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 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.


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.
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