sono and trial transfer next week, I think). I should get my calendar at my appointment on Tuesday and then I’ll know for sure, but it’s looking like ER the week before Thanksgiving, with ET over the holiday weekend. Unless they change my protocol before then, which is quite possible. (Current plan calls for 30 days of BCPs to help prevent hyperstimming, but I was just on the pill for 3 weeks, so maybe the extra 30 days is overkill? Don’t want to be oversuppressed, either. Will talk to RE on Tuesday. Also will try to find nickname for RE very soon.)

    I think taking this cycle off (with the help of meds) was a good thing, though I wasn’t sure about it at the time. But this is the first CD1 in almost two years that’s been met not with depression, but with optimism. This is the start of something new. Something we haven’t tried. Something that could work. I’m trying not to be TOO hopeful, but I have to think it could work, or why bother with the tests and the needles and the bloating and the stress? So, I’m hopeful. Still trying to keep it reasonable, though. No conversations about the nursery or baby names or any of that crap - I can’t see that far ahead even on my best days. (Okay, I lied. I sometimes think about that stuff, but I know it’s dangerous. It’s too hard to talk about it. Too hard to admit it. Too hard to keep it from J, so I don’t make him sad too.) Instead we’re talking about trying to make it to Disneyland before I’m a walking pincushion, in case it’s my last chance on the big rides for a while. Because even if it’s not, it will still be fun.

    Other Sunday tidbits
    I feel better about the crappy tv show now that I realized it’s just a soap opera, and not even a good one. Makes it easier to stomach the preponderance of surrogates, the risky illegal procedures, and the general angst. Also helps me get over how the show isn’t even trying to tell an accurate story. If it were a drama instead of a soap opera, then some story lines among the central characters would carry over, but otherwise each episode would deal with one or two infertility storylines, and would wrap them up within the episode, as most of the crime shows do with their cases. I’m sure it would still suck if they did it this way, but for different reasons. But I think I’m over it now. Even without the infertility angle, the show is pretty lame and has to be sitting on the cut list right about now. Darn.
    I did a bit more reading about the infertility musical, and I think it might actually be good. Or at least, it has potential. It’s based on actual experiences with infertility (as Jenn and Thalia both pointed out!) and they’ve just put up a song from the show on their website that seems appropriately snarky and poignant (and a bit cheesy, but I’ll take it). So now I sorta want to make a trip to see it. Seriously. Maybe in December.
    I was flipping channels while I made lunch, and determined that Sunday afternoons on TLC seem to be the time for medical freak shows: Face Eating Tumor, 101 Things Removed from the Human Body, and When Surgical Tools Get Left Behind. Good lunchtime viewing, no?
    Apparently, my attention span is such that I can only pull together a post of mostly-unrelated points. Sorry about that. I’m working on getting a draft of one of the papers to my advisor today, so I’m trying to focus my coherent sentences over there. Sorry to leave you with the leftovers of my writing abilities. But I’m hoping you’ll be more understanding about it than my advisor would be if I sent a draft that looked like this. (Though given how interested she is in my fertility process - and yes, she knows a fair amount about what’s going on - she’d probably find this interesting, too.)
    Whoever came to my blog wondering if stealing sperm can get you pregnant - I guess that depends on what you do with it. And why you’d think I might have an answer is beyond me.

    Thursday, September 29, 2005

    Wednesday, September 28, 2005

    call me snarkypants

    Three unrelated items.

    From the “you know you know too much” files:

    I picked up a textbook on Infertility from the Medical School section of the campus bookstore, randomly opened the book to a sample patient history for a patient who likely has PCOS, and began seething at how long the suggested protocol (suggested, in the textbook, that teaches doctors) would take to actually diagnose (let alone treat) the problem, and how their basic set of suggested tests (TSH and prolactin only, apparently - WTF is up with that?) were so severly lacking in useful diagnostic information. (The suggested protocol? Try Clomid for a while, and if that doesn’t work then you should add in Metformin. Riiiiight. That’s a lovely plan.) 

    After dumping the book back on the shelf, I stormed away, muttering and grumbling about how it's no surprise that so many doctors don't have a clue about PCOS.  Sheesh. (J wanted to know if I had made some helpful corrections in the margins of the book. I did not. But I know where the book is...)


    I saw NPF yesterday, and was secretly pleased to note that she’s not looking perfect. She’s fine, and I don’t wish any baby scares or weird illnesses on her or anything at all, but it was mildly satisfying to note that things aren’t entirely perfect in NPF world (even though sometimes it looks like they are). Here’s the thing: she didn’t look great in her maternity dress. It made her hips look weird. She’s probably having trouble finding maternity clothes that are comfortable, appropriate for work, and suit her style. And I think maybe she’s between sizes (so she’s wearing clothes that will still fit in a month or two.) But still, it was just the tiniest bit satisfying.

    There was something else I was gloating about, too, but then karma lept up and made me stop. (It was an uncomfortable but noncritical side-effect, and then I got something similar last night.) So I’ll stick with the clothing thing. It’s okay with me if when I get pregnant I don’t look perfect in my maternity clothes either, karmically. I never really thought I would, so it’s not going to be much of a sacrifice.


    Lest I forget, I’ve been tagged (thanks Jenn!)

    1. Go into your archive.
    2. Find your 23rd post.
    3. Find the fifth sentence.
    4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
    5. Tag five people to do the same.

    The fifth line of my 23rd post is


    That’s it. Pretty boring, eh?

    Actually, it was a stretch to even get to the fifth sentence - I had to count the title. Here, for your reading pleasure, is my 23rd post, in its entirety.

    Monday, February 14, 2005
    Thank you universe. I think.

    It’s Valentine’s Day, and I have what looks like EWCM.

    And we’re at my in-laws’ house, in a room that shares a wall with my BIL.


    Valentine’s Day cervical mucus. How romantic (and naive). Ah, the good old days.

    I’m too lazy to keep track of who has done this and who hasn’t, so if you haven’t, and you want to, consider yourself tagged.

    Friday, September 23, 2005

    snazzy and groovy and totally stressed out

    I got an email from a friend (who recently had twins after IVF) checking in to see if I was pregnant and not telling (ha!), mad at her (um, no) or just really busy (we have a winner!)

    I’m still immersed in the writing, so this will be brief and probably not all that exciting. I apologize for my general lack of posting and commenting - sometimes I sneak a few minutes of blog reading, but my commenting is really pathetic right now. These papers are kicking my ass. Not sure if I’m going to finish on time, but I’m trying to take it day by day. My therapist said some especially useful things today. One was less something she said and more an agreement - that I’ll keep plowing ahead for another week, but we can reassess then. Because thinking about several more weeks of this is enough to drive me mad. I’ve been worried that somehow my stress levels in this month leading up to the IVF will impact our success, and I don’t want to be sitting here in December blaming myself for a failed IVF due to stress. My lovely therapist (she needs a name, doesn’t she? Dr. Groovy, I think - she has some groovy glasses, and funky hair - we’ll try that for now) - anyway, Dr. Groovy pointed out that people get pregnant under the worst kinds of stresses imaginable (rape, famine, whatever) and that I shouldn’t be blaming myself for stress or its effect on IVF. “You probably will anyway,” she said, “and I’ll tell you the same thing then.”

    Also, I wore my snazzy shirt (many thanks to Ollie) to my appointment today, and Dr. Groovy loved it. “Yes,” she said. “Telling a woman going through IVF to relax is one of the worst possible things to do. It just makes it more stressful.”

    Um, yeah. And it’s not like I’m not already stressed.

    Saturday, September 17, 2005

    Five reasons why I hate having to wait for IVF

    5. Far-away pregnant friend (not to be confused with NPF) is due in October. She’s younger and they’ve only been married for a couple of years, and they thought they might have trouble conceiving - it took them four whole months! We’d already been trying for a year when we heard that she was pregnant, and now she’s going to have the baby. I’d hoped to be further along with things before she delivered. I guess this is further, just not as far as I’d hoped.

    4. An extra month of dodging well meaning but frustrating questions about our timetable or whether we have any news.

    3. Watching fellow bloggers start their cycles. Not that I’m not happy for them and excited and lucky to be able to learn from their experiences, but it’s hard to avoid stressing thinking about our upcoming cycle.

    2. More time to worry and anticipate.

    1. I’m terrible at waiting.

    To be fair, I’ll try to come up with...

    Five reasons why the wait is a good thing

    5. Time to get my papers written. At least in theory. Don’t ask how that’s going.

    4. More time to come up with snappy retorts to people’s boneheaded comments and ridiculous assvice.

    3. Gives me time to figure out the vibe at the new job before I start having unavoidable last minute scheduling problems. (My schedule is actually really flexible, but I have a lot of meetings, only some of which I can reschedule.)

    2. Gives me time to contemplate switching to Typepad so I can use the “categories” feature.

    1. Maybe I’ll be able to relax and get pregnant naturally.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2005

    And now for something completely different

    In my other life I’m in grad school. I don’t write about it much here for several reasons - partially it’s because the blog is my break from that world and that kind of writing, partially it’s because that world is so much about the writing at this point, and the whole writing-about-writing thing just seems like a kind of procrastination, and partially it’s because I haven’t really been spending the kind of time and energy on school that I should be, so there isn’t much to say.

    However, a big part of the reason for this break before IVF is to give me a chance to focus on school and writing, and it’s silly to think I can somehow separate the two huge things in my life as if they have no connections. So here I am, writing about writing. Or more specifically, writing about not-writing.

    I have two deadlines for the papers I’m currently writing - one is the deadline I’ve agreed upon with my advisor, based on the fact that she’ll be out of the country for a couple of months so I should finish before she leaves. The other, which I’ve scheduled to coincide with the first, is based on the fact that defending the papers I’m currently writing (a bunch of profs asking me potentially tough and often off-topic questions about why I did what I did in the papers) while on hormonally-altering medications is a Very Bad Idea. So I have to finish the papers, soon, for both reasons.

    I’m trying to be as detail oriented and outcome focused as I’ve been with persuing diagnosis and treament of our fertility issues. The problem is that I’m great at compiling and organizing information (lab results, important articles, whatever) but less good at focusing long enough to write more than a blog’s length worth of sentences. A few weeks ago, my dad told me to just write the damn thing, and I almost cried since it sounded so much like the academic version of just relax - if it were that easy, don’t you think I would have done it already? But I think I’m at that point now - I just have to write these papers, now, and be done with them so I can focus on what my advisor calls my “other project.”

    So I’m taking a suggestion from a popular dissertation writing book and from an article I read recently, and just writing a bit every day. Hopefully those bits will turn into the papers they need to be in the next few weeks, or I’m screwed. And not in the fun way. Which is all to say, I need to stop writing here so I can go write there. Not that I’m taking a break from blogging or anything. Even at my best (and I’m definitely not there right now), I can’t be immersed in academia all the time - it makes me nuts. I just needed to put this out there so it’s not hanging over me as one more excuse not to write.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go write a bit.

    Saturday, September 10, 2005

    Let’s all be not-urban-legends together

    Well, at least I’ve got lots of company in the IVF camp. Now we just need some marshmallows and a campfire. And some songs. And cheesy skits. Definitely the skits. Or at least the marshmallows.*

    It’s been a crazy week. I’ve spent more time than I’d like trying to get settled in my new job, and trying to focus on the writing I need to do, and working on the house, and trying to come to terms with our decision to take a month off from the baby chase.

    Actually, that last one was a fairly easy decision, initially.** I have to - HAVE TO - write these papers. Now. In the next 3-4 weeks. And J has a big project in October and so won’t be available to hold my hand or even provide his manly contribution to the whole process. I wouldn’t want his stressed out sperm, anyway. Better to stall for a month.

    Except that given the pain and horrendous clotting of the last period, and my historically irregular cycles (though the last couple of unmedicated cycles have turned out okay), and the need for there to be no chance in hell that we’d get pregnant (so our break is really a break and I don’t have to temp or watch what meds I take or what food I eat or what I drink) - because of all that, I’m on the pill. As a form of birth control. Hahahaha. It’s okay when I think about it as cycle timing. I mean, I’m going to be on the pill next month at the beginning of the IVF, too. But it’s still bizarre. I had to psych myself up for the first pill. I think that was the final moment of acceptance. We’re really doing this IVF. We’re really not going to get pregnant on our own. I’m really not going to be an urban legend.

    And in the meantime, I really have to buckle down and write these papers, and start being productive in my new job. I promise I will write about choosing a clinic soon. Really. But I have to spend at least 30 minutes writing my papers, first.

    *Actually, at my camp, the campfire would have been more likely to be accompanied by some people streaking than by cheesy skits. Though we had those, too, sometimes. And our semi-official camp songs often contained repeated shouted profanities. I guess you could say I went to an interesting camp.

    **I lied. It wasn't easy. But I'm trying to come to terms with it, because I know it was the right decision, even if it was a hard one to make.

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    I am not an urban legend

    This last cycle began with a course of Femara, which did nothing for me, and the news that J’s Kruger results were really low. He began acupuncture. The cycle continued. I made appointments with the two potential clinics. The cycle continued. I ovulated naturally on CD42, after having lovely, well-timed sex. And we hoped. Hoped that somehow we wouldn’t have to go through with the consults, that the decision wouldn’t matter, that we would escape. Hoped that we would become that annoying urban legend that well meaning but clueless families and friends use to reassure infertiles - “I knew this couple that got pregnant on their last cycle before IVF!” But, no. I have my period. And we’re moving ahead with IVF.

    It’s a mixed bag of emotions. On the one hand, I’m glad to finally be moving ahead with a plan. Given our combined problems, IVF/ICSI really is our best chance. I think we’ve found a clinic we like, with a doctor who didn’t seem phased by all of my questions, and a patient coordinator who seems, maybe, to have a sense of humor. We’re lucky to have the means to be able to do this - to look at the clinic options without regard for the financial considerations of one over the other, to have families who can support this financially and (if they can figure out how) emotionally. And I’m optimistic that this IVF/ICSI will do the trick for us.

    But I’m also mourning the loss. Going ahead with this means acknowledging that we need more than just a little bit of help. That this conception is going to be a medical event (even moreso than it already has been). That we’re giving up control (not that we ever had it). I’m jealous of people who don’t have to go through this. I’m scared of what this will do to me, to my body, and to our relationship. And I’m not sure I’m ready.

    I have been so consumed by this process for so long, and have put so many things on hold. And now, before we go ahead with this, some of those things need to happen. Things like finishing my papers and defending a dissertation prospectus. Things like cleaning the house. Things like reminding ourselves why we’re doing this.

    Today is our fifth anniversary, and we’re not having a glass of champagne and a romantic evening and thinking that might lead to offspring. Instead we’re regrouping. We’re coming back together to remind ourselves of what’s really important. We have each other. We have a comfortable home. We have supportive friends. And we have an open door. We just need to step through.

    Sunday, August 28, 2005

    Big plans, many questions

    This is a big week - we have new patient consults with two clinics (Monday and Wednesday) and in between I have my first (and very full day) at my new job. All of which have the potential to be good. I’m trying not to think about the job until then - trying to savor the last days of a summer in which I should have accomplished more. So instead, I thought I’d share the absurdly long list of questions we’re taking with us to the consults. I suspect much of this will get covered in the consult, so I won’t actually have to ask, but since we’re trying to decide between two clinics, I figured we should have a comparable dataset from each clinic from which to work. Except that I suspect it will, in the end, come down to the things that are peripheral to the list - the vibe, the feeling we get from the staff, the feeling we get from the doctor. Both clinics are highly regarded. Both have good success rates on the (totally out of date) CDC statistics. Both are in town (though one is more convenient than the other). Both clinics seem to do lots of ICSI, blast transfers, and FETs. Both have well-trained embryologists on staff. In the end, only a few of my questions will be deciding factors. Based on my initial dealings with them, I already have a tentative preference. But I’m trying to keep an open mind until Wednesday. And then I’m all about choosing one and moving on.

    Without further ado, here’s the list of questions:

    Ambiance (to observe, not to ask, obviously)

    • What's in the waiting room? (Are there pregnancy magazines? Toys? Comfy chairs? I will spend a lot of time here - how does it feel?)
    • Is the receptionist friendly? (Also all other staff I meet?)


    • Number of patients cycling each month? How many retrievals and transfers do you do each week?
    • What are the embryologist's qualifications: degree, experience, etc.?
    • Are there any times when they don't do cycles (holidays, etc.)?
    • Will we be working exclusively with one doctor or will we rotate depending on availability?
    • Who does morning ultrasounds? What are the hours for labs/monitoring? How long should I expect to be here each morning for monitoring?
    • How often do you perform ICSI? Blastocyst transfers? Frozen embryo transfers?
    • Do you have specific expertise with PCOS? What kind of protocol might you suggest to reduce the risk of OHSS? What percentage of your patients experience OHSS?
    • What are your criteria for canceling a patient's cycle? Who has the final say - the RE or us? (Thanks, unfortunately, to InSpring and Thalia for this one.)


    • Who does callbacks with instructions? With good or bad news? If we have questions the nurse can't answer? How long does it take to get a call back from the doctor?
    • Will we have emergency access to the doctor after hours (on call)? By phone or email?
    • Is there a nurse or coordinator I'll be able to speak with consistently (same person throughout the cycle)?


    • How do you feel about the use of acupuncture in conjunction with an ART cycle? Do you allow the acupuncturist to do treatment on site before or after transfer?
    • What do you think our prognosis is? What kind of protocol do you recommend for us? How many embryos would you recommend we transfer in an IVF? Is there any merit in doing another IUI? What medications would you use in an IUI or IVF?
    • Do you prefer patients who ask detailed questions about treatment, diagnosis, or symptoms? Are you comfortable with patients requesting detailed information about their treatment? (In other words, how do you deal with involved, well-informed, detail-oriented patients... patients who bring in obsessively long lists of questions they’ve vetted with their infertile friends...patients who aren’t going to stop asking questions even after choosing a clinic...patients with no patience like me?)

    Given the ridiculous length of this list, I’m not so worried I’ve forgotten something anymore, but if I have, please tell me. What would you ask?

    Friday, August 26, 2005

    More fun search terms

    Apparently I’m a budding Miss Manners over here:
      ettiquitte for teens
      breakup ettiquitte

      I think it’s because I misspelled ettiquette in a post, so when people also misspell it in their search, they get results from other people who can’t spell (like me, apparently). Have I mentioned that I’ve developed some bizarre version of adult-onset typing-dyslexia? It’s very odd

    Then there’s the “you found me HOW??” category:
      lying and saying your pregnant and your not

      This time it’s not about my typos. Which is good, because that leaves me with the possibilities - were they looking for instructions? Ways to get back at someone after this?

    And of course, the really bizarre:
      I want to buy tea cups dog

      I can’t even imagine what they were going for here. Tea cups for a dog, maybe? Do dogs drink tea? I am so confused. It makes up for that last one, though.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    Tentative understandings

    I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine the other day. Generally our relationship is pretty uni-directional (she calls me to talk and we mostly talk about her) but I told her vaguely what was going on with us a few months ago, so now it comes up in conversation occassionally. We've been talking more regularly lately because she just got engaged and so there's lots of wedding stuff in her life for us to talk about. But this time, after an hour of “this venue or that venue” and “what kind of wedding dress” and all that, she asked how things are going with us. So I told her how we had maxed out our options at the ex-clinic and are meeting with new clinics in anticipation of a likely IVF/ICSI.

    Now, this friend of mine is a bright person. She’s a lawyer. Her dad is a neurologist, and she’s been around medical stuff her whole life. She’s had her fair share of medical scares and mishaps. And she knows nothing about IVF. But she’s willing to ask, and seemed to want to know what it entailed. So I explained. Every so often she’d ask a question. At one point, she said, “This is probably a dumb question, but do they just pick one sperm, or do they put the egg with a bunch of sperm or what?” And I was able to explain that no, that’s actually a really good question, and that they’re both options. And then I explained ICSI.

    It got me thinking about people who aren’t going through the process, and what it looks like from the outside. I ranted a bit about Inconceivable and my friend and I talked a bit about gestational surrogacy and why I’m concerned about the show’s portrayal of infertility. But it also got me thinking about something Beaver Girl said a while ago (here and here) about the possibility that even a bad representation of infertility is better than none at all. That people will start to have a sense of what the terms mean and what the process entails. (Presuming, of course, that they’ve got a halfway decent medical consultant on the show to keep things at least mostly accurate. If not, I’ll organize a letter-writing brigade right away, because that would be absolutely unforgivable. Of course, if they do like CSI, it will give people all sorts of unreasonable expectations about the innovations of technology. But I digress. Sort of.)

    Another thing. We’d had my in-laws read the first couple of chapters of a well-written book about infertility, and I think it contributed to my MIL’s sudden comprehension of what we’re going through. So I figured it couldn’t hurt to try out on my mother. It took her a bit longer to get around to reading it (she insisted on buying her own copy of the book, so I guess I won’t have to explain the basics of my various tests and procedures anymore) but now that she’s read the first couple of chapters she seems to be trying to get it. “This sounds like you,” she said. I said something vague about the author’s tone (like a blogger, which is to say, like the best possible kind of snarky friend). But later I thought, it’s not that her story is like mine. It’s just that she’s managed to capture what it’s like. (At least, what it’s like for many of us.)

    Mom will be here for a quick overnight visit tomorrow - we’ll see how this plays out.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    Nothing we didn’t already know

    We had our postmortem* with Dr. L yesterday. It started somewhat badly, both because I was a bit peeved that we had to pay for a visit to discuss how they don’t really have anything else to offer us there, and because the nurse (I think she’s actually a medical assistant) made me pee in a cup so they could do a pregnancy test. It’s an obnoxious habit they have. I understand testing before certain procedures (the HSG for sure, and even the IUIs - someone less obsessive and more ovulatory than myself could, I suppose, be pregnant and not know, and sticking things in the ol’ ute isn’t so good for a pregnancy). But why I had to do a pee test yesterday is beyond me. I didn’t even have to undress for the appointment.

    Dr. L pretty much told us what we already knew. I didn’t respond to the Femara. The Kruger results meant that ICSI might be a good idea. But, some people have gotten pregnant with the same or lower Krugers, so we could try an injectable/IUI cycle and see. I asked if there was any reason we shouldn’t just move on to IVF w/ICSI. “If you have the resources to do that, it’s probably the right time,” she said. And then I thought, again, how lucky we are to have a family that can support our IVF efforts and how if I hadn’t done so much research I might have listened to only the surface of her statement and thought it was worthwhile to keep cycling with them because it’s less expensive.

    I did ask her about the evil-HMO hospital’s OB/GYN and NICU services - because, you know, there’s this theory that I might need at least one of those at some point. She had positive things to say about the doctors for both, and says that there are Nurse-Midwives on staff, too (though that doesn’t mesh with what little I’ve read so I need to check further). In light of the recent conversations on other blogs it was on my mind. Not that I’m anywhere near needing an OB or anything.

    She did tell us to have faith in God and each other, which felt like the Godspeak version of “just relax”. Which she got very close to when we were leaving - telling us about people who had gotten pregnant when they stopped trying or worrying about it, and who didn’t even know because they didn’t get regular periods and then suddenly they were very pregnant. I know it happens, occassionally, but I can’t even imagine NOT KNOWING I was somehow pregnant. How would I miss something like that? So, she didn’t quite say we should relax, and when I made a face she said, “I know. Easy for me to say, right?” -- which was a lovely observation coming from her.

    Instead of just not thinking about it, as she suggested, we have our new-clinic consults the week after next. I received a new patient packet from one of the clinics yesterday, which I thought was appropriate timing. A bit depressing, though, since I’d failed to account for the amount of time it will take to get tested and integrated into their treatment schedule. But at least it’s progress. And I am trying to not think about it too much between now and then, because I’ve already made a long list of questions and requested that my old records be sent to the new clinics and scheduled another few acupuncture treatments and I’m not sure what else I can do. So hell, maybe I’ll try “not worrying”.

    * A postmortem is the meeting after an event or project has concluded to discuss what worked and didn’t work:

    “Sooner or later this situation happens to us all: You and three others just spent the last thirteen months of your lives and careers working on a special corporate project. Unfortunately, that project produced less than satisfying results. Now, instead of basking in the glow of your team's achievement, management asks you to organize a review meeting for the failed project. That's right, you've landed in the dangerous territory of the post mortem.”

    Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

    Monday, August 15, 2005

    The Learning-how-to-be-bitter Channel

    I was watching A Baby Story (because apparently when I’m depressed I’m a sucker for punishment) and the family was having their second child - a mere TEN MONTHS after the first. I guess they got pregnant the first time they had sex after baby #1. (They called them Irish Twins - isn't that cute? No.) All together there are something like 15 cousins under the age of 10 in their family (from maybe four sets of parents). Aside from insane jealousy (seriously, they got pregnant again when baby # 1 was 6 weeks old? C’mon, share the wealth, people...) I can’t help but wonder if there’s another sister-in-law in the family someplace that doesn’t have any kids. I can’t even imagine being an infertile in the midst of such an excessive display of fertility. That must suck. I guess in comparison my life is just peachy.

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    I do not think it means what you think it means.*

    I found this article by way of a post over at Blogging Baby (which I don't usually read, so I’m not sure how I came across it this time) about the new NBC show, Inconceivable. Basically, the producers of the show came up with the idea after sharing stories of the trials and tribulations of fertility treatments. Because they’re two gay guys (not a couple) who both had kids using gestational surrogacy.

    More power to them, to be sure, but this really explains a lot. The show seems like it’s going to focus on the cutting edge technology - the stuff that people look at and think, “they can really do THAT now?” Like using the combination of an egg donor and a gestational surrogate to help a gay couple have a baby. It’s new frontier for most people. And that’s fine. But the bulk of people undergoing fertility treatments aren’t trying to be cutting edge, they’re trying to build families. And that’s emotional, and hard, and if they already were a heterosexual couple and assumed they had the necessary bits between them, then it’s brutal and can feel like a failure to do what comes naturally to so many people. (Just to clarify - I have nothing against gay couples using surrogates, or lesbian couples using inseminations, or whatever else. And I know those situations can be fraught with their own concerns and frustrations, too. But it’s a different kind of situation, in some ways.)

    It was the jaw-dropping thing that convinced writer-producers Marco Pennette and Oliver Goldstick, co-creators and executive producers of the new NBC drama "Inconceivable," that their experiences with in vitro fertilization and surrogate pregnancy had the makings of a television series. (From the Yahoo article.)

    See - shock value. New technology, far removed from what “normal” reproduction looks like. “Jaw-dropping” technology. I guess that’s what sells. But it doesn’t inspire much confidence in the accuracy of the show - hopefully they’ll get the terminology right (transfer vs. implant, for example) but I’m not so sure they’ll capture the experience.

    As the program description suggests, the “noble quest” to “help desperate couples give birth” will be balanced by the clinic staff's “own occasional adventures involving sex, deception and secrets.”

    Actually, I don’t think the show is really about fertility at all. I think it’s just a new backdrop for the same old ensemble dramas we see everywhere else (the right balance of science a la CSI and soap opera a la Desperate Housewives seems a timely choice, given the ratings). So maybe it won’t really suck that much, since it won’t really be about fertility.

    Plus, have you seen the graphic for the show? That egg isn’t going to amount to anything!

    * "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." (The Princess Bride, of course)