October 24, 2006

Still Here

I'll be quick about this, because I rose very early this morning to 1) finish contact papering the pantry shelves, 2) register for a make-it-and-take-it dinner place I'm supposed to be going to with a friend in a couple of days (but won't be if I don't sign up before the cut off today) and 3) get to work early. Hahahaha. I got the last four pieces of contact paper cut (turns out I made them about 3/8" too short) and then the lure of the computer sucked me in - I've spent the last hour catching up with as many of you as possible.

We've moved, although we still have a few boxes worth of stuff inside and about half of the garage at the old house. We're getting unpacked, but it will take a bit of time, mostly because I haven't taken any time off work to do this. While I hate to pack, I actually rather enjoy unpacking and getting things organized, so if I had a big chunk of time to do it, we'd be completely unpacked within a few days.

My mom moves in this weekend. It will be interesting. My mind keeps blocking the fact that the whole reason for this move is so she could come live with us. Let's hope we manage to co-exist with minimal strife and that we don't all kill each other.

I talked with Doc the day after our BFN. He gave us two options: 1) do another FET, this time transferring three blasts or 2) leave the 8 blasts we have frozen and go onto another fresh cycle, this time with slightly lower stims. He is concerned that at this point we've transferred back two terrific-looking day 3 embryos and two fantastic day 5 blasts, and nothing has stuck. He thinks we've got the blood clotting issues and immune issues under control, and my lining looked great. So he thinks it may be an embryo quality issue that isn't visible to the naked eye, even via microscope.

He thinks that given R's drastic swings in sperm production (from almost literally zero sperm, highly fragmented while he's not on meds to pretty much totally normal when he is), there could still be an inherent sperm quality issue that is causing problems. He also thinks that while my E2 levels didn't rise too terribly high given the 32 eggs retrieved, he would want to keep everything even lower next time to try to make sure it isn't an egg quality issue. I wasn't on a high dose of stims to start with (300 units for the first two days, then 225 after that), so there isn't a whole lot of room to go lower, but there is a little bit. I imagine he'd start me on 225 and then drop down to 150, but we didn't get into details.

I'm not up to another fresh cycle at the moment, so we've opted to do a frozen cycle in December, then consider another fresh cycle after the beginning of the year (probably March or April) if the frozen doesn't work. Lupron begins on Nov. 11 - hard to believe it's less than three weeks away - and the transfer will be sometime around Dec. 15.

I'll keep trying to catch up with all of you as I can, even though I'm not posting a whole lot right now.

October 08, 2006

In Other News…

“…and now, we’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled fit of self-pity to bring you this important news bulletin:

I hate packing.

I promised R that I would pack like a Tasmanian devil this weekend. I have no motivation to pack, and I’ve been doing everything I can to procrastinate on it for the past few weeks.

My ‘Taz’ imitation lasted until I finished packing the guest bathroom, which was the first room I tackled. It consisted of a few towels, a couple of candles, a flower arrangement and a harness thingamajig with suction cups on both ends that is (theoretically, anyway) supposed to keep the dogs from leaping out of the tub when we’re giving them a bath.

It took me all of 10 minutes. And after that, I was ready to be done with the packing. But I pressed on, mostly because R wouldn’t let me stop.

In the room where we keep the cats when we’re not home, I dumped scratching posts, kitty beds and toys into a box without bothering to vacuum the coating of hair off them first. My mother is one of those people who cleans her entire house every weekend, and the idea of packing something without cleaning it first is beyond comprehension to her. The first thing she will do as we begin to get settled is unpack the pets’ stuff. Let’s hope I get to that box first, because if I don’t, the shock of it may be more than she can handle.

There’s still a ton of packing left to do. Did I mention that moving day is this Saturday?

It should be an interesting day. R has no problem paying other people thousands of dollars to paint the inside of our house, install landscape, etc. But spend a few hundred bucks to hire movers to load our stuff up, drive it over to the new house, and unload it? No way! He insists that he and his dad are going to move us. I don’t think it’s a money thing – it seems to be more a matter of machismo.

But here’s the thing. R is not in shape to do this, and neither is his dad. Not that I’m the picture of fitness, because I’m certainly not. But I have learned to recognize my limits. R, on the other hand, got out of bed this morning by rolling gingerly onto his side while moaning, then slowly slid his legs over the edge of the bed until he was kneeling on the ground, then put his hands on top of the bed and used his arms to push himself up, his face contorting in pain the whole time.

This, after only half a day of packing. I can only imagine what he’ll be like next Sunday morning, after moving the entire contents of a house into and then back out of a truck.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…”

October 05, 2006

It Didn't Work

The first beta was less than 2. I don't know what the second one was because I was in a meeting when the clinic called and couldn't answer my phone. But seeing as how the message was to stop taking my meds, clearly the second beta didn't come back with some fantastically high number.

Our clinic usually doesn't give out the results until after the second beta. But on Tuesday I couldn't stand the not knowing any more, so I got the cycle coordinator to tell me. I can be a bit of a PITA patient, so she doesn't even fight it anymore - I think she figures it's easier to just do what I want, because then I'll go away and won't keep bugging her.

I didn't tell R until last night. I wanted to let him have one more day in the Land of Hope, because he was so happy there. As I was walking out of my building at work, he called to find out if I'd heard anything yet. I'd been really calm up until that point - faking hope during the injections he helped me with on Tuesday night, not crying at all since getting the news. But telling him gets me every time. I sank down on a curb in the parking lot and sobbed and sobbed as I told him. I was probably flashing the world since I was in a skirt, and other employees were driving by on their way out of the parking lot, but I didn't care.

At least we have the house to focus on and keep us distracted. I'm hoping to talk to Doc today to get his thoughts, and then I think we're going to do the next FET in the beginning of December. We'll find out the results right at Christmas. A couple years ago, there's no way I would have been willing to do a cycle with that kind of timing. But now my thinking is that we have no child now, so in that sense, how can it get any worse? If it's a negative, we're simply in the same place we are right now. If it's a positive, it's another reason to (reservedly, with great caution) celebrate.

Oh, and you want to hear something ironic? R and I tried to adopt for two years. We let all of our family, friends and neighbors know that we were wanting to adopt, but none of them ever heard of any potential situations. Now, since Friday, two friends and a neighbor have all said, "I just heard of someone I know who is pregnant and planning to put their baby up for adoption. Would you be interested?" It would figure. I've left it up to them to find out more information for us. We wouldn't be totally against it, but given that we've already lost tens of thousands of dollars on that process, we're also not willing to be matched with someone who needs major living expenses for several months.

I haven't told R about any of these situations. Apparently, I'm getting very good at keeping things from him. That's probably not a good thing, but sparing him dashed hopes and pain spares me pain. And right now, I've got just about all the pain I can handle.

God, when does this end? When is it our turn? It seems like almost everyone we know who is dealing with infertility, in the blogosphere or in real life, is having success while we're still left standing here, watching them all go on to have the happy lives we can barely even dream of anymore. I know that's not true of everyone, that some of you who are reading this are still in the boat with us. I wish it was a place none of us had to be.

September 29, 2006

What to Say?

I’ve been a bad blogger lately, I know. I could use the excuse of the new house and new position at work, and that would be true. (The only reason I’m getting a few minutes of uninterrupted time on the computer now is because R left early this morning to go meet the painter at the new house. Otherwise, after two minutes he’d be scolding me to go pack something or do something else move-related, which I am so not in the mood to do even though I should.)

But the other reason I haven’t been blogging is that I’ve simply been trying to avoid facing infertility altogether. Kind of difficult to do in some ways, I know, given that I’m sticking needles in my backside every night. But it feels like I just don’t have the energy to face it anymore. It’s been 3 ½ years, and I’m tired.

I’m scared, too. You’d think I’d be on cloud 9 given what is about to follow, but I’m not. I’m just scared. The FET, like our fresh cycle this summer, went even better than we could have imagined. Two blasts were thawed, and both survived. The embryologist described one as “spectacular” and the other as “very good.” Doc asked her if he should talk with us about thawing and transferring a third one, and she told him absolutely not. When he did the actual transfer, he was able to see the exact spot he wanted to put them in, and he was incredibly happy with how that spot looked. So happy that I seriously thought he might start jumping up and down around the room after it was done.

My NK cell level was retested after the infusion, and the fat cells seem to have done their job – the level dropped from 13.9 percent to 8.6 percent. The clinic wants it to be less than 10 percent, so I’m in the right range.

So now we’ve transferred two embryos that probably couldn’t be any more perfect and placed them on a lining that probably couldn’t be any more perfect. I’m on metformin to address the PCOS hormone imbalance, low-dose aspirin and Lovenox to address the blood clotting mutations, steroids and fat cell infusions to address the immune issues, antibiotics to prevent any possible post-transfer infection and estrogen and PIO in what I suspect are doses adequate enough for three pregnant women.

So, given all that, what if it still doesn’t work? What’s left? Like I said – scared. Betas are Monday and Wednesday, and at this point I honestly can’t say which way I think it will go. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

The “Maybe This Really Did Work” Category
  • Transfer was at noon on Sunday. I saw a tiny little bit of brown spotting late Monday morning, but nothing since. This has never happened before, not after any of the IUIs or the last transfer. Maybe it was implantation spotting.
  • Since Monday, I’ve been even more tired. Maybe it’s because of pregnancy hormones.
  • Since Monday night, I’ve been having vivid dreams. (Unfortunately, they’ve mostly been dreams of my mother and I having screaming matches in our new house or dreams of me going ballistic over something at our old fertility clinic in front of a waiting room full of people.) But still, I rarely dream hard enough to remember it in the morning. Maybe it’s those good ol’ pregnancy hormones again.
  • I felt a little bit nauseous yesterday morning, around the same time that I usually did during pregnancy #1. Maybe it’s the beginnings of morning sickness.
  • I felt a brief, little, painful twinge in my uterus yesterday as R and I were driving to the final walk-through for our house. Maybe it was an implantation pain.

The “Who Am I Kidding” Category
  • Transfer was at noon on Sunday. I saw a tiny little bit of brown spotting late Monday morning, but nothing since. Probably a little bit of old blood from the transfer.
  • Since Monday, I’ve been even more tired. It’s probably because I started the progesterone supps on Monday night, adding even more progesterone to my system. But wait! The extra tiredness started Monday afternoon, before the first supp. Maybe it really is because of pregnancy hormones. Yes, why don’t I just continue torturing myself over this one tiny little point…
  • Since Monday night, I’ve been having vivid dreams. (Unfortunately, they’ve mostly been dreams of my mother and I having screaming matches in our new house or dreams of me going ballistic over something at our old fertility clinic in front of a waiting room full of people.) Forget pregnancy hormones – can we say “subconscious fears coming to the surface during the dream stage”?
  • I felt a little bit nauseous yesterday morning, around the same time that I usually did during pregnancy #1. Maybe a greasy, spicy dinner full of salsa and a quesadilla covered in green chili strips wasn’t such a great idea after all.
  • I felt a brief, little, painful twinge in my uterus yesterday as R and I were driving to the final walk-through for our house. If only I had a nickel for every time I thought a uterine twinge was the sign of a pregnancy.
  • And, the one that’s stressing me out the most: Every night since the transfer, I wake up around 3:30 a.m. because I have to go to the bathroom and my bladder refuses to let me go back to sleep until I do. But I slept right through last night until the alarm went off at 6 o’ clock this morning. The same thing happened with this summer’s cycle – I kept having to get up to go to the bathroom (usually at 2:30 a.m.), then the day before beta #1 it was 4 a.m., then the day of beta #1 it was 6 a.m. I’m afraid that means my uterus is shrinking back down and not pushing on my bladder as much. Especially because I drank plenty of milk last night, so I know it wasn’t that my bladder was empty.

I’m probably not going to POAS this time. House stuff will keep my mind occupied this weekend, and I really, really don’t want to start out the week by staring at an overly white pee stick first thing on Monday morning. On Wednesday, I have a meeting with an out-of-town vendor at 4 p.m. I think I’m going to tell the nurse at the clinic “don’t call me, I’ll call you.” Either way, I don’t want the news until after the meeting.

Again, sorry for being such a bad blogger. I’m going to try to catch up with all of you this weekend.

September 13, 2006

By Golly, She Really Has Lost Her Mind

I didn't mean to disappear again. It has unexpectedly turned into a crazy couple of weeks, part of it self-inflicted, part of it not.

I've been given a new, interim position at work. I'm very excited about it, because it allows me to focus more in depth on a few areas rather than spreading myself over many areas, which is what my current position entails. If I do well, it will become a permanent position. The downside is that I have two months to prove myself, but I'm still doing several pieces of my other position, so I'm not able to focus all of my energies on the new one. Should be an interesting couple of months...

Then, as if we don't have enough chaos in our lives as it is, I dragged R to go look at new homes on a whim over the weekend. In a few hours, we're signing the papers to buy a ridiculously large, gorgeous spec home. This Friday, we're out of town at the clinic so that I can get loaded up on fat cells and have an ultrasound to see how my lining is progressing. The following Friday is the expected transfer date. Then, the Friday after that is the day I have my first beta, which will also probably be the day we get the keys to the new house.

We hadn't planned on this - like I said, we went looking on a whim. So our current house is not on the market and is nowhere near ready to be shown. But there are some reasons behind my madness. My mom will be moving in with us because she is in her 70s and it's getting harder and harder for her to work full time. (Because of the financial situation my parents' divorce put her in, she can't afford to live on her own unless she works.) This house gives us all enough space that we will hopefully be able to coexist without wanting to kill each other. Plus, the builder was offering huge incentives on the house in terms of a price discount and closing costs/loan rates because they want to get the house closed before their new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. So once we get our house and my mom's house sold, we'll have a small mortgage that will allow me to stay home or work part-time at some point.

The next couple of months will be interesting. I had a check up with my regular doc yesterday, who is also my mom's doc and knows us both very well. I think at this point, he wants to insert a permanent IV into me and keep Ativan (anti-anxiety drug) flowing through me on a continuous basis.

I am horribly behind on catching up with all of you, please forgive me. I'll be back to catch up as soon as I can.

August 31, 2006

Better Fertility Through Fat

Our first frozen embryo cycle is officially underway. Lupron? Check. Delestrogen? Check. Ultrasound appointments scheduled, plane tickets reserved, infusion of fat cells planned? Check, check, and check.

Yep, fat cells. And I’m not talking collagen to add extra pout to my lips, which, believe me, are pouting plenty on their own over this latest development.

Doc wanted me to repeat a few tests before we do the FET. He doesn’t have all of the results yet, but the NK (natural killer) cells results came back today. I had done that test and several others at a local lab during The Bloodletting of 2005. The NK results were normal that time, but Doc wanted me to repeat a few of them through a lab he uses. This time, my NK level came back at 13.9 percent, with anything over 10 percent considered elevated.

I haven’t done a lot of homework on NK cells yet, but my rudimentary understanding is that if they’re elevated, it can mean that they’re attacking the embryo and the developing placenta instead of recognizing them as things that are okay to be growing in the uterus.

REs who believe in immune issues often use a blood product called IVIg to treat women who have elevated NK cell levels. Doc is among those who prescribe IVIg, but he and one of his colleagues have also recently begun using something called intralipids in place of IVIg. It’s hundreds of dollars per IV infusion rather than thousands, it only takes an hour as opposed to three or four hours, and it’s not a human product, so it doesn’t pose a risk of disease transmission. There isn’t a lot of data on intralipids as a treatment for NK cells in infertility yet, because it isn’t widely used for that purpose at this time, but Doc says success rates are proving to be about the same with IVIg.

The intralipids infusion involves an IV bag full of a milky white solution that includes 20 percent fat cells (from soybean oil I believe), hence the “lipids” part of “intralipids.” I asked if I couldn’t just eat a couple extra bags of potato chips instead, but no such luck. The infusion is scheduled for mid-September, about a week before transfer.

Like most of you, there are things I never thought I would have to do, such as give myself shots or go through IVF. But allowing myself to be injected with fat cells?!? That is so far beyond “things I never thought I would have to do” that I’m at a loss for words in some respects.

I do, however, still have the ability to form at least a couple of thoughts:

1) Boy, are the future kiddos ever going to owe me for this! Forget the “do you know how many hours of labor I had to go through for you??” guilt trip – they’ll have to sit through my “do you know how many fat cells I had to have injected for you??” tale of woe. (I’m joking, I’m joking. Mostly, anyway.)

2) Since I have to suck it up and have this infusion, I think it would only be fair if I could at least direct the fat cells as to where they’re allowed to take up residence: “The cells on my hips and thighs already have plenty of company, thank you, so can you please make your way to…well, never mind that, there are very few slender places on my body to begin with, and I’d really prefer that you not make any of those places bigger, either.”

“So once you’ve done your duty by binding to the NK cells and neutralizing them, can you please just make a speedy exit out of my body? Because, let’s be honest here, even I know my threats to exercise you away will only incite mirth and not instill fear. And I certainly don’t need any more of you jiggling around on me while you’re laughing.”

So there you have it, the latest weapon in the infertility fight: bags of fat. Is it just me, or is all of this starting to sound a little bit insane??

August 22, 2006

Following Our Hearts

Despite what my silence since the second beta post probably implies, R and I are okay.

It’s just now occurring to me that I never mentioned that we have frozen blastocysts. Ten of them, actually – four that are Grade A, six that are Grade B. Because of that, R is still very optimistic and took the news of the negative betas pretty well.

The thing I was dreading most about the whole cycle was how he would react if we didn't get a positive. Once I was able to believe he really was okay (either that, or he’s become a very good liar as of late), I was fine. Well, at least as fine as one can be under these circumstances. I just didn't think I was up for handling it if he was as devastated as he was by the first miscarriage or as angry and disappointed as he was by the second one. I'm to the point where it feels like I can take just about any pain myself, but please don't make me have to watch him go through any more pain and heartache.

So, the plan is that we’re going to do an FET cycle next month. Since the betas weren’t ever even at a level of 1, Doc said we could go right into a cycle without having to wait a month. I started the BCPs last Thursday, and the Lupron shots begin again on Saturday. The transfer will be sometime in the second half of September.

Right now I’m just trying to focus on being positive and visualizing that I can stay pregnant. I haven’t exactly been a shining beacon of optimism these past few years, and it doesn’t help that my dad called me today to say, “Honey, God spoke to me this morning and told me that what you’re doing – the treatment – won’t work.”

In all fairness to him, he did go on to relay what he believes to be a very positive message: that God will heal us and R and I will become “very fertile” and will have biological children…just not through treatment.

R and I are Christian, and I credit my faith largely to my dad. However, he has some views on faith and God that I don’t necessarily subscribe to in the same way. I absolutely believe that God can and does heal people, so I’m not making fun of his comments. Miracles happen. To R and me, our pregnancies, as brief as they were, were miracles nonetheless.

But I also feel like we are doing what God wants us to by going through IVF at this point in time. That we’re with the right clinic, with the right doctor. I can’t say for certain that I know IVF is what will get us to parenthood, but I have a peace about pursuing this that I didn’t have when we were pursuing adoption.

Deep, deep down, I always felt like I was forcing adoption too soon; it was a back-up plan I was trying to keep under my control in case God didn’t “come through” for us with fertility treatment. I needed to let go of that and step out in faith to do IVF without a safety net that I had created for myself, if that makes any sense, so we let our adoptin certification expire this summer. That’s not to say that I wasn’t sincere in my desire to adopt, because I absolutely was. And despite all of the heartache we’ve endured in that area, if IVF doesn’t work, we will go back to adoption, albeit probably via an agency or international route. But it wasn’t the right time, we weren’t doing things in the order God wanted us to, and underneath it all, as much as I tried to bury it and ignore it, I felt that.

Now I feel like we’re on the right path for us at this moment and time. R and I prayed about starting our family pretty much every single night for seven months before we started actually trying to conceive. We’ve prayed through all of the pain and misery of the past three and a half years. Sometimes they’ve been internal, “how can we bear this, why are You allowing this to happen to us, I’m angry at You, God” kinds of prayers, but we haven’t stopped praying.

If a time comes when IVF is no longer the path we should pursue, I believe we’ll feel God leading us in a different direction. I just hope my dad can accept that we’re choosing to follow our own hearts on this one, and that they’re telling us something different than his is telling him.

August 14, 2006

It's Official

The results were the same today, so this cycle is officially a BFN.

We're doing okay. I went to lunch and a movie with a couple of friends on Saturday, and R and I jumped into shopping for a small home improvement project on Sunday, so those things kept me from dwelling on the likely reality of today's news.

We have a consult with our RE tomorrow to review the cycle and find out if there's any more testing he wants us to do or any changes he wants to make in protocol before we do an FET. If he says it's okay and I get a period this week, I'll start Lupron again on Aug. 26 for the FET. If he wants me to wait a month or so, then the FET wouldn't be until October.

But I'm anxious to get going again, and I'm feeling great physically, so hopefully he'll let us cycle sooner rather than later. My hormones are normally out of whack, as is the nature of PCOS. I think the stims and the progesterone make my hormone levels much more balanced, because my skin has been so much more clear these past three weeks, and I feel better physically than I normally do. Silver linings, people, silver linings. I'm trying to focus on the positives.

Interestingly enough, when the clinical coordinator called to tell me the results this evening, she also mentioned that she would recommend transferring three embryos for the FET. She said she thinks there's a better chance with three than with two, but of course she also said to talk with Doc about it. Given that he offered to transfer three for our fresh cycle, he'd prbably be agreeable to it.

At the beginning of this journey, my mom kept cautioning me about all the bad things that she thought could happen - like the drugs causing cancer, or me having a "litter," etc. She would "tsk, tsk" any time we started a new protocol. Tonight, she said, "I think you should transfer back three or even four." When I reminded her that she used to be against treatment because she was afraid I'd wind up with seven or eight at once, she replied, "I'm much more educated now." And really, she is. She has a much, much better understanding of infertility and treatment processes than a lot of infertility patients themselves, much less her fellow 70-somethings.

Then I teased her that if we wound up with triplets, she'd have to pitch in to help. "Oh, I've already thought of that! I have two arms and a big lap. I'm all ready for 'em - bring 'em on!" she told me.

Easier said than done. But who knows? Maybe we will transfer three after all.

August 11, 2006

Three Strikes and You're Out

Great eggs, great sperm, terrific embryos, a beautiful lining.

Big, fat negative beta.

It came back at less than 1.

August 10, 2006

I Caved...

...and it ain't pretty.

Yes, you guessed it. I HPT'd this morning, and it was negative. Not even a hint of a line, no matter how hard I looked. And believe me, I looked hard.

Today is 8dp3dt (well, technically 7.5dp3dt, since my transfer was in the afternoon). I want to try to stay positive because I know that it's still early, but I don't think this bodes well.

The first beta is tomorrow (Friday). Since 48 hours would be on Sunday, my second beta isn't until Monday. For some strange reason, our clinic refuses to give the results until after the second beta.

Unfortunately, I have things at work on Tuesday and Wednesday that I just can't get out of. So if the results aren't what we hope for, I'd like a little time over the weekend to deal with that. I think I'm going to try to get the lab tech to give us the results tomorrow. She knows me and our situation, and she was good about sneaking the results to me during the May pregnancy.

August 09, 2006

Something NOT To Say While Helping Your Wife With Her PIO Shot

All is going well here. We got home fine, then jumped back into work, although I probably haven’t been as productive as I could be this week. I had some twinging, sharp-ish kinds of pains intermittently throughout Saturday afternoon and Sunday, so I’m hoping those were implantation cramps, but time will tell.

For some reason, I’ve started having a slightly tougher time with the shots. It reminds me of when I was in gymnastics while I was growing up. I’d learn to do a tough trick, like a backflip, without spotting from a coach. I’d do it for a few weeks, and then one day I’d regress. I’d walk into the gym and say, “Uh-uh, no way, too scary. I could fall and break my neck.”

I’ve run into a similar mindset with the shots. “I don’t want to stick this needle into me, it will hurt.”

The other night, R was helping me with the PIO shot. Laying on my side in bed, I tried to stick the needle in. I got the tip of it in, and it hurt. Ouch! I pulled it back out, and a drop of blood appeared on my skin.

R tried to be encouraging. “Here, why don’t you try that spot.” He pointed to an unbruised area of my backside.

“I. Don’t. Want. To. The last one really hurt.”

His eyes widened in surprise and fear. This was not something he had anticipated. “Oh, come on, you can do it.”

“I. Don’t Want. To.”

Now the fear turned into a look of terror. He was probably envisioning having to sit on me and jam the needle in himself.

Finally I worked up the courage and gave it another try. The needle went right in, no pain at all. As R was pushing in the plunger, he said, “Boy will I be glad when we don’t have to do this any more!”

I don’t know if it was his tone, or the absurdity of his use of “I” when it was me who was getting the shot, or just the emotions of the past couple of weeks rising to the surface. Whatever the reason, his comment struck me as outrageously humorous.

I began to laugh. Big, whole-body guffaws that made it look like I was having convulsions. While the needle was still in me, the syringe now waving madly back and forth.

R did not expect this reaction. His head snapped up. “Stop that! Stop that right now! You’re making the needle move!”

Which only served to make me laugh harder, until tears poured down my face. I tried to stop, tried to bring myself under control. Finally, when I had calmed down enough, I told him to continue pushing the plunger.

As soon as he started, the laughter began again. It took us about three minutes of starts and stops to get the last half of the PIO in. R has vowed never to make any more comments during the shots, lest he trigger a repeat performance of the hilarity.

August 04, 2006

Transfer Update

I've asked R to put these two posts up for me...

Transfer was Wednesday afternoon, and it went well. We transferred two 8-cell embryos that were graded Stage 1. (If you want to read about the full Day 3 embryo report, please see the post below this one.) Betas are next Friday and Monday the 14th.

The afternoon was not without it's moments, though.

I'm prone to leg cramps, and I think that drinking a lot of water quickly can trigger them. So there I was, laying on my back, the transfer table angled so that my head was lower than my pelvis. Doc had just transferred the embryos.

Then the cramping set in.

Both of my hamstrings began burning. I focused on not allowing myself to bounce around and dislodge the embryos. I tried to will the cramps away, but no luck.

After what seemed like an eternity but was really less than 10 seconds, I had to speak up and tell Doc what was going on. Still positioned with a full view of my nether region, he had to lift up one leg toward the ceiling to relieve the cramp, then the other leg. Laying there with two embryos newly transplanted inside of me, I was doing what looked like can-can dance kicks, wearing nothing but a paper drape below the waist.

I would have been mortified, if I hadn't already lost all semblance of modesty and dignity about 18 vaginal ultrasounds ago.

Day 3 Embryo Report

I've been very, very fortunate and blessed to have (so far, at least) the kind of IVF cycle that I wish every one of us could have. Of course, the betas are still a ways away, and I know that not all great cycles result in great betas, so my optimism is still very much guarded.

Nevertheless, I am feeling what I can only describe as "survivor's guilt" for having the cycle go well so far when I know that some of you are struggling right now.

I realize some of you are curious about how the rest of the embryos are doing. The short answer is that they're doing well. But I don't want to put the details in the post itself, so as strange as this sounds, I'm going to put the report in the Comments section instead.

If you want the details, please go to the Comments section of this post. If now is a tough time and "the transfer went well" is about all of the news you want to hear, please skip the Comments. And if you could use a good laugh and haven't already seen the post above this one, go read about how I wound up doing some physician-assisted, can-can style dance moves while still on the table after transfer.

August 01, 2006

I Am A Wimp

This will be brief, because I am sitting in an underground parking garage, with the laptop propped at an odd angle on my lap in order to get a wireless internet connection, one which alternates between having full connectivity and none at all.

At any rate, I just wanted to post to let you all know that it turns out I don't have OHSS. Instead, I am simply a wimp when it comes to pain. That's not a surprise - I readily acknowledge that I have practically no tolerance threshold for pain.

My ovaries are irritated with me, and they're making their feelings known, but yesterday's ultrasound determined that there's no excess fluid in them, in my abdomen or around my liver or gallbladder. So, like I said, I'm a wimp.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement and support. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to post during the next few days since we don't have internet access in the room, but I'll probably make R find a way to post at least one update to let you know how transfer goes. It's set for 2 p.m. tomorrow.

I'll be sooo glad to get back home, where I can jump online any time I want!

July 31, 2006

Retrieval and Fert Report

The retrieval went very well. My doctor was able to get 32 eggs. He warned us that not all of them would be mature, because he said he went into every follicle, even the smaller ones, in order to try to help "deflate" the ovaries.

We got the update today - 20 were M1s (the most mature), 7 were M2s (still mature and good, just not as mature as the M1s), 4 were immature and 1 was non-viable. They fertilized the 27 M1s and M2s, and of those, 17 fertilized normally. We are very, very happy!

The only spot of concern at the moment is that I may be developing a mild case of OHSS. I'm more bloated than I was before the retrieval, and when I lay down, it kind of hurts to breathe. My doctor was monitoring me closely for OHSS and I hadn't shown any signs through retrieval, but I know it can sometimes begin to develop after retrieval. He's bringing me back in this afternoon, I'm assuming for another ultrasound. If I do have it, hopefully it's a mild case that resolves quickly. Right now, transfer is set for Wednesday afternoon.

The Waiting Line - The IM trigger shot went fine in terms of the injection itself - no pain or anything like that. We had a little bit of drama before doing the injection, though. The pharmacy was supposed to have given me a syringe with a 1 1/2 inch needle to draw up the injection and another 1 1/2 needle to swap out and actually inject with.

It turned out the second needle was only 1 inch, but we didn't realize that until I had already put it on the syringe. I was going to swap it out with the 1 1/2 inch, because I figured how dull could that needle be - it was only poked through the rubber of the vial once, right? Well, I had put the 1 inch needle on so tight that neither R nor I could get it off. After a couple minutes of panic, I decided there really wasn't much that could be done, because the 1 inch clearly wasn't coming off and I didn't have another vial of trigger meds to draw up, so I just went ahead and injected with the 1 inch. It seems to have worked out fine.

But, about that "how dull could it be" question - trust me on this, the answer is "too dull to use." I did the first PIO injection last night. The pharmacy and the clinical coordinator said to use a 22 1/2 gauge. But the PIO I have is in cottonseed oil, which seems to be thinner than sesame oil, so I didn't think there would be a problem using a 25 gauge.

And, there probably isn't, except that it needs to be a 25 gauge that hasn't already been pushed through a rubber stopper. I stuck the 25 gauge in my ample posterior. It hurt a little as it went in, and then it stopped. I thought it was probably just because my hand was shaking a bit. So I pushed harder. After all, fat tissue is soft, right? And I've certainly got more than 1/16th of an inch of that to push through. But it wouldn't keep going.

So I pulled it out. And because I hadn't learned my lesson the first time, I stuck it in another spot. Another little bit of pain as it went in. Another refusal to go any farther. I contemplated calling the clinical coordinator and begging her call in a prescription of 25 gauge needles to a local pharmacy, but then I decided to just suck it up for the night, so I took off the 25 gauge (fortunately I had learned my lesson from the trigger and hadn't screwed it on too tight) and put on a 22 1/2 gauge.

Let me just say this: A sharp 22 1/2 gauge is much, much better than a dull 25 gauge. It didn't hurt going through the skin, and it easily went all the way in. The PIO didn't hurt going in, either. I just injected it very, very slowly.

So, I survived through my first PIO injection. I am still going to ask for the script for the 25 gauges when I go in for the ultrasound this afternoon, though.

I'm running out of computer battery power again, but I'll try to catch up with as many blogs as I can until I do.

July 28, 2006

Ready, Set, Retrieve

It's official - trigger is tonight, and retrieval is Sunday morning. It's been two years since I've done an IM injection, so tonight should be interesting. I'm picking R up at the airport in a few minutes, so at least he'll be here to talk me into jamming that looong needle into my butt when I begin to whine and freak out!

Today I had 20 follicles, and lining was at 10.5. We also got R's latest DNA fragmentation results today, after enduring a little bit of drama with the lab that did the test. His fragmentation was 24 percent, which is his lowest level ever. So, he'll be producing a fresh sample after all this weekend. (We were prepared to use a sample he had frozen this spring if necessary.)

So, prayers seem to be getting answered left and right for us this week. I'm very, very thankful. And, selfishly, hoping they continue to be answered in such a positive way.

Thank you all for your support. I'm not getting to log on as much as I had expected to, but I'll find a way to post on Sunday.

Also, please keep my friend in your thoughts. Her first clot resolved itself, but a second one appeared this week. The babies are still doing fine at this point, but she is now on a schedule of weekly ultrasounds. Why oh why can't this ever be easy for those of us who have had to go through so much to get here? J, if you're reading this, know that I'm thinking of you...

July 27, 2006

A Quick Update

It turns out we don't have internet access in our hotel room like I thought we did, so this is the first chance I've had to log on since we got here Sunday night.

I'll post more later, but right now I want to catch up with all of you, so I'll make this quick. Yesterday's ultrasound showed 18 measurable follicles and a few more that may or may not catch up, a lining of 9 mm with a triple stripe, an E2 of 1068 and no signs of OHSS. It's bizarre - I'm almost not quite sure what to do with so much good news. But I'm very, very thankful.

It looks like trigger will probably be Friday night, with a Sunday morning retrieval.

Ok, on to all of your blogs. Be back later.

P.S. Meg - Two weeks because they brought me out early to monitor closely for OHSS. My first stim ultrasound was on Monday. If they hadn't been concerned about OHSS, it wouldn't have been until today, and I would have only been here 8-10 days.

July 21, 2006

The Stimming Begins

The baseline ultrasound went well yesterday. 10 follicles on one side, 11 on the other. My estradiol level was 15. I have to confess that I don't know much about what estradiol levels are supposed to be, because my former clinic didn't test them during IUI cycles. But I'm assuming 15 was fine, since the cycle coordinator told me to start Follistim last night.

My friend was able to see the twins' heartbeats yesterday, and they are measuring pretty close to on target - 7w2d and 6w5d, she was 7w1d yesterday. However, she's having a bit of a scary time. She started bleeding heavily on Tuesday and went to the emergency department. There's a blood clot in her uterus. (I wonder if this is the same thing as a subchorionic hematoma?)

Her RE told her yesterday that it will likely resolve itself and pass through, and he doesn't think the babies are in any danger. Still, she's on bed rest for a few days and she's understandably concerned. She goes in for another ultrasound next week.

I know this is short - especially for me - but I have to get to work. There's about two days of work for me to wrap up, and I've got all of six hours left to do it. I'll post again once I get settled in the hotel.

July 18, 2006

So Far, So Good

Things are going as well as I could ask for – only one bruise, no headaches, no unusual grumpiness. R is particularly grateful for that last one. (He still harbors bad memories of our IUI days, perhaps because I once locked him out of our bedroom in a Clomid-induced fit of irritation and then refused to tell him what it was that he had done to tick me off.)

I’m making another day trip to the RE on Thursday for my baseline. That’s also the day my friend is scheduled for an ultrasound to check for the twins’ heartbeats. Please think good thoughts for both of us.

The good news continues on the Pooch front too. The vet repeated her bloodwork on Sunday, and it showed that her pancreatic enzymes have returned to the normal level. Yea! One liver enzyme is still elevated but is also heading in the right direction. The vet said it takes that enzyme longer to return to normal, so he isn’t concerned about that.

I’ve started packing for the cycle. The process of packing always reminds me of two of my great-aunts. When I was about 10 years old, they came to visit us as part of a month-long trip that included stops in several states, capped off by an Alaskan cruise. They showed up with one suitcase apiece. For an entire month’s trip!

I did not inherit their ability to pack lightly.

You know that saying, “Pack everything you think you’ll need, then unpack half of it, and that’s probably more than enough”? Um, well, I tend to subscribe to the opposite theory: Pack everything you think you’ll need and then about 50 percent more just in case, because if you don’t bring it, it’s a given that you’ll need it at some point.

Couple that theory with the fact that I’m going to be living in the same, small hotel room for two weeks (half of that time by myself, which is longer than I’ve ever lived by myself in my entire life), and you wind up with a packing list that includes:

  • A very comfy bean bag chair, purchased especially for this trip. Hey, I figure I’ll get tired of sitting on the bed and the desk chair after a couple of days. And besides, it’s purple, which is my favorite color, so of course it was meant to be.
  • A vase. Because one needs flowers to make the aforementioned small hotel room feel like home, right? R just rolled his eyes, threw up his hands and began trying to figure out how to pack it in a way that won’t result in breaking it.
  • My new baking pan. As if I needed yet another baking pan. But maybe if I bring the RE’s staff treats, they’ll go easy on me with the blood draws. A little sweet bribery never hurt anyone.
  • Two binders full of recipes, which I plan to make in the room’s kitchenette despite the fact that I (ahem) do not cook. Apparently, I expect these drugs not only to help create a baby, but also to magically transform me into Martha Stewart overnight.
  • About a dozen books, ranging from romance novels to a how-to-learn-HTML-in-one-day manual to Steven Covey’s famed 7 Habits book, which I started reading more than a year ago but have yet to finish. Not only am I going to morph into Martha, I’m also going to pick up some new skills for work (the HTML book), discover the purpose of my life and figure out how to effectively fulfill it, all in the span of about two weeks. While also trying to grow a couple dozen eggs.

I’m not over-reaching, am I?

Back to the packing…

July 10, 2006

1 Injection Down, 70 or So to Go

As you can tell, I’ve been behind on blogging and commenting. I started to catch up last night, but I still have a ways to go, so please forgive me if yours is one of the blogs I still need to visit.

I can’t believe a week has gone by already. It’s all such a blur – I’m not sure where it went or what I’ve been doing for this past week, other than working like a crazy person. One of my co-workers gave her notice last week, so my boss’ team is now officially only 50 percent staffed. When I take time off for the cycle, that number will drop to 25 percent – yikes!

I wish I had something profound to write related to this cycle, but I don’t. At least, not at this point. Maybe all of the drugs will eventually give me inspiration. Speaking of the drugs, I did my first Lupron shot this morning. And, as you can see, I lived to tell about it.

The peace I’d been feeling temporarily took a back seat to hyperventilation when I got up today, but ultimately it was much, much easier than I was making it out to be in my mind. It had been almost two years since I’d done an injection, so I was nervous. But the needle didn’t hurt at all going in, and it was such a small amount of liquid to inject that it turned out to be no big deal. One of my biggest fears was that the Lupron would sting, but it didn’t.

Updates: My friend’s first ultrasound went really well. Since she was only at 5w2d, they didn’t see a heartbeat, which they didn’t expect to. However, they did see two sacs – she’s got twins in there! I’m very happy for her.

The Pooch is still having ups and downs, but at least now we know what the problem is: She has pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas. She had a relapse again on Friday, so I took her back to the vet (third time in two weeks, they’re getting to know us really well) on Saturday. They ran some blood tests and called yesterday to tell us the results.

The good news is that she seems to have a relatively mild case of it, and it’s possible that once we get it under control this may be the only episode of it that she has. The bad news is that it’s often triggered by giving dogs high-fat food they’re not supposed to have, like table scraps, and getting my mom to follow the “nothing but kibble” rule is going to be tough. Our zoo will be staying with her while we cycle, and she likes to spoil them.

I’m hoping she’ll cooperate when I make it very clear that 1) pancreatitis can turn serious and even fatal, and 2) I’m going to be super stressed about the Pooch if I think there’s even a tiny chance she’ll be fed something other than kibble and that the stress could mess up the IVF cycle. (Disclaimer: No, I don’t really believe that stress causes infertility or causes IVF cycles to fail, but if thinking so is what gets her to cooperate, I’ll take it.)

My mom is one of those people who, when a doctor says not to do/eat/take something, responds with “Oh, what does he know? Doing (whatever the “something” is) can’t really be that bad.” Then she goes ahead and does it anyway, just to prove that no one can tell her what to do. So, I’m afraid she’ll dismiss the vet’s orders of no table scraps or treats. But I’m also hoping that if I throw in the “stressing me out could mess up the IVF cycle” idea on top of it, the potential guilt will be enough to motivate her to cooperate. We shall see.

July 02, 2006

1,000 Things, Part 1

Suddenly I have 1,000 things to say. Very few of them are related to each other, and most don’t seem like they rise to the level of being worthy of their own posts – either that, or I’m just feeling too frantic to write separate posts for all of them right now – so here they are, in no particular order.

Continued Happy News
My friend’s second beta continued to rise appropriately. Hurray for her! Her first ultrasound (at 5w2d) is on Friday.

Doggie Update
The pooch seems to be doing a bit better, although we had to make another trip to the vet yesterday. I finally felt okay with leaving her home alone on Friday, so I worked in the office that day. When I got home, there was evidence she was relapsing a bit, but not as bad as what we came home to earlier in the week. The vet gave us an antibiotic to add to the other two pills she’s already taking.

I hope this clears up before we have to leave for the cycle. I’ve never been away from her for more than seven days before, so this is going to be a stressful experience for her and for me. I thought about bringing her with us, but she hasn’t traveled with us overnight before, and I think that would also be stressful on top of the cycle. Plus, R will still be here with her for the first week, then she and the rest of the zoo will be over at my mom’s, who lives two miles from the vet and has pet-sat for us hundreds of times.

On Being a Bad Sister
I’m in a fairly good place right now, feeling peace with our decision to cycle and where to cycle. I can be happy for my friend, because I know what she went through to achieve this pregnancy. But today, when my brother called, I saw who it was on the caller ID and I told R to let it go to voice mail. I haven’t listened to the message yet.

I do not know my brother well. And I’m even less well acquainted with my sisters. They are full siblings to each other from a marriage of our dad’s prior to him marrying my mom and having me. It’s a bizarre situation – we didn’t grow up together, I’ve only ever seen them in person a couple of times in my life, we’re very different people in many ways. Still, my brother deserves all the credit for working to keep our relationship (if you could call it that) afloat, and I do love them all, even though I don’t quite understand that since I don’t really know them.

The thing is, my brother and his girlfriend are expecting sometime this month. It wasn’t planned. Neither was the pregnancy that resulted in his daughter with another girlfriend several years ago. My brother knows what R and I have been through. He doesn’t mean to be insensitive, but he just doesn’t get it. When he called to tell me a couple of months ago, he must’ve said “My girlfriend and I are going to have a baby” at least five times. Everything in the conversation ultimately made its way back to that point. I managed to force out a normal-sounding “Congratulations,” but I got off the phone as quickly as I could.

Today is the second time he’s called since that conversation. I’ve been avoiding him. I didn’t even listen to his message yet this time, because I’m afraid he’s going to tell me the baby was born. And as much as I want to be happy for him, I feel like I need to protect the peace I’m feeling about our cycle right now. Even if that means being a terrible sister.

Missing Out on the ‘Lush’ Experience
I first discovered Lush when I read about it on a fellow infertility blog (I wish I could remember whose) several months back. I love bubble baths, so I decided to go check out the store that’s in our town. I wound up buying a couple of terrific-smelling soaps and a few irresistible-sounding bath bombs.

This was back in the beginning of February, and I still haven’t used the bombs. Cycle day 1 showed up unexpectedly a couple times, then I got sick and didn’t feel like sitting in a hot bath tub when my stomach was bothering me, then the surprise pregnancy, an insane work schedule, etc. I thought for sure that once I started the BCPs, it would be the perfect time. Then came the breakthrough bleeding. That finally went away, and this week I thought, “I’m going to do this on Sunday, for sure.” It’s not too close to the cycle that I’ll worry about overcooking my eggs or anything.

But now it’s more than 110 degrees outside, and even though it’s not quite that hot indoors, I’d be more tempted to load the bathtub with ice cubes than bubbles at this point. It’s 87 degrees in our pool right now. Maybe I should just toss the bath bombs in there and soak away…

Believe it or not, I have yet more to say. But I will save some of it for later, because there are things I’ve been putting off (like work) that I really should at least attempt to make some effort toward.

Eight days until lupron begins…Do you suppose this has something to do with the sudden frantic wordiness? That perhaps if I just keep prattling on, somehow the train won’t barrel down on me? Nah, couldn’t be.

June 29, 2006

Positive News for My Friend

Her first beta, at 12dp3dt, is 450!!! I couldn't find any charts after a quick Google search, but I found a site where women posted their betas, and 450 seemed to be pretty high compared with the other 12dp3dt betas I saw, so I'm thinking she may have two in there. I hope so - she'd be thrilled with that.

Thank you all again for your feedback and well wishes for her. They meant a lot, to her and to me.

I'm a few days behind on posting on blogs, so I apologize. I'm going to try to do that tonight if I can. In addition to already being short-staffed at work, another person is out this week with a family emergency, so I'm spinning plates like mad right now for myself and two other people. And trying to help an ill canine furbaby recover from an unpleasant bout of what appears to be gastroenteritis. Our carpet is not a pleasant site!


June 26, 2006

14 Days and Counting...

Well, as you can tell from my brief note below, Saturday's cyst check ultrasound went well. I know that traveling out of state for it sounds extreme, but I'm glad I went. I've consulted with my doctor on the phone, in person in his office and via e-mail, but this is the first time he has examined me.

He pointed out a few interesting things, all of them good.

First off, apparently I have a normal, anteverted uterus. This surprised me, because two other REs who have done ultrasounds on me have told me I have a slightly retroverted uterus. One made that determination before my first pregnancy, and the other said it about a year after that pregnancy. However, I Googled "retroverted uterus" and found this diagram, and my uterus was definitely in the anteverted position on Saturday. I wonder if a uterus can change positions over time? I forgot to ask.

The second surprising proclamation was that my ovaries don't look like classic PCOS ovaries. They have several follicles on the surface, which is typical of PCOS, but they also have several follicles in the middle of the ovaries, which apparently is not typical of PCOS.

The past three years have made me tired. Evidence of that fact: I, the one with a never-ending stream of questions, didn't even ask if that means I may not have PCOS. I didn't bring up my FSH/LH ratios, either. Whether or not he thinks I have PCOS, it doesn't change our decision to cycle. And I just didn't have the energy to get into a discussion about it.

The third bit of good news is that my ovarian reserve appears to still be good. I know I'm still considered relatively young (32 next month) in terms of this process, but since it's been almost two years since our last IUI cycle, I was a bit nervous about it. It turned out I had 17 follicles on one side and 23 on the other. Doc expects that I'll have a similar number, give or take a few, at the baseline ultrasound. Hopefully I'll have quality as well as quantity, since quantity doesn't matter if none of them look good...

After the appointment, I went to the beach for a few hours. I walked along the surf until I got to a quiet place, away from the densely populated area of sand where you could hear families playing together and children shouting as they romped in the sand. I spread out a towel, read a book, listened to the sound of the waves crashing ashore, and prayed. It was a perfect, relaxing afternoon.

Then I called my husband and uttered words no one, least of all me, ever expected to hear from my mouth: "I can't wait to start the shots! I wish it could be today." It's a bizarre feeling when you're looking forward to jamming needles into your body day in and day out.

14 days to the first shot and counting...

Update on my friend: THANK YOU to all of you who have replied to the post on behalf of my friend who is in her 2ww. I've been forwarding your responses to her, and they have really helped encourage her. Things were still the same in terms of her symptoms when I talked with her on Friday. She and I weren't able to connect over the weekend, but I'm hoping to reach her today for another update. Her first beta is on Thursday, and she will get the results of it that afternoon. I'll keep you posted.

June 25, 2006

Ultrasound Went Great

I have a post all written, but I won't get a chance to type it in until late tonight, so I just wanted to let those of you who are checking in know. I'll be back ASAP...

June 22, 2006

Need Feedback for a Friend

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned a friend of mine who is currently in the midst of her first IVF cycle. I’m looking for some feedback on her behalf, so if you have any thoughts, please post them here.

The situation is: She had retrieval on June 14 and transferred two 3-day embryos (one her RE said was “very good” and the other was “good”) on June 17. On June 20, she had very light spotting, bright red and just for that day. She also started having mild cramping around that time. The spotting stopped after that one day, but the cramping has continued off and on. Her first beta is scheduled for next Thursday, June 29, and she’s feeling discouraged, thinking that the cramping in particular means that the cycle didn’t work.

My thought is that the spotting could very well be implantation spotting, and I think the fact that it stopped is a good sign. The spotting happened and the cramping began just 3dp3dt, so I also tend to think that that is too early for the cramping to be a bad sign. But of course, I am by no means an expert on any of this.

So, what do all of you think? I will forward your thoughts to her.

June 21, 2006

Seeing Silver

Have you ever seen the “I Love Lucy” episode that involves Lucy and Ethel working on a candy factory’s conveyer belt line? You know, the one in which they frantically try to wrap the pieces of candy that go gliding by until they just can’t keep up anymore and then begin to stuff the chocolate pieces into their mouths and hats to keep others from seeing what’s happening?

Well, that’s me. Except instead of chocolates zooming past, it’s silver hairs cropping up on my head at an alarmingly frequent pace.

My mom had a lot of silver hair by the time she was 30, so much so that she took to wearing a wig at that young age. But just because that happened to her doesn’t mean it’ll happen to me, I reasoned.

I’ve been living in denial.

I first noticed an occasional silver hair about a year ago. I told myself it must be the result of stress, and I proceeded to simply snip them out. But during the past month or two, they’ve started appearing much more frequently, and they’re throughout my head, not just in one spot any more.

They’re not a soft gray, either. They’re a bright silver that stands out against my dark hair, and they have a strange, coarse texture. I refuse to color my hair because that would mean acknowledging reality. So, instead, I keep frantically cutting, trying not to clip any other hairs because I have very thin hair and can’t afford to lose any that I don’t absolutely have to.

The end result? Short, silver hairs that, because of their odd texture, stick up and look a lot like little TV antennae poking through my hair.

I’m not even 32 yet, people. So much for aging gracefully…

June 17, 2006

Hurting and Hoping

Right off the bat, I’ll warn you that this post isn’t going to win any awards for eloquence. I’m having a difficult time putting my feelings into words, so bear with me.

Infertility is a process of highs and lows, emotions that can go from one extreme to the other in, literally, the flicker of a heartbeat. Sometimes, the highs and lows, the hope and sadness, is so intricately intertwined that it’s impossible to tease them out into separate emotions.

That’s pretty much how I’m feeling right now – an odd combination of hope and sadness, with something that vaguely resembles peace or acceptance thrown in for good measure.

This week, I’ve been growing more excited about our upcoming first IVF cycle. We’re cycling out of state, and a week from today, I’m popping over to our clinic for the day to do a cyst check ultrasound. I have plane tickets, a car rental reservation, and a plan to spend a blissful few hours reading on the beach after the appointment.

At the same time, my excitement is tempered by sadness. Sadness and heartbreak for Sube, who received devastating news this week. Sadness and anxiety for a non-blogosphere friend of mine who is six months younger than me and doing her first IVF. (She has truly lived the IF roller coaster this week, finding out one ovary was hiding and may not be able to have its eggs retrieved, finding out the ovary was accessible during retrieval after all, finding out all of her eggs from both ovaries looked dark, finding out only four fertilized and she was probably going to be canceled because all four looked dark and granular, finding out those four miraculously cleared up in color and granulation and are all growing appropriately.)

Sadness for all of us who have to go through this, who have to endure the heartache and the pain and the pills and the shots and the procedures and blow after blow.

But while I’d never wish the pain of infertility on any of you, I’m thankful for all of you. For being their, for supporting me and each other, for reaching out and sharing yourselves. I continue to be amazed by this incredible community of women. And I just wanted to let you know that.

June 10, 2006


I don’t know if it’s the birth control pills, or if it’s that I’m just mad at the universe that we have to do IVF (as if it’s fair that anyone else has to), or if it’s that I’m still really annoyed by a co-worker and a snot at the ob/gyn’s office, both of whom managed to tick me off within a couple hours of each other yesterday afternoon.

Whatever it is, my resulting witchy mood is not pretty. And, it looks like it may be here to stay.

R said something to me this morning. I can’t even remember what he said at this point, but he was making a joke. He has a great sense of humor, and he’s usually terrific at making me laugh. But this morning, he didn’t sense my mood quickly enough, and I was having none of it.

As I walked away, I said, “You DON’T want to go there.”

Thinking I was kidding, he continued on.

I whirled around. “Unless you want to spend the next two months living at your parents’ house, You. Will. KNOCK. IT. OFF.”

I think his mouth may have fallen open in shock, but he high-tailed it back into the other room so fast that it’s hard to say for sure.

I’ll save the “snot at the ob/gyn’s office” story for a time when I can manage to write about it without using vulgar language. But if this is me on birth control pills, imagine how much fun I’m going to be once I really get going on all the drugs for this cycle.

Don’t worry. That pounding sound you hear isn’t someone trying to break into your house. It’s just R, frantically banging on his parents' front door.

June 09, 2006

And So It Begins…

…with a single, little, yellow pill.

I started birth control pills on Wednesday. That officially marks the beginning of our first IVF cycle. I was scared at first, after starting the pills, but now I’m getting more excited.

Part of me is still struggling to understand this, to understand how we are able to conceive on our own, yet still need as drastic a treatment as IVF. I know, I know, IVF can improve egg quality, create a better uterine lining, etc. I’ll get there. Well, maybe not ever to “understanding,” but at least to “acceptance.” It’ll just take a little more time.

Updates on other stuff:

Given the birth control pills, obviously Monday’s test was negative. I wasn’t surprised. I don’t think I was even really disappointed. For a little while, my stomach kind of felt like it does when you reach the pinnacle of a roller coaster and then begin plunging toward the ground at 75 mph. You know, that “What on earth am I thinking??!?” feeling. But that has (mostly) given way to excitement now.

Good news on the death threats front - there haven’t been any more threatening voice mails from the mystery caller. I’m chalking it up to a prank from someone with a sick, twisted mind.

And, I’ve vowed not to call the bomb squad when my next batch-o’-drugs arrives.

June 04, 2006

The Best Laid Plans

R and I went out of town this weekend. The idea was to get away from it all, and I was determined that by the time we returned from 48 hours of relaxation, I’d be in a place where I’m ready to tackle the IVF cycle in July.

The plan worked out well – for the first 24 hours. We had rented a cabin in the woods that included a large game room. We played pool. (I managed to nail one pretty impressive shot in particular, then promptly proceeded to lob the cue ball completely off the table on my next shot, which is much more reflective of my typical pool-playing abilities.) We played darts, watched movies, read, just chilled out in general.

And then, R got food poisoning.

He began to feel sick at about 10 p.m. yesterday. Very, very sick. Unfortunately, the signs started setting in about 15 minutes after I’d taken a sleeping pill. I don’t take them on a regular basis, but since I haven’t been sleeping particularly well lately, I figured this weekend was a good chance to catch up on a couple solid nights of rest.

I was still awake the first time he got sick, so I did what I could to take care of him by helping him back to the bed after he finished throwing up and getting a cool washcloth for his forehead. We thought it was just something that didn’t agree with his stomach and that after throwing up, he’d start to feel better.

So I climbed back into bed beside him and fell asleep. Until 7 o’clock this morning. Without waking up at all. Or noticing that poor R spent half of the night sleeping on the bathroom floor next to the toilet because he was too ill to get up and come back to bed.

I felt like a horrible wife when I finally did get up this morning and realized that he probably has a pretty bad case of food poisoning. His doctor called in a couple of prescriptions to the nearest pharmacy, and we picked them up and then started for home early. Lately around here, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another. But at least food poisoning, yucky as it is (I’ve had it twice), will pass soon.

Even though this weekend did not end the way we had envisioned, it did help me relax a bit. I’m almost afraid to say it, but I do think I am finally ready for the IVF cycle. I continue to take the progesterone, and I continue to bleed. I took another test on Friday, and again, no surprise that it was negative. I’ll take one more suppository tonight and then do one final test tomorrow.

Que sara, sara.

June 01, 2006

The Lovenox 'Bomb'

The bleeding continues, and I continue to be unsure what it means.

Since we did see a questionable, very faint line on a FRED with a beta of 5, I decided to do a little experiment this morning and use the other test from that box. This time, it was a definitive single line – not even anything remotely questionable appeared where the second line would be. We weren’t surprised or disappointed though.

Later this morning, it looked like CD1 might be officially on its way, so I called the clinic to find out when I need to start taking the birth control pills. The nurse coordinator thought the suppositories might be irritating my cervix and causing the bleeding, or that an embryo might have tried to implant without success. She suggested continuing to take a test every couple of days until either a line shows up or CD1 clearly arrives. Of course, after I spoke with her, the bleeding stopped for a while.

In one of life’s little ironies, a box with a 30-day supply of Lovenox was waiting on my doorstep when I arrived home tonight. The clinic had requested authorization for it from my insurance company back when I was planning to cycle in April. Since we postponed, I told the drug company to hold off on mailing me anything until I contacted them.

I have no idea why it arrived today of all days. It came in a discreet brown box with no name on the return address and a label that said “URGENT!” and then, on the next line, “DO NOT OPEN!” Um, okay, so I’m just supposed to urgently look at it?

Instead, I almost called the police to come blow it up.

Yes, I realize that does sound like a wee bit of an overreaction, even for someone under the influence of hormones. But this morning, when I checked my cell phone as I was walking out the door, I had a voice mail from an unidentified caller. Being the paranoid cautious person I am, I won’t go into all the details of the call, but suffice it to say the caller had an impressive command of obscenities and painted a picture of rather creative physical threats.

I truly wasn’t overly concerned, but since it was my work phone, on my way into the office I decided to stop by the security department and let them know about it. Since I had actually received a few calls (although only the one threatening voice mail) from the caller, the security officer I spoke to decided to record the message onto a tape. He seemed pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, so I just went on my merry way to my office.

About two seconds after I plopped into my chair, my cell phone rang. I answered it, and without preamble or an identifying hello, our director of security barked, “What are you doing answering your phone?!” The funny thing was, it had been a while since I last spoke to him, so I didn’t recognize his voice. And because I didn’t recognize his voice, I didn’t believe him when he told me who he was. It took a full 60 seconds before I was convinced. Fortunately, he has a sense of humor.

He also had a list of security precautions he ordered me to take at work, at home and anywhere in between. Then he mentioned a couple of threats in the message that I hadn’t been able to make out in listening to it. Thanks, I already had a pretty clear idea of how the person feels about me, so I didn’t really need any additional pictures painted for me.

On my way home, I was in cautious alert mode. When I saw the discreet little box with no sender’s name that had been overnight shipped, knowing that neither R nor I had ordered anything yesterday, I transitioned right through cautious alert directly into alarmed and suspicious mode.

I wouldn’t let R call the phone number on the box, for fear that doing so would possibly trigger a bomb inside of it. Any suggestions of opening it or even simply picking it up resulted in controlled but mildly hysterical shrieking. Then I got the brilliant idea to Google the return address on the package.

Thank God I didn’t have to spend this evening trying to explain to a police bomb squad why they just blew up a package containing $800 worth of perfectly good drugs.

May 29, 2006

Good Sign or Bad Sign?

Usually I’m pretty good at reading my body’s reproductive signs, but my body seems to have thrown a curve ball at me this time. I think I ovulated last Saturday, so if that’s the case, I’m 9dpo today. And I seem to be bleeding a bit.

I’m not quite sure what to make of it.

When I went to the bathroom earlier today, I didn’t expect to see anything, so I was surprised when I wiped and saw blood ranging in color from brown to dark red to lighter red. The next time, it was light pink and there was less of it. The third time, less than the second time and all brown. There haven’t been any clots or anything in the toilet, it’s only when I wipe that I see something.

In my mind, I keep trying to make a case for implantation: During the times I do ovulate, I always get my period 14 or 15 dpo, not sooner. And, I don’t think I estimated the ovulation date a week late, because that would mean that I ovulated on cycle day 5, which is really early for me and I didn’t notice any signs around that time. And, I’m taking progesterone suppositories twice a day, so that should make my period come later, not earlier. And, and, and…You get the picture.

Then, of course, the case for it not being implantation comes up too: The first time, there was probably too much blood for it to just be implantation. Or, 9 dpo is too late for implantation spotting. Or, maybe I didn’t really ovulate at all, even though I thought I did. Or, maybe I did ovulate, but since I forgot to take the progesterone on Thursday morning and Saturday night (I haven’t missed any other doses for the past 8 days), my body thought my progesterone was falling and this is my period. And on and on I go…

I’m going to try not to obsess too much. (Really, I mean it!) Whatever is, is, and there’s nothing I can do about it other than keep taking the prenatals, folic acid and baby aspirin until I know for sure. I was going to wait until next Monday to test since we have plans for next weekend and I wanted to just put it out of my mind. But that was back when I figured the progesterone would buy me a couple extra days of time.

So, whaddaya think? Good sign or bad sign? Test early or hold out ’til next Monday? If you have any "there was so much blood it had to be a period, but actually it turned out to be a pregnancy" stories, now's the time to share them...

May 25, 2006

‘Plan?’ Who Said Anything About A ‘Plan?’

Remember that whole “hash it out and come to an agreement” plan to decide whether or not R and I are going to try naturally this month?

Well, um, about that. I decided to forgo that approach. Instead, it went down like this: On Saturday, I noticed some signs that I might be ovulating. I walked into the office where R was on the computer and said, “Wanna have sex?” Seeing as how that question is asked far too infrequently in our house, he jumped at the chance.

Now the way I see it is he knows what that can lead to, and he was perfectly free to say no. So I didn’t actually “trick” him into anything per se, I just made him an offer that was tough to refuse. All’s fair in love and baby-making, right?

Afterward, there was tacit acknowledgement of the ultimate motivation behind my offer when he helped me shove a couple of pillows under my bottom, which has been the ritual cap to our routine for the past three-plus years. We still haven’t spoken of it out loud.

I started the progesterone suppositories on Monday night. Tuesday morning, after nine hours of some of the most solid sleep I’ve had in years, I seriously contemplated calling in sick because I was still so tired I could barely drag myself out of bed. When I almost fell back asleep on the toilet after finally getting up, I considered skipping the morning suppository. I finally did take it, and then spent most of the afternoon wanting to shut my office door, lay down on the floor and nap.

I took the suppositories for four IUI cycles, and I don’t remember them ever making me that tired before. But the sleepiness seems to have passed, because I didn’t sleep much at all last night.

I haven’t quite decided when to test. June 3 will be two weeks to the day that I think I ovulated, but we’re going to be out of town that weekend, and I don’t want to deal with it then. I’ll probably test on June 5, and drive myself nuts for a few days with repeat tests if we don’t see the answer we want. Since I went out to the store to buy different brands of tests last time, I’m well-stocked for the POAS game.

May 12, 2006

It’s Official

I got the call from the doctor’s office this morning. My beta on Wednesday had dropped from 5 to 2. Not a surprise.

I’m doing okay. Ironically, R and I are having the opposite reactions of what I would have predicted. This pregnancy, as very brief as it was, seems to have made me happier and more optimistic about our chances to have a real, live baby at some point. I think it’s because now the first pregnancy doesn’t seem like quite so much of an anomaly.

There have been three times we know of when my ovaries have coughed up an egg while R had normal sperm counts and we weren’t in a treatment cycle. Two of those times, I’ve gotten pregnant, and we think I also got pregnant the third time (which happened two months after the first pregnancy) but never had it confirmed through a test. So it’s kind of nice to think that my body seems to be able to at least accomplish the first steps of the baby-making process like a normal body should.

Now, if only we could get it to continue. If we want to try naturally again this month (assuming I ovulate, which is not a given by any means), our RE wants me to restart the Metformin now, along with baby aspirin and mega doses of folic acid (for the blood clotting issues). Then I would add in progesterone suppositories as soon as I suspect I’ve ovulated. And if by some miracle we get a positive test again, I am to start taking the heparin injections immediately.

I’m fine with giving the above scenario a try for a month, because if I don’t get pregnant, or if we have a repeat of this month, we’ll just continue to plan to do our first IVF cycle in July. R, however, is not happy with that idea. He used to be the optimistic one of us – and on most days, about most things, he still is – but he’s sinking lower with the blow of losing this baby. He took the first miscarriage very hard and for a long time didn’t want me to get pregnant again because he didn’t want to risk the emotional pain of another loss. Now that that’s happened, he really, really doesn’t want to risk it a third time, and he thinks that would happen if I get pregnant again the natural way.

So he would rather just wait until the IVF cycle, because he thinks that will have a better chance since the drugs will help with egg quality, lining thickness and progesterone support. But the cycle is still more than two months away, and I’m anxious to try again now. We’ll eventually hash it out and come to an agreement, I’m sure.

May 10, 2006

‘Just For You’

Two years ago today – the Wednesday before Mother’s Day – R and I lost our first baby when I miscarried. It happened that afternoon. I had spent all day on the couch, with my legs propped up, praying that the cramping and bleeding would stop. R was at work. I wanted to just be by myself, to spare him the pain of sitting there watching me and knowing there was nothing he could do to stop the inevitable.

Today, two years have passed, we’ve had one suspected pregnancy, three failed adoptions, and Monday’s surprise news of another pregnancy.

And, like two years ago, here I am again on the Wednesday before Mother’s Day: bleeding and (I suspect) miscarrying. I went in for another beta this morning, but I don’t expect it to be good news. I didn’t see the point in asking them to order it “stat,” so I won’t get the results until tomorrow or possibly Friday morning.

On the way back to work from the doctor’s office, I pulled out the Lionel Richie CD “Just For You” and stuck it in my car stereo. The CD’s title song had come out in early 2004, in the months before that first miscarriage, and it was getting a lot of airplay. I doubt it was meant to be about miscarriage, but the lyrics really spoke to me. They still do, and I’ve come to think of it as “our song” for the babies we’ve lost. Click here if you want to listen to a clip of it.

Just For You

Golden days
Night was play
Pain was all a world away
We went to school
We learned the rules
We trusted all they had to say

Then life took a turn
We all had to learn
And we cant go back again

And my heart is breaking
Just for you
Just for you
And my arms are open
Just for you
Just for you
Just for you

God was God
And dreams were dreams
Life was all cake and ice cream
Truth was true
And lies were lies
And we thought love would never die
But the world moved on
My illusions gone
And I don't know who to blame

And my heart is breaking
Just for you
Just for you
And my arms are open
Just for you
Just for you
And these tears I'm crying are for you
Just for you
Just for you

I'm looking for protection
Give me shelter from the storm
I just hope this light inside me
Keeps me strong

And my heart is breaking
Just for you
Just for you
And my arms they're open
Just for you
Just for you
And these tears I'm crying are for you
Just for you
Just for you

Just for you
Oh my heart is breaking
And my arms are open
Oh these tears I'm crying are just for you

May 08, 2006

Um, I’m Not Quite Sure What to Think

First of all, thank you to those of you who are still checking up on me. I’m doing okay.

I haven’t posted lately because the focus of this blog has been about infertility, and since I haven’t been feeling well, all of that has been on hold. It’s been difficult to read blogs too, because I’ve felt like the uncoordinated kid who’s looking over the fence at the other kids playing baseball - not only am I not “in the game,” I’m not even on the bench. That probably sounds silly, but it’s how I’ve been feeling.

Physically, I’m feeling better. Still not 100 percent, but definitely better. I’m waiting for some final test results this week, but the gastroenterologist expects them to come back normal. If so, I think he’s going to call it irritable bowel syndrome. There’s no cure for IBS, although there are drugs that can address some of the symptoms if needed, and dietary changes can help. It’s something that can come and go or be chronic – every case is different. I think my case is fairly mild compared to others I’ve read about, and hopefully it will go away completely soon.

* * Ok, I should probably post a warning at this point. What follows doesn’t exactly have R and I swinging from the chandeliers yet. But if you’re feeling fragile you still may not want to read beyond at this point. * *

I thought I might have ovulated within the last week or two, but it was hard to say for sure. The last period I count as an at least semi-normal period was in the end of February, so my body hasn’t been in a reliably functioning mood lately.

Then during the past several days, my chest started to get increasingly sore. That’s not one of my normal PMS symptoms, so I started to get a little suspicious.

You can see where this is going. But before anyone gets too excited, I’ll cut to the chase: My beta came back at 5.

I know that means I’m pregnant, but we’d feel much better about it if there was another number after the 5. And, I’m spotting. Although I've been spotting for four or five days now, and the chest soreness – which started around the same time – still seems to be progressing. I would tend to think that if the spotting means this is already in trouble, I wouldn’t be getting more sore, but who knows? It is very possible that I am only at the very end of the third week or beginning of the fourth week, in which case a 5 wouldn’t be totally and completely unreasonable.

My PCP’s office did the test, but I haven’t actually heard from the doctor yet. (The lab tech has gotten to know me during these past few years, so I was able to talk her into giving me the results before the doctor had officially reviewed them.) I also called my ob/gyn’s office and the fertility clinic we’re planning to go to, but neither of them have called me back yet, either.

I expect I’ll be doing another beta on Wednesday. In the meantime, I’m going to try not to obsess. Because at this point, the only thing we can do is pray.

April 13, 2006

Speaking of Sperm...

My posts have been utterly devoid of humor lately, so I thought I’d share a couple of amusing sperm-related anecdotes. (After all, who doesn’t like a good sperm story?)

The first one happened a couple weeks ago, when the container for R to do his sperm DNA fragmentation test was delivered. As the Fed Ex driver carried it into our foyer, she looked at me with a puzzled expression.

Her: This doesn’t look like horse property.
Me (a bit confused): Um, no, it’s not.
Her (now a bit confused herself): But, isn’t this horse sperm? (motioning to the container)
Me (surprised): Ummm, nooo.
Her: Huh. Because I just picked one of these containers up yesterday from a house that had horse property. The woman told me to be real careful not to lose it because it was the sperm from her prize stallion and it was really important that it gets to where it’s going.
Me (at a loss for words): Oh.

She stood there, clearly expecting some sort of explanation. I’m not good at telling people “none of your business,” but over the past few years I’ve become pretty good at being blunt about infertility, so I finally decided to go that route with her.

Me: Well, there’s nothing in there at the moment, but tomorrow it will have my husband’s sperm in it.
Her (a bit taken aback): Oh. Um. Oh. Well, we deliver a lot of these. I guess you never know what’s in them.

At that point, I proceeded to launch into an explanation about the test, the lab it was being shipped to and what the results would mean. I figured, heck, if she’s curious enough to ask, she deserves answers, right? Her eyes kept darting back to her truck, no doubt trying to figure out how she could make her escape from me, the crazy infertility lady.

But I’m betting the next time she delivers a container like that to a house that isn’t on horse property, she won’t ask any questions.

Sperm-related anecdote number two happened this week. R and I made the trek to our out-of-state clinic so he could freeze some sperm there for our future IVF cycle.

After we got back home, I was having a conversation with my mom. She’s learned a lot of the infertility lingo during these past few years and can actually follow along pretty well with the medical jargon.

She asked how the trip and appointment went. She knows why we were there, and that he has also frozen sperm in the past at a local clinic.

I assured her that everything went fine. Then she lowers her voice and asks, with concern, “It doesn’t hurt him when the people at the clinic do that to him, does it?”

Oh, my! Talk about a reverse flashback moment to the preadolescent “birds and the bees” conversation she and I had. I must say, “how sperm is collected for storage” ranks at the top of the list of Things I Never Thought I’d Have to Explain to My 71-Year-Old Mother.

April 04, 2006

A Bright Spot

There has been a bright spot in our reproductive lives recently, but I’ve been so focused on not feeling well that I completely forgot to tell all of you about it. And then the bright spot got even brighter yesterday, on top of which I had a really good day in general. So now that I’ve completely confused you with my gibberish and you’re wondering if I’ve truly, finally gone mad, I will tell you all about it.

First of all, the bright spot from a week and a half ago: R has sperm again!! I try to avoid the overuse of exclamation points, since it is one of my grammatical pet peeves, but this is truly multiple-exclamation-point worthy.

How could I have forgotten to mention the sperm news? I’m not quite sure, but I did. Anyway, thanks to a drug called Arimidex, his counts have gone from practically zero (no exaggeration) to the best they’ve ever been - more than 130 million per ml, with pretty much normal motility and morphology.

Last week, he did another DNA fragmentation test, and we got the results back yesterday. His fragmentation levels went from 68 percent last fall to 27 percent. (Anything below 30 percent is considered normal.) So, YEA!!! We’re going to be traveling to cycle, and we’ve decided it would be best if he freezes the sperm at the clinic where we will cycle rather than freezing it locally. We’re going to be making a quick trip within the next week so he can do that.

Before this latest round of testing, we knew that we had three vials of his sperm that appeared to have normal levels of fragmentation. This news means we should have much more sperm to work with, which means we don’t have to depend on those three vials to build our whole family. The breathing room that gives us is a huge relief.

Given his counts and my age, we could try a couple more IUIs before trying IVF, but I’m not really inclined to spend any more time on that. We would do it at the new clinic, and our new RE, Dr. Fabulous, would put me on a different protocol, but I’m just not in the mood for something that gives us only a 15 to 20 percent chance per try. I want to get this show on the road. Now if only my GI tract would cooperate with that sentiment.

Oh, and before I forget, the counselor yesterday seemed good. It was kind of hard to say for sure, since the entire hour was spent by me trying (as quickly as possible) to recap our three-year journey through Infertility and Adoption Hell, and she mostly listened and didn’t really say a whole lot. But at least I got through it without shedding even a single tear.

Based on the limited comments she did make, she has a clear understanding of infertility and adoption issues. (She even knew the WHO standards for sperm.) And she was very nice. So next week it will be interesting to see what happens when she spends more time talking and I spend more time listening.

April 02, 2006

Hanging in There

Okay, I admit it. I need help. You’ll be glad to know that I’m hauling my sorry behind to a counselor tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the counselor I had been seeing when the first adoption fell apart is no longer on our insurance plan, which means I have to find a new one. Finding a good counselor is not an easy task, as any of you who have tried probably already know.

The first two I called, I wound up eliminating without even talking to them in person. If you can’t manage to sound warm and pleasant for 15 seconds on your voice mail message, there’s no way you’re going to manage to get through an hour of my whining and sobbing in any sort of sympathetic fashion, so let’s not even waste our time, shall we?

But the third time may truly turn out to be the charm in this case. A very nice sounding person answered when I called the third counselor on the list, and she put me through to the counselor so we could chat for a few moments. And, get this! The counselor even sounds like she gets it, like she understands infertility. She was warm, she was kind, she was sympathetic. We’ll see how long she lasts with my hysterics tomorrow.

I was starting to feel better physically until last weekend’s adoption shenanigans, and then things went on a downhill slide again. But I’m hanging in there.

I saw the gastroenterologist this week. He ordered a couple more tests that will be done over the course of this month just to rule things out, but he expects they’ll turn out normal. And then there was another little trip to the emergency room on Friday when I really started feeling crummy again.

The consensus seems to be that what I’m experiencing is “physical manifestations of extreme psychological stress.” On one hand, if that’s truly all it is, that’s great. On the other hand, the “physical manifestations” are causing more “psychological stress,” so I seem to be stuck in an unpleasant little circle of “sick-stressed-more sick-more stressed-more sick-more stressed” that I haven’t figured out how to break out of.

On the bright side of things, while my 20 pounds in 9 weeks plan didn’t happen exactly as planned, going around in this circle has caused me to drop 14 pounds. So at least I’m making progress on some front.

And, thank you once again for your kind words. As much as I seem to be in a pit lately, it helps to know there are others out there who can relate. I appreciate you all very much.

March 29, 2006

To Hell and Back – Again

I didn’t have a chance to finish blogging about the week when things spiraled out of control Sunday afternoon.

I was going to tell you about a phone call we got from an adoption attorney toward the end of last week. She had called a month ago to see if we wanted to be considered for a situation. In a moment of weakness, I said why not. I knew that this would be a baby that would meet most couples’ criteria, which meant the attorney would be showing several couples’ profiles. I didn’t get my hopes up. I didn’t even tell R about it.

A month went by. I figured we weren’t chosen. Then we got a phone call from the attorney last week. I was going to tell you that we were chosen, that we spoke with the birth mom on Friday and the conversation went really well. That there were still some details that needed to be investigated further, but that it sounded promising. That she was due in the first half of May, in a town a few hours away.

Then, on Sunday afternoon, we got a phone call from the attorney. The baby was born that day. R and I stood there staring at each other for a few minutes in shock. Then we rushed around like crazy people, opening the door to the nursery that we shut back in September, dragging out the diaper bag and suitcase that we had left packed from that disastrous adoption farce.

I was going to tell you about how we threw clothes into a suitcase, packed up the car with our suitcase and baby gear, got the pets and their stuff loaded into the car to take to my mom’s. I was going to tell you about our drive to the hospital, how we were frantically debating names because the baby was a girl and we only have a boy’s name because we haven’t been able to settle on a girl’s name.

In my head, I was already composing the post, trying to be gentle and restrained because I knew it would be painful for some to read, that finally this nightmare had ended for us and we were parents.

We had gotten about five miles down the road when the next call came. The birthmom’s urine test came back positive for cocaine and I think some other drugs, although after hearing the word “cocaine,” the world kind of slowly grounded to a halt and the rest of the sentence just faded beyond my hearing. It also turned out that the baby was actually not premature, but was in fact full term and tiny, which pointed to other significant health issues.

We turned around, came home, unpacked the car and shut the door to the nursery. Again.

And the next day I e-mailed the adoption attorney, told her to pull our profile from consideration and asked her to let the other attorneys in our area know to pull our profile too. This was the third strike in six months. We need to stop putting ourselves through this.

March 26, 2006

Catching Up

I’m still here, although clearly a ways behind on posting. Thank you for the Bible verses and thoughts of concern – they are of great comfort.

I wound up in the emergency department on Tuesday. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. that day feeling even worse, and my doctor told me to go to the ED rather than go in to his office. I think he’s tired of dealing with me at this point, and I can’t totally blame him for that.

X-rays, the CT scan and more bloodwork still turned up nothing. The nurse practitioner popped back into my room after reviewing everything and told me, “You’re fine, there’s nothing wrong with you. We’re going to release you now.”

I’m relieved the tests didn’t turn up anything horrible, but on the other hand I know something is not totally fine. Whatever it is, is probably minor and will resolve itself, but right now it’s not totally fine.

I know this for two reasons: One, even when I am good about sticking to a diet and exercising, losing half a pound in two weeks is a huge accomplishment for me. However, now I’ve lost 10 pounds in two weeks because I haven’t been feeling well. Also, for me, ice cream is a food group. Heck, most of the time, ice cream is my favorite food group. And I haven’t even wanted ice cream in the past three weeks.

So clearly I’m a little bit off kilter. But there is good news on a variety of fronts: I do seem to be getting a little better day by day, I managed to find a gastroenterologist who can see me on Wednesday, and I finally got the pelvic ultrasound results too.

It turns out that I have a uterus that is “on the small side of normal.” It would figure – one of the few parts of my body that I would prefer be normal in size is one of the only things about me that can be called “small.” Sometimes you’ve just gotta laugh at the irony…