Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Infertility Carol

I wanted to wait to have children. My reasons were that I wasn't ready for children for career reasons and I wanted to have some time alone with my husband before the craziness of children ruled our lives. Also, financially we were not ready for a long time as my husband was in grad school and not working full time.

I still wasn't really "ready" when we started trying, but I figured I would get ready in the few months it would take us to get pregnant. I never thought we would face these infertility issues. I was young (we started trying when I was twenty-nine.) I had regular periods. My husband was older, but who cares about the man's age right?

Sometimes I wish I could go back and warn myself what I was in for...

[Disclaimer: Babies shown.]

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Family's Coming, Hide the Meds

I have six people coming to stay at my house this weekend. The house guests are comprised of mothers and sisters and aunts and cousins. When I planned this weekend I was to be at the tail end of a two week wait and looking for a distraction. Now I wish I had a way out. But they are coming. In fact, they are here. My sister is at a local mall as we speak.

As part of our home preparation for house guests (washing sheets, cleaning guest baths, and dusting our formal living and dining room that we otherwise never go in) I was told by my husband to do something with the pile of fertility related medicines and syringes that have been piled on my kitchen counter for the last six months. I move this pile at least once a week to give the kitchen counters a thorough wiping, but I have never bothered to find a more proper place for medicine storage. So I threw all the medicines and syringes in a tote bag and put tote bag on the top shelf of a closet. Proper storage found.

As hubby was cleaning out the fridge I told him that he should probably do something with our collection of refrigerated fertility meds. I came back to find him hiding the meds in the fridge behind packages of deli meat. I told him, "Why don't you just take the meds to the fridge downstairs." I could tell that he felt emasculated in the face of my genius because he responded, "Since you are so full of good ideas, why don't you take them downstairs."

Ahhh...preparing for house guests is so much fun.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Foster Kidding

I mentioned in an earlier post that I came out of the infertility closet to my mother and sister based on my application to become a foster parent. So here's the skinny on that.

I honestly can't remember what came first, wanting to start a family or wanting to become a foster parent. The two are mutually exclusive activities in my mind and I don’t intend to substitute one for the other. I don’t feel that I want to be a foster parent because I can’t have a child and I don’t feel that once I have a child I will no longer want to be a foster parent. But who knows if I am being honest with myself.

At this point we have made an application to be a foster parent, but we are at the stage where we are trying to learn more about the process and haven’t made a final decision if this is right. I remember the idea of becoming a foster parent coming to me.

When I met my husband he had a lucrative career in sales, but was very unhappy. I encouraged him to go back to school to become a school guidance counselor and supported him in grad school. He makes less money now, but he loves his job. He gets an enormous amount of job satisfaction through helping kids. I like my job too, but let's face it; I'm an accountant, I don’t exactly make a difference. And that’s where the fostering idea came from, wanting to give back, wanting to help kids who never really had a chance in life. I feel that my husband and I are common sense people, financially secure, and caring. I think we could provide a lot of stability for a foster child.

Initially my husband was against the idea. He felt that it would be too much like bringing his work home with him. I understood what he was saying and I didn’t push the idea. But now we are both ready to explore this option as a possibility for our lives. What changed his mind was a little girl in foster care on the local news who said that her biggest dream was to go to the local amusement park. I turned to my husband and said, “It just breaks my heart to hear that. I feel like bringing that girl home and taking her to the amusement park the next day and then saying, OK. What’s your dream now?” My husband is a sucker for a little girl.

I think my biggest challenge right now is trying to pry off my rose colored glasses regarding my expectations for this experience. Right now our intention is to foster, not adopt, and we want older kids, not babies or toddlers. I know I will need to learn how to relate to these children whose lives are going to be incredibly foreign to me. My parents were married for almost thirty years before my father passed away. I was never abused and I always had everything I needed, although not much of what I wanted. I know that I will need to learn to accept that my house will no longer be perfect. I know that these children will have learning disabilities and behavior problems. I know that this whole experience will be completely different and much harder than I could ever imagine.

But for right now, I feel drawn to it. I feel that it’s something I need to explore. I’m interested if anyone has any feedback or experience with this.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Quickie

Sometimes my desire to stop infertility treatments is equal to my desire to keep going.

Infertility: Can't live with it, can't live without it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Infertility Hope-O-Meter

I'd like to introduce the infertility hope-o-meter. I find that as I go through cycles the hope that I will have a real live baby someday can change daily. Starting injections, hope goes up. Cancelled cycle, hope goes down.



The hope-o-meter goes from zero (no hope) to five (yeah right). Right now I think I'm at about a two. I feel somewhat hopeful since I started with the new RE, but I would feel more hopeful if I were actually cycling.


Friday, I have a phone appointment with the new RE. I am a little confused by this as I'm not sure how he will tell if my cysts are gone over the phone. I guess I will take the call at home in case I have to shove the phone up my vagina so he can listen to my ovaries. I checked with the nurse twice to see if this was actually supposed to be a phone appointment and she said yes. I'm trying to keep an open mind. Maybe I just have to get used to the new system.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

BFA

Womb for Improvement is creating a whole new lexicon (I had to look up that word, it means a new vocabulary or dictionary.) Monica at Knocked Up, Knocked Down is looking for new vocabulary words too.

I would like to submit a new infertility related acronym. BFA or Big F*cking Abyss. That is where I am right now. No BFP. No BFN. Just BFA. I've been there since the middle of October, that's five months and counting.


What is BFA?

When you're in the BFA you might get your period, you might not. You might even take a pee-stick pregnancy test just for shits and giggles. But when you are in the BFA there is no way you are getting pregnant because you are not doing anything to get pregnant (except maybe have sex, but we all know that doesn't work.)

How do you get to a BFA?

There are many paths to a BFA. Maybe you have run out of money. Maybe you are saving money. Maybe you are having medical procedures to prepare your body to IVF or to IUI or to *gasp* try naturally. Maybe you are taking a break from medical procedures to save your sanity. Maybe you are in a never ending cycle of cancelled cycles. *raises hand* Maybe you are waiting for a spouse to get on board with treatments. The point is, there is no way you are getting pregnant because you are not doing anything to get pregnant.

What does BFA feel like?

I can only speak for myself. I entered the BFA after months of unsuccessful trying to conceive with Clomid. I felt like I had just jumped from a moving vehicle with a reckless driver who had been drinking a little. I was so relieved. I was kissing the ground, so glad to be out of the car and alive, if a little sore and bruised.
But then I got up, brushed myself off and realized that I was not where I wanted to be. I was on the other side of town. I hailed a cab and hopped in, but the cab driver (stoopid RE) didn't speak the same language as me and I couldn't seem to get where I needed to go. I finally told him to stop the car and paid my fare, but I still wasn't anywhere near where I needed to be.
In fact, I felt farther away than ever. Now I'm walking along a dusty road, not making much progress, but hoping I'm moving in the right direction. My feet are getting swollen and blistered and I just want to sit down and rest.

At first the BFA wasn't so bad, but now it is really starting to wear on me. This BFA is almost as bad as the succession of BFNs that proceeded it. I know I'm not alone in this abyss. I know I have a lot of BFA sisters who understand how much it sucks and that helps.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I'm there

I really hate this commercial. Whenever this commercial comes on the television I can't change the channel soon enough. I'm sure you don't even have to watch it. It's the insurance one with the baby.


video

I hate the too cute to be real baby.
I hate the super emotional dad. I want that to be my husband. I want to give my husband that moment.

So where am I?

You know that place where you've had two cancelled IVF cycles and spent thousands of dollars with nothing to show for it.

You know that place where you can't walk past a baby without saying, "stupid baby" under your breath.

I'm there.

Where are you?

Update: Look at this. It's too funny.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Where Are My Babies?

My husband LOVES the A&E show Intervention. If you haven't seen it, basically, they follow around an addict making them think that they are in a documentary about addiction, but instead their friends and families are planning an intervention. So it's typical reality show crap, but there are some touching and inspirational stories. And one episode that was a true gem.

That gem was Sylvia. Oh Sylvia. Sylvia was an alcoholic. I don't want to make light of her situation, but the best thing about Sylvia was that she used to be an actress so she was so over the top melodramatic. This is the best scene from the whole show, maybe even the whole series. She lost custody of her children due to her alcoholism. I've never had children, but I can so relate to this scene. I wonder where my babies are too.

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I LOVE Sylvia. (She is doing much better by the way, per the update show.) This scene has become an inside joke in my house. We imitate Sylvia whenever possible. The other day my husband was making dinner in the kitchen and I heard him saying, in his best "Sylvia" impression,


"Where


are


my


chicken


wings?


Where are my chicken wings? Where are my chicken wings? Where are my chicken wings?"


I was cracking up.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Tale of Two Weekends

Last weekend hubby and I wanted to do something to destress and spoil ourselves after our cancelled cycle. After our first cancelled IVF cycle we coincidentally had a Christmas trip planned to NYC. It was so nice to get away and reconnect. We were looking for a similar experience last weekend. After much thought and much unfruitful searching for travel deals we settled on spending the morning at a local spa for massages and facials. It didn't quite work out as planned.

The first problem presented itself in the parking lot that the spa shared with the convention center next door, a convention center that just happened to be having a baby and pregnancy expo (I'm not kidding). The parking lot was crawling with breeders and babies, not exactly what I was looking for on my who-cares-if-we-have-a-baby-at-least-we-can-spend-all-morning-at-a-spa day.

We started with massages where we were booked in the couple's massage room. I did not request a couple's massage. I do not understand the point of a couple's massage. It's not like it's an interactive experience where you are holding hands or something. In fact, I find it less relaxing. I like NO conversation during a massage and I don't need to hear the other masseuse telling my husband to roll over or asking him about the pressure or what not. The only reason I can see for having a couple's massage is to ensure that your husband does not receive a happy ending (which, quite frankly, I could care less about. If my husband wants to pay for a hand job our marriage has bigger problems that won't be solved in a couple's massage room.)

On to facials. I will admit that my attitude toward skin care waxes and wanes. Sometimes I obsessively apply various creams etc to my face. Other times I can't be bothered and I'm lucky if my face gets washed before I go to bed. Lately I have been doing the latter, which led to the following conversation with my facialist (is that the right word?)

Facial Lady: Do you moisturize two times a day?

Me: No.

Facial Lady: Well, you really should. You don't want to wrinkle prematurely do you?

Then she went on to tell me all the other things wrong with my face. Holy cow. It was like getting a facial from my mom. I felt like I was being scolded for my poor (or non existent) skin care regimen. All relaxation left my body as I started worrying about premature wrinkles and wondering which department store had a Clinique gift with purchase so I could buy some moisturizer and get a free bag of samples I would never use.

Then the girl taking payment had apparently missed the training day for running credit cards. After spending what felt like ten minutes for her to run my card, I then had to run the baby and pregnancy gauntlet again on the way to my car. Needless to say, I spent a lot of money and did not get what I was looking for...

..But I got what I was looking for this weekend. I decided Saturday morning that I was going to buy my sofas despite my husband's desire to wait. After all, I ain't Rhianna...I don't need permission from my man. (What the hell is up with that girl by the way?) This weekend I spent about ten times more money than last weekend, but now I have something to be excited about, something to look forward to. In about six to eight weeks I will be a proud mommy of two twin sofas. I am picking out paint colors to prepare the room for my new babies. I'm so excited!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My New Man

So I had a new guy up in my vagina today. I went in and had an ultrasound with new doctor to see what's up with my ovaries and talk about next steps.

The Good News: I really like the new doctor so far. First of all, you can have a conversation without him assuming that you are building a lawsuit. Secondly he actually pointed stuff out to me on the ultrasound screen and explained what he was looking at. I was so shocked I almost fell out of the stirrups. By the end of the appointment I was so pleased that I could have tongue kissed him.

The Not So Good News: New doctor says that the spotting I had this past weekend was probably my period since my lining was so thin. However, my ovaries still haven't calmed down and I still have some big follicles. (I kind of expected this because I have felt a lot of movement in my ovaries.) So we (new doctor and I) don't know what the hell is going on. I am back on the pill today and we'll check again in a few weeks. New doctor says that best case scenario I will be able to cycle in May. So let's hope that the lusty month of May is my lucky month.

I started this whole IVF process in October. At that time I really truly never thought I wouldn't get through a cycle until six months later (assuming I can cycle in May). What a freakin' bag of crap. OK, I'm done complaining about it. It's time to look forward to something new and different that might actually get me a baby. Does anyone else ever think to themselves, "If all this works I still have to be pregnant for nine months too???"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One of these things is not like the others...

video

I have been feeling very left behind lately. Out of place.

Right now I feel like infertility is a crappy part time job that I have. I feel like ultrasounds and blood draws and injections are my primary job duties. I go, and I do it, and I tolerate it and then I head back to my real job. I think I have lost sight of why I am doing all this because the goal seems so far away, so unrealistic.

In my phone consult yesterday, the RE was asking me if I thought I would want to do PGD. When I asked him why I would do that he said that he expected me to have so many eggs resulting in embryos so I would have the opportunity to do PGD before freezing embryos. I told him that quite honestly I couldn't imagine ever having that decision to make. I told him to just get me to retrieval and then I'll decide.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Signs You Are With The Wrong RE


Sometimes when I think about my old RE I feel like a battered woman who has finally gotten out of an abusive relationship. (Not literally...obviously battered women have it much much worse than me.) I have no idea why I didn't ditch this guy sooner. I had a gut feeling that he was wrong from my second appointment. I think that staying with him seemed like the path of least resistance. I always thought that the next treatment would work and I would just suck it up, get pregnant, and then I would never have to see him again. I guess I was too lazy to start over somewhere else.

Here are some signs that you are going to the wrong RE:

1. After my Clomid Challenge test I was called and told I needed additional testing. I told the nurse that I would like to discuss the Clomid Challenge test results with the doctor first. When hubby and I went to that appointment to discuss test results, the results were not in my file. In fact, the results were not in the office and the lab had to be called. So this guy ordered more tests without even reviewing the tests he had already ordered. Also, while we waited for the test results to be faxed over, he opened his junk mail as we were sitting in his office. We never did have the additional testing he had ordered.

2. Before we went to this RE my husband had two semen analyses with his urologist. One came back with a count of 10 million and the other with a count of 9 million. Two weeks after the 9 million test hubby squeezed out another sample for the RE. His count came back 150 million plus. I had a long discussion with the head of the lab regarding the fact that this did not seem possible. He told me that he trusted his lab results and that the other lab was wrong...twice. When I asked him how this could be possible he explained that my husband probably felt more relaxed giving his sample in the RE's office and, thus, more sperm. He also told me that hubby needed more tests. We declined. After all, if his count was over 150 million why do more testing? (Note: After the RE's results hubby's urologist sent him to a different lab for an independent semen analysis that was 11 million.)

3. A week after my first IVF cycle was cancelled for OHSS, I was in the RE's office for an ultrasound to make sure that my ovaries weren't exploding. As I was paying and checking out there was a patient checking in who was obviously there for an embryo transfer. My RE walked over to me, put his arm around me and proceeded to tell me about how this woman was so tall and was a basketball coach, blah, blah, blah. At that point, as I'm sure you can relate, I could have given two sh*ts about some woman who was there to have a transfer.

4. My old RE does not do weekends. When I went into the office to start IVF cycle #2 there were signs posted saying that the office was now to be closed on Tuesdays as well. So I guess you need to time your retrieval and transfer on one of the four days a week that he works.

5. After the nurse called to cancel cycle #2, the doctor called later to confirm that my cycle was cancelled because he wasn't sure if the nurse had called. Then he proceeded to tell me that he felt I needed counseling because I was asking questions about why I did not get the additional monitoring I requested after my first cancelled cycle.

I realize that sharing these stories makes me look really foolish, but I'm hoping to share it as a cautionary tale. Go with your gut. If something doesn't feel right...move on, even if you have to start over with a new doctor. It's OK, even if you lose a few months you will gain in the end.

If anyone lives in the Midwest and wants to know my old RE's name, leave your email address and I will email you.

I had my phone consult with a new RE today. I am currently processing the conversation, but on the whole it was good.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Here a Swing, There a Swing...


...Everywhere a mood swing...

Since cancelled cycle number two I have been having some mood swings, two to be specific.

Mood number one I refer to as the Mother Teresa mood. When I'm in this mood I am very accepting of my non traditional baby making journey. I say things in my head like, "I'm still coming baby. It's just going to be a little longer." When I workout at the gym I concentrate on making my body stronger for a pregnancy that is sure to come. As I do our family financial planning I am happy for additional months to pad our savings account. I make the best of things. I am optimistic about our future.

Luckily mood number one coincided with our Friday happy hour with some couple friends who just completed a successful IVF cycle. Even though they have had success with IVF the first time, even though her beta numbers indicate that she might have twins, even though this was my dream. I was OK. I was Mother Teresa.

Mood number two is called, "Why me?". When I'm in this mood I am bitter. I have not had a two week wait since October. I'd much rather have two cancelled cycles under my belt than two failed cycles, but after five months without even the chance, without even the hope that I am pregnant I am ready for my turn. When will we get a chance just to try and have a baby? Put me in coach!!! I'm ready to play!!! I've been in mood number two most of the weekend.

Today we went shopping. I was browsing at my favorite craft shop when suddenly a woman backed right into me, almost walked over me, then went on without a word. It's about par for the course right now. I feel invisible. I'm infertile, trying desparately not to be, but I can't catch a break.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Key West Contingency Plan

One day my husband turned to me and said, "If we never have a baby let's move to Key West."




I was intrigued. The thought that if we never had children we would make some major lifestyle change had never occured to me.

Once he said it, the idea grew on me. If we can't have children, why bother living in a suburban home in a good school district? If we can't have children, what's the point in killing ourselves to succeed in our professional jobs? If we can't have children, why is it important to live near family?

The Key West Contingency Plan has since been fleshed out. Of course there will be lots of drinking and lots of Cuban food. My husband intends to get a job in the little booth where they sell trolley tickets to tourists (he saw an employment ad online). I hope to find a job as a bookkeeper. We have even looked online at homes we might purchase.

Sometimes the Key West Contingency Plan is replaced by the Prince Edward Island Contingency Plan.


In this plan we move to Prince Edward Island and walk on the beach every morning looking for sea glass and avoiding jellyfish. We buy a sweet little farm and eat lots of seafood. We still have to work out jobs (which might require obtaining work permits) and also a winter plan because the winters up there have to be harsh.

I guess we do this to make us feel like everything might be OK if we don't become parents. What's your plan B?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Back to Old Patterns

So I have a pretty firmly established pattern when I am faced with a major infertility setback.


I shop.


Right now I am obsessed with getting new sofas for the living room. Hubby says I have to wait until he gets his new employment contract. Sigh.


Just a few more months sofas...then you will be mine.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cocktails or Gym?

First let me say...WTF?

I think I might start investing my retirement money in some new sofas for the living room. At least they won't shrink to loveseats in a month.



Coktails or Gym? We did both! We went to the gym as soon as I got off work and I completed a grueling "workout" on the reclino bike. (One time I went to ride the reclino bike and someone had left their Snickers bar wrapper in the cup holder. I'm think that if you can eat a Snickers while exercising, it's not really a workout.) Then we went to the local Mexican restaurant where I ordered a 32 ounce tequilla shot, listed on the menu as a margarita. Our local Mexican restaurant has awful food, but the drinks are strong. The drinks are so strong that I forgot my purse at the restaurant once (maybe that's how they make money on the bar).

I have been such a productive 2X IVF loser today. I filled out my patient questionnaire for the new clinic, scanned it (without help thank you very much) and emailed it back to the clinic. I faxed forms to current RE and hubby's urologist to authorize medical records to be sent to new clinic. And I revised our personal financial budget AGAIN since the whole birth thing and related expenses will be moved back.

So how do I feel being a 2X loser? Friday when I found out cancellation was a possibility I was a hysterical, catatonic, bawling, cursing mess. Yesterday I was so happy that I had finally made the decision to leave my RE which I had previously been reluctant to do for various reasons. Today I am feeling closer to fine, but mildly depressed that yet again I am playing the waiting game and yet again there is no baby in sight.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Cancelled

When will this nightmare end?

I was pretty sure after my ultrasound late this morning, but it was just confirmed by the blood tests. I’m actually surprisingly OK with it. I think I had myself prepared.

Now the RE has told me that these cysts are probably left over from my previous cycle. So I asked him why we didn’t do an ultrasound before starting this cycle to make sure that all the cysts were gone or why we didn’t do the additional monitoring I asked for so that we could have determined this was a problem earlier. (I was very non-confrontational about it and this was confirmed by my husband who likes to point out when I am confrontational.) So RE got rather huffy. First he told me that I could take him to court, but who knows if a jury would agree (what? I am just about the least litigious person I know). Then he told me that the only way I could avoid this next time would be to use donor eggs (what what? You have to be kidding me.)

So I have a phone consultation with another clinic next Monday. I feel so good. I feel like this is the right decision. I never felt right about this doctor, but I just pushed on hoping for the best. I’m a middle child. That’s what I do.

I was so mad when I left the RE’s office that I came back to work this afternoon. I didn’t want to waste a half a vacation day on that ass clown. Now hubby and I are debating about doing the gym or cocktails tonight...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Choose Your Attitude

Tomorrow is D-Day. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be cancelled. The lupron side effects that were so strong at the beginning of last week had waned by the end of the week. Now that I have increased my dosage of lupron over the weekend, the symptoms have not come back. It's weird to be on a lupron symptom watch...it's similar to a pregnancy symptom watch, but different.

So now I need to decide how to react to being cancelled tomorrow:

The cheerleader response:
"What a bummer. Gee it just seems like I can't get to retrieval. Let's Go Fight Win and give it another try."

The cynical response:
"So, who do I have to f*ck to get to retrieval around here?"

The Pollyanna response:
"Oh, it's OK. I'm sure we'll get everything right next time if we work together."

The angry response:
"This clinic f-ing sucks. You guys don't seem to be very good at this. I wish you'd worry a little less about cancelling cycles to save me money and worry a little more about getting me a freaking baby."

So here's the plan of attack for tomorrow.
1. Go to work and tell boss that I am taking the afternoon as vacation.
2. Go to ultrasound and get cancelled (hubby is coming along).
3. Try to get out of RE's office without laying waste verbally to the doctor or the staff in case I ever want to cycle there again.
4. Proceed to nearest bar and get really really drunk.
5. Make an appointment for a consultation at a new clinic. Hubby is pretty much done with this clinic. I am still on the fence, but I definitely think we need to talk with someone else before we move forward.

Oh yeah. Good times.
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