Monday, May 30, 2005

Coming out

Last week, I got a call from one of my college friends. We have an interesting relationship. It’s generally been a bit unequal - she tends to need more support, and I give it. That’s how our friendship started, and the pattern stuck. Now that we no longer live in the same city, we have sporadic but long phone conversations. Sometimes she calls because she needs support - she’s panicking about her relationship with her boyfriend or some such. It’s how the friendship has been for a long time, and it doesn’t generally go the other way. I don’t know if it’s because I find it hard to talk to her or if it’s just the nature of things, but in keeping with our usual patterns, I hadn’t told her we were trying, let alone that we were having problems.

The other day, she just called to talk (and to tell me about her weekend and meeting her boyfriend’s parents and all, but still, no crisis.). It was HCG night, so the topic was fresh on my mind, and so I opened the conversation. (Something about being sad looking at pictures of a friend’s baby...) It went better than expected, but we’ll see how things change now.

Then, the other day, I told another of my research advisors. After our official meeting, he asked how things were going, since he had noticed that I’d been, um, distracted for a while now. So I gave him the vague version - we’re trying, it’s taking some medical intervention, kinda stressful, don’t ask how it’s going, when I have news I’ll tell you. Much less detailed than the info my advisor has (she likes to hear the details - but that’s another story).

I think all of this coming out is related to my attempts at postitve thinking. I realized that it takes a lot of energy to keep this all private - this has been an intense and draining journey, and while I don’t have any desire to broadcast the information to everyone I meet, I’m finding ways to let people in just a little bit.

The next challenge is to find a way to broach the subject with the pregnant friend we’re going to see at the wedding next weekend. I’m thinking about sending her an email in advance, so I can say exactly what I need to say without interruption (by her or by my likely sobbing breakdown). At least, this was the plan a couple of weeks ago. But now that I’m in this moderately hopeful place, I’m not sure if I need to do it. I know I just said it takes too much out of me to keep this private sometimes, but I don’t know if it will take more out of me to have to talk about it.

I’m working on finding the middle ground. I’m thinking about sending her a note explaining, briefly, what’s been going on and asking that she be sensitive about pregnancy talk (or asking about our pregnancy plans - PLANS! - how quaint!) What do you think - will that do more harm than good or is it worthwhile? What would you say?

Friday, May 27, 2005

Not yet, anyway

To whomever found me while looking for a clomid success blog: I’m sorry you didn’t find it here. Yet.

(Ack. I guess Hope invited herself in. I guess I’ll make a pot of tea.)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Looking up

The nurse who did the IUI was super positive about our chances this cycle - which made up for the fact that she was running late and we were just sitting there hoping the sperm would survive the wait. And apparently they did, because J’s count was stellar - they’re estimating something like 100 million motile, which is major since last time it was something like 10 million, and not all high grade. Plus... we got to look through the microscope at the sperm sample - it was sooooo cool. J went for a peek while I was in my lying-down phase, and then I got to go look afterward. Apparently, they were slowing down by then, but still - whole bunches of tiny, feisty swimmers. He’s so proud. And when we left, the nice receptionist said, “I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed for you. It’ll make me walk funny, but I’ll still do it.” So that was nice. And then J brought me home and I spent most of the day on the couch.

One weird thing: apparently, I have a crooked cervix. The nurse had to switch to a different catheter, but then it was fine. Crampy, and with a bit of bleeding, but I guess that’s to be expected.

I keep thinking I have no idea how I’m going to make it though the next two weeks, and then I remember that it’s the end of the school year and I have reading and writing and grading to do, plus a trip next weekend to our friends’ wedding (more on that in another post, I think). So I guess I’ll be keeping busy. But if anyone has any good distractions, let me know!

Monday, May 23, 2005

postive thinking

I had another conversation with my mom over the weekend about mind/body health - all that stuff about how thoughts affect biology. So I’m trying to be more positive. Which is so hard. I don’t want to set myself up and then be crushed, and sometimes it seems easier to just stay neutral rather than risk that terrible feeling of squashed hope. But...I do everything else that’s rumored to help, so I should try this (again).

The waiting room at the clinic was crowded today - usually there’s at most one other person, but today there were several, and it must have been “bring the spouse day” because there were a lot of them, too. There was a couple waiting that I wanted to meet, but how do you just randomly tap someone on the shoulder and say, “Hey, you seem like one of the cool kids. Wanna be my friend?” Couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I do sometimes often wonder about the other people in the waiting room - about their stories, their coping mechanisms. Actually, for a place that required an introductory class before getting in to the clinic (in case we didn’t know to have sex around ovulation, apparently) I’d expect them to run a support group. Lots of research on how relaxation helps fertility, and it could be a cheap way of increasing their effectiveness. But without that, I’ll just relax on my own, and get my support from the computer.

This is all a rambling lead in to saying that we’re on for an IUI on Wednesday. One nice big follicle on the left (J said - “That’s as big as the whole ovary on the other side” - he doesn’t usually get to come to my wanding appointments, so it’s all fascinating to him) and a comfy, plush lining (probably thanks to all the extra estrogen). So, trigger tonight and IUI on Wednesday.

In an attempt to apply my new positive thinking strategy, I didn't buy this really cute skirt today because I might not fit into it soon. That's a start, right?

Hope hasn’t come knocking, but I guess I’ll let her in if she shows up.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

blah blah blah

So it’s been a while since I had a real meaty post. I don’t know what’s up with me. I think in my Clomid-addled state of mind, it’s hard to focus long enough to write. (Which, as you can imagine, is doing wonders for the two big papers I need to be writing for school...)

CD12 sono yesterday (wand monkey of the day was an OB/GYN resident, because they don’t get much training in scanning infertiles ovaries) - no major follicles (largest was maybe 8mm) and lining still thin (in the 5mm range). I have a history of slow response, and apparently my lining is appropriate for this amount of follicular growth. So back to waiting. Next sono scheduled for Monday (because they don’t do them over the weekend). Here’s hoping that’s not too late.

Things on my mind recently:

1. We’re getting ready to go to this wedding in June where there will be a couple of friends with babies, and one visibly pregnant friend. This group of friends usually has the lifepoint check-in at events like this - who’s going to be next for X Y or Z. In the past, this has been a discussion of who’s going to get married next, but with this new rash of babies, you know that’s going to be a prime topic. And the answer is, I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE NEXT. Not the pregnant woman. She’s younger, they’ve been married for less time, and I’m sure we’ve been trying much longer. (My inner temper tantrum is screaming “I deserve this more” over and over.) Obviously, I’m happy for them and all. I just don’t want to see her.

2. Last night, J casually mentioned that our friends, the bride and groom, just got a car, because the bride’s sister is pregnant and needed to upgrade to a Volvo. He didn’t even realize that was another pregnancy announcement until my face crumpled. This is what I’m afraid of at the wedding - no one thinks that a comment like that means anything except some sort of joke - “Ha ha, they’re pregnant so they’re automaticallly getting a Volvo, isn’t that so stereotypical.” Even if I warn people about my fragile state of mind (as my therapist suggested yesterday) I don’t think this will register for anyone as an inssensitive thing. Except that I already have a baby-friendly car. When we bought my car 4 years ago, before we were trying, we considered the baby-safety issue. If I have to replace my car before I get to have a baby in it, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

3. Yesterday I got a call from the car dealership asking if I’d be interested in selling my car, since they have a high demand for that model/year.

I stayed in bed for an extra hour this morning. And I kinda want to go back.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Random Rant #1

I love Trader Joe’s. I shop there all the time. It’s my grocery store of choice. But there’s one thing that bugs me. They’ll introduce a new item, and I’ll try it and like it and go back for more and it will be gone. Completely gone. Like the best hamburgers ever. Vanished. And the Chunky Tomato Sauce Starter. Nowhere to be found. And yesterday I went back for more of the Kosher Dill Pickles* and there were none to be had. I feel like I have to start hoarding food. Next time I see the frozen, microwavable brown rice, I’m buying 10. Don’t know where I’ll put them, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

* Not only are these some yummy pickles, but the empty jar makes a great sharps container. So I kinda need to eat a whole jar of pickles in the next couple of weeks or so.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

If I could I would

I don’t usually do these, but since JJ asked so nicely, I’m jumping in! I’m supposed to pick 5 from the following list and complete the sentence. And then I’m supposed to pass it on. (More on that later.)

If I could be a scientist . . .
If I could be a farmer . . .
If I could be a musician . . .
If I could be a doctor . . .
If I could be a painter . . .
If I could be a gardener . . .
If I could be a missionary . . .
If I could be a chef . . .
If I could be an architect . . .
If I could be a linguist . . .
If I could be a psychologist . . .
If I could be a librarian . . .
If I could be an athlete . . .
If I could be a lawyer . . .
If I could be an inn-keeper . . .
If I could be a professor . . .
If I could be a writer . . .
If I could be a llama-rider . . .
If I could be a bonnie pirate . . .
If I could be an astronaut . . .
If I could be a world famous blogger . . .
If I could be a justice on any one court in the world . . .
If I could be married to any current famous political figure . . .

If I could be a professor. . . (since in theory that’s what I’m in training for) I would teach classes on subjects I find so interesting that the students couldn’t help but be fascinated by the material. There’s nothing worse than having to teach material that even I find boring.

If I could be a gardener. . . I would grow yummy veggies and colorful flowers and I’d spend hours outside just working with the plants and the dirt and making friends with the bees and not worrying that there’s something more pressing I should be doing instead.

If I could be an architect . . . I would design comfortable houses designed for real families to live in, with lots of storage and old fashioned details like nooks and window seats and cabinets under the stairs.

If I could be a world famous blogger. . . I’d probably turn down the opportunity. I like the idea of having lots of people reading my blog and commenting and feeling like part of a community, but my desire to keep my identity somewhat private (while sharing the intimate details of my nether regions) and the weird vibe surrounding those big-name bloggers (Dooce, for example) just seems like it might take the fun out of it. However...

If I could be a writer . . . I would love to publish articles written in my blogging voice, instead of my academic voice. I have to turn my comfortable blogging voice off to do legitimate academic work, and then it becomes a chore and frustrating and I think I can’t write anymore - and then I switch to blogging mode and the words tumble out. Not great yet, but certainly more comfortable for me.

Now, about the tagging thing. I’ve always hated chain letters - not so much because I don’t want to participate (though I generally don’t) but because I don’t want to burden people I like with them. But this is way more fun, so maybe there are some takers? I hereby tag anyone who is reading and thinking this seems interesting - especially the folks who have never done a meme (actually, I hadn’t before either, so I’m sure there are tons more!) or anyone trying to take their minds off of waiting or searching for symptoms. Tag - you’re it!

I don’t have trackbacks, so if you do this, let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Onward ho

As I sat, half dressed and covered only by a paper sheet in a freezing exam room, I realized that I didn’t know who was doing my sonogram today - the NP, the nice nurse, the other nurse - no idea. And then I realized it didn’t matter. I am a wand ho. I’ll open up for anyone wielding the condom-covered wand o’ love sono, especially if they say hello first and twist the screen so I can see, too.

Today it turned out to be the NP, who proclaimed me ready for another Clomid cycle.

Me: But wait. Wasn’t I supposed to switch to letrazole this cycle?
Her: Well, the Clomid was successful, so we’ll use that again.
Me: Successful?
Her: Yes. You grew and ovulated an egg. I know it doesn’t seem like it worked, since you’re not pregnant, but from our perspective the treatment was successful.
Me: Well, it doesn’t feel like a success. In my vision of success, I’m not sitting here half naked crying.
Her: I know. But we’ll try again!
Me: Okay, but Dr. L said if it didn’t work this time we’d switch to the letrazole.
Her: Yes, but it did work. You ovulated. She must have been planning for what to do if you didn’t ovulate on the Clomid.
Me: Well, I saw her for my last monitoring appointment. She did my last sono. She scheduled the trigger. It was at that appointment that she said we’d try letrazole next if need be.
Her: [Checks the file.]
Me: I just want to make sure I’m doing the right next step. I wouldn’t want to waste a cycle on the wrong medicine or something.
Her: There’s no note in here about that. We generally continue with the Clomid at the level that seems to be working. [She’s trying to be soothing, I think.]
Me: [Now I actually am crying on the exam table.] Okay, if that’s what to do then that’s what we’ll do.

I’m not particularly looking forward to another round of Clomid. Especially since my mom, MIL, and a great-aunt-type are all going to be visiting this weekend. (Should be a riotous good time for all involved.) But the crying had less to do with doing the Clomid again, not even with the frustration of the RE telling me something but not writing it down, so it’s as if I’ve made it up. [She definitely told me we’d switch to letrazole. She even spelled it for me. (I didn’t want to burst her bubble and point out that I’d already researched it, but it was progress for her to realize that I’d want to!)] No, the crying was about something else.

Clomid is hard on me, physically and especially emotionally. And at our last IUI, the post-wash count was about 10 million motile. Not great. And there’s nothing much they can do about that. No drugs to make him make more or prettier sperm. He’s seen a urologist, who didn’t think the minor varicoceles were worth treating. So we medicate me, and cross our fingers (but not his legs, because that would make things warm) for him.

I’m just so tired of this. And frustrated. And the idea that the last cycle was a success is so far from my reality. Oh sure, I knew it was a success under their terms. The idea that it just might have worked - that was Hope’s invitation to camp out for a while. I just don’t know how many more times I can do this.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


My period started yesterday. Very heavy. Making sure I notice its presence. I had expected it today, since that’s the kind of irony the universe likes to dole out, but I guess keeping me off guard is also fun.


A couple of years ago, my mom found herself working in the kitchen on Mother’s Day while a bunch of non-moms stood around chit chatting and doing nothing to help. (Extended families - got to love them.) So she decided that the new tradition was that the non-moms should do the work on Mother’s Day - plan the meal, set up, clean up, etc. J has had to work on two of the past three Mother’s Days, and my uncles are somewhat inept in the kitchen, so this has often meant that I do most of the work on Mother’s Day. (And I’ve had the swollen feet and backache to prove it.)

Last year, we had just started trying in earnest, and while I knew by that point that it was going to be a bumpy road, I somehow thought that this year would be the first year that I’d spend Mother’s Day sitting, with my feet up. But no, not so much. I can’t be the worker bee again when I should be sitting in the mommy-camp. I just can’t do it.

So, we’re skipping Mother’s Day this year. We’ve been up visiting various segments of my family for the past two weekends anyway, and next weekend both moms are going to be here (but that’s another fun story) so this weekend we’re staying home. It’s nice to be able to blame it on scheduling, when my main motivation in skipping Mother’s Day is just to skip Mother’s Day.

One good thing has come of this: my mother called yesterday. She had a revelation that this might be part of why we weren’t coming and she called to apologise for setting up this scenario in the first place. Which is one of the best, most understanding gestures she’s been able to offer. Not that she’s not trying. But it seemed for a minute there that she really got it. (And I totally don’t blame her - I think if it works the concept that the moms get to take the day off is a nice one. I just can’t be a part of it right now.)

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Hope has left the building

I felt her leave, yesterday. I had been fine - optimistic, even. I was working on a fun project with some folks at school, I was energized, engaged. And then it was gone. I was walking and a wave of sadness hit me, and now that’s all there is.

I ran into a friend yesterday just after this wave of despair hit me. She asked how I was and I replied honestly: “not good.” It’s sad how often people ask how we are and we just say everything is fine when it’s really not. There are few people who ever get an honest answer to that question.

I slept fitfully last night. Lots of dreams. Mostly about testing, or temping, or knowing I was pregnant. Each time I woke up and remembered it was just a dream. And when I finally did get around to it, not even a hint of a line. So, BFN this morning, 14 DPO.

I know there’s still some modicum of chance. I mean, I respond late to medications, so why wouldn’t I just be slow at this too. But the crampy, PMS feeling started yesterday, and now it just feels over.

Plus, I have that headache you get from crying a lot and then having to stop crying to go out in the world and pretend everything is fine.

Monday, May 02, 2005

both at once

The clinic finally called me back today with the progesterone results (21.04) - which as far as I can tell is a perfectly respectable number. I’m still irritated that I couldn’t get the results sooner, but glad to see it’s of no consequence (or something) since the levels are fine. So now I’m back to just waiting. The nurse cheerfully told me I could take a home pregnancy test 2 weeks after the IUI. We’ll see about that. I guess it depends how I’m feeling. Right now, much as I’d like to know something for sure, I can consider it a possibility that I actually am pregnant. And until I have a test or a period telling me differently, I’ll continue to consider it a possibility. And that’s more than I usually have, so I’m trying to hold onto it.

It’s like the question of Schroedinger’s Cat (which I always think of as a philosophical problem but is actually about quantum physics). Much simplified, Schroedinger put a cat in a box with an experiment that might or might not kill the cat (yes, it’s sad). Until the box is opened, there’s no way to know if the cat is alive or dead, which in some way means it’s both alive and dead until observation renders a solid conclusion one way or the other. This is somewhat related to the question about the tree falling in the forest with no one around. It’s also used to discuss the ways in which the act of observation shifts that which is observed, which is another useful tidbit, but not my primary focus with all this.

I feel like the possibility of pregnancy is like Schroedinger’s Cat. Right now, I might be pregnant or I might not, but since I can’t observe this for sure yet, I’m both at once. Damn, no wonder the two week wait is a big old mind fuck.

And don’t even get me started on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.