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.