Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Finally a fun search term

I've only just started to get hits from people's random web searches - so far, it's been a couple of hits looking for information on Peggy Orenstein and infertility. But today I discovered this search for the "definition of assvice" - and look at the company I'm keeping! (Top results are Olivia Drab, me, Tertia and Julie - I stopped after that, but there are more, of course. Not meaning to leave anyone out or anything.) Dude, I feel like I'm sitting at the grown-ups table or something.

I especially like the smartypants suggestion from the search engine: "Did you mean 'definition of advice'?"

Thursday, March 24, 2005


You know that bubble I was talking about? Um, yeah.

So we met with Dr. L on Monday. Now, to recap, I’ve been trying to get an appointment since my new health insurance took effect on January 1. First I had an appointment with my new GP, Dr. Youthful, who referred me to the Fertility Clinic. Then we had to go to the introductory class at the clinic (2 week wait). Then we got an appointment with the NP (5 1/2 week wait). And then, finally, we were allowed to make an appointment with the big cheese herself (3 week wait). So, for those of you counting along at home, that’s one week shy of a trimester that it has taken us to actually see the doctor. In theory, this is because they want to educate us, and run all the tests, so that when we actually see her we’ll be ready for a plan.

And what a plan it is.

Step one: More tests. Yep. Because I’ve never had an HSG. Why they couldn’t order this before the magic appointment with Dr. Big Cheese I have no idea.

Actually, that’s step two. Step one is inducing a period with Provera (or at least its generic equivalent). So, 10 days of provera, followed, we hope, by a period. Then...

Step two: HSG

Step three: Wait. Because I needed more practice with that one.

Step four: Get period, or induce with provera again.

Step five: Next cycle, presuming the HSG comes back fine, I’ll do Clomid (150 mg, CD5-9).

Step six: After being given the go-ahead from the wand monkey checking my progress, J will give me a trigger shot in the ass. Oh, I guess I skipped the step where he learns how. It’s in there someplace.

Step seven: IUI.

Step eight: Cross fingers, pray, consider the possible benefits of baby dust.

Which means that we’re probably looking at an IUI in early June. Which is 5 months after we started “working with” the new HMO.

I laid it all out on a calendar to see if it really sucked as much as I thought. It does. In this time, we’ll pass by two important dates. The first is J’s birthday - he’s going to be 30. I’m not upset over the age factor, but over the thought that I had so many years ago that I wanted to be pregnant by his 30th birthday. No particular reason, it just seemed like about the right timing. The other thing is that our friends’ twins (via IVF) are due in early June. These are the friends with whom we’ve shared all our life milestones - J’s parents and B’s parents were friends, and J & B lived together in college. I actually dated B before I was with J. (But that’s a story for another time.) We got married within 2 weeks of each other, and bought houses the same summer. When we started TTC, I knew without being told that they were too. And now they’re expecting twins, and we’re waiting and waiting for our first IUI.

But hey, at least we actually have a plan.


Here’s the info on the article I mentioned in a previous post:

Rizk, Bedaiwy, and Al-Inany. “N-acetyl-cysteine is a novel adjuvant to clomiphene citrate in clomiphene-citrate resistant patients with polycystic ovary syndrome” Fertility and Sterility Vol 83, No.2, February 2005. 367-270.

I’ve also put a copy of the .pdf online since I’m not sure how accessible the PubMed database is to folks not at Universities.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Infertility TV, take 2

I was going to share the details of my latest visit with the evil HMO, but then I came across a couple of mentions of this new genre of television programming currently in development and got distracted.

Apparently, there are two programs currently in development - one for UPN (I think) that seems to be untitled and lacking in details, and the other at NBC, called Inconceivable.

The drama is a soap and a franchise set at a high-end fertility clinic, where a team of doctors and other specialists assist clients who cannot conceive children through traditional methods. The storyline explores the moral and ethical gray areas where science pushes the boundaries of law and where doctors are put into positions that some might say involve "playing God." But to the young couple who couldn't before conceive a child and now hold their newborn baby in their arms, those same doctors are merely heroes.

Excuse me while I gag.

Okay, now that I’m back. I’m not sure what I think of this whole idea - it could be a good publicity move for infertiles everywhere, or it could be as nauseating as the above description (which I culled from a random, and not necessarily fully legitimate source).

I’m imagining the possible storylines now:

  • The fat, bitter, infertile comes to the hotshot clinic in grubby sweatpants, with unwashed hair and a chocolate bar in each hand, and emerges thin but for her perfect pregnant belly. (Sounds like the Extreme Makeover - Infertile Edition I suggested over at Within the Woods. Or, as Amy suggested we call it, Pimp my Ute.)
  • The movie star who is not having IVF, no way, twins just run in the family. Got a problem with that? Talk to the “very attractive attorney” who founded the fertility clinic after leaving law because “her humanity became a liability.” Mmm, okay.

Maybe they’ll do a little shout-out to the infertile army, the barren bitch brigade, the obnoxious among us who will watch this while snickering about the inaccuracies, much as I imagine doctors do during ER, lawyers during Law and Order, and scientists during CSI.

Speaking of CSI, though, I wonder about the possibilities of a boom in the business of infertility as a result of the publicity. How many kids wanted to be forensic scientists before CSI? Now they can all aspire to be infertile bitches infertility doctors.

Things they may already have done accurately:

1. The character of the main fertility doctor is described as “Charming, handsome, incredibly smart, and ruthlessly ambitious, this renowned specialist has a well-earned God complex. Ethically ambiguous, but a lovable rogue. Has personalized license plate: ‘BABYMAKER.’ [Um, that’s more letters than would usually fit on a license plate. I guess they make extra-extra-special plates for the Gods among us.] Likes to Google himself.[Who doesn't?]

2. It’s hard to find concrete information about the show. What is out there is self-congratulatory but not particularly informative, and you have to click around a lot gathering information to get a good sense of things -- just like trying to get information from a fertility clinic.


Monday, March 21, 2005

Pathetic optimism

I spent a bunch of time last night researching on PubMed last night - looking for information about soy and phytoestrogens (or oestrogens from some of the international journals!) and, separately, about Clomid and this new amino acid my acupuncturist said has been shown to increase the effectiveness of Clomid in PCOS women. And I found the article she had mentioned.

I had been growing dissatisfied with my acupuncturist, mostly due to the total lack of visible results, but also due to a less-than-perfect vibe. But this new information (and the fact that she is actually out there gathering information) has warmed me to her again. So the new acupuncturist will have to wait while I stick with this (hee!) for a while.

We’re off to an appointment with the new RE today. I am strangely optimistic -- because the evil HMO has made me jump through so many hoops, actually seeing the doctor seems like a monumental occurance. Actually, this is really pathetic.

But still, I’m trying to be optimistic about this - a new doctor, a new clinic, a new cycle, a new amino acid. The bubble hasn’t burst yet.

(I’m sure I’m just setting myself up for a crash, though. But maybe if I say that it will soften the fall when it inevitably comes.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Let's talk about sex

I mentioned to my therapist yesterday that I had a low sex drive and that sex wasn’t really all that fun anymore. She fixated on this point - wanting to know when we last “made love”. I had to restrain myself from snickering.

I’m not sure I’ve ever been a fan of the phrase “make love” but especially now that our sex for the past however many months has been focused on trying to get pregnant, I can’t do much more than call it sex. When we first started TTC, we could still think of it as BMS (baby making sex) or the ever-so-cheesy BD (baby dance).

The first time we “made love” after we decided to try to get pregnant was magical. We knew we might have problems, but at that point those problems were off in the distance. We were caught up in the possibility that we were, at that very moment, conceiving a child. It was wonderful. (Well, the missionary position isn’t so great, but the moment was wonderful.)

But now that we’re old hands at this, the BMS has lost its magic. Sure, I still stay lying down for a while afterwards, just in case that helps move things along. But overall, it seems like one more chore to do in the whole process - something that happens on schedule so I can put it in my chart.

I think it’s because of all this that I’m strangely hopeful about the (probable) upcoming IUI. It’s not so much that I think it’s going to work (of course I WANT it to, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up about that right now) but that it will change the way we think about sex again. Of course, I’m sad about the IUI, since it makes this whole process seem so clinical - moreso than Clomid and frequent wanding and bloodletting. But I’m hopeful that by freeing us from the BMS we’ll be able to reclaim the idea that sex is “making love” and not just another procedure.

Friday, March 11, 2005

stupid vampires

The lab at the evil-HMO is like a really dumb vampire. They’re in the mood for something nice and tasty, and then they get me instead - bitter and pissy. Sounds yummy.

I went back to the lab for a follow-up from one of the tests the NP ran at my last visit. Apparently my liver function test was off (high or low, she didn’t actually say) and the new RE (whom I’ve never met) wanted to rule out Hepatitis, even though we’re all pretty sure that this has to do with the Glucophage. But I guess it’s good for them to double check.

I tried to go to the lab on Wednesday afternoon - I had some time, I had eaten, I was wearing comfy clothes. Except that the lab closes at 12:30 on Wednesdays. Which I clearly didn’t know. (It was nice for a minute, there, looking at the spacious parking lot that’s usually hard to navigate. Too good to be true, though.)

So I went back to the lab today. The NP had said she’d fax over the lab request, so I stood in line to check in and told the bitchy woman that the form should have been faxed. Of course, she didn’t have it. So she sent me back to the NP (conveniently located next door) to get it. The very nice receptionist at the fertility clinic went to check with the NP and determined that it was waiting for me right there at the front desk of the clinic. Easy enough, if I had known.

So, back to the lab to wait in line again. And then wait. And wait. They seemed to be short staffed. And the waiting room was fairly crowded, and there was this obnoxious guy who was giving a running commentary of the lab and the people and the woman who cried after she left the lab and how it must be a bad lab tech and a big needle and on and on. [Incdentailly, I saw the woman, and I know she was referred from the OB/Gyn clinic next door, which is largely the fertility clinic, so I’m guessing her crying had less to do with the lab tech and more to do with whatever they were checking for today. Dropping beta? Who knows. But I felt for her. She looked so fragile.]

So I finally got called back into the lab, where the tech informed me that iit would be 5 vials of blood. Because he’s a vampire and was getting hungry. I’m a little unsure about this, since it’s just one test, but I realize that it’s really a whole panel of Hep tests, so maybe requires more than one vial. Yes, I was rationalizing. So I told him I needed to lie down for that much blood. [This was supposed to be my experiment in being a normal person in the blood lab who just sits in the chair with the little arm thing and then walks out totally fine. I tend to get a little lightheaded during blood draws, but I’m trying to get out of the pattern. But I wanted to start with a small draw on a non-fasting day.] So he leads me back to the EKG room, which is where I get to lie down for bloodwork (every single time I’ve been to this lab I’ve used this room). Everything seems to be going well - he doesn’t give me grief about needing to lie down (unlike the bitchy woman I had last time who I shouted at - the same bitchy woman at the front desk today). He drew the blood and everything was fine. I got up, feeling mostly fine, and went back to his regular station to pick up my ID card. And then he hands me..... someone else’s card.

Me: This isn’t my card.
Him: It isn’t?
Me: Um, no.
Him: Oh, what’s your name?
Me: [myname] But isn’t it a little late to be asking me that?
Him: Oh, your card is right here. [Attached to MY LAB FORM]
Me: Um, does that mean you ran the wrong blood work?
Him: Nope, the card just got separated.
Me: Are you sure you lying asshole?
Him: Yes, it’s fine. Have a nice day.
Me: [speechless] Thanks for nothing, you stupid vampire.

I thought it seemed like an excessive amount of blood, but then they always seem to want more blood than it seems they should need, so I initially chalked it up to their lab weirdness. But now I’m convinced that the reason he drew five vials of blood and ruined my attempt at normalcy was because he was using the wrong lab order form. Dumb fucking vampire.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

notes from a bookstore

Yesterday was J's first day off in I don't know how long - definitely since before our trip East for the funeral. So, it was a low key day - he slept in, watched some TV, had a very late breakfast. And then later we went to Borders and stayed for nearly 7 (yes, SEVEN) hours. He read two books, I browsed through a couple and then got through a chunk of grading. It was really nice.

A couple of observations:

1. They've moved the section of infertility books from their old, obnoxious spot next to pregnancy and baby name books to the Women's Health section (near other health issues and far far away from baby books). This was one of my biggest problems with that bookstore (and most others) and I'm glad to see that the letters other infertiles wrote (or the vibes we sent?) got those books moved to a much less depressing location. Score one for the infertile army.

2. The spot J found to sit and read (after an hour or two sitting on the floor in the travel book section) was next to the pregnancy books. It was mostly quiet until a giddy couple (who probably had just peed on a stick this week) showed up to look at “Pregnancy for Dummies” or whatever (really, that should be AND whatever - they took 8 or 10 books to browse through, but didn’t seem to pick one to buy). It was so sweet and naiive. And almost harder to watch than the parade of pregnant bellies looking at baby name books. And how jealous am I? Oh, very. I want to be that excited and blissfully unaware. I don’t begrudge them their happiness, and I hope nothing happens to disrupt that bliss, but I am SO JEALOUS.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Retail therapy

I stopped off at the drugstore to by the special Neosporin+Pain Relief in the hopes that my finger (which is weirdly infected and painful) would revert to its normal size and sensitivity. And I needed Q-tips.

I’m a terrible errand runner. I get into a store, even a drugstore, and I wander aimlessly. I’m the reason they developed those nifty displays of new nail polish colors (I bought a small bottle of a bright turquoise that matches this skirt I just bought - not at the drugstore. It’ll look great on my toenails when they’re sticking out of my sandals, and it was on sale!) and endcaps with special discounts on bottled water (6 bottles for $1 - that’s a good deal, and I’m supposed to be drinking more water). And hey, maybe my new haircut would look better with some little clips or something. And I’ve been meaning to buy another generic birthday card for when we remember we need to send one right away. And so on.

It’s not that these were extravagant or unnecessary purchases. It’s just that I seem to lack the ability to run in and grab the two things I need. This drives J bonkers. It’s hard when we try to shop together - I’ll be wandering the aisles and he’ll be ready to check out. I do it at grocery stores, too.

I think this stems in part from the legitimacy of the purchasing. In college, when I was mostly on my own financially, I had a credit card that was billed to my mom. This was not a clothing and eating out card, but a basic provisions card - medications, groceries (to supplement the dining hall), and emergencies. So, mom’s credit card would buy me cough drops and kleenex, and a magazine and nail polish to cheer me up while I was sick. Nothing excessive, but I got to spend money without feeling guilty about it. [I could muse about whether having tight finances makes me spend money differently than someone who grew up not feeling cautious or guilty about any of their spending, but I won’t. At least not more than I just did.]

This “legitimate” purchasing style continued with my own money. I could go on a moderate shopping spree for the foods I needed for a special diet (my current one included) and not feel guilty or excessive. When I go clothes shopping, or shoe shopping, I often feel guilty. It’s not going to fit soon (either because I’m going to lose weight, or because I’m going to get pregnant) or it’s going to be out of season or out of style. (I’m more likely to buy a purse - since I won’t grow out of it.) In fact, most of my clothing (or purse) shopping sprees (such as they are) happen at a place like Target - where I can pick up a new shirt, and a birthday card, and some kitchen towels, and the post-it notes I need for the next round of grading. This is the shopping I like best.

But don’t expect me to just pop in for a toothbrush. I’m afraid that’s impossible.