Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Body and Mind

We met with the director of a mind/body fertility program today to get more info about their program. Really, it was a sales pitch on their part, and I guess that’s good. I don’t know if it was the conversation today, the fact that he was fighting yet another headache, or just the realization that his health could use some attention too, but J was really positive about the possibilities.

It’s a 12 week program that combines group sessions (based on Ali Domar’s Mind/Body work at Harvard - and my old clinic) with individual Chinese Medicine and acupuncture treatments. There’s also a nutritionist in the group, and an exercise consultant (whatever that means). The program sounds good - expensive, but good. I’m a but cynical about such things (or jaded, or something) but J seemed positive about it - and I thought he’d be the harder sell. Maybe it’s because of my recent emotional outbursts/breakdowns. I don’t know.

When the guy was explaining the program (peppered with a bunch of anecdotal success stories - nice, but irritating after the first one, and I’d already heard a couple when I spoke with him on the phone) he mentioned that the group program also involves some tasks to be done at home. I’m imagining journal writing or meditation or special breathing or something. He says, “We know it’s a hassle, but we ask participants to maintain a BBT chart.” I couldn’t help laughing just a bit. BBT charts are something I’m good at. They make sense to me. The color coding in FertilityFriend’s software makes these nice charts I have all printed out and filed in the appropriate section of my newly organized binder. So yeah, sure, I’ll do more BBT charts. It seems to me that by the time we get to this point, the “annoyance” of taking my temp every morning is so much less than the numbers of wandings or injections or blood tests or whatever else. I’ll take the annoying beep of the thermometer any day.

Coming up tomorrow: a meeting with Dr. L to hear what she thinks we should do next. Update to follow, of course.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Telling my fortune

We went out for Chinese food the other night (actually Mongolian BBQ, but it’s a Chinese restaurant), and I got a pretty good fortune. (Didn’t eat the cookie, but I always want the fortune!)

All your hour hard work will soon pay off.

I assume that “hour” is a misprint, and they mean hours. I’ve put in hours of hard work. Hours, I tell you. And I’d really like them to pay off soon. Anyone have any idea when “soon” is?

Thursday, June 23, 2005


(Warning: Long and somewhat whiny post ahead. Probably not as pretty as a long and winding road.)

Last night when we were lying in bed (which is when I always start deep and important conversations - it’s either there or in the car on a long drive -- something about being stuck there with few other distractions I think) I explained to J why I was sad.

I feel really alone in all this, I said.

Not only am I lacking in friends (outside the computer, that is) but I’m the one who is really invested in this process. It’s not a blame game, it’s just that for the most part it’s my body that’s subjected to tests and procedures and the possible side effects of drugs, so I’ve done more reading and more obsessing and he’s coming along a bit more slowly. He’s doing his part as best he can, I think, it’s just that he’s not in the same place I am. And I feel very alone.

The only local friend with whom I’d discussed all this fertility stress is now the Newly Pregnant Friend. NPF is also really early on - she told me at something like 6 weeks, and so I’m both a little incredibly jealous of her and a little worried that something bad could happen. I’m worried that I’m not ready to be that positive friend to her, both because of the jealousy and because I can’t quite grasp the concept of a smooth, uneventful pregnancy. Oh sure, I know they happen. But I have a hard time believing them to be normal. (Kind of like that elusive second line - I know it exists, but I’ve never seen one.) And then of course, I don’t know how to talk to her about my fertility woes now that she’s pregnant. Plus she lied to me - not that I would expect her to tell me they were trying, but she told me they weren’t yet. I know, it’s not a big thing, and she probably thoguht it would hurt my feelings, but there I was offering advice (I think it was advice and not assvice, though if she was already trying then it was just pointless) and being a listening and supportive friend. But whatever. I’m not angry, I’m jealous. And I don’t really know how our friendship will be right now. (It doesn’t help that she just moved 45 minutes away, though we still work on the same campus.)

Also, I broke up with my therapist, because she’s on campus (which I’ve never really liked) and has a professional relationship with NPF. And so I didn’t feel comfortable going in there and venting about NPF - it just didn’t seem right. Plus, she didn’t know about the NP part of things, and it’s not my place to tell her. So I explained all this as best I could without crossing whatever imaginary line I’ve drawn, and now I’m without a therapist. I mean, if I don’t have friends to talk to I should at least be able to buy a listening ear, right? (This was always my theory about my hair, too - short of surgery, I can’t just pay money to fix my body, but I should be able to get a decent haircut that would make me look stunning, right? The theory never quite holds true, though I do like my most recent stylist - and at the price, I’d expect nothing less.)

I read an article the other day about how hard it is to meet other couples, and I really think they’re right. There are systems and rituals in place to meet a mate, and while they don’t always work, it’s a place to start. But how do you meet new friends? I mean, ideally I’d just be able to drop by and hang out with all of you lovely people (you know, bring ice cream or vodka on a bad day, take you out to celebrate good news, commisserate over obnoxious medical people - all that good stuff) but that’s not so convenient for most of you. So, how do you make new friends as an adult? Work is out - those are a diferent category of friends - social and collegial, but not the kind of people you can call when you’re leaving the doctor’s office and can’t reach your spouse. (Or for when you need to vent about the aforementioned spouse. I mean, of course we have a perfect relationship and never need to vent about each other. No, never. Um, yeah, right.)

I’m not sure what the point of all this was. I’m not actually as depressed as I sound from all this. A little stressed out with school things (major papers to be written, and NOW), but otherwise mostly okay. I think lonely has just become normal, and that’s really sad.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

How it starts

I’m happy for them, I really am. Happy Father’s Day and all that. But this is why people think it’s appropriate to say, “You’ll get pregnant now that you’re adopting.”

Friday, June 17, 2005

Mall People

I went to the mall tonight, alone. If I'd been with a friend, we would have laughed together over the weird people that were also at the mall. But since I was alone, I had to wait until I got home to share it with you, almost like you were there. Only if you’d been there, then I wouldn’t have been that person wandering around alone at the mall. But I digress...

1. The woman walking toward the movie theatre wearing fancy jeans, a sparkly top, and 4-inch platform spike heels. I guess once she sits down she’ll be more comfortable?

2. The clown at Target. No, really. Big shoes and a wig and a painted face and everything. She wasn’t smiling, though.

3. The young (very young) couple examining/comparing the various pregnancy tests. I showed tremendous restraint, and didn’t stop to offer recommendations. (Must keep walking. Don’t scare the normal people.) Eh, they wouldn’t understand anyway.

So that was my evening. I also managed to buy a couple of pairs of pants to wear this summer. I had been putting off any sort of clothes shopping as a sort of optimistic frugalism - hopefully, the clothes won’t fit soon so why spend the money? But I have almost nothing to wear, and we have a trip planned with the in-laws in a couple of weeks, and so I went and bought pants. They were on sale, though, so I don’t feel too attached to them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Plans and priorities

We’re on a cycle of mandatory rest, which is giving me time to research and gather information about our options prior to our next meeting with the RE (at the end of the month). To recap, I’ve done two cycles of Clomid (one at 100mg, one at 150mg) and two Clomid/IUIs (both at 150mg). On my most recent cycle, I had one nice follicle. One. (Yeah, yeah, I know it only takes one, but given how things are going, I think I might feel better with two or even three.)

I suspect the clinic’s next option will be Letrazole (aka Femara - but my clinic doesn’t use name brand drugs most of the time) with an IUI. I’ve heard positive things about the Femara from people who have used it, but part of me is still wondering if it’s a waste of time. I suspect the clinic will want me to try another two cycles on the Femara before moving on.

The last time I saw her, I asked the RE at what point they’d move to injectables - and she responded that she’d hesitate to use injectables with me because with the PCOS I would run a high risk of hyperstimulation. Which I suppose is reasonable - if it’s true. But I know I’ve read about PCOSers getting pregnant after injectables, so I’m not sure about all of this. And on Clomid I’ve only ever gotten 1-2 follicles. So it seems to me if they monitored me closely enough and didn’t just set some blind protocol, that it could work. But given the lag time with the evil-HMO’s lab results, they may not be able to provide the close monitoring I’d need.

Does anyone know anything about a Femara/injectables combo? I’ve read a couple of random posts on random message boards from people who were on some combination of the two - to boost the effectiveness of the Femara, maybe? (I think this is something my old clinic had suggested as a cost-cutting measure because I’d need fewer injectables this way.) So, has anyone done this?

And in the midst of all of this, we’ve started to have fairly serious conversations about IVF. I’ve been looking into the local clinics, and considering finances, and contemplating how much longer before we bring out the big guns. IVF has gone from this distant thing we might consider at some point, to a really viable plan that we might consider SOON.

I think all of the recent pregnancy announcements are getting to me (I got yet another on Friday). Sure, I think it would be great to get pregnant with as little medical intervention (and cost) as possible. But I’m worried that by the time we get there I’ll have completely lost my mind. So, when we meet with the RE at the end of the month, I think it will be a different kind of meeting - where I’m more focused (even relentless) in my questions and my search for a plan that makes sense FOR ME, now.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Last summer, shortly after we had seriously started trying to get pregnant, we went on a trip to Belgium and Holland. At the time, I knew we were having problems (my lack of ovulation was really obvious) but we hadn’t yet met with the RE. At the time, I harbored a tiny fantasy that we’d be those obnoxious people who go on vacation and magically get pregnant. I knew what a crock that was, even then, but the trip was wonderful, and we were relaxed, and I thought, “Hey, it could happen.”

While we were there I became obsessed with strollers. The strollers we kept seeing had these huge, air filled tires and were so comfortable on the cobblestone streets. I even, somewhat furtively, went into a baby store to look at one up close. I wrote down company names, thinking how fun and unique it would be to conceive and have a stroller from the same country, or some such nonsense.

A year later, and I don’t have much to show for it. I’m still obsessed with strollers, though. In fact, one of the things that gets me about the pregnant friend and the newly pregnant friend is that they’ll get to go shopping for strollers before I do. They’ll get to look at the cool new trends. (Like this, for example, which I’ve been seeing everywhere lately. I know, a double stroller is an even more bizarre obsession. I can’t help it. And don't even ask how long it took me to track this down.) They’ll have strollers, and I’ll be sitting at home looking at the new imports that none of us will actually buy. A crotchety old stroller spinster - that’s me.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I was planning to write a nice coherent post about visiting the city where we used to live, with the friends we used to see casually all the time... but that post will have to wait, because today I got two things - another negative HPT (at 14DPO) and a pregnancy announcement from the only friend here that I’ve talked to about all of this. So as you can probably imagine, I’m not really in any shape to wax poetic about what our lives would be like if we lived where we used to. (Except to say that we used to live in a state that mandates insurance coverage for fertility treatments, which might be part of my drive to move back there.)

So, the newly pregnant friend sent an email, because she (reasonably, of course) didn’t know how I’d react and wanted to give me the space to respond however I needed. Which was tearing up, closing up my computer without completely reading the message, and fleeing the (too public) computer lab. I cried as I walked to my car (thank goodness for days that justify sunglasses) and then when I had safely closed myself into my car I started sobbing. Loudly. And that’s what I’ve been doing on and off for the past several hours. I stopped long enough to go to the grocery store, since we just got back and have nothing to eat, but I sniffled as I walked past the baby aisle, and again every time I saw a stroller. And then I got back in my car and sobbed some more.

WHY? Why, if everything was so perfect this past cycle, am I still getting negative pg tests? Why, with the meds and the acupuncture and the herbs and the diet modifications - why isn’t it working? Why am I putting myself through all of this if there’s no positive result at the end of it all? Why is it so easy for other people? Why did she have to tell me today?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Dispatch from Wedding-ville, Part 2

There was an empty high chair at our table. While this could be a metaphor for how I was feeling, I actually mean it in the literal sense. Our friends with the baby (the one I’d planned to cuddle as a way to avoid any stressful conversations) couldn’t make it at the last minute, so it was just us, the pregnant couple, and one other set of (newly engaged) friends.

All in all, it was okay. I managed to have a small conversation with the pregnant friend (hereafter, PF) and her mom about maternity clothing or some such. At some point, she said something about how she’d given up alcohol even before, since they had been trying for a while. For a minute there, I was concerned that I had blown the whole thing out of proportion and that she was One of Us. So I followed her when she stepped away for the table, and asked how long they’d been trying before they got pregnant.

“Four months,” she said. “I know it’s not really that long, but it felt like a long time.”

“We’ve been trying for over a year now,” I said.

“Oh,” she said. “I’m sorry. I know how hard it was when it didn’t happen right away, and we were really lucky.”

“Yeah,” I said. “I’m glad you realize that.”

I did explain, briefly, that we were past the testing stages and in the process of medical procedures - no specifics. I also explained that this was why I had a lot of info about high risk pregnancies (and gestational surrogacy, which came up in conversation the night before) - because I have a bunch of friends (that would be you lovely people) who have been through all different kinds of fertility treatments and pregnancy issues. (I was careful not to be one of those evil people who tells pregnant women horror stories - as envious as I am of her right now, I wish her nothing but the best and wouldn’t want her to feel otherwise.) I didn’t say anything about not wanting to talk about her pregnancy - it seemed a little late for that, and I was doing okay.

So the day went pretty smoothly, up until they said their goodbyes, and she gave me an extra hug and wished me luck as I was pressed against her pregnant belly. And then I went outside to cry.

One lonely line this morning, at 12DPO. I’m beginning to doubt the existence of that second line, since I’ve never seen one. I’m still trying to keep Hope around, but she’s looking kinda distracted.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Dispatch from Wedding-ville, Part 1

People never act the way you think they’re going to. So far, there’s been little conversation about kids - even with the pregnant friend. I suppose there’s still time, but so far it’s been okay. She is showing, but not yet wearing maternity clothes (at least not today - who knows what she’ll wear to the wedding tomorrow).

On the other hand, I broached the subject with another friend (with whom we’re staying) and got the “Well, you’ve got lots of time still” response. My rational brain realizes that this probably has something to do with whatever she’s thought about her own fertility - as far as I know they’re not trying, and she’s a year older than me. So I assume that she’s thinking about how she has plenty of time, and therefore that must be reassuring (at least to her). Of course, as you all know, that didn’t help my emotional self at all. But at least she didn’t suggest that we just relax.

In other news, I called for the results of my progesterone test yesterday, and they came back at 13-point-something. (I didn’t have a pen and we were wandering around the city at the time.) The nurse sounded kinda pissed at me for having the test done at all, since she had told me it wasn’t necessary. But on the cycle before, when I actually got to see Dr. L, she gave me enough lab slips for three cycles worth of progesterone testing, so I figured I should just do it. They don’t seem particularly concerned about this number, since it’s over 10. No mention of the fact that it’s lower than it was last cycle. (Or the fact that it’s lower than the suggested “ideal range” on a medicated cycle as listed over at FertilityPlus. J calmed me down a bit yesterday, but now I’m back to being jut a little bit worried, since the clinic seems to have no interest in progesterone supplementation. And they can’t communicate with me or with each other. Which is just wrong.

Sometime when I’m feeling less raw I’ll talk more about the weird friend situation. But for now I think I’m going to curl up with a book and take a break from being social.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hope and Possibility

I got a 10 minute quickie massage from this woman who sets up at Whole Foods, and when she asked if I had any medical conditions she should know about, I whispered, "There's a possibility I'm pregnant." Somehow it’s easier to say to a stranger I’ll probably never see again, but it was still pretty momentous. And now Hope is sitting on my shoulder and playing with my hair.

I haven’t yet decided what to do about telling the pregnant friend. You all raised some good points, especially in regard to the potentially emotional nature of pregnant women, plus when I wrote a draft of the email it sounded terrible. So now I’m working on what I would want to say to her in person, if I feel it’s necessary at the time. I’m a little scared that I’ll have a bit of a breakdown, or alternately that there won’t be any privacy and it will make things harder. But I’m still leaning towards this option. Plus, with Hope (and all of you) on my cheering squad I’m feeling pretty strong.

Will you all fit in my purse to come with me for moral support?