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.