Tuesday, July 31, 2007

new perspective

I love Post Secret.

Today I came across this one:

I'm going to print it out and put it in my planner, so I can see it always.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

good from adversity?

I was talking with someone the other day who was trying to help me see things from a different perspective. "Look at all the organizations that do great things in this world. Most, if not all of them, started out of tragedy. For example, look at the Susan G. Komen Foundation and all it's done for Breast Cancer research and awareness. Someone had to die, but someone was able to take that and bring about so much good from it."

Perhaps IF is changing me in good ways. I'm developing character, and strength I never knew I was capable of. My husband and I are closer than ever as we work together towards our goal of having a family. My cousin and I have become friends, when we rarely spoke at all growing up. More women are becoming aware of the tragedy of infertility, and banding together and speaking out. Laws are changing, treatments are being developed, advancements are being made.

Truth is, I don't really care about any of that. I don't want to be strong anymore. I don't want any more character. I don't want to raise a rally cry, hold up a banner for others to follow.

I just want to be a mom.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

the best laid plans…

This isn't going at all the way I planned. From day one it's been nothing but chaos and unpredictability. I should get used to it, it's been two years already and yet it still catches me off guard.

Last month the plan was to try two cycles naturally and then move on to injectibles. Injectibles and IUI for four cycles, which brings us to the end of this year. Next year, start to think about IVF. It was a good plan, only I didn't ovulate so there's no point to trying naturally. We went back to see the doctor yesterday and work out a new plan.

Maybe we should stop calling them "plans." In my head, that means something we can go by, a sort of road map to this crazy ride. But there are too many twists and turns, and it's really not possible to plan for everything.

Here's the new plan (for lack of a better word). This month is out. I'm going to be out of town for a training seminar during the week of ovulation, so if we were to do any medications this cycle I wouldn't be here on the days necessary for IUI. I'm not feeling up to shooting myself up while I'm away, and if there's no sperm around with the egg is ready, there's really no point. I could cancel my trip, plan on doing the training next year, take my certification exam later… But honestly, I'm sick of putting my life on hold for the Maybe Baby that keeps not showing up. My coworker gave up her spot for the training so I could go (boss lady didn't want us both gone at the same time). And I've already shelled out about $2000 for the class, hotel, supplies, and exam. So I'll go on hold for a month to get this taken care of.

Next month, back to the dreaded Clomid. It will be a smaller dose, and I'm only going to do it for one cycle at a time – which means if I tolerate it well this time at the lower dose I might do it for up to three cycles, but I'm not planning on it because the thought of spending another three cycles crying makes me want to, well, cry. One cycle only, and they'll be monitoring me, and it will be okay. Really, it will.

Then we're on to injectibles. Daily shots at home, given by DH. We get to mix and administer the drugs ourselves – what fun. I'm not a huge needlephobe, but the thought of DH with a syringe, coming at my ass… You can imagine how much I love that idea. Again, IUI. We have four left this year covered by our insurance, might as well exhaust that route before bringing out the big guns.

Next year, IVF. They don't do GIFT anymore. I am very upset by this, I just assumed they did because the doctor who referred me here had twins through GIFT at this clinic with this doctor. The doctor says that the risks are higher, the success rate is lower, and it's just not worth it anymore. Less than 1% of ART in this country is GIFT anymore. 99% is IVF.

Problem is, IVF is pricey. We have two options at this clinic. One can be summarized as a "Buy Two Get One Free" plan. You pay for two full cycles of stimulation, egg removal and insemination, freezing, and frozen embryo transfer. This is about as fun as it sounds, and it costs $10-15K each time. Not covered by insurance, of course. With any luck, enough eggs are harvested and successfully inseminated that there are some left over in case it doesn't work, so you can do a cycle of two of just frozen embryo transfer. But after you go through this twice, you get a bonus round. Basically, the clinic feels sorry for you and says "here, this one is on us." You still have to pay for meds, though, which run $2-5K.

The second option is the "Shared Risk" plan. You agree to a 6 month course of IVF treatments, alternating three fresh cycles with three frozen cycles, for a set price of $18K plus meds. If at the end of the treatments you don't get to take home a real live baby of your own, you get 70% of your money back. If IVF works the first time, you end up losing a lot of money by going this route. But if it doesn't work, you save a lot and have the added peace of mind that you're not spending all this money for nothing – you get a big sum of it back, or you get a baby.

If there are frozen embryos left over, you get to make a pretty big decision. Do you keep them, paying about $50 a month to store them, so that you can have a second child down the road? You'd only have to pay for the transfer, assuming the embryos survive the freeze and defrost okay. Do you donate them to another couple who is having trouble with their own eggs and/or sperm? Or do you just throw them out?

This is my biggest problem with IVF, the point with which I am trying to make peace now so I don't have to rush into anything later. I don't feel right donating them to someone else – to me, it feels like I'd be giving up my babies for adoption, and I have no control over what kind of parents the adopters will be. An even worse choice to me is to destroy them, throw them out. I would feel like I was killing my babies, and how do I choose which to implant and give a chance, and which to give up? I could store them, but that's a temporary solution, and an expensive one. $600 a year for a "maybe" chance at a future IVF. And when we're done building our natural family, we still have to decide what to do with them.

Oh, and at my particular clinic, for women in my age group, IVF has a 60% success rate. There are still no guarantees. We could still come to the end of it childless.

So perhaps this rage and sadness and hopelessness I feel on an almost constant basis makes sense. For most people, making a baby is an act of love. For us, making a baby is an act of will. It requires financial planning, many many trips to the doctor and hospital and pharmacy, hope and heartache on a 28 day cycle. We will have our family, but only by the sheer force of our will, the skill of our medical team, and the grace of God – mostly by the grace of God, for there is nothing anyone else can do to guarantee results. I will have a very difficult time relaxing into pregnancy, as my risk of losing the baby will be high. I am likely to have twins, which will increase the risk of my pregnancy (not to mention the difficulty of taking care of two infants at the same time). I will not truly believe that I get to be a mother until I hold my child in my arms and smell that newborn baby head smell.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

mini update – I hate being sick…

Sick. Somehow I managed to get a viral upper respiratory infection. The doctor was helpful – said "Yup, you're sick, $10 please." Not much can be done for a viral infection, but at least I know it hasn't moved to my ears (which had started to hurt) or my chest (which feels like it's going to explode every time I cough). I missed three days of work, and now it's Saturday and I don't feel even a little bit better. I'm not eating or drinking enough – trying to keep hydrated with plenty of water and Gatorade, but I lost 6 pounds in the last four days, which is really not healthy. DH is a saint, though, went out and got me the perfect nose spray that I wanted without me even telling him which one I needed. "It was the most expensive, and it had menthol," he said. That man knows me well. (I love menthol when I'm sick.)

AF is a day late. Plenty of reasons for that, mainly the polypectemy and the fact that I'm quite ill, so I'm not getting all eager to POAS. I have one test left, so I'll save it for a few days. I'm hoping that the hysteroscopy actually lengthened my LP, which was only 10 days, which is on the short side. A longer LP and a higher prog level would be nice.

Man, it's hard to think with a big ol' glob o' gunck stuck behind my right eye. Back to the couch.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

the beginning of scary

An ultrasound on day 11 of my cycle showed a lot of little tiny cysts on my ovaries (18 on my right, 8 on my left) and one dominant follicle on the left. A second ultrasound showed that the follicle had burst, assumedly releasing an egg. When that happens, the body starts to produce progesterone, and the levels climb until AF arrives again, starting a new cycle. So, even though it looks like I ovulated based on what the doctors saw, the best way to confirm it was to have blood work done a week later. Which was Monday. Ideally, the progesterone should be around 10. Levels 5 and below, from what I understand, indicate an annovulatory cycle. My level was at 6.8 – which is on the low end.

Apparently I ovulate poorly. I always thought of ovulation as a pass/fail situation – release the egg, good, don't release the egg, bad. As it turns out, however, a woman can ovulate poorly. Perhaps the egg doesn't develop to maturity, or is released too late. I'm not sure what exactly is going on with me, but the nurse said a very nasty C word on the phone, and it made me want to cry.

No, not *that* C word , the other one. Clomid. *shudders* In other words, mood swings and crying jags and horrible cramps before, during, and after AF and O. Hot flashes, weight gain, migraines. Clumsiness, memory loss. Joy.

I took Clomid for four months, and tolerated it fairly well until about halfway through my fourth cycle. It was as if someone flipped a switch, and I hated it. Deeply and passionately despised it. I hated what it did to me. I hated what it did to the people around me. DH was very very careful around me, always walking on eggshells, never knowing if I was going to scream or laugh or burst into tears. My depression ramped up, I had panic attacks, and I lost all interest in anything at all, especially sex. And really, no one should have to live like that.

So I don't know what the next steps are for me. The nurse said something vague about injectibles, and told me that they'd get me authorization to come in and consult with the RE again to talk about a game plan. I'm already putting together my list of questions.

If I grow the follicle okay, just don't release the egg well, could a trigger shot work for me? If my progesterone is low, can I supplement it by using progesterone suppositories, cream, or injections? Is this why my LP is so short, and is that cause for concern? Can I get the injections at the clinic on my way to work, or does DH have to figure out a way to shoot up his sobbing wife? I'm going on a training retreat (of sorts) in August – will I have to inject myself, will the schedule interfere with my treatment? If we're doing injectibles, does that automatically mean IUI, or can we still try "naturally" even though I'm hopped up on hormone treatments? What is the risk of multiples, and how do we avoid high order multiples (no more for two at a time for me).

I know I sometimes sound like I have all the answers, but really, I'm just full of questions and doubt. The only things I know for sure are: We can not get pregnant on our own, and this is when things start to get really scary.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

waiting for my real life to begin

Colin Haye was one of the band "Men At Work," and his entire album "Going Somewhere" is phenomenal. His song I Just Don't Think That I'll Ever Get Over You was featured in the movie Garden State. That movie has a great sound track, by the way.

If you're not familiar with Waiting For My Real Life To Begin, you should listen to it now. This particular song was featured in an episode of Scrubs as well, but I heard it on this album first. Anyway, this is my favorite song these days. I can't listen to it without tears coming to my eyes.

Any minute now, my ship is coming in

I'll keep checking the horizon

I'll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing

Come crashing down down down, on me

And you say, be still my love

Open up your heart

Let the light shine in

But don't you understand

I already have a plan

I'm waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened

But in my dreams, I slew the dragon

And down this beaten path, and up this cobbled lane

I'm walking in my old footsteps, once again

And you say, just be here now

Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin

Let me throw one more dice

I know that I can win

I'm waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now, my ship is coming in

I'll keep checking the horizon

And I'll check my machine, there's sure to be that call

It's gonna happen soon, soon, oh so very soon

It's just that times are lean

And you say, be still my love

Open up your heart, let the light shine in

Don't you understand

I already have a plan

I'm waiting for my real life to begin

On a clear day I can see

See a very long way

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Today's u/s showed that I have actually ovulated. Now I don't know what to think. My OPKs and CBEFM haven't given me a positive or peak at all this cycle, so I figured I wasn't O'ing. But the doctor told me that, while it is not possible to O without an LH surge, it is possible to have an LH surge and not have it appear on the "stupid sticks" (as he called them). Which really strikes a chord with me, since my last doctor told me that I wasn't O'ing because I never got a +OPK, and when we did the IUI she told me to time it myself because, and I quote, "You're the one with the sticks." Another thing the doctor said this morning was that even a +OPK only means an 85% chance of ovulation.

Ladies, if you're doing an IUI and the doctor won't monitor you for O, time to find a new doctor. Same if the doctor is telling you that you don't O because you don't get +OPKs.

The doctor found *18* follicles on my right ovary. 18! That's a whole lot o' follicles. There were 8 on my left, with one dominant follicle that looks like it burst sometime in the past few days. I'll have a progesterone check next week, just to make sure the hormones are doing what they're supposed to be doing. But so far, so good. Which means, there's actually a chance for us this cycle. For the first time ever, really. I am both excited and petrified.

So now I wait. I've got about 12 days before I find out if the swimmers caught the egg.


In other news, my coworker is in the middle of what seems to be a nasty argument with her husband. Part of me wants to tell her "everything happens for a reason," which is her pat answer any time any of my fertility woes come up. But that would just be mean, and unhelpful. So I'll say it here instead, just to get it out of my system. Truth is, I don't necessarily believe that everything happens for a reason. I think sometimes things just happen.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

more than meets the eye

Okay, first of all? Transformers was incredible. I went to be a good wife, knowing DH wanted to see it, so I got us tickets to the Cinerama Dome at the Arclight Hollywood. We barely made it in time, but I sat down just as the movie was starting. And lemme tell you - wow. Very nice eye candy. I want to see it again.

And second. How the hell have I been missing Doctor Who for all of these years?! I mean seriously, this is so right up my alley! British humour, which always cracks me up. Except for Mr. Bean - I just don't get that guy. But anyway - campy cheesey storylines, which are SO my thing! Science Fiction. Monsters (but cheesey monsters), space travel, time travel, action, mystery, and a guy who runs around in a suit and sneakers, and who's just a bit mad. How have I not been watching this? It's been on the air for about 50 years, and I've missed it? Last night I told DH, "If this show ever has vampires on it, I'm gonna cream." And lo and behold the Plasmavore! She drank her victims' blood out of their necks through a straw!!! And this new Doctor - I think I have a little bit of a crush on him. He's adorable, charming, and witty, with just a touch of crazy. Delightful! I have never been so happy about a TV show as I was last night! Today I discovered that Douglas Adams actually wrote for the show in the '80s. I've got to find me a site to download these babies.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Isn't the world effed up enough as it is?