Monday, December 28, 2009

The Worst Year Ever?

Sometimes I get confused about what year it is. I know that makes me sound a little stupid and airheaded, but there's a good reason.


My company's fiscal year ends in February, so I have been in fiscal 2010 for eight months; fiscal 2010 and calendar 2009. January 1 not only marks a new calendar year, but also those magical two months when calendar and fiscal years converge and I don't have to pause and think before filling out the date on a form.


I don't really know what to say about 2009. It wasn't good. This time last year I predicted that 2009 would end with a baby, a pregnancy, or an end to our non-baby makin' journey. None of these are true; so I can add inability to tell the future to my list of failures this year.

I've been reading reflective blog posts. I've watched year end retrospective specials on the news. I've written this blog post three times now. But I've realized that I really don't want to reflect on 2009.

It sucked.

Next week I am officially "on calendar" for IVF attempt #5.

Here's to a happy 2010 and a more profitable fiscal 2011!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Home for the Holidays

This Christmas I've decided not to remove the IVF cycle calendar from my refrigerator door.

This Christmas I've decided not to hide my IVF meds behind the deli meat.

This Christmas I will leave my sharps container on the kitchen counter.

Why?

In the past I have been hyper secretive about our infertility where my family is involved. I just "came out" after IVF number four.

Why?

I always thought I would tell my family about our journey while holding a baby in my arms. I would explain how MY little miracle was TRULY a miracle. I didn't want my family to know about my struggle while I was still a failure. I'm not great with sharing my failures....even with my family...maybe especially with my family.

But now, things are different. I have accepted that this journey might not end with a baby. I want my family to understand why pregnancy announcements are hard for me, why they shouldn't ask when I'm having a baby, why I may not be able to participate in my sister's baby shower, why I won't hold my cousin's new baby due in a couple months.

I want witnesses for my pain.

I want my family to understand and appreciate what I have been through.

I want support.

So this weekend I will be explaining the inner workings of IVF to the uninitiated. I'll be saying that the shots aren't too bad. I'll be explaining how not everyone turns into Octomom. I'll be bracing myself for an inevitable insensitive comment. I will be looked at with pity.

But I will be with my family. And they will understand and appreciate and support the best they can.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cycle Details

Here are some details on this cycle for those that are interested:

The Diet: Pretty much doing the same stuff, although I have to admit that I've not been as strict and I need to start uping the fruit and veg like I did before. Still no caffeine, but I have had alcohol more than I did last time (which was none). I have been drinking Diet 7UP. Last time was nothing but water and herbal tea.

Meditation: I haven't done any, but probably will when the cycle heats up.

Exercise: Pretty much nil except walking the dog. I am very upset with myself for this as I think that exercise really helps with the stress and general health. Ironically the puppy I got to keep me company on long walks had made me more home bound; first he couldn't walk on a leash, then he couldn't walk very far, now it is winter. *sigh* I really must do something about this.

Acupuncture: This one I am really concerned about. I haven't gone to acupuncture since my failed cycle. I have really struggled about what to do. I believe that acupuncture helped with my last cycle. I was going to start up again in November, but work was just too busy for me to start slipping away early for appointments. Now in December I am feeling too broke due to real estate taxes, personal property taxes, Christmas gifts, and trying to prepay as many medical expenses as humanly possible for tax reasons. If this cycle is a bust I will always wonder what if...

Supplements: I am now taking l-arginine, wheat grass, royal jelly, and a fertility vitamin blend suggested by my RE. What the!!! The same RE who told me that supplements wouldn't help when I was begging for suggestions after IVF #3 now thinks that I should be taking anti-oxidants. This makes me grumble.

Tony: Tony did the hormone testing suggested by the RE after failed IVF #4. Based on those results he is now taking one tab of Clomid every other day and and HCG injection once a week. I gather from Google searches that these treatments for men are rather controversial and probably won't do much to help. Our RE has said as much, but I'm glad he has presented this as an option for us to try. Tony is also taking antioxidants.

Protocol: I am doing basically the same protocol as before with a couple changes. I will be taking human growth hormone (so I guess I can't compete in the Olympics). My RE's opinion is that HGH might help one in eight women, but he normally doesn't suggest it due to price ($1600 for me). Again I am glad that he is giving me the information and the options. I have also tested positive for elevated natural killer cells and will be doing intralipids. I actually think this is good news and might answer why last time failed. I will be just devastated if we make shit embryos this time and don't get an opportunity to see if the intralipids will help implantation.

The Bottom Line: I'm glad that we are trying new things, but sometimes I wonder if I am grasping at very expensive straws.

I feel a lot of anxiety about not doing acupuncture, but I just think that the expense would cause me too much stress. We have really drained the savings account lately paying for testing and the extra prescription meds.

I am also bummed that I have not been following the diet as closely. I feel like I am in an Eastern medicine death spiral where I think, "It takes at least three months to take effect and I don't have three months so why bother..."

I've started taking Estrace...one day at a time, it will all be happening before you know it.

P.S. I've cranked up the Hope-O-Meter...slightly.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Little Voice

Sometimes I ignore it, sometimes I argue with it, sometimes I believe it and celebrate it; that little voice inside of me that says, “This is going to work because…”

The “because” is different with every IVF.

This is going to work because we aren’t really that infertile and IVF is a bit of overkill.
This is going to work because now we are seeing a new RE.
This is going to work because I have been doing acupuncture and meditation and supplements and diet changes.

Now I have a new “because”.

This is going to work because it would be a perfect ending to a last chance IVF.

Sigh. I’ve grown to hate that little voice. That little voice is never right.

But it is still there. Whispering. This is going to work. This is going to work. This is going to work.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bo Joins the Club

Bo took a trip to the vet.




Now he's infertile too.
Good thing he can't type...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

THE SCREAMING POST

I DON'T EVEN CARE THAT I CAN'T GET PREGNANT THE OLD FASHIONED WAY ANYMORE!!! WHY COULDN'T I HAVE BEEN ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT GOT PREGNANT WITH ONE IVF?!?!?!

MY COUSIN WHO ALWAYS SAID SHE DIDN'T WANT TO HAVE KIDS AND EVEN TOLD US ALL THAT AT HER WEDDING IS DUE IN A FEW MONTHS. WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH THAT?!????!?!?!

WHAT THE HELL DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS? WHY ME WHY ME WHY ME???

THIS IS SO FUCKING UNFAIR ALL THE TIME AND AT EVERY TURN. CAN'T I EVER GET A FUCKING BREAK???

I AM SO SICK OF PEOPLE AT WORK GETTING PREGNANT AND FRAMING THEIR GOD DAMNED ULTRASOUND PICTURES AND PUTTING THEM ON THEIR DESKS.

ok. feel a bit better now. feel free to add your own screams to the comments.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yesterday and Tomorrow

Yesterday:

Yesterday was my official one year blogoversary. I really don't feel the need to reflect on this past year. I will just acknowledge the blogoversary and move on. I did decide to change the decor (imagine how annoying I would be if I had a real kid).

Tomorrow:

Tomorrow I have an appointment with "the wand" unless I get my period. Tomorrow is cycle day 38 so I guess we are going to pop the hood and see what's going on. My coordinator asked me if I thought I might be pregnant. I answered, "No, I think you have to have sex* to get pregnant, or so I've heard."

*Tony and I have only had sex once or maybe twice in the last 38 days. Maybe I'll post about that another day.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

a busy weekend

It seems that my blog posts have been rather depressing of late, not a true reflection of my day to day life. Work and home have been incredibly busy lately. It fact I've hardly had time to think about being infertile at all. When I do think about the fact that I am barren it been in a "maybe it's good I don't have a kid because how would I ever fit that into my schedule" sort of way.


This weekend I made my cleaning list in preparation for family Christmas at my home this year.






One good thing about having your closest family member a four hour drive away is that it is relatively easy to maintain the illusion that you are a perfect housekeeper...until they come to visit for a three day stay.

I baked Tony's favorite cake (from scratch) for his birthday.



After taking this picture Tony promptly grabbed a dinner plate and cut himself a healthy slice...



Of course Tony's birthday is also the first anniversary of our first cancelled IVF. While I have had many more disappointments since then, the first one was the worst. I couldn't get out of bed for days. I'm proud of myself for not bringing up this sad anniversary and ruining another birthday for Tony.

I finished my Christmas pillow sewing project.
If you can read that "naughty" pillow and think it's a little odd, the other side says "nice". It was a better idea in my head.

And I even finished making a Santa dummy for the Christmas decorating contest at work (don't ask).


Bo is pooped after a busy weekend of following me around...



Next up: Christmas cards, Christmas baking, and a new tote bag that I would like to try sewing.

Nothing like a busy holiday season to keep cramming those yucky and sad feelings back to places in your brain that you rarely visit.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Things I Couldn't Say Two Months Ago

Sometimes my blog posts rattle around in my head for days or weeks or even months while I figure out what I want to say or sort through my own confusing feelings. This one has definitely been rattling around for awhile; two months to be exact.

I was going to originally title this post, “I Want a Dead Baby”. I figured it was radical and would make people want to read the post, but most of all the title summed up how I felt. In the end I decided it was too morbid to assault people’s Google Readers with a “dead baby” title.

Two months ago, after IVF #4 failed, I could accept that I wasn’t going to have a real live baby, but I had a harder time accepting that I didn’t even get pregnant. I just wanted to be pregnant, even if it ended in miscarriage.

OK. I can hear a chorus of, “why why why” ringing through the internet right now. So I will answer.

I wanted to feel the joy of being pregnant. I wanted to see the look on my husband’s face when I told him the good news. I wanted to tell my family that I was pregnant. I wanted to dream and believe that this could really happen for me. Yes, I know that having a miscarriage would bring far greater pain than the pain of never getting pregnant to begin with. But I was willing to take on that pain just for a taste of the joy. I just wanted a nibble or a glimpse of what it would feel like if an IVF worked.

I don’t know how to grieve these series of failed IVFs. In my head I constantly have this conversation with the world:


World: Why are you so sad?

Me: Well, I tried to have a baby and it didn’t work out.

World: Is that all?

Me: I don’t think you understand. I really really tried to have a baby and it didn’t work out.

World: OK. I get it…so…why are you so sad?

Me: BECAUSE I PUT MY HEART AND SOUL INTO TRYING TO HAVE A BABY AND IT DIDN’T WORK OUT!!!

World: I think you need to get over this.


OK. I know that society does not do much to recognize the pain of a miscarriage (or even a still birth for that matter). But in my head there is something more tangible to grieve with a miscarriage. The pain is easier to explain. It seems people can understand the loss of a pregnancy more that the loss of something you never even had, even if they can’t truly empathize with either one.

Those were my very raw feelings at the time, I don’t want a dead baby anymore. In fact, for IVF #5 I definitely only want a live baby or no baby (but I do want to make it to transfer). For IVF #5 a dead baby would be a disaster. I have already given myself permission to stop doing IVFs if this one fails and a dead baby would seriously mess with that plan……….

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Picking at Scabs

Two years ago I didn't put up a Christmas tree. I just didn't feel like it after the miscarriage.

Last year I didn't put up a Christmas tree. I just didn't feel like it after my first cancelled IVF cycle.

This year...

It's beginning to look a bit like Christmas around here.

I didn't really have a choice about putting up the tree; family Christmas is at my house this year. However, I also found that I really wanted to put up the tree this year. In fact I was looking forward to celebrating Christmas minus raw feelings from some fertility related disaster. I was looking forward to celebrating Christmas with a nice healthy scab over those feelings.

When I was a little girl I was never very good at leaving scabs alone. I would pick at the edges on one side, then pick at the edges on the other side. I'd try to stop myself, but the pull of a scab waiting to be picked was just too strong. Sometimes I'd pick too much. I'd pick past the point of no return and I'd have to pull the whole thing off revealing the raw unhealed skin underneath.

As much as I've been enjoying my infertility scab, today I picked. Today I received the protocol for my February cycle. I wasn't expecting it. I wasn't ready for it. This cycle is sneaking up on me.

No more picking until after Christmas!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Obvious Post for This Week*

I am thankful that at this moment my marriage is strong. I am hesitant to say this because a marriage is such a fluid thing and “pride goeth before the fall” and all that. My marriage has always been strong. I am so grateful. What would the last three years have been like without a rock to lean on?

I am thankful that I am starting to come to terms with the idea of a life without children. I am even starting to find things to look forward to and enjoy in that life. I am still touched by sadness almost everyday, but the future does not look as grim as it once did.

I am thankful that I have the means to try for a baby one more time. I am still trying to muster the will, the excitement, and the hope. I am sure those things will come as plans are received, prescriptions are ordered, and tests begin. I am so grateful that I have the chance to do this again.

I am thankful that excluding my inability to conceive a child, I have an incredibly blessed life. I said this to a good friend of mine once and she told me, “Don’t qualify that statement. You have a blessed life, period.” I am still trying to get there, but in the meantime I am happy that I have a job, a family, a home, and a generally happy life.

I am thankful that Tony convinced me to get a dog. I really wanted us to be done with house pets. He was right though. We needed something to take care of and love. Right or wrong, I am obsessed with that puppy.

*Obvious if you live in the States. Thanksgiving is Thursday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dear Baby

Dear Baby,

I complained about the drugs and the doctor’s appointments and the side effects. But I never really minded, because I knew it would lead to you.

I complained about the money spent and the shots and the stress. But I never really minded, because I knew it would lead to you.

I changed my lifestyle. I ate things I didn’t want to eat and didn’t eat things I wanted to eat. I went to acupuncture. I gave up vacations and promotions. I didn’t care. It was for you.

I always thought I would do whatever it takes to get you here; endure more invasive procedures, spend every penny I have, persevere through every disappointment.

I thought I would never stop.

But now I’m not so sure.

Admitting that I want to stop looking for you is one of the hardest things I’ve done. It makes me feel weak. It makes me feel like I must not have wanted you to begin with. It makes me feel like a failure.

I am used to being a warrior. I am used to fighting to the end.

So, Baby, we’ve decided to try one more time. Please come to me this time. I don’t want to make this decision again.

Love Always,
Your Mom

Friday, November 13, 2009

Totally Random

You know those security words that you have to type when you leave a comment on someone's blog?


When I first started blogging I thought they were real words and that my vocabulary was really really bad.


Happy Friday!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

You've Got To Be Kidding Me

Friday night Tony and I ended up at the local version of mega national chain restaurant. This is not my favorite place. In fact, I have never had a good meal at this restaurant, not even by accident. But two or three times a year we end up eating there on lazy Friday nights when we don’t feel like driving. Inevitably the meal does not end in dessert, but in proclamations like, “We are never eating here again,” and, “why did we pick this place? Ugh, It’s the worst.”

I was sitting outside, electronic buzzer in hand, wondering why I was waiting fifteen to twenty minutes to eat crappy food and up walk mama, daddy and adorable little daughter to sit on the bench across from us. Mama hands baby off to daddy and proceeds to light a cigarette.

“You’ve got to be f-ing kidding me,” I thought to myself. “Here I am paying thousands of dollars to have the slimmest chance of having a baby and this woman is smoking a cigarette right beside her baby!?!”

OK, I have to be honest I didn’t think it. I said it under my breath, “You’ve got to be f-ing kidding me.” It just came out.

Alright, you caught me. I didn’t say it under my breath. I said it out loud. I said it loud enough for them to hear. Tony elbowed me in the side, but I didn’t care. She glared at me and I glared right back. I was pretty sure that my husband could beat up her husband. And I was really sure that I could kick her ass. Besides, Tony and I got nothing better to do on a Friday night than get into a fight outside mega national chain restaurant and go to jail…being childless and all.

Luckily our buzzer rang before it became an infertile vs. irresponsible breeder hair pulling match. To be fair to mama she was holding the cigarette down by her feet and blowing the smoke away from the baby because, ya know…that makes it OK.

And the food was bad. And we’re never going back. For sure this time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Colors of Infertility

OK, so getting my period on Sunday night wasn't the whole story. I did a pregnancy test Friday on my way home from work.

I was feeling so tired, so put-my-head-on-the-desk-at-work-can't-drag-my-ass-out-of-bed-in-the-morning tired that I really thought that I might be pregnant. I didn't want to use a possible pregnancy as a reason to sit on my ass all weekend.

So I tested. And it was negative. And as I looked at the stark whiteness where a pink line should be I thought, "That would make an interesting paint color...'negative pregnancy test white.'"

Which made me wonder about the other colors of infertility:

Miscarriage Red

Pre-Natal Vitamin Urine Neon Yellow

Wheatgrass Green

Injection Bruise Blue

Menstrual Spotting Pink

On Sunday morning I figured out why I was so tired. I woke up with a terrible sore throat, a headache, and an achy body. I'm feeling much better now.

...Now I know all of you can come up with more colors...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dirty Puppy


Bo decided to play in the mud today.


And I got my period, earlier than expected.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Think I'm Pregnant

This thought has crossed my mind hundreds of times in the past two years.

If I'm tired...

I think I'm pregnant.

If I'm not hungry...

I think I'm pregnant.

If I'm peeing a lot...

I think I'm pregnant.

I have no idea why my brain (or is it my heart?) works this way, but once again I find myself keeping company with those familiar thoughts. When should I test? How and when should I tell people? I imagine emailing my RE and telling him to cancel my cycle because I'm pregnant. I imagine posting on this blog, "It's a miracle! It can happen! I'm pregnant." I pull my planner out of my purse and obsess over the handwritten cycle days. If this were a normal cycle I would be terribly late, but if this cycle is like the last one after IVF it is terribly early.

I think about nurseries.

I think about maternity leave.

I think about sitting in a rocking chair holding a baby in my arms.

Uh oh...now I have that excess-saliva-in-mouth-pre-throw-up feeling.

I think I'm pregnant.

But I'm not pregnant. Yes, it is technically possible, but highly improbable. It's just a little game I play every month. A game that never ends.

How can a thought make you so happy and so sad at the same time?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

To Do or Not To Do

Reasons to Do Another IVF (with my eggs)


1. It would be relatively cheap (just cost of meds @ ~$4k) compared to other options.
2. I’ve attempted four times, but really only made it all the way through once. Is it too soon to quit?
3. Still have just enough insurance coverage for one more try (see number one). Is this a sign?
4. Last time my cycle was so great (except for lack of pregnancy or baby), maybe we just had bad luck at the end?
5. I have always felt in my heart that it would take two tries. See number two.
6. One more chance to see if our child would end up with my red hair or Tony’s blonde hair.
7. It could work.

Reasons Not To Do Another IVF (with my eggs)


1. Save the four grand and apply it to a donor egg cycle.
2. Might not make it to retrieval (past experience indicates a 50% chance of not making it).
3. Might not make it to transfer (past experience indicates a 75% chance of not making it).
4. Every cycle is different and I might not stimulate as well in a future cycle.
5. All evidence points to the fact that Tony and I make crap embryos that can’t develop into fetuses; blighted ovum, cancelled transfer, no embryos to freeze, no chemical pregnancies or miscarriages for years.
6. Cycling has become very difficult emotionally. Can’t imagine how difficult it would be to cycle knowing that this would be the last time.
7. It could fail.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

He's Not a Baby, But He's Our Baby

...playing with photo editing this weekend...




Yes, he's on the sofa in these pictures. His will was stronger than mine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It All Makes Sense When You're Drunk

It’s been dark and rainy here for weeks. Phone calls to various family members scattered across the midwest have confirmed that the whole area is in a funk. However, when I left work after my WTP appointment the sun was shining (a sign?) and it was warm (a sign?) So I decided that Tony and I should take advantage of the change in weather and have dinner at our favorite outdoor restaurant.

I called home to tell Tony the good news, but he was already cooking dinner. Luckily I can always lure him away from being responsible with a restaurant dinner and alcohol. So he finished cooking dinner and put it into the refrigerator for another day.

I haven’t had a drop to drink since June. Before my last cycle I was abstaining in favor of “clean living”. After my cycle I have been treating my depression with food rather than alcohol, so the three glasses of wine I had with dinner made me rather drunk. The conditions were right for major life decision making.

Decision #1: We should do the immune tests (me) and hormone tests (him). If we did find out anything useful it would be just as useful for a donor egg cycle as an IVF cycle with my own eggs. Done.

Decision # 2: We may as well do another IVF cycle with my eggs since we are right on the IRS tax deduction bubble (a sign?) and we have just enough insurance money left to cover most of the cost (a sign?).

Decision #3: If decision #2 doesn't work out, we are done. We will live child free, move to a new house, travel, and retire early.

We ended the evening by driving around our favorite neighborhoods and picking out our future “child free living” houses making comments like, “That house is way too big,” and “Who cares if the street is busy, there won’t be any kids playing in the front yard.”

It all seemed so clear, so easy. Liquid courage.

In the sober light of morning everything was confusing again. My head was again swimming with options and scenarios and costs and success rates.

Maybe I should just stay drunk.

Monday, October 19, 2009

WTP Appointment

I’m just back from my WTP appointment. No that’s not a typo, WTP = What’s the Point.

I’ve officially been admitted into the We-Don’t-Know-What-Went-Wrong-Everything-Looked-Great-On-Paper club. Initiation rites include your doctor telling you that he’s surprised to be having this conversation and then proceeding to tell you how everything went right before it all went wrong. And just in case you don’t get the picture…he even draws pictures.

Once I was fully initiated, we went on to the “next steps” portion of the program. My doctor doesn’t think there is a uterine issue. He thinks that even though the embryos looked great on paper, they must have been chromosomally abnormal. However, just to be thorough, tests for both hubby and me have been ordered in order to rule out immune issues (for me) and hormone tests to determine if sperm could be improved with meds (for him). Then the doctor who last time told me that diet and supplements would not help our chances suggested we both start taking antioxidants. (This is when I really started feeling like a hopeless case.)

Doctor seems to think we should try again. We are not so sure.

I inquired about donor eggs. We had a pretty lengthy discussion, but didn’t really learn anything new. Using donor eggs increases our chances. Duh.

I really don’t know what to say about our situation anymore. I can’t focus on it. I can’t post about it. I certainly can’t make any decisions. I’m mad. I feel like this:

http://ivf40pathtoparents.blogspot.com/2009/10/ivf3-de1.html

I too have options, but I don’t want them. I want any one of the things I’ve tried in the past year to have worked. I don’t want to try again, but I can’t quit. I’m frozen.

Being frozen is a comfortable and dangerous place to be. When you are frozen you can’t get hurt anymore, but you will also never get what you want.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bo's Busy Weekend

Bo has become quite the little treat whore. He is quite good at doing tricks in order to get treats from his mom (yes, we are *those* people and refer to each other as "mom" and "dad" when talking to Bo. I know lots of people do this, but it seems especially desperate and sad when you are infertile.)

Bo can sit.

and lay down.
But we are still perfecting commands like come, drop it, and don't eat my face.

On Saturday we took Bo downtown for his first trip to the dog bakery. He was quite the hit and everyone wanted to pet him. Bo picked out some peanut butter kitty cookies and lamb sausages. We were also planning on taking some funny Christmas card pictures, posing Bo on the various statues downtown, but there were too many people around and he couldn't focus.


There was a children's festival going on in the park. Normally I would have avoided such a festival, but I can't pass up an opportunity to socialize my puppy...so we went.


The "Life is Good" festival. (All evidence to the contrary.)


Bo rocking out to the music.

On Sunday Bo "helped" Tony with some yard work. We thought it was totally funny when Bo helped dig out some bulbs, until he kept digging and digging and digging.


Bo pulling out plants for the winter.


And taking off with mom's gardening glove.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Did I Just Learn Something in a Leadership Class?

Change Management...


Who Moved My Cheese...


Circle of Influence...


If you work for a large corporation and you don't work in HR, odds are that I just made you cringe.


I'm writing this post after two days of corporate leadership training (indoctrination) meant to kick off a ten month development project. And to tell you how I almost cried.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to participate in this project. However, like everything I do these days, I'm happy with a touch of sadness.

When I was asked to participate in this project I was in the middle of IVF #4. Of course I calculated how a pregnancy would impact a ten month project. Of course I calculated that it would not be good to be on maternity leave just as the project was wrapping up. Of course I know better than to reject opportunities because I *might* get pregnant. Been there, done that, not doing it again.

So you might think the fact that I started this project still barren with no chance of maternity leave in the future almost made me cry.


Wrong.


The training started the way these things usually start; icebreakers. I listened as people talked about their kids; names, ages, how they struggle to prioritize their little ones ahead of their work. I lost count of how many times I answered, "no," when asked during breaks if I had children. So you might think that all this "kid" talk made me glassy eyed.


Wrong.


What brought me to tears was this...


This picture (recreated by me) on a PowerPoint slide almost brought me to tears. The lesson?

"You never know when there's an exit ramp in your future."

I almost lost it.

I pulled it together only to be hit with another PowerPoint slide. This time a quote.

"Failure is not an option, but quitting is."

I successfully fought back the tears.

But I started to wonder, am I learning about strategic thinking or is the universe trying to tell me something?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mothers, Babies, and Feminism

I know it’s cliché to blame your mother for your problems, but lately I’ve been doing just that.

My mother grew up in a small town in Iowa, graduated high school in 1969, and went off to junior college to study nothing in particular. In her words, “I went to college because I wasn’t engaged.” I imagine in 1969 women had more options than a decade earlier, but in a world before cable TV and the internet; culture changed much more slowly in an isolated town in Iowa than the rest of the world. She may as well have graduated high school in 1950.

So my mother continued attending her junior college and continued to not be engaged. She met and married my father at the age of nineteen. According to her, this was just in time. She was starting to become concerned that she would be an old maid.

Marriage transformed my mother from college student to housewife. Two years later she was transformed into mother. (What did she do as a housewife for two years with no children?) Five years after that she was transformed again into mother of a daughter. And finally, three years later, after a surprise baby that strained the family finances, she was transformed into a working mother of three.

This is who raised me; a working mother of three with a husband who still expected her to complete all duties of a housewife, a working mother of three who never finished college and was forced to work dead end jobs which were not intellectually challenging, a working mother of three who was quite bitter about her situation and determined that her daughters would not repeat her mistakes.

Instead of achieving her own hopes and dreams, my mother laid them at my feet and encouraged me to take them up. Marriage and motherhood were not goals to be achieved, but stumbling blocks to be avoided. I was never encouraged to have boyfriends. My mother used to say things like, “I could have [fill in blank] if I hadn’t had children so young,” or “If you decide to have children you’d better really be ready because there is no turning back.”

I was scared to get married. I was definitely scared to have children (and still am). My mother made it seem like an ending, not a beginning.

Despite her warnings I married my husband a couple weeks before my twenty eighth birthday and started trying to have children a month before I turned thirty; not terribly late in life by today’s standards.

But maybe it was already too late. Maybe if I had started earlier… Maybe…

My mother’s bitterness toward her choices influenced my choices, which have also left me bitter.

A work colleague once told me that she wished she had never gone to college. If she wasn’t successful in a career it would not make fiscal sense to send her children to daycare. She was bitter too.

My sister is approaching the age I was when I started this baby making (or no baby making) journey. She is in the thick of finishing her second master’s degree. I know she plans to have children in the future. I know she assumes as I did, that making a baby will be no problem. Sometimes I want to grab her and shake her and say, “I KNOW THE TIMING SUCKS, BUT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED!” But I don’t.

Why does it seem like fertility is at odds with feminism? I feel like there is all this pressure to achieve and succeed and gather up accomplishments, all the while assuming or hoping your fertility will be around when it is time to have a baby.

And if it isn’t?

If it isn’t society turns its nose up as if you should have known better. I’m sick of reading mainstream articles about infertility which subtly hint that it could all be avoided if women would just start having kids earlier (like in the good old days). OK. I get it. You are right. Fertility declines with age.

There is very little sympathy for the successful woman in her thirties or forties who cannot have children. We made a choice after all, a choice to wait. We shouldn’t expect to have our cake and eat it too.

So what if I had chosen to have children in my early twenties? Well, the father of my children would not be my husband. I didn’t meet my husband until I was twenty seven, an age at which my fertility was already declining. The father of my children would be a man who ended up cheating on me, getting someone else pregnant, and then wondering why I couldn’t empathize with his predicament. In my early twenties I had no idea how to be a mother. In my early twenties I had no idea how to take care of someone else. In my early twenties I could barely take care of myself; financially, emotionally, or physically.

If I had had children in my early twenties I would be my mother; unhappy, bitter, wishing I would have waited.

If I ever have a daughter will I tell her to hurry up and have babies or wait? I don’t know.

I guess you are damned if you do, damned if you don't. Sigh. Yet another post with no point, no answers, no neat summary.

Friday, October 9, 2009

IVF Anonymous

EIGHTEEN QUESTIONS*

  1. Did you ever lose time from work or school due to IVF?
  2. Has IVF ever made your home life unhappy?
  3. Did IVF affect your reputation?
  4. Have you ever felt remorse after IVF?
  5. Did IVF cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?
  6. After losing did you feel you must return as soon as possible to cycle again?
  7. Did you often IVF cycle until your last dollar was gone?
  8. Did you ever borrow to finance your IVF?
  9. Have you ever sold anything to finance IVF?
  10. Were you reluctant to use "IVF money" for normal expenditures?
  11. Did IVF make you careless of the welfare of yourself or your family?
  12. Did you ever cycled longer than you had planned?
  13. Have you ever cycled to escape worry, trouble, boredom or loneliness?
  14. Have you ever committed, or considered committing, an illegal act to finance IVF?
  15. Did IVF cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
  16. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create within you an urge to cycle?
  17. Did you ever have an urge to celebrate any good fortune by a few hours of IVF?
  18. Have you ever considered self destruction or suicide as a result of your IVF?

Most compulsive IVFers will answer yes to at least seven of these questions.

*adapted from a gambling addiction site as a (sort of) joke.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

So Much To Say

My head is constantly spinning lately. Focus is a luxury.

To my blogger friends: Sorry I haven’t been commenting much lately. I didn’t even touch the computer this weekend. Odd.

To my infertility forum friends: Same as above. I promise to get caught up.

Work: Has been extremely busy. A blessing in disguise. It is getting increasingly difficult to put on my (fake) “work attitude” each morning. I just want to come in, get it done and go home. No desire to have a positive attitude or show leadership. Several people have asked me what is wrong.

Home: I am unnaturally obsessed with my puppy. I tell him everyday how much I love him and when I am away from him, I miss him. Cleaned house this weekend. Haven’t really cleaned for two months.

Husband: We went to a concert on Sunday afternoon and I kissed him on the cheek. Realized I hadn’t done this in awhile, since apparently he has grown a beard. He’s still smoking and he’s on vacation from school this week (apparently educators need a week off after two months of work). ARRGGHH! I still wouldn’t do what he does though.

Family: I finally “came out” infertility wise with my family. It’s been interesting. My favorite aunt sent me a card. Just thinking about it makes me cry. BIG 80th birthday party for grandfather this weekend. (Twelve hours of driving) I am in charge of nametags which I haven’t started yet. It’s a small town shin dig with a band. Annoyed at wearing nametags as it will only encourage people to talk to me. (Unless you grew up in a small town you cannot fully appreciate the horror which will be my weekend.)

Infertility: Still have no idea what to do. Another IVF? Donor eggs? Childfree living? All are regularly seriously discussed around my household. Minds change daily. I spent $200 on supplements at WholeFoods this weekend and purchased a new thermometer. I have no idea why.

Something New: Couples counseling tonight. Husband is already being a poop about it. As a professional counselor he is hard to counsel. I guess I wouldn’t want someone else doing my books, so I can relate.

That’s it. Life goes on I guess…

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Why Do We Hurt More For The Ones We Love?

I wasn't born to be a mother. I am not a naturally nurturing and empathetic soul. Motherhood was not my heart's desire when I was a little girl. I wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to be a politician. I wanted to be a professional cheerleader.

That doesn't mean that I wouldn't be a good mother. That doesn't mean that I don't have that desire for motherhood. However, I have to admit that after my transfer, when I saw the embryos flash into my uterus, my first thought was, "What have I done? Am I ready for this?" (Shortly followed by an elated Yes!)

Tony is different. Tony was born to be a father. Tony is a nurturer, a caregiver, a natural parent.

When I think about how unfair it is that Tony has been denied parenthood (once again) my heart literally hurts, tears well up in my eyes, and sometimes I can't breathe.

I don't know what our future holds, but I want to take this hurt away from my husband. I want to make it better for him. I want to make it better for me.

I just don't know how to do that...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meet Bo

With everything else going on, I forgot to make an announcement until the sight of Mo and Will's adorable puppy reminded me.

We got a puppy.

On the spur of the moment.

The day before my retrieval.

Start your psychoanalysis now.



He's a golden retriever and he's now thirteen weeks old. We were going to name him We'reReallyScaredThisCycleWon'tWorkAndWe'llNeedADistraction, but that doesn't really roll off the tongue.


Instead we named him Bo. We have now realized that Bo sounds a lot like, "No!" (a word we have been using alot.)


We already went to one puppy class where Bo peed AND pooped on the floor. When we were teaching the "come" command he proved himself to be a total "treat whore" running and jumping on other people as they were calling their dogs.


When I was crying on the floor yesterday he comforted me by sitting on my head and trying to eat my face. It's hard to cry when you are trying to not become permanently disfigured.


But on the other hand, when he gets scared, he runs and sits in my lap. When I come home from work he loves me to rub his belly. When I call him, he runs toward me at full speed. All in all he has been a good distraction.


So Mo and Will, if you have any tips for keeping Moxie off the furniture I'm ready to hear them because Bo has figured out how to get on the sofa.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Official

Even though I failed the pregnancy test I still took my progesterone this weekend like a good girl.

Even though I started spotting last night I went to my blood draw this morning like a good girl.

When the phlebotomist that I hate called my name, I went willingly and I sat quietly as she dug the needle around in my arm…twice. Then I calmly asked for someone else to take my blood, thinking the whole time that I needn’t be here. It was all a formality, adding insult to injury.

You know the urban legend about the IVF cycle where the woman had a negative pregnancy test 8dp5dt, spotting one day later, and still ended up pregnant?

That’s not me.

My beta was negative.

Infertility has so many ways to tell you that you have failed; pee test, spotting, blood test, period. I’ve failed them all this cycle except getting my period which will surely come when I stop the progesterone. I can feel it building like water behind a dam seeking out a crack.

That little inextinguishable flame of hope always burns until the very end.

Lots of thoughts this weekend…

Lots of options discussed and debated…

Lots of plans made and abandoned to be replaced with new plans…

…which were then abandoned.

You know those letters people write to their past selves at eighteen or twenty or thirty? I could really use a letter from “future Megan”.

We are a bit lost right now. The only thing we know is that we need a break.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tested

Negative.

Hope got me again. I really thought things would be different this time.

I guess the only thing I can hope for now is divine intervention.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Test Not Taken

Today I am 7dp5dt. According to the Internet I could have peed on a stick today and possibly gotten a positive pregnancy test. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I am paralyzed. My fear that the test will be negative is greater than my desire to know the outcome of this cycle.

We did not end up being lucky enough to freeze any embryos. This concerns me. We have been so lucky at so many points in this cycle. What if the luck has run out?

Tony told me that he doesn’t think he can do another IVF cycle. I found out two days ago that he started smoking again during this cycle. He says it is to deal with the stress. Sure he might be caught up in the moment. He might change his mind about another cycle. Yes, if this cycle is negative I could probably persuade, beg, or nag him into doing another cycle, but is that ethical? If he has truly hit his limit is it right for me to try and force him to keep going? This could be it for us.

But the test could be positive.

But the test could be positive.

But the test could be positive.

If it is positive we would be so happy. This nightmare, this personal hell would be over. Everything we have gone through (the time, the money, the stress, and the tears) would be worth it.

This test is pass or fail. There is no in between. There is no “close enough”. I am nervous. I am scared. I am paralyzed.

I gave blood today. I will give blood again on Monday. They will call with the results after the Monday test. I could ask for today’s results, but I won’t.

Maybe I will test tomorrow.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Angels and Demons

Picture a devil on one shoulder. "Test test test."

And an angel on the other shoulder. "Don't test. Wait until beta."

That's the sort of day I'm having.

Throw a headache in for good measure.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Sleep Cure


I read "Valley of the Dolls" when I was a freshman in high school. I had the book sitting on my desk in algebra class when my teacher walked by, saw it, and announced to the whole class, "In my day that book was considered pornography!"

I was mortified.

But I felt compelled to keep reading of course...

If you've not read "Valley of the Dolls" I'll fill you in. First, my teacher was misinformed. I do not find it terribly erotic. It's not like those books with the picture of a maiden with a torn bodice being held by Fabio on the cover. Think "Sex in the City" with less sex and lots of drugs.

At one point in the book, one of the characters needs to freshen up and loose a few pounds before she embarks on a new movie career. She goes to Switzerland for "the sleep cure". Basically she was sedated for several days until she was revived; well rested and several pounds lighter. Who knows if this ever really existed, but I was always intrigued by this idea.

I need the sleep cure right now. (While the progesterone is making me quite sleepy, it is not the same.) I need to be sedated for a few days only to be shaken awake while some nurse whispers in my ear, "It's all over, you're pregnant." Or at the very least, "We're sorry it didn't work, but you are ten pounds lighter."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What do you mean I'm not done yet?

Everything I've done this cycle has been focused on making good eggs, praying for good embryos, making it to transfer. Done. Done. And Done.

What do you mean I'm not done yet?

I didn't allow myself to think ahead to this part, but yesterday it hit me...after all our successes this cycle, at this point, we still have only a slightly better than 50% chance of a positive pregnancy test.

*sigh*

So far I have had some pretty strong reactions to the progesterone. I'm tired. My boobs hurt. And yesterday, when I started Endometrin I got a nasty stomach ache and slight fever that kept me up most of the night. (The Endometrin insert says that this can happen, but still makes me nervous for my embryos.) The bottom line is that I am not going to be able to judge success based on pregnancy symptoms because I already got em.

It seems like infertility is like that old affirmation elementary school teachers love, "No one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something." Some of us make great eggs, but our uteruses leave a little to be desired. Some of us have great ovaries, but are dealing with some genetic condition. Some of us have no problem getting pregnant, but just can't seem to hold on.

I have crappy ovaries. Hubby has crappy sperm. I hope I am good at implanting and holding on to pregnancies. I hope this is my time to shine!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Finally!

We transferred two "beautiful" blasts today.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Official Day 3 Report

Just got the official report on my embryos from the yesterday afternoon look-see.

1 8 cell grade 1 embryo
1 8 cell grade 2 embryo
1 7 cell grade 1 embryo
1 7 cell grade 2 embryo
1 5 cell grade 2 embryo
1 4 cell grade 2 embryo
1 3 cell grade 3 embryo

Hoping these little guys are still hanging in there and that I have a couple left for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Book or a Toy?

"Book or a toy
Book or a toy
Only gonna buy one thing.
But I'll try for two
If I can
And drive my mother to the insane asylum"

This is a song we sing in my family. My aunt made it up. When my older brother was little and would go shopping with my mom he would have to chose between buying a book or buying a toy. He couldn't have both. He had to chose. (Which tells you a lot about my brother. By the time I was born, the "book or a toy" shopping policy had been suspended.)

Book or a toy. A difficult choice for a kid. Books are good. Toys are good. A book AND a toy would be heaven, but not an option. Can't have both. But really, how can you go wrong either way. Either way you WILL END UP with a BOOK or a TOY!

Day 3 or day 5? I really hope this is a "book or a toy" decision. I hope this is not a decision with a good choice and a bad choice. I hope this is not a decision with a right choice and a wrong choice. I hope this is a decision where you can't go wrong either way...

[Let me break here and just express how overjoyed I am to HAVE A DECISION TO MAKE!]

It is a difficult decision. We do not have official charting on our embryos since they looked at them early especially for me, but we have four "very nice embryos". We will get official stats later today. My RE suggests that we wait. He believes very strongly in the "if they don't make it to five they are probably not good" theory. He would only do a three at my request. He does not suggest a three. (Does that mean I can blame him when it all goes wrong?)

We have decided to wait until Friday for a five day transfer.

I have to go vomit now.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Embie Update

I got an email late yesterday afternoon. All seven embies are still going strong.

My RE definately wants to wait until day 3 and see what's doing.

I sent an email this morning saying that if several look really really good that I might be open to waiting until day 5.

I really can't believe this. I can't wait to see what they are doing today.

I am so cautiously optimistic I could explode!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fertilization Report

Tony got the call as I had meetings all afternoon.

I just got an email back confirming what hubby told me and getting more information. (Sometimes husbands are not reliable sources of information...especially ones who refer to embryo implantation rather than embryo transfer).

The report. Seven of the nine were mature. Seven of the seven fertilized and were characterized as "good fert". (Last time four of five fertilized, but only two were "good fert".)

I am thrilled once again!

So now, I am going to throw some options out into the blogosphere and hope you guys can help me make some decisions.

[Now that I've typed this, it seems pretty long. Please bear with me...I need some opinions.]

The Background: I pretty much have to be at work on Thursday. (OK, I know I don't HAVE to be at work, but I have to...one of those things...something will be happening in the department, and as the manager I should be there). I am just sick that I am even considering work at this time, but I've been disappointed so many times that it gets harder and harder to put your life on hold for IVF.

RE and I agreed to do a three day transfer when this work situation came up under the assumption that we would have few eggs and that quality might suck like last time. (Why wait for a five day to see which ones are the best when you have so few?)

In the meantime my retrieval kept getting pushed back so that now a 3 day transfer would be Wednesday and a 5 day transfer would be Friday. (We had assumed that a 3 day transfer would be Tuesday and a 5 day transfer would be Thursday).

So here are my options:

Option 1: Do a two day transfer tomorrow and get a full 24 hours bed rest on Wednesday before walking into a shit storm at work on Thursday.

Pros: Bedrest. More time for embies to settle in before emotional turmoil. RE doesn't seem to think a 2 day vs. a 3 day is a big deal.
Cons: Might be hard to choose best embryos. I'm unclear if two day transfer will affect results outside of better embryo selection. (i.e. if I transfered the same embryos on day 3 would I have a better chance?)

Option 2: Do a three day transfer and have about 12 hours of bedrest (keeping in mind the most physical thing I do at work is walk).

Pros: Perhaps better embryo selection. Don't have to worry that selfish work concerns affected results.
Cons: Reduced bedrest and stressful day less than 24 hours after transfer.

Option 3: Wait and see if there is anything to transfer on Day 5.

Pros: Transfer happens after shitstorm. Better embryo selection. All the other good things that a five day transfer entails.
Cons: Might have nothing to transfer again, go insane and end up in nuthouse.

What would you do? Talk about mixed emotions...I'm so happy and frustrated that I have this problem.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Nine!

We got nine eggs. I can't imagine that they are all mature, but I was too scared to ask.

Please let there be a good one in there.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Phew!

It's been a rough week, but I am officially on the retrieval schedule for Sunday.

My RE is hoping for five eggs. (I'm very happy with this number!)

We are sacrificing one gigantic lead follicle on the left, but the others are still growing. It looks like I might even get a couple on the right.

Thanks, yet again for all the support!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Break Down

Today we had our cycle day 9 ultrasound. Our RE is hoping to get 3 or 4 eggs out of the left ovary. The right ovary is not responding well at all.

I don't know what we were expecting, but I know we were hoping for something better than this. This feels like deja vu. This feels like last cycle. We have made so many changes and our results are the same.

Tonight while Tony was giving me my shots he told me about a very mentally challenged girl in his school. Each day she gets a certain amount of "rocking time" and today he happened to be in her classroom and was the one to rock her. I started crying. I told him that I was sorry that we were going through this. I told him that he would make a great dad.

Then he started crying.

Then I started crying more because he was crying, and I've only rarely seen him cry.

I don't know how many more cycles we have left in us. This is too hard.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Note from My Ovaries

Hey Megs. Whatz up! Weez just chillin in your body. Love the drugs. That’s sum good shit. We’ve been tweekin all night cookin some follies! I know you don’t feelz nothing yet. But, no worries. We are doin just what you we are supposed to do.

Expect good news on Tuez-day!!!




Wouldn’t it be nice if your ovaries checked in with you more often???

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wouldn't It Be Perfect?

Wouldn’t it be perfect if this IVF cycle worked?

Wouldn’t it be perfect if I could go to my grandfather’s eightieth birthday party in October and face my newly pregnant cousin and all of her congratulations? I wouldn’t be ready to announce my own pregnancy, but I would have a secret.

Wouldn’t it be perfect if I could start saving and planning for nurseries and college funds again rather than wondering how much longer I can continue paying for fertility drugs and medical expenses.

Wouldn’t it be perfect if I could announce my pregnancy at Christmas time and actually enjoy the holidays, decorate my home, and put up the Christmas tree (something I haven’t felt like doing for the past two years)?

Wouldn’t it be perfect if this all ended with a baby? I could start working to repair my soul. I could feel happy again. I could move on to the next phase of my life.

Wouldn’t it be perfect that the baby would be born at the beginning of June when Tony would be on school break? We would have three wonderful, beautiful months together learning how to be a new family.

It would be so perfect I could just scream.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

waiting

Everyday since I received my IVF calendar I spend about thirty seconds staring at it. OK, I really do this two or three or sometimes four times a day.

Sometimes I'm checking to make sure that I have taken all of my medicine.

Sometimes I am counting days until the next appointment.

Sometimes I am counting days until the next new medicine.

Sometimes I am seeing how far I have come.

All little ways to pass the time. All little ways to count out the hours, days, and weeks spent waiting.

and waiting...

and waiting...

The last few weeks have really gone pretty quickly. I've found myself saying, "It's already time to start shots! My period is already here! It's already time for my baseline ultrasound!"

But this week has been different. This week has been incredibly slow. This week has been incredibly long. It's only Wednesday! So odd, because this week has been the most action filled week to date!

Maybe this week seems slower because work has slowed down a bit. Maybe this week seems slower because I have had a raging headache ever since I started the estrogen suppositories. Maybe this week seems slower because the action has started and I can't wait to see what my ovaries are doing.

With all the drugs they give you for IVF, why can't they give you one that makes time move faster?

W A I T I N G
S U C K S ! ! !

Monday, August 31, 2009

Snake Oil Wanted

Thanks for all the well wishes on my AFC.

Tomorrow I start stims.

I am looking for any and all TCM practices, hollistic advice, and old wives tales regarding getting follicles to grow and quality eggs to develop.

Diet advice?

How do we feel about exercise? I am thinking only walking...don't over exert myself.

Are hot baths taboo?

I'm stopping the wheatgrass while stimming...how do we feel about that?

Of course I will be meditating each day...

And continuing acupuncture.

Anything else? Anything? All crazy suggestions will be appreciated and probably followed!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Baseline Day

Tony and I are huge "Top Chef" fans. The start of the new season inspired Tony to make a reservation for tonight at a really fancy restaurant.

I had reservations about the reservation with today being baseline ultrasound day and all. Would I feel like being out in public?

Luckily we have something to celebrate. AFC was five on the left and five on the right. That's ten total! That's more than last time!

We are both thrilled!

I'm going to party tonight.*

*As much as someone who is abstaining from alcohol, caffeine, and trying to follow a special diet can party.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

No Expectations.

Random Fact About Me #1: I have always tested extremely well. ACTs, SATs, LSAT, CPA exam, school exams; you name it, I have aced it. I don’t think this by itself makes me any smarter than anyone else*, but this talent has been a blessing that has made certain parts of my life easier.

Random Fact About Me #2: I have spent enough time working in the corporate world now that I am quite adept at setting objectives, establishing expectations, and determining stretch goals.

Why am I telling you these random facts about me? Because I believe that these personal traits make me a bad infertile person.** Mathematically speaking…

Not Used to Failure + High Expectations of Self = Bad Infertile Person

Sprinkle in a liberal dose of impatience, which I have in spades and it makes for a pretty miserable infertile existence. As my husband regularly tells me, “You aren’t wired for this.”

So for my baseline ultrasound appointment on Friday I am trying to have no expectations.

In the past I have gone into these appointments thinking, “If I have at least X number of follicles I will be OK. If I have at least Y number of eggs it won’t be so bad. If I have at least Z number of embryos I still have a shot.” I have always disappointed myself and left the doctor’s office in tears. I’m trying to banish these thoughts.

Whatever happens it will be OK. There is no scary follicle number. The number is what it is. Because while realistically I want more rather than less, for me it is all about quality and less about quantity.

I’m trying to remember, but it’s hard.



*I can blow my sister away on any standardized test, but she is WAY smarter than me. I just test well.

**Don’t take this to mean that I think there are “good” infertile people, but these are the personal traits I have struggled with the most when dealing with infertility. In my more philosophical moments I have determined that this journey has been a good learning experience for me and will make me a better mother. However, lately I am less philosophical about it. I feel like I have learned enough. I am ready to move on.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Power of Positive Thinking?

I like the idea of the power of positive thinking. I like the idea that my attitude (something I can control) could influence the outcome of anything. I like the idea that through the sheer force of my positive thoughts I could will myself to become pregnant.



I like the idea.



I want to believe in the idea.



I'm almost there.



Positive thinking makes me feel vulnerable. Positive thinking makes me feel exposed. Positive thinking makes me feel raw.



I'm pushing through and doing it anyway.



Positive.



This could work.

This could work.

This could work.



Before you think it's all Pollyanna over here, I have to admit that the negative thoughts still get in there.



I still fear that this won't work.

I still fear that this will never work.



Last cycle was 80% negative thoughts, 20% positive thoughts, and ended up a disaster. Opposite hypothesis proved.



This cycle is 80% positive thoughts and 20% negative thoughts.



We shall see.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Google's Views on Loss

What do you get when Google Adsense senses that you have experienced some loss, but can't quite put its finger on WHAT TYPE of loss you have experienced?


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mature Eggs

What do you get when you mix an infertile accountant and a super boring conference call about new accounting pronouncements...



See what others are showing and telling.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Call Me Summer Moon

I think I am coming down with New Age Syndrome. I have been meditating pretty regularly now.

I have been sending bad thoughts about my ovaries down golden cords into the earth while sucking in good thoughts from the divine.

I have been breathing pink sparkly light into my heart space and using it to scrub away the dark patches of emotions about my fertility.

At a somewhat heated business meeting yesterday I told someone that they needed to take some deep meditative breaths. (Yes, yes, I really did this. The words just came out.)

And something strange is happening to me.

I feel better.

I feel more calm.

I feel more (dare I say it) centered.

So I'm cranking things up a notch and I purchased a new meditation CD specifically geared toward IVF.


Here are the tracks:


Track 1: Hitting Your Mark! From shots to retrieval
Track 2: Rest and Rejuvenate - between retrieval and transfer
Track 3: Baby's Sweet Spot! From Transfer to Implantation (week 1 of 2 week wait)
Track 4: The Waiting Game! From Implantation to Pregnancy Test (week 2 of 2 week wait)


I just can't wait to get started. I refuse to listen to any track until I am actually at that part of my cycle. I mean...this stuff is so powerful that they caution you on the CD jacket not to listen to the CD while you are driving!


I hope that the changes I recognize in my emotional well being are being mirrored in my body, specifically my ovaries. But if not, I'll be satisfied if meditation can just keep me sane this cycle.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Infertility Doula

Wanted: Infertility Doula*

Duties Include:

+Making doctor's appointments and rescheduling doctor's appointments when they suddenly conflict with important business meetings

+Printing directions to new doctor's offices

+Price shopping for cheap drugs and ensuring that all needed medications are ordered, received, and stored properly

+Asking questions at doctor's appointments when I can't talk AND hold in tears at the same time

+Handle all interactions with IVF coordinators regarding items not limited to protocol calendars and shot instructions

+Research new protocols and suggest best route to pregnancy

Date Needed: Immediately

Starting Salary: uh yeah, I'm a little income challenged right now

*The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Maxed Out

I apologize in advance for this post. If you don’t have insurance coverage for fertility treatments this post is going to read like a beauty queen complaining that it’s hard to be so pretty. If you don’t have insurance coverage please feel free to quit reading, my complaints will only annoy you (and rightfully so).

With my insurance I have a maximum amount to spend for treatments and a different maximum amount to spend for prescriptions. Because I have now had two cancelled IVF cycles, and because I now require a dump truck full of drugs to coax my ovaries into producing sub par eggs, I have now…(wait for it)… maxed out on my insurance prescription coverage!!! Let’s have a moment of silence please…







I have been in a pharmacy death spiral the past week; shopping my prescription needs around from pharmacy to pharmacy. This one has the best out of pocket prices, but that one takes my insurance so that I can eek out every last cent of coverage. And on and on and on.

Finally I have determined that my drugs will cost me about $3000 this cycle.

The good news…I foresaw this and budgeted $3500.

The bad news…My drugs are going to cost me $3000.

And that brings us to the insurance word problem of the day. Hubby’s work is going through open enrollment right now. His insurance would cover half of my meds (no coverage for procedures), but would cost us an additional $100 a month. However, his insurance would not go into effect in time for this cycle. I could only use his insurance for future cycles. So my choices are:

A.Sign up for his insurance which would be tantamount to admitting that this cycle will fail and I will have a need AND a desire for more IVF cycling this year.

B.Don’t sign up for his insurance and pay OOP for all future IVF cycle meds; assuming I would need them of course (wink wink nudge nudge).

I’m choosing B. I'm choosing optimism. But I think it totally sucks that I have to make this decision right now.

Insurance and money and paying out of pocket and dealing with insurance companies and saving money and blowing through savings and the economy just makes this stressful and emotional time MORE stressful and emotional.

And it’s just not fair.

I know. I know. I’m preaching to the choir.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Officially on the Calendar

Today is the first day of my IVF calendar. Today I start crossing off the days and weeks that will lead up to stimulation, retrieval, and hopefully beyond. I have been waiting for this day for weeks, staring at the paper on the refrigerator, taking it all in, mentally preparing for the process. I have been excited. I have felt optimistic. There has been no IVF fatigue this time. This cycle has felt different.

Then this weekend happened...

It all started with Mo's bad news and then Susan's bad news, a one-two punch to the gut that stayed on my mind long after I closed my laptop.

Then Saturday Tony and I woke at six to drive to a nearby state park. We wanted to get in an early hike and beat the heat. The internet described the trail as a seven mile loop that could be shortened to a four mile hike by using a connector trail. We intended to complete the four mile hike...

Instead we hiked for four hours on poorly marked trails which were so muddy (even though we've had no rain) that I lost a shoe no less than three times. The trail led us to a stream and we could see the trail continue on the other side leaving us no choice but to wade through water up to my calves I found myself laughing and crying at the same time.

Instead of rediscovering my sense of well being in nature I came home with sore muscles, ruined shoes, two ticks, and a husband who quite possibly might never hike with me again.

Today was no better. I have spent most of the day angry for no apparent reason. I've been angry in a PMS sort of way. I've been angry in a "I just injected myself with a bunch of hormones" sort of way. I've been angry with the sort of anger that while you are snapping and snarling at your loved ones there is a little voice in the back of your mind telling you that you are being irrational. The problem is that I have yet to inject myself with anything and if this is PMS it's going to be a slow painful road to my period in two weeks.

When I was putting away groceries this afternoon I banged my head on the freezer door. Then proceeded to slam the freezer door, slam the refrigerator door and when my husband asked me what was wrong, I yelled, "I've always hated this f-ing refrigerator. The f-ing freezer door won't close when you want it to and when you want it to stay open it f-ing closes and I bang my f-ing head."

Oh...and I've been constipated and gassy all weekend too.

But on the bright side, I'm on the calendar. On to day two...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

No Resolution?

Jumping off from a post Murgdan made today...

When I first started blogging and reading blogs; no one was pregnant. I’m not ashamed to admit that in those beginning months if I came across the blog of a pregnant lady I did not add it to my reading list.

A month or two later a handful of ladies whose blogs I had been reading became pregnant. Some had miscarriages. Some are now approaching their third trimester. Each month a few more ladies crossed over to the other side, then more and more until I found myself in a peculiar situation.

I was a part of the infertility blogging community. I was not pregnant, but eighty percent of the blogs I followed were written by pregnant women. It got to the point that I thought of charging people to be added to my blog reader because it was a sure sign they would fall pregnant in a couple months.

I stopped looking at my reader everyday. It was too painful.

If you are pregnant or if you are still waiting like me, I know you can relate to that strange mix of emotions at being left behind.


Happiness for a woman that has made it to a viable pregnancy.


Hope that their success means that you might have success too.


Hurt for your own failures.


Anger that nothing has worked for you so far.


Guilt that you are not able to support a pregnant woman in the same way you can an infertile woman.


Envy as you see someone move on in a way you can’t.


Worry that you might never get there.


It is a toxic and confusing mixture of emotions. I’m sure if I was a pregnant infertile woman I could rearrange the words above and come out with the same mixture of emotions.

I’ve been trying to write this post for several weeks now, but I’ve hesitated. Partly because I didn’t want to alienate pregnant readers or somehow dampen their much deserved joy. Partly because I didn’t know how to end this post.

I still don’t know how to end this post. I still don’t know the answer. Maybe these feelings are just a fact of life. Maybe they just exist and there is no resolving them.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Two Reviews for the Price of One

When I was a little girl I was into gymnastics BIG time. I once cartwheeled my way around an amusement park. No joke, my hands were black from the asphalt.

I remember one day sitting on my grandparent's kitchen floor showing off my flexibility to my grandfather as he drank his tea. He told me a story about a boy who was very strong and could lift a newborn calf. As the calf grew, the boy grew and the boy continued to lift the calf each day. Eventually, they became a cow and a man. And that man could still lift the full grown cow. The point (made in my grandfather's folksy way) was, of course that I should stretch each day and I would maintain my flexibility as I grew.

Well, my gymnastics teacher skipped town one day (a whole other story) and then life happened and I am now very, very inflexible. This is a big reason why in the past yoga and me have not mixed. But as I've mentioned before I wanted to try a fertility yoga program. Partly in order to try out it's healing properties as it relates to my reproductive parts and partly because the idea of stretching and posing in the morning is much more appealing than climbing onto my elliptical machine.

So I bought this one. It's not too bad. The instructor is in a pleasant looking garden. She has a soothing voice. There is nice music. The moves seem pretty basic, of course I can't do them, but someone who can stand and touch their fingers to the floor would have no problems. Sometimes the production is so low on some of these videos that it can be distracting, but not so with this video. It looks very professional. So if you are looking for a fertility yoga tape, this is a possibility. Oh yeah, does it get you pregnant? How would I know?

Now for the second review. Tony and I went to see the movie "Funny People" today. I had my reservations about going because the movie has been advertised so heavily. I have a theory that if a movie is good word of mouth is advertisement enough. I was right. The movie was awful. I wanted to walk out thirty minutes in. Adam Sandler owes me two and a half hours of my life back.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Spontaneous Hope

I find myself at the bottom of IVF Mountain again, preparing to start climbing to Base Camp One.

This being my fourth attempt I know the base of this mountain well, but I can only dream of the view from the top.

Each time I attempt to crest this mountain I feel a little less optimistic, a little less confident, a little more unsure.

But every once in awhile, I have a flash of spontaneous hope. Just for a few seconds I think, "This could be it. I could do it this time. One last climb and this could all could be over."

The thought stops me in my tracks and takes my breath away.

I force the thought out of my mind. I must not lose focus. I must focus on the climb, one stage at a time.

(And thanks for climbing with me.)
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