December 22, 2010

You Know You're an Infertility Patient When... (#4) take an HPT not because you expect it to show two lines (ha! ha ha ha!), but because you know that taking it is pretty much a surefire way to bring on CD1 within a matter of hours.

Except, unfortunately, in this case.

Took the stupid thing two days ago (yes, it was negative) because I'm on something like CD45. Our anniversary is at the end of next week, we have a romantic trip planned, and I don't want to be dealing with my cycle then.

But so far, all I've seen is a little bit of spotting. Grrr. If the test can't show two lines, can't it at least just do the other thing it's supposed to do and bring on CD1? Grrrr (again).

We're heading out to see my dad in a few hours. Please keep him in your prayers - the transplant should start in about 24 hours.

Also, please stop by and visit Gypsy and The Tramp to offer some friendly, comforting words and birthday wishes. This time of year is tough in general for us IFers, and she's dealing with a loss and some other challenges right now on top of everything else.

December 13, 2010

LIT, Round 1 is Complete

And obviously, I lived to tell about it.

I was really stressed about crossing the border - I didn't sleep at all the night before. But it turned out that the whole thing was really no big deal.

The most annoying part was being badgered by a very persistent shop owner who wanted us to buy medicines from a pharmacy or get our pictures taken with a donkey while we were standing at a corner (with the clinic's receptionist) waiting for another clinic employee to pick us up and drive us to a restaurant for lunch.

The guy doing the badgering asked if we were there to see a dentist. I smiled and shook my head no. Then he asked "Why are you here?" I just shook my head no again, and he insisted rather rudely "Tell me why you're here!", then accused us of being terrorists when I wouldn't respond.

I wasn't in the mood to talk about it, but perhaps I should have gone into every personal detail - that would have made him think twice about asking the same questions of the next couple he sees waiting on that street corner! Now that I'm prepared to expect that, maybe I'll take that approach if we see him on our next trip.

After the injections, I was kind of bummed because I didn't feel or see much of a reaction. However, 48 hours in, I have red welts the size of a quarter at each injection site. (There are 8 - 4 on each arm.) The itchiness I've heard about has also developed, and I'm not allowed to scratch or take antihistamines. Thankfully the itching isn't so bad that I'm going crazy - if I'm focused on work or some other activity (Christmas baking) or sleeping, I'm usually distracted enough to not notice it too much. But still, I'll be glad when the itching goes away.

We plan to go back for round 2 in January, but that will depend in part on what's going on with my dad. He's been stable in remission for the past month, so he's supposed to go back into the hospital on Thursday, and his bone marrow transplant is scheduled for Dec. 23. Prayers are welcome.

Also...thanks to all of you who offered anniversary gift suggestions!

December 09, 2010

A Favor to Ask (I'm Desperate Here, Folks)

I need help. In more ways than one, I suppose, but for the moment I'm fixated on one particular problem...

R and my 15th wedding anniversary is coming up in 3 weeks, and I have absolutely no idea what to get him. He bought me something, which we normally don't do for our anniversaries. He's actually become quite "the perfect gift" giver over the years (after I cured him of giving me things like ice scrapers, cookbooks and cooking utinsels during our first couple years of dating) so I'm sure he managed to find something that is meaningful and, well, perfect.

I, on the other hand, have never been one of those people who manages to find "the perfect gift" when gift-giving occasions arrive. My saving grace is that R's family are big believers in maintaining wish lists, so I work from those for birthdays and Christmas.

This fall, I've been even more sucky at it than usual. I managed to get R a card for his birthday and decided what to buy him (luggage, because his carry-on suitcase was falling apart) but didn't actually get around to making the purchase. Then a couple weeks after that, I realized I totally forgot my 16-year-old niece's birthday! And it's the same day as my dad's birthday, so how the heck did I manage that? Technically she's not a blood relative (her mom's one of my BFFs and is very laid back about those kinds of things), but still...Then R eventually wound up researching and buying his own birthday present because I still hadn't gotten to it - how lame is that?! It just arrived last week. (His birthday is in October.)

So I am in serious, desperate need of help. Ideas, in particular.

We always spend the day together (take the day off work if it's a weekday), but we don't usually buy gifts for each other. The last time we did was our 10th wedding anniversary. I got him an engraved frame and a photo album with a sterling silver cover that also had an engraved plaque on it. I didn't get around to actually putting pictures in them (mostly because I hate pretty much every picture taken of me during the past 10 years), so I took them back after I gave them to him with a promise to do that. Guess what I found a few weeks ago when I was cleaning up our office?

Finally getting pictures into the 10th anniversary photo frame/album might be a great 15th anniversary gift, but realistically it's not going to happen. So, I need ideas. Something other than conjuring up a baby out of thin air, since I haven't had any success in making that happen yet. And we're going on a short getaway for our anniversary, so travel probably won't count.

Ideas?? Thoughts? Suggestions?? Help!

December 01, 2010

Um, About What I Said...

I know I've been whining lately about being tired of infertility treatments, of the tests, the shots, the disappointments. That I don't have much left in me and just want to be at the treatment finish line, one way or another.

Yet somehow, here I sit, filling out the 934th half-inch-thick patient information form I've been asked to complete in the last 8 years. For yet another doctor. About yet another treatment.

Clearly I've lost the last shred of sanity I was precariously clinging to.

I belong to a Y.ah.oo group for infertility immunology issues. I've been seeing something lately about a very new treatment called c-g.s.f. (Google it minus the periods if you're curious.) So I decided what the heck, I'll look into it.

Which is how I wound up with an 11-page form to fill out. Half way in, after asking extensive questions about pregnancy history, testing of any losses, gyn history, etc., there's a section that says "Please describe the nature of your problem."

Well, let's see. Where to begin? I have to pick just one? Off the top of my head (no pun intended) hair is thinning, neither my eyesight nor my memory is what it used to be, I have entirely too many things to do and not enough time in which to do them, my dad is sick, my dog is sick, I work entirely too many hours because I don't want to be the next one to be laid off, when I cook I only have about a 50/50 chance of the recipe coming out right...

Oh wait, that's right, you're a fertility doctor. Probably not the kind of problems you're referring to. Let me try that again.

I DON'T HAVE A KID. And I miscarry. A. LOT.

What do your other patients normally come to you for?? Were the first four pages not a clue? Particularly page 1, which required me to explain each pregnancy and its outcome in great detail??

But I contained the snarkiness. Probably best not to tick off the doctor before even speaking with him. Now I have to dig out the records of our last retrieval and all of our immune testing so that I can write down exactly how many vials of Gan.are.lix I shot myself up with two years ago and what my latest FSH was. (4.something, for all the good it does me...)

In other news...

This doesn't mean we've put a halt to the home study. Pool fence and home study visit are still scheduled for next week. (Hopefully the former before the latter, or else the latter will have to be rescheduled.)

We survived Thanksgiving with relatively little drama, all things considered. BIL, who was making the turkey this year, announced the day before that he wanted to eat much later than we normally do - about 6 p.m. instead of 1 or 2 p.m. - because eating earlier would have required him to get up before 1 p.m. (And no, he doesn't work the night shift - he doesn't have a job at all.) For my mom, eating at 2 p.m. is late, so I knew she wasn't going to like this.

Surprisingly, she seemed pretty gracious about it when we told her. That should have been a clue to me, but I was just so relieved she didn't throw a fit right there on the spot that I didn't get suspicious.

Then on Thanksgiving morning, when R and I came downstairs and started getting things ready in the kitchen, she came in and announced that she had called the neighbors to wish them Happy Thanksgiving and that they invited her to eat with them at 2 p.m., so she was going over there instead of having Thanksgiving at our house, where she lives.

I knew that if the neighbor had extended an invitation, it was only after a lot of obvious hinting and wrangling on my mom's part. The neighbor is lovely and sweet, but she was hosting Thanksgiving for 16 people, including her in-laws and a vegan, who she was fretting about what to serve. She was completely stressed out about it, so I knew she wouldn't have just jumped at the chance to add one more person to the chaos.

Still, I just smiled sweetly and told my mom to have a good time and tell the neighbors we said Happy Thanksgiving, and turned back to what I was doing. R's eyes had kind of bugged out at the announcement, but he didn't say a word.

At 1:30 p.m., she changed her clothes. At 2 p.m., she was still sitting in her chair in her living room. At 2:30 I offered her a drink I was making, and surprise, surprise, when we ate, guess who was sitting at the table with us??

Score one for refusing to let her get under my skin. I don't play head games. Maybe at some point she'll learn to accept that.

November 18, 2010

A Brutal Day

This was the second day of layoff notifications. It hit closer to home and was even more brutal than yesterday.

The person in the cube adjacent to mine was let go. They're experiencing some personal challenges at the moment, so I feel for them even more than most. Two others I didn't work with as closely were also let go.

And, not only was my closest co-worker, who I work with on literally a daily basis and am also personal friends with, let go, but in her case, her last day is tomorrow. I understand why they did that, but it wasn't really necessary. It also means we have 8 hours to figure out all the stuff I might possibly need from her, and as of Monday, my workload doubles. I've been working 14-16 hour days and working on weekends for the last couple of months, so I'm honestly not quite sure how I'm going to fit more in.

I'm being told we're expected to "work harder".

I told R that we're going to spend time this weekend taking a very close look at our budget and "work harder" making cuts so we can boost our savings.

We have a decent savings account, and at the moment I don't plan to look elsewhere. My work is in an emerging niche, and I think there are still a lot of things I can learn in my job. With a few more years of experience, more opportunities may be open to me, and those opportunities may come with a nice salary boost.

So for now, I'm willing to stick it out. But R and I both have corporate jobs, and I don't want to be beholden to corporate America.

I want the option of being able to tell them where to shove it if they expect me to continue working ridiculous numbers of hours with no end in sight, then turn around, walk out the door, and not have to have a second's worth of stress about how we would survive indefinitely if need be.

On completely unrelated notes...

We ordered the pool fence yesterday. Assuming they're able to install it in the timeframe they say they are, our home study visit will be in 2.5 weeks.

I've scheduled our first LIT treatment for Dec. 11, but I'm still playing "should we, should we not?" with the idea of crossing the border.

I've been comfort eating for the past two days. Yesterday's dinner consisted of butter pecan ice cream with chocolate sauce. Today's dinner was garlic parmesan fries with a kicky paprika aioli, pepperoni pizza, and meatball pizza, topped off with more butter pecan ice cream, with an even more generous squeeze of the chocolate sauce bottle. Oh, and did I mention the bag of peanut M&M's I had while still at work?

Meanwhile, I've earned exactly $0 running dollars toward a massage so far.

November 17, 2010

Dodged a Bullet

The department I work in is having layoffs today and tomorrow. Thankfully I found out that I survived, but not everyone was so fortunate, and there is still more news to come about others' positions tomorrow.

R has been through layoffs 8 or 9 times in his career (and thankfully survived all but the one in which the company closed its local offices and we declined to move to Brazil), so I thought I was prepared to deal with the stress. And I was, to a large degree, but your spouse going through it still isn't the same as walking into the room to hear your own fate.

We were a lean department as it was, so some people who are very great to work with were let go, and others were demoted to non-management positions. Several of my co-workers, including the one with whom I work the closest and have formed a friendship with in addition to a colleague relationship, don't find out their fates until tomorrow.

I have to say that I've been incredibly fortunate - our department is very professional and pleasant to work in, and there isn't anyone in the group who I wouldn't want to work with.

I really feel for those who are affected. There's never any good time to do this, but of course right now is an especially tough time. And it feels particularly unfair, because there are 5 layers of management above them that remained virtually untouched through this process.

I'm thankful to have survived, but at the moment I'm mostly just sad for my co-workers. And anyone else who has had to endure a similar situation, especially in this economy.

November 11, 2010

Testing, Round 2

I scored a deal a couple nights ago on a box of 3 FREDs, on sale for $15. When I got up this morning, the boobs were still sore, so I figured what's another $5 test at this point? I opened a test, I peed, I wiped.

And I didn't even need to look at the test to know the result.

CD1 will be showing up tomorrow. Nothing like a couple of HPTs to bring her on.

On the bright side, dad is still doing well and still has his hair (one of his biggest concerns). He finds out tomorrow if a bone marrow biopsy he did yesterday shows that he's in remission again. The dog is still his limping but happy self.

And, we got the adoption home study agency's finger printing done today.

I was hoping to be able to say that the paper work is all done too. For some reason, though, the agency director only sent us half of it to do in advance. So when we got there today, he handed us a bunch more. I filled it out tonight - we'll either take it down there tomorrow or get it in the mail.

The carpet cleaner is coming Saturday morning, so the only big thing left on that front before the home study visit is getting the pool fence scheduled for installation.

We are planning to do the first round of LIT in December and the second round in January, but oddly enough R's Hep A total test came back positive. (The Hep A IgM was negative.) So we have to figure out what that means in the context of all of this.

I looked it up to get a better understanding of it before mentioning it to him. It's common, infection often comes from eating fruits, vegetables, shellfish or not washing your hands well enough, etc., it very rarely becomes chronic, even more rarely becomes fatal, and pretty much goes away on its own eventually - there's not really a treatment for it.

I tried to approach it very calmly, saying "One thing I need to's no big deal, millions of people get it, it goes away on its own without treatment, but you seem to have the very common mild form of hepatitis."

Still, understandably, his eyes got very wide and he said "what do you mean no big deal?? Hepatitis??!?"

Sigh...our world involves far too many strange, unexpected medical conversations...

November 09, 2010

I Tested

And any sane, normal, rational person (i.e. R) will tell you that it is one very single, lonely line on a very solidly stark white background.

I, on the other hand, still ridiculously continue to cling to hope.

Because I swear there just may be something there. If there is, it's the faintest line in the history of faint HPT lines, even fainter than the time we were scratching our heads trying to determine if it was a line for pg #2, and the beta that morning turned out to be a 5. (I used a FRED then, and it was a FRED again this morning.)

But I swear I can see something if I turn it at just the right angle. I know a stark white background when I see one, the kind where you can't even tell where the line is supposed to be. And this time, I think I can see where the line is supposed to be.

But mostly I just smell pee. And clearly I'm not confident enough that I'm really seeing something to call RE's office and ask for a blood test to be ordered.

So instead, I'm rationalizing that if I ovulated late - which is entirely possible for me - maybe ovulation didn't occur until Halloween weekend, in which case I'm only 8 or 9 dpo. So maybe I just tested too early.

In other words, we're in for another round of this in a few days, unless CD1 shows up before then.

Meanwhile, the hourly boob checks (they're still sore - yea!) will have to be temporarily suspended when I go in to work this morning. There's a security camera right above my cube, and "Woman feels herself up at work while she thinks no one is watching" is not a video I want showing up someday on America's Funniest Home Videos...

November 08, 2010

I Chickened Out

Got up this morning at 6 a.m. to take the dog out, boobs were still sore but decided I'd rather crawl back in bed than stay up for a few minutes to pee on a stick. (Last week, I asked to take today off - I needed a mental health day.)

So I crawled back into bed, and when I got up two hours later, boobs were noticably less sore.

I figured it was over, decided what was the point in wasting a $10 test and starting my day off on a negative note (way to think positive, I know), so I decided not to HPT.

Then, of course, the soreness returned and I spent the day feeling very aware of them every time I ran up and down the stairs. (R and I were working on cleaning up/better organizing/rearranging the upstairs.)

The cramping returned this afternoon and evening. It's not my normal PMS cramping, but then again, it wasn't my normal PMS cramping back in August, either, and I'm not sporting a bump. So who knows what's going on inside my body? Clearly not me.

I'm just going to bite the bullet and take the stupid test tomorrow morning.

I think.


November 07, 2010

A New Idea for Motivation to Exercise

Today, I came up with a brilliant new motivation to get my lazy bottom up off the couch and exercise.

Well, at least, it seemed like a brilliant idea when it popped to mind, although given that said lazy bottom is currently camped on the couch, maybe it's not going to be as effective as I hope it will.

Anyway, here's the idea...for every mile that I run (without stopping, without any walking), I will credit myself $1 toward a massage.

I love to get massages, particularly from one specific massage therapist at a nearby day spa. But it's on the expensive side - $75-$80 not including tip - so I don't do it very often and feel a wee bit guilty whenever I do.

I'm hoping this will be a more effective approach than "if I lose 10 pounds, I'll schedule a massage" (or buy a fabulous new dress or make reservations at that new restaurant I want to try), because that approach hasn't brought much success in the past.

So I'm thinking $80 massage = 80 miles = I'd have to lose at least some weight after running 80 miles, wouldn't I?

Since I'm out of shape, I may start by 1 mile = $2 in order to get myself started, and then switch to 1 mile = $1 after I get a little more up to speed (pun intended).

On another note...guess who has mild cramping and unusually sore boobs, is on CD33, and has 3 HPTs in the bathroom cabinet taunting her?

Yep, you guessed it.

I keep vascillating between thinking I might as well wait another week because chances are it's just CD1 getting ready to make an appearance and thinking I'd better test now, because if it's positive, I'd need to start up the Lovenox, prenatals, folgard, etc., ASAP.

I'll probably test in the next couple of days. Apparently there's at least a tiny part of me that's still an eternal optimist.

Either that, or I just love to torture myself with false hope.

November 01, 2010

A Much-Needed Reminder

On my way home from a vet appointment with our cancer-stricken dog late this afternoon, I called my dad to check in on him. He went into the hospital on Friday for a more hard core kind of chemo than he's received in the past, and today's his third day of it. I asked him how he's doing, and his response made me laugh out loud:

"I'm feeling great, baby! Plus, this new chemo makes me glow in the dark, so it's easier for wifey to find me at night when the lights are off..."

It was a definite reality check. There are certainly things in our world right now that are painful and not how we'd hoped they would be, but my dad's attitude serves as a reminder that no matter what the circumstances, a sense of humor and positive attitude are still possible. If we choose them. So I'm trying hard to choose them.

On that note, updates about the three D's that are dominating our world right now...

The Dad - As I mentioned, the hard core chemo is underway. He has four more days of it. The oncologist decided to take this approach because the other chemo he had been on was only helping for a week or so; it wasn't keeping him in remission long enough to get the transplant under way. It sounds like he'll be in the hospital at least 30 days, and possibly longer if the transplant happens. He'll be keeping the nurses on their toes with his sense of humor, that's for sure.

The Dog - We got a follow-up report from the radiologist late Friday afternoon, and I met with our regular vet today to talk about all of this. It was a sad appointment, but a decision has been made. As painful as it is, I'm also at peace with it because it's the right decision for our "baby boy". The only criteria we used is what we think is best for him. And unfortunately, we decided that is palliative care rather than surgery.

R, my mom, and I had talked about it over the weekend and decided that if surgery seemed like a viable option, we would do it.

However, I noticed during the past couple of days that the dog's hind left leg (it's his front left one that is affected by the cancer) is starting to show signs of weakness. It's shaking a little bit sometimes, and he's sometimes starting to lean his right hip against things - walls, the kitchen island - to gain additional support, which he hadn't been doing before. So I think the cancer has probably spread a bit further than the MRI images can detect at this point.

Our regular vet did an additional exam of him today and is concerned about the same thing. Also, he explained some things I didn't fully understand last week. Because the first sign of trouble was that the dog was holding his left foot off the ground, I assumed it had started in his foot. I thought that if we had just caught this a few months ago, they would have been able to just remove his leg and we would have had a chance for a much better outcome.

But the vet explained today that the tumor started deep in his armpit area, between two major muscles. He said that's pretty much the worst possible place it could start. So even if we had caught it earlier, it still would have been difficult to remove; even then, it wouldn't have been a simple leg amputation - they still would have had to go in and take out a significant amount of under-arm tissue to get to it.

The other thing he explained - and maybe the vet last week also explained it and I just wasn't hearing her since I was in shock - is that this particular kind of cancer isn't encapsulated. Instead, it's as if it's growing along tree branches, branching out into increasingly thinner branches along the nervous system. So not only does the main mass have to be removed, but all of those additional strands of the cancer that follow those branches would also have to be removed. And removing all of the cancer cells with clean margins without damaging the nerves in the process is a very challenging thing to do.

As if all of that wasn't enough, the radiologist's final report indicated that we would have to remove not only the leg and a signficant amount of muscle tissue, but also at least one rib and possibly additional ones.

And odds are that in all of that, somewhere, some place, at least a couple cancer cells would be left behind. Which means that it would grow back, the dog would have a missing front leg, at least one missing rib, and would still lose the use of his hind leg on that same side. Given what we've seen with his hind leg in the last few days, it's possible that he could lose the use of it before he's even finished recovering from the surgery.

So instead, we're going to keep him as comfortable as possible until he's no longer himself, and then we'll make the tough call. In the meantime, we're having a pet photographer come over tomorrow to take pictures of the entire zoo, while he's still feeling well enough that we can get images of him as his usual self.

In the meantime, we continue to welcome all prayers and kind thoughts that you care to offer up, because sometimes sanity can be a very tenuous thing. :-)

The Doctor - Somehow, I managed to hold myself together very, very well during my annual physical over the weekend, which included filling out the medical report for the adoption recertification.

I decided to take the approach of being honest without oversharing.

The nurse reviewed my meds. They know I've been on anti-depressants, it's in my chart, but somehow this time when she ran down the list to ask me if I was still taking each of them, she didn't mention that one. Nor did the form ask specifically if I've taken them. And when the doctor listed my meds on the form, she didn't mention the metformin or low-dose aspirin, only the thyroid meds.

The form did specifically ask about diagnosis of mental illness (no), anxiety (yes), depression (yes), and a couple other things I don't remember. I pointed out to her that my previous doctor had diagnosed (and prescribed medications for) anxiety, but none of the meds worked and the "anxiety" went away when my thyroid problem was addressed. So she noted very clearly in two places that the anxiety diagnosis was actually a misdiagnosis and that the issue was actually my thyroid.

The depression isn't a misdiagnosis, but she also put down that it was situational and caused by multiple miscarriages and by all of the hormones I've taken, which is entirely true. Before we started ttc, birth control pills caused the first round of depression I ever had, and when I stopped taking those so we could start ttc, it went away. (Well, briefly, until we started getting all of the IF diagnoses...) And Clomid and progesterone also trigger it.

On the form we have to fill out, it also asks about professional counseling, so I wrote that we've participated in "grief counseling" after our 4th miscarriage, which was of a baby with a heartbeat that died, and that we've continued to participate "as needed" while we've gone through additional treatments and miscarriages.

My hope is that "grief counseling" (which is a very accurate description) sounds better than "treatment for ongoing depression because my body can't seem to hold onto a kid", and that the social worker won't feel compelled to make a big deal about that in the home study. If she doesn't, international adoption might still be an option for us. Time will tell.

October 27, 2010

It's Doggie Cancer, and It's Bad

I hate when medical people lead you off with what sounds like good news, and then lower the boom.

When I was a freshman in high school, an aunt of mine wound up in the hospital due to an accident, and while she was recovering we got a call asking us to get to the hospital ASAP. I remember standing in a stairwell of the hospital with my mother (apparently all the consult or "family" rooms were occupied) while a doctor rambled on and on and. on. about her various health problems.

It sounded bad, but like there was still hope. Finally, I couldn't stand the sound of his voice anymore, and I just cut in and said "So you mean she's still alive, right?" And then he said, "No, she's gone. She died about an hour ago."

Everything went black, and he reached out to catch me as I collapsed. To this day, I still don't understand why he kept rambling incessantly when she was already gone.

This afternoon was a little like that.

We got to the vet's office, and the front desk told us the doctor was preparing the instructions. One of the vet techs handed us a couple of bottles of pills. She sounded so perky and happy, not like she was telling someone horrible news.

One of the bottles was a steroid. The vet had said if it was the best case scenario, steroids would be what the dog needs.

There were instructions to give him the pills for 8 days and then call to let them know how he's doing. "If it was cancer, they wouldn't want a report on whether he's improving," I thought.

Hope crept in.

"For once, we're not landing on the rare side of the odds," I thought. "Thank God."

Ha. When the vet finally came into the room, she seemed perky for a few moments, too. Then she told us it's bad. Very bad.

He has a rare nerve sheath cancer. It's big, and it's spreading.

If it was just in his leg, she would recommend "taking off" (they use that term, as if it's just a piece of clothing) his leg without a doubt. She says it isn't the kind of cancer that recurs in multiple places, so that usually cures it. And he's a strong, mentally tough but very happy-go-lucky dog, so she thinks he wouldn't be fazed much by losing the leg. I agree with that assessment of him.

But. But.

The tumor has spread, and it's now involving a couple of roots along the spinal cord and it's touching the spinal cord (I think at the beginning of the cord).

If it was in the cord, they would recommend palliative care until progression to the point that it was time to say goodbye.

However, from what they can tell, it's touching the cord but not within it yet.

So there is another option, which is take off the leg and remove as much of the tumor as possible. But they're not sure they can get all of the tumor cells where it's touching the cord, and if they don't, it will grow back. In that case, it likely will continue to grow down the cord, and then he will start to lose function of his hind left leg. (It's the front left one they would need to amputate.)

Chemo doesn't address this kind of cancer, and she said that the amount of radiation that would be needed to kill all the remaining cancer cells after surgery would damage the spinal cord.

The vet thinks he has 2-3 months without surgery, and maybe 6 months with surgery if they don't get all of it. If they do get all of it, he could have a normal lifespan (he's a cattle dog, they often live to 12-13 or longer).

The surgery would probably be at least $5,000. Maybe 6 months. But how do you put a price on time with a being you love, even if it's an animal? He has such personality. He's such a sweet, loving, happy dog. He just wants to play all the time - you'd never think he was 8 years old. We have 4 dogs, and he doesn't care what place he's in in the pack. Even with the limp and the pain he's been enduring, there have only been a couple of days when he hasn't been his normal, happy self.

If we don't do the surgery, our choices are put him down now or wait until he progresses further. I wouldn't want to keep him alive just for us if he isn't having a good quality of life.

On the other hand, how do you put down a dog who, when he is just sitting there looking up at you, you would think is 100% healthy?

We've had to make the tough call before, and we knew when it was time. But in that case, the dog went from being fine and us not knowing anything was wrong to suddenly being very not fine. Watching a dog progress slowly into "not fine" is a whole other thing.

I don't know what to do.

$5,000 is a lot of money. We're going to have big bills coming up for our next transfer. But on the other hand (and I realize this is my 4th or 5th hand at this point), would I be able to live with myself if we didn't try? It would feel like we were saying he isn't worth it.

Is it fair to do that to the dog? Is he better off if we just do palliative care until the time becomes obvious? Or is it better if we say goodbye now?

In some respects, it would have been easier if it had been the very worst case scenario, where the tumor was already growing down the spine and surgery wasn't an option.

This is a special kind of hell. I am so devastatingly sad.

Not to whine and fall into a pity party, but just how much more do we have to endure?

I understand that dogs die. They don't live as long as we do. I get that, I really do. But with the exception of one, it seems that ours don't even seem to have normal lifespans.

Need Doggie Prayers

I think I've mentioned that one of our dogs has been limping. Mom and I took him to a veterinary neurologist this morning. He's undergoing an MRI.

He may have a very rare nerve sheath cancer.

It may be in his spine.

They may not be able to do anything about it.

We will find out in about 3 hours. He's the youngest of all of our dogs - he's 8. He's the only male pet I've ever had. I refer to him as our "baby boy". Out of the 3 dogs R and I have had together, one other one is still with us and the third one died several years ago of congestive heart failure when she was only 6.5 years old.

All I can keep thinking is "Are we destined to lose every creature we love like a child at an early stage? Does God really hate us that much?" 7 dead babies, 1 dead dog, possibly another.

I'm not coping well. And somehow, I have to pull myself together enough to attend a work meeting (thankfully over the phone rather than in person) in two minutes.

October 23, 2010

Gold Star Uterus

Beta 3 integrin results are in: I tested positive, which is good. So between that and the other endometrial biopsy testing that also produced good results, I guess this means that my uterus isn't the issue.

Mo and Libby, in answer to your question about what the other biopsy testing was - they were checking for CD57+ cells, which they don't want to see, and FoxP3+ cells, which they do want to see.

I had none of the CD57+ and FoxP3+ cells that were "adequate in number, suggesting adequate stromal regulatory activity" according to the report.

So I guess it's looking like my immune system in general is the culprit.

We also got the results of the repeat bloodwork. While the NK cell levels in my uterus were good, they were still slightly off in my bloodstream. Not a surprise, as that was also the case during the transfers we did for IVF retrieval #1 a few years back. IVIg is still recommended, no surprise there.

My Leukocyte Antibody Detection levels (T cells and B cells) were also low, so LIT is recommended. And one of my Cytokine ratios was high, so Humira was recommended.

So, what's the plan?

I'm not doing the Humira. It has an increased risk of cancer, usually lymphoma, which is in the same family of cancer that my dad has (leukemia) and that his dad had (multiple myeloma). R and I decided pretty quickly that it's not worth the risk, and that view hasn't changed. If Humira is what's standing between me and a biological child, so be it.

I think we're going to do LIT. I'm still afraid of crossing the border, but we did go and get our passports yesterday and requested expedited processing. Two rounds are being recommended (3 weeks apart), so hopefully we can do the first trip in November and second trip in December.

We also plan to do the IVIg. And hopefully transfer in January.

At the same time, I'm ready to be done with this and move on to the next step. (Or so I say now - I realize I may sing a different tune if we wind up with one single line in January/February.)

To that end, I've contacted a local adoption agency to request a recertification application, and I've scheduled carpet cleaners to come out in mid-November. I'm not going to obsessively clean, but we have 4 dogs and 2 (indoor only) cats, and our carpet is just embarrassing.

I also need to work on getting a pool fence installed, and once we get the application completed and fence installation scheduled, I'll contact the social worker to do the home visit. If we can get that done by the end of November, we should have our certification around the time we get transfer results.

We haven't totally decided which way we would go on the adoption front. I'm still hesitant to do international for fear of being rejected. What I've decided to do with the home study is give the health forms to our family doc and mention that certain things would possibly disqualify us, but leave it up to her whether she thinks they are a possible impairment to our ability to parent and puts it on the form or not. (I haven't seen the form yet, so I don't know if it's a very specific questionnaire or if it just asks for a general statement.)

Then during the home study visit, if questions come up we'll answer them honestly, but we won't go out of our way to point out things that the social worker doesn't ask about. Once the certification is done, we'll request a copy of the home study and review what the report says and decide whether we think it would knock us out of the running internationally.

We'll see what happens.

October 12, 2010

Good News - Not Sure What To Do With This

The results of the NK tests that were done on the biopsied tissue came in today. Apparently there are two types of cells they look for - one type is bad, so they don't want to see that in the endometrial lining, and the other is good, so they want to see lots of those.

It turns out I have none of the bad cells and lots of the good cells.

In other words, good news on one small front in the infertility fight.

It's been so long since we've gotten good news relating to infertility that I just sat there stupified for a minute. I don't think I trusted my brain to interpret what I was hearing, because I had to ask "You mean, my test results are good? Really??"

I'd like to think that this means my uterus isn't killing off the embryos, but I haven't heard the results of the other endometrial biopsy test (for the beta-3 integrin) yet, so I guess that thinking is still a bit premature at this point.

I sent an e-mail to ask the clinic when they think those test results might come in, so hopefully we'll also have that answer soon.

October 05, 2010

A Random Thought 'Dancing' Through My Head

This is completely unrelated to anything about infertility, but...

I'm catching up on last night's TV, and can I just say - I hope I can move like Florence Henderson when I'm 76 years old!

I couldn't even dance half as well today, when I'm less than half her age. That lady is amazing!

October 04, 2010

Survived the Biopsy

Apparently I should have researched the endometrial biopsy process a bit before undergoing it.

I was thinking that it involved literally snipping some of the uterine lining out, much like the sudden, sharp pain felt when a dermatologist uses that little tool to cut a chunk of skin out of your arm/leg/back/wherever to make sure it isn't skin cancer. At least, I assume it's a sudden, sharp pain, given the face R makes when it happens. Fortunately I haven't had occasion to undergo that particular form of torture.

Anyway, based on that assumption, I showed up to the appointment this afternoon more freaked out about a procedure than any other time I can remember in the last decade or so.

It wasn't fun, but fortunately it also wasn't as horrible as I imagined it to be.

Actually, for the first bit of tissue that local RE took, I just felt a little bit of mild cramping. Had the process stopped there, I would have classified it as "no big deal at all". But I'm having two tests done - the integrin-B (I think that's what it's called, too lazy to look it up at the moment), which RE is doing, and NK cell testing, which RI is doing.

Which meant that I had to have two bits of tissue removed, instead of just one. While the second bit was being removed, that was more like "lay in your bed moaning about really bad menstrual cramps" kind of pain. But I did a lot of deep breathing, and clearly I survived.

As soon as the second one was done, I took my feet out of the stirrups and sat up (probably subconsciously thinking that if I was in an upright position, he couldn't take any more tissue even if he wanted to).

Then he started to ask me about how many embryos we have, what protocol we used, what our next steps are. (Even though he's the RE I do all of my local monitoring with, so we've already covered this ground.)

But I tried to answer the questions anyway, and then I realized that my own voice was starting to sound a little bit distant and hazy and the room was starting to sway. Suddenly in the middle of a sentence about our protocol, I announced, "I think I'm going to pass out."

Fortunately I didn't, but they did have me lay back down and stay there for about 15 minutes. I don't usually get dizzy, and I've never fainted in my life, but I guess I had just stressed myself out about this so much that I got a little lightheaded with relief once it was over.

Oh, and after it was over, I found out that the tissue doesn't actually get cut out - some cells are sucked out with a pipette. If I would have realized that beforehand, I probably wouldn't have been so freaked out to begin with.

September 28, 2010

Big G.irl and a Biopsy Question

After my meltdown a couple of weeks ago and the subsequent crankiness, I think I am finally getting myself back together.

A few years ago, at my previous job, one of my co-workers had a sign on her wall that said "Put on your big g.irl and deal with it!" As silly as it sounds, that sign has stuck with me.

So, I have located said** and am dealing with all the infertility crap.

We haven't made any solid decisions yet, but I am going forward with the biopsy next week. I figure for all the weight gain, bloating, acne, and mood swings these hormones have cost me, I might as well get a couple of test results out of it.

And speaking of test results, since half of the bloodwork I had done last time didn't produce results we could be confident in due to possible heat damage, I have decided not to risk shipping the blood again.

So, we are doing what we do best - medical tourism.

The lab is about 3.5 hours from my dad, and we haven't been to see him in about 6 months. So next week we're flying in to the airport closest to the lab after work on Wednesday, staying the night, getting blood drawn the next morning, taking the day off, driving a couple hours up the coast to San Fran, staying there for two nights (including working remotely the next day), catching up with one of my co-workers who lives there, going to the farmer's market at the Ferry Building (we're only to Saturday at this point, people), driving up to see my dad, staying the night there, and then driving the 3.5 hours back down to the airport and heading home.

How's that for a 96-hour itinerary?

I saw my therapist yesterday. She asked the last time R and I went somewhere on vacation - no medical stuff involved - just the two of us. And sadly, I had to reach back 5 years to our 10th wedding anniversary.

Surely we've gone on a vacation like that since then? But my hormone-addled brain can't remember.

Maybe we really haven't. And the 10th anniversary was not a full vacation, just a long weekend. And while we tried to avoid anything medical related on that trip, an adoption possibility came up in the middle of it and we wound up coming 'round a corner at one point during the weekend only to find foot-long giant sperm on the floor. (If you haven't been reading for that long - I can't even believe I've had a blog for that long! - you think I am making this up. I assure you I am not.)

I almost forgot...on to the question: What was your endometrial biopsy experience like? Did it hurt? Is the pain going to be so intense that I may be likely to reach up and smack the doctor? (Which I have been known to do in the past. But in my defense, I was 6 at the time.)

My uterus cringes each time I even think about it. And the thought "What the hell am I doing?" has crossed my mind more than once.

** I can only imagine what kind of visitors I'd get with that phrase if the periods weren't included!

September 22, 2010

The Perfect Symbol of My Mood

The estrogen pills are making me cranky. They're making me gain weight at the rate of about half a pound a day, which really makes me cranky, but somehow I tend to think that I'd still be feeling cranky even without that highly annoying side effect.

Unless the pills made me lose weight at the rate of half a pound a day. Then I would love them.

But they aren't, and I don't.

And to top it all off, they make my skin break out horribly. Clearly my hormone levels are now even more imbalanced than usual - how can this possibly be helpful for achieving a pregnancy?

So here I am, highly annoyed by everything going on in my world (I hide that fact well, don't I?), including pretty much everything that poor R says or does. Me on estrogen is almost as unpleasant as me on Clomid. But at least on estrogen I haven't locked him out of the bedroom. Yet.

Tomorrow morning I have to get up earlier than usual, to fight traffic earlier than usual, in order to go have a lining check to see if I'm on track for the endometrial biopsy. I usually have RE's office e-mail me the order so that I can print it out and take it with me, rather than having them fax it to local RE and risk the fax getting lost or misplaced.

Being the model of efficiency, I printed out the order a few days ago. It's been sitting on the dining room table (aka the dumping grounds where my purse, piles of mail, etc. reside). So this morning I come downstairs and discover that the printed order is covered in cat hairball puke.

Pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole thing at the moment.

Lest you think I am completely without humor, I have thought of another addition to the "You Know You're an Infertility Patient When..." list: discharge the color of a smurf is a completely expected occurance that doesn't phase you in the least.

September 18, 2010

Example A - Why I'm Too Tired For 'Big' (aka Post #250)

I had the consult with the reproductive immunologist this morning. It did not go well. I don't think it went particularly badly, either, but then again, at this point my judgment on those sorts of things is probably a bit askew.

I did my homework. I Googled, I read a lot of info online. This guy is with one of the most prominent RI groups in the country. He had great reviews on Yelp. (Let's not think about what it says about me that I'm now basing medical decisions - at least in part - on a community review website.) So when they asked me if I had a preference of doctors, I decided why not, everyone seems to love him, ask for him. So I did.

And it's not that I hate him. Or that I need to love the doctor I'm working with - at this point, I'm far beyond that. But I think that's part of the problem - at this point, I'm far beyond pretty much everything, and apparently it is all annoying me.

Let's start with the fact that the first thing he tells me is that the tests run in his lab, which account for 15 of the 37 vials of blood drawn recently, produced really bizarre results, and he thinks the vials may have been damaged by the heat while in transit. So, he has no confidence in half of my test results, and I need to have another 15 vials drawn (along with another 5 from R).

Then as he runs down the list of other tests, which were run at a national lab chain, he proceeds to mention that those kinds of labs generally aren't as sensitive at detecting this as some of the more specialized labs are. (What was making him say this is that in the past, through a more specialized lab, I've tested positive for APAs, but this time I didn't.)

So if he has zero confidence in 99% of the test results, why are we even having the appointment at this point? Not a great beginning.

It didn't exactly get better from there. The appointment can basically be summarized like this:
- Based on the current (screwy) lab results, he recommends 1 round of LIT. Depending on what the re-test shows, I may not need LIT.
- Based on the current (screwy) lab results, it doesn't look like I need Humira. Depending on what the re-test shows, I may need Humira.
- Based on the current (screwy) lab results and past (more confidence-inspiring) lab results, I need IVIg. Regardless of what the re-test shows, I need IVIg. But those tests will be re-done anyway, because the current (screwy) lab results don't provide a baseline that he is confident in.
- I need Lovenox. It should be half the dose I've been taking, once a day, until positive pregnancy test, at which point the other half of the dose I'm taking should be added in via a second shot each day. Hematologists don't know what they're talking about when it comes to using Lovenox in pregnant patients. (RI's opinion, not mine. It was RE who told me to go to a hematologist in the first place; it's not like I wanted to add yet one more doctor to the mix.)
- I need dexamethasone, pre-transfer and through the first trimester. This will save me from having to remind RE that he very reluctantly agreed to prescribe it for me. So there's one small silver lining. I had to get out the magnifying glass to find it, but it's there.

Here's how I thought the appointment was going to go:
- You need IVIg. (Check)
- You need LIT. (Probable check)
- You might need Humira. (Check, as in it's still "might" at this point)
- You need Lovenox, baby aspirin, folgard. (Check, check, check)
- You need dexamethasone pre-transfer and through the first trimester. (Check)

So part of what annoys me is I feel like he's not telling me anything I don't already know. And isn't that what a doctor is for in the first place? But then again, that's not entirely fair - he did say something about also testing my seratonin levels, because seratonin plays a role in uterine lining development. (Or something like that - I admit, at that point I wasn't really paying attention to what it does, I was just thinking "okay, make that 16 more vials of blood that need to be redrawn...")

Then I made the stupid mistake of asking what he thought our chances were. (70%) He looks at my age and says "Well, you're dealing with 36-year-old eggs..." (which were actually 34-year-old eggs when they were retrieved, thankyouverymuch) "...have you thought about donor egg?"

Seriously. SERIOUSLY? That just floored me. Not because it's shocking that a 36-year-old would get the donor egg speech, but because it goes back to some of the themes from my previous post. We were 28 when we started this. Back then, every RE's office we sat in, they looked at us and said "What are you doing here? You're still just babies!" I kid you not, we heard the word "babies" - meaning the two of us, not the kid we were trying to produce - many, many times. (Part of it is because R has always looked very young for his age.) And now, we've been in this hell for so long that we've gone from "you're just babies yourselves!" to "you may need donor eggs".

I just made some sort of noncommital sound and moved on to another question. Because if I don't have the energy for something like LIT, there's no way I'm going to muster up the stamina for donor eggs.

September 14, 2010

When Continuing Hurts More Than Stopping

When R and I first started undergoing treatments and I was new to the online IF world, I'd see women ask "How do you know when it's time to stop?" as they were trying to figure out the next steps in their paths. And the answer, invariably, always came: When it hurts more to continue than it does to stop.

As a relatively naive newbie back then, I couldn't exactly wrap my head around that.

I mean, really, how could it hurt less to stop trying (and possibly not have kids) than it could to sit in a chair and listen to your doctor rattle off all the (medical) things wrong with you and your husband and conclude by telling you that it just might never happen for you?

I planned to fight like hell until we got to the other side, regardless of what it took. I would just keep marching forward, doing whatever we needed to do, until we made it happen. As if determination is the only essential factor.

So we went through a lot, and still, stopping wasn't even a consideration. And then we lost baby #5 through miscarriage #4. And for the first time I started to understand, at least on a very vague level, how continuing could maybe hurt more.

But still, I wasn't ready to consider stopping.

So we continued to march: through a disasterous retrieval, a shockingly good retrival, thyroid surgery, and my dad almost dying.

And slowly, during all of that, I began to think about how much time we have spent. How much we have sacrificed, lost, to infertility. Financially, emotionally, time-wise, other dreams and plans. All in the pursuit of a dream that is still just as elusive now - if not even more so - than it was when we started in 2003. And how if we stopped, we could stop funneling all of our bank account to REs, we could travel without a medical purpose as impetus for the trip, we could buy a smaller house with a smaller mortgage and possibly work a smaller number of hours.

Then we had the most recent miscarriage in May. And we decided to pull out all the stops for one last attempt - antibiotic treatments, consulting with reproductive immunologists, even a biopsy to confirm that I have the beta-3 itegrin receptor (which is a good thing), even though RE is already pretty sure I have it.

No regrets. It's the motto with which I vowed to approach this entire process.

To that end, in the past month, I've had literally 37 vials of blood drawn. Ovulation could not be detected, so now I'm on estrogen, soon to be followed by progesterone, so a little piece of my endometrial lining can me snipped out of my uterus in a few weeks, sans general anesthesia. On top of all of that, it has been the most insane month of work in my entire life, and the next three or four will be just as crazy.

So I'm cranky. I'm freakin' tired. Exhausted, really. Bloated like a balloon and gaining weight at the rate of about a pound a day, thanks to the estrogen.

Then yesterday, all of the immune test results (accounting for 35 of the 37 vials) arrived. And I looked at the results. And I know with 99.9% certainty at least one of the things the RI is going to recommend is LIT.

And I Don't. Want. To. Do. It.

More accurately, I don't want to cross a dangerous border into Mexico to get it, and I don't want to drain our bank account to travel repeatedly to someplace like Europe for it. It's not the actual treatment I'm against, just what is involved in getting it.

So R and I talked about it last night. We didn't reach any decision yet. But we - or at least, I - did reach that moment. The moment where it finally hurts more to continue than it does to stop.

I don't know yet what we're going to do. R's feeling is go big (including LIT) or go home.

I don't know that I have "big" left in me.

August 31, 2010

You Know You're An Infertility Patient When...

...the lab tech knows you by your veins rather than your name. "Oh, I remember you, you're the one I have to draw in the top of your hand instead of your arm."

...early morning his-and-hers lab appointments count as a "date". "But honey, it'll be romantic, really - we'll get to see the sunrise on our way to the lab." (It was a good effort, but he didn't buy it. Apparently his idea of fun at 6 a.m. involves sleep rather than a needle being jabbed into his arm. Imagine.)

More to come later (hopefully this weekend), but I just wanted to make a quick post since I've been quiet the last few weeks. Nothing majorly exciting going on, just beyond crazy busy at work. Since I was in a humorous mood for the moment, I figured I'd share...

August 10, 2010

As I Said...

It's a week later. (Okay, 9 days, though I did actually test 2 days ago, so that part was exactly a week.) Anyway, as I said in my last post...still only 1 single line. And then CD1 showed up.

So, no big happy surprise.

I guess the cramping I was feeling just before we left for vacation must have been ovulation rather than implantation. I used to only have a few sharp pinches around ovulation time, but within the past year or so I've been noticing a bit of spotting around that time and cramping rather than pinching. I wonder if it means my ovaries are covered in scar tissue from all of the retrievals? They've each been poked with a needle more than 50 times, so I wouldn't be surprised.

Oh, and about the hot tub - thank you all for the advice. I decided to follow the prevailing vote and stay out of it. Oddly enough, no one else expressed interest in going in again all week, which was particularly surprising given the group we were with.

One thing I am happy about (in that odd way that only someone who's been dealing with IF for a ridiculously long time can be) is that at least my post-ovulation progesterone levels seemed to be higher than they usually are, given all the symptoms I had. So maybe my body is functioning in a semi-normal way in at least one respect.

And now, I need to cross my fingers that it continues to do so. I spoke with RI's office today. I'm still waiting for the test orders, but one of them will be an endometrial biopsy, which from what I understand has to take place at a certain point after ovulation. So I will be starting up with the OPK pee sticks in about 10 days. Given my ovaries' propensity to quiet down when I need them to work (and to work when I need them to be quiet), I could wind up going through quite a few sticks.

To that end - and since I kind of pigged out on vacation - I regrouped again yesterday to cut the refined sugar and caffeine out of my diet.

It's day 2. I'm hungry, I'm cranky, I'm sleepy, and I. Want. Sugar.

I've been eating fruit in an attempt to compensate - strawberries, raspberries. I cut up an entire watermelon last night. I eyed a banana as dessert. Of course, it would have been much better sliced up over a bowl of ice cream and chocolate sauce, but I figure I have to make it for at least 48 hours. :-) (Ideally, much longer.)

I know it gets better. It's just this initial withdrawl period that stinks.

August 01, 2010

I'm an Idiot

In more ways than one. And I have the receipt to prove it.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I still cling to the faint hope that I can be like a normal person who has sex, gets knocked up, and pops out a kid 9 months later.

R discourages hip-propping after the deed, figuring that I don't have much of a chance of producing a normal, healthy egg sans fertility meds. But last weekend I ignored him and did it anyway.

So then on Thursday, I started having really bad cramps. As in, I-can't-remember-the-last-time-I-had-cramps-this-bad cramps. I even went home early from work.

And I was ticked, because we were leaving for a week at the beach yesterday, and the last thing I wanted was to be dealing with AF. But I didn't start to spot or bleed.

Then last night it occurred to me that my chest is sore, which rarely happens outside of pregnancy. This morning, the back pain started, and I've been having AF-like aching and pains all day long. Which I thought were maybe round ligament pains.

So I made R take me to the store to buy a test (first way in which I am an idiot, as proven by the store receipt for the test). Of course it was negative, despite my hopes to the contrary (second way in which I'm an idiot). And then after taking the test, it occurred to me that given that we had sex last weekend, I could only be a week out from conception at the very most, so if anything these are implantation pains and it's still way too early to test (third way in which I'm an idiot).

But now I don't want to hang out in the hot tub with our friends, and there are two more pregnancy tests stashed in one of the dresser drawers, mocking me and tempting me. And chances are 99,999 to 1 that in a week I'm going to be coming back on here to post that 1) AF has shown up, or 2) Still no sign of AF, but the tests still show only one stupid line.

In other news...I had a phone consult with an RE who believes in immune issues. She recommended IVIg - no big surprise there. I finally got myself together enough to send off my records to an RI as well, so I'm waiting to hear what tests he wants to order.

My dad is doing well enough that his oncologist now thinks he is a candidate for a bone marrow transplant. (The level of cancerous cells in his blood is low, but on the other hand his marrow isn't producing much blood, so he's still needing transfusions all the time - hence the recommendation for the transplant.)

So his siblings are getting tested, and we're waiting for the results. Our next FET is on hold until we know more about what's going on with him and whether I'll need to be tested as a possible donor.

My mother is having memory issues, not to the degree that I think it's dementia but still to a degree that is unusual for her and something to keep an eye on. She doesn't believe this, so we had another big blowout in which she: 1) accused my husband of lying, 2) accused me of trying to make her think she has Alzheimer's, and 3) accused me of making her upset enough to have a stroke. (This, despite the fact that I never raised my voice to her, even when she was shouting at me.)

We are still living under the same roof as her, but now all of our communication with her takes place through e-mails, which are sent to her and then printed out, logged in a binder kept in the kitchen, and I even go so far as to make a copy of the log sheet every time I add to it, so that I have proof in case she ever tries to remove an e-mail and edit the log, because that is something she would do.

And she thinks the problem is us.

I've also been doing some preparations for Plan B. More on that to come in a later post, but for now I need your thoughts - do I spend the next week staying out of the hot tub on the very remote chance that this may be implantation that I'm feeling, or do I throw caution to the wind, climb in, and say "Whatever will be, will be"? If you were me, what would you do?

(Also, Peaches, you commented a few posts ago that you'd be willing to chat about surrogacy, but I'm not sure how to contact you as your name doesn't seem to link to a blog?)

July 09, 2010

A New Post

There's a new post below. Thanks to Mrs. LC's comment on it, I realized that I had forgotten Blogger's quirky habit of using the date you start the draft as the posting date, even if you don't publish the post until a later date. So Mrs. LC, you didn't miss it at all - I just published the post last night.

Phoebe, totally agree with your comments about acu. I wasn't surprised in general that acu would be recommended - our first IVF RE recommended it - I was just caught off guard that current RE recommended it, because he doesn't seem to be the type that supports that kind of thing. (He's referred to some other alternative treatments as "vodoo" - his exact word - in the past.)

I've done acu immediately pre- and post-transfer for all of my transfers, and I've also done it for several weeks leading up to one of the transfers in the past, although not the most recent one. I was comfortable with that acupuncturist, but I have two friends who recommend another one, so I may try her this time around. Your point about getting established in advance is a good one.

July 01, 2010

Decisions (Sort Of)

I'm starting to calm down a little bit. (I think, anyway.)

We've made our first decision - we're going to give my uterus another try, probably in September or October. To that end, I've scheduled an appointment next week to talk with another RE about intralipids, and I'm probably also going to consult with an RI. Regardless of which one we go with, it means yet another out of state doctor, so if we do the full gamut of treatments (including the IV antibiotics), this will be a pregnancy that involves four separate states. Ugh!

I've also scheduled another appointment with RE. Last time, I was able to get in the next day, but this time the first available appointment was a full month out, so it won't be until the very end of the month. When we had our WTF appointment, all we knew at that point was that my numbers were low and looked like they had stalled. I want to know how likely he thinks it is that this most recent pregnancy was an ectopic and just bad luck.

I also received a somewhat surprising e-mail from RE's nurse. RE wants my most recent thyroid tests (taken in mid-May while I was still pregnant - they were normal), and wants me to get my thyroid levels retested 10 days before starting the estrogen patches. I asked her if he was thinking maybe that contributed to the loss, and she said he's routinely keeping a closer eye on patients with thyroid conditions.

The other surprising thing was that he also wants me to do acupuncture twice a week for the four weeks before transfer. I didn't think he was into any alternative treatments at all, so this was a bit unexpected.

Nurse said it was because my uterine blood flow during one of the one-day workups was low. I think that happened because I forgot the no caffeine rule and had caffeine both the night before and morning of the ODW. I was super careful to avoid it in the weeks leading up to the transfer, though, so I don't think that was really the issue. But I truly appreciate that he is trying to think of anything he can that might make a difference this time around.

I also met with ob/gyn last week. Surprisingly, he didn't think a laparoscopy is necessary in my case. He said even if I do have endo, cleaning it out won't really help with staying pregnant, it's more of an impediment to getting pregnant. But I've seen plenty of women mention being on dep.ot lupr.on for a couple of months before an FET to treat endo, so I'll mention it to RE and see what he thinks.

With regard to all of the surrogacy and adoption stuff, I'm still vascillating. I keep researching it all, and one day I think one option sounds great, and then the next day I see something about that same option that completely freaks me out. (Like a couple who got all the way to their court date in Ethiopia, and then the judge denied their adoption because the adoptive mom had taken anti-depressants for post-partum depression for a couple months half a decade before, even though Ethiopia is supposedly okay with anti-depressant usage from a couple of agencies I spoke with.)

The idea of just not mentioning our issues is tempting, but then I worry that if we do that, God will strike us down for our lie of omission by allowing R's heart to fall into an abnormal rhythm that triggers his ICD while we're in Ethiopia, most likely at the exact moment we would be standing in front of a judge. Because we have luck like that.

So for now, I've decided not to make any other concrete decisions about next steps. I will just continue to obsessively research while hoping that maybe maybe maybe the next transfer will be the one. Perhaps I should consider putting back 4 or 5 - you'd think out of that many, at least one would stick for the long haul.

(Yes, I am just kidding. Kind of.)

In the Wrong Club

I got a phone call this morning. I didn't recognize the number, but against my better judgment, I answered it.

It turned out to be a nurse from our health insurance company, calling to tell me that they had enrolled me in a special program. I assumed she was talking about a diabetes program, because I get calls like that from time to time. (I take metf.ormin for PCOS, and they mistakenly assume I'm diabetic.)

But this time, it wasn't about diabetes.

Oh, no. Instead, it was "I wanted to congratulate you and let you know we've enrolled you in the Healthy Baby Club program we offer..."


I was tempted to say, "You know, I'm more of a Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Club kinda gal", but I behaved myself. I know it wasn't her fault - she just gets a list of people and is told to call them.

Apparently when they're generating these lists, they don't write algorithms to detect "fertility treatment codes followed by 10 hcg tests within a 5 week span, an ER visit and a very very early ob/gyn visit" and spit out a result that reads "WARNING: POTENTIAL PROBLEM. Call patient at your own risk."

June 23, 2010

Family Ties - A Pleasant Surprise

Occasionally, the horrible, painful, nightmarish situations in life can also cause something good to happen that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. I was reminded of that this week when I received an unexpected phone call.

Before I share more about the call, it would help to explain a bit about my family history.

I grew up with a very, very small immediate family. I was an only child, my mom was an only child, and although my dad has several siblings, most of them didn’t live nearby and I only saw each of them maybe once or twice that I remember while I was growing up.

To put it another way, when R and I got married, the picture of us with my family includes a total of 6 people – the two of us, my parents, a cousin (second cousin or twice removed, something like that since my mom didn’t have siblings) who was about 30 years older than me who I’d only ever met once, and the cousin’s husband. On the other hand, our picture with R’s family includes about 30 people, about 20 who traveled from out of state during the holidays to be there for us.

So you get the gist – I don’t really have a lot of close family connections.

When I was young, I begged my parents for siblings, but no such luck. Then one day when I was about 8 years old, my parents sat me down to tell me something: while I was an only child (my mom’s), I was also the youngest of 4 – my dad had 3 children from a previous marriage. That little bombshell caused some trust issues no small kid should ever have to have with their parents, but that’s a story for another post.

Anyway, it turned out that my siblings were in the tween and teen stages, and their mom had called my dad to say she was putting them on a bus and sending them to him for the summer, so my parents were kind of put on the spot and had to tell me. (There was a lot of acrimony between my dad and his ex-wife, who lived in another state, and he wasn’t able to see them much.)

So I got to spend the summer with them. That was 28 years ago. Other than that, we haven’t had much contact. There was some resentment on their part – as if I had taken their dad away. I understand it, and it doesn’t seem to be there as much anymore (my brother still brings it up occasionally), but it was uncomfortable to bear the brunt of that resentment as a child.

Since that summer, I’ve seen my oldest sister twice (once about 26 years ago and then in December, when dad was in the hospital), my brother twice (ditto), and I haven’t seen my other sister again. We've only talked on the phone a couple times more than that.

It’s always felt weird to know that I have siblings out there, but being raised as an only child, I didn’t have the opportunity to form the normal sibling bonds. As an adult, still living in a different state from them and not having a lot in common, it hasn’t gotten any easier.

So while we were in touch more while dad was in the hospital, I didn’t really share much about the infertility stuff we’ve been dealing with.

And so – back to the phone call – you can imagine my surprise when my oldest sister called me earlier this week and said that her daughter, who’s in her early 20s and has a toddler, would be willing to be a gestational carrier for us.

(Don't get all excited yet.)

Dad’s wife had asked a couple of weeks ago what our next steps are, and I told her that our doctor’s recommendation is to use a gestational surrogate. Then apparently dad called my sister and suggested that maybe she could be the surrogate, not realizing she had had a hysterectomy. So my sister asked my niece and then called me.

I don’t know that it will be a viable option for a variety of reasons, and even if it is, I don’t know that it’s an option we will chose to pursue anytime in the immediate future.

But I was really touched by the call and the offer. I spoke to my niece (who I met for the very first time in December), and asked her if she was sure she wanted to do this and why she was willing to do this for us when we haven’t really been in each other’s lives.

She sounded kind of surprised that she had to explain it to me – she said “That’s what family is for” in a very matter-of-fact, isn’t-this-what-every-famly-does kind of way.

It turns out my family is bigger than I thought. It’s still kind of a hard concept to grasp.

June 18, 2010


Beta #10 is negative. I can't believe I did a little happy dance over a negative beta, but I did.

The phlebotomist this morning said, "You, again?? Another stat hcg?" I think he's going to miss seeing me all the time.

June 14, 2010

Bouncing Around Like a Ping Pong Ball

Me without a plan is not a pretty sight.

I have been (figuratively, at least) all over the map this past week in trying to decide what to do next. Last Tuesday, about 2 minutes after R walked in the door, I announced that I didn't think we'd qualify for my first choice country for international adoption. He didn't even know I was thinking about international adoption.

On Wednesday night, he finished a work-related call and then walked into the room to find me e-mailing potential gestational surrogates. By Thursday I was on the phone with one of them. (I don't think that particular situation is going to work out.)

At dinner on Sunday, I announced that I thought we should consider a different country. Then that night I received an e-mail from an old Resolve friend who highly recommends a local domestic adoption agency that R wants us to consider working with. Over the past several years, there have been several people who have mentioned that particular agency to me, and every one of them has had good things to say. I've searched online for opinions about them, and I honestly have not been able to find one negative thing.

Poor R's head is spinning. And he's wondering what country (or other crazy option) he's going to come home to tomorrow. :-)

All of those may be future options, but for now, I think our next step is Option #1 - trying again with me.

It pretty much comes down to something Mo said in a comment that Blogspot seems to have somehow eaten, but thankfully not before it landed in my inbox: "If you don't know that you've lost pregnancies to nonchromosomal issues while being treated for the thyroid/factor V, then I still think carrying on your own might be your best shot."

Technically, this miscarriage would be the first one we've lost while I was treated for Factor V and thyroid, and the embryo was presumably normal given the CGH results. But given that this one also looks like it was probably ectopic, it could be that this one was just bad luck. So I think it may reasonable to give it at least one more shot.

There's one thing I want to look into first, though - the possibility of endometriosis. When I saw ob last month for my RhoGham shot, it was a very hastily arranged appointment, and his office didn't have a chance to get my chart from the office where I usually see him to the office he was at that day.

In trying to remember my history, he asked about endometriosis. When I told him I haven't had any of the symptoms of it, he said that many women don't have symptoms. Then he proceeded to tell me about a friend of his who asked him to go to the ER with her because she thought she was having appendicitis. It turned out that instead of appendicitis, it was the worst case of endo that ob had ever seen. He said he couldn't understand how she hadn't had pain before then, but she hadn't.

Here's the thing: I've been to the ER twice in the last four years with symptoms of appendicitis. The second time, the ER doc was so sure it was my appendix based on his exam that he had the nurse call down to the OR and tell the on-call surgery team (which had been called in for another case) to stay put because he was going to be sending down an appendectomy. But both times, CT scans showed that my appendix was just fine. So they sent me home, saying "We don't know what it is, but we know it's not an emergency."

And - this will sound incredibly stupid - when I poke around to the right of my belly button, there is pain. I first noticed it a few months before the first "appendicitis" attack. I was gearing up for IVF #1, and I was poking around on my stomach trying to figure out where I was going to do all the shots. I noticed it hurt when I pressed (not particularly hard) in some areas. But then I got sick the next week with a lot of GI symptoms and eventually wound up with a diagnosis of IBS, so I always assumed it was that. Even now, I avoid giving myself shots in the area where I most commonly feel the pain. It tends to sting like crazy when I do them there, so I generally choose my left side for the shots.

So, the really stupid part - it's honestly never occurred to me to mention this to an RE. And all of their questions about endo have been along the lines of "Does it hurt when you have sex?" (no), not "Do you ever feel like you're having appendicitis?", so the subject has just never come up.

I have an appointment in two weeks to discuss this with ob. I've also sent a note to RE's nurse explaining the appointment and asking if RE would want to weigh in on this if ob recommends a laparoscopy, but I haven't heard back yet because nurse was on vacation last week.

I'm not quite sure if this is truly a legitimate concern/possibility, or if I'm just a crazy person grasping at straws.

June 12, 2010

Coming Full Circle

Beta #9 was yesterday, and it was 11 - the same as the first beta in this cycle.

So, yea that it's going down, but boo that it wasn't 4 or less. Beta #10 (hopefully the last one this time around!) will be next Friday.

I've seen the phlebotomists at the lab so often lately that they feel practically like family at this point...

More to come about the post before this one, but first I'm going to try to tackle two papers for school and clean up the house a bit - wish me luck!

June 09, 2010

The Options

I keep going 'round and 'round in my mind, trying to figure out what to do next. Trying to figure out what the heck will get us to the point we actually want to be at - parenthood. But I think I'd have better luck trying to see through walls at this point.

There are a few different options we're mulling, a couple of them with some variations we need to sort through. I tried (but didn't really succeed) being brief in outlining them. Feedback is more than welcome, so feel free to chime in with your thoughts. Things couldn't possibly get more muddled. (I don't think, anyway.)

Option #1 - Another FET with me (i.e. the not particularly hopeful option in my last post)
Pros: We have embryos to work with. I tend to get BFPs with FETs. Insurance will cover the transfer. I have leftover meds from this time around. We're very familiar with the drill. This most recent loss looks like it was ectopic, so maybe it was just bad luck and this could still work.
Cons: The obvious - 6 pregnancies, 0 babies that made it to the 2nd trimester, much less birth. So the odds of success are not in our favor.

Aside from that, there are still costs involved, and the actual FET may be the least of the costs. I want to do intralipids for the next FET, which will involve finding a new doctor, most likely a reproductive immunologist. That requires time, energy, and probably at least $2,000, since RI's don't tend to take insurance. And I think I probably want to do IV antibiotics too - might as well throw the kitchen sink at this if it's our last attempt. Insurance paid for some of it in the past, but there's still travel costs. On top of all that, I have an appointment with ob/gyn at the end of the month to talk about whether I may possibly have endometriosis. More on that in another post.

Option #2 - Gestational surrogacy (i.e. the not particularly realistic option in my last post)
Pros: We have embryos to work with. RE thinks our chances with this approach are "absolutely excellent."
Cons: The cost. We're not independently wealthy. There is no money tree growing in the back yard. If we were, or if there was, we would have turned to this option a couple of years ago.

We've started tentatively talking about this with some of our friends, but no one has come forward to volunteer to carry for us. (A lot of our friends have either had infertility issues themselves or difficult pregnancies with complications that make surrogacy not a viable option for them.) None of our family members are particularly good options, either.

I've done some research into the costs. We're looking at $10k for the testing/transfer, $7k to $10k for legal fees (we would probably have to go independent through an attorney, because an agency would be too expensive), $3k to $5k for travel and miscellaneous expenses like maternity clothing, $20k to $30k for the GC's fee and $20k to $30k for medical insurance for the GC if she doesn't have it.

So we're talking $40k at an absolute minimum (assuming she has insurance) to $85k at the top end. And I would already be out there working a second job and trying to figure out any other way we can come up with the money to do it, except for one thing:

It's a $40k to $85k gamble.

There's no guarantee at the end of it. We would pay the $10k testing/transfer fees up front, as well as at least $5k to $7k of the legal fees, and part of the medical insurance fees if applicable. Then, if there is a BFP, there are small payments made at that point and at the first ultrasound that shows a heartbeat, then the rest of it is paid in monthly installments as the pregnancy continues.

And if something goes wrong at the end and the baby is stillborn or there are complications and the baby dies, we will have paid out all of the money, and have only a dead baby to show for it.

I know that stillbirths are not common, that the odds of us getting to the end of a pregnancy and having complications and having a dead baby are low. But they're not non-existant, and we've been on the wrong side of the odds so many times.

And I think we're at a higher risk than average for those things, because there's a 50/50 chance for each of our embryos to have Bru.gada's Syndrome. There's research that seems to be showing that at least half of all SIDS deaths may really be because of Bru.gada's, so it seems reasonable to think there's also a greater risk of a fatal irregular heart rhythm (which is what Bru.gada's is) in utero, when nothing can be done about it.

R and I are not gamblers to begin with. I really don't think I could lose yet another baby, lose $85k, and still somehow manage to pull myself together again after that. Not to be dramatic, but in total seriousness, that could be just the thing that makes me shatter irrepairably, and I don't think I can risk that.

So unless Ed McMahon shows up on our doorstep with a giant check (is he even still alive?), this option just doesn't seem very realistic.

Option #3 - Adoption (i.e. the not particularly appealing option in my last post)
Pros: Sometimes this works, for some people. If my understanding of recent adoption tax credit changes is correct, we may be eligible to take the credit again, which means this could potentially be the least expensive of all the options.
Cons: We've been badly, badly (did I mention badly?) burned by this option in the past. Badly.

When I say it's "not particularly appealing", I don't mean that I dislike the concept of adoption. In fact, for those of you who haven't been following this blog for the entire time, R and I turned to domestic adoption before we turned to IVF.

And we were lied to (about a birthmom's intention to place), lied to again (about a birthfather situation), and lied to yet again (about drug use). Those were all birthmoms who truly had babies - that doesn't even count all of the scams we encountered but thankfully didn't fall for by women who weren't even pregnant. We spent $30k on those efforts, and we couldn't keep putting ourselves through the heartbreak and feeling being taken advantage of, so we let our homestudy expire and faced the reality of needles and egg retrievals, etc.

So I'm very, very wary about this option. (Okay, yes, "bitter" may be a more accurate word.)

We chose domestic adoption at the time because we wanted to start with a newborn. Now we're more willing to let go of that ideal, and we would be willing to pursue international adoption.

Except, I don't think we're eligible.

R and I both take thyroid meds and anti-depressants, and R has a defibrillator. Granted, he's never had any sort of irregular heart rhythm except the ones induced by medication while he was undergoing an EP study in the cath lab. It's just a kind of insurance policy, in case he was to go into v-fib.

But still, I've made some inquiries, and it seems that other countries frown on the idea of allowing someone to adopt when they have a medical device implanted in their body on the off chance that their heart suddenly goes into a wacky rhythm. And even if he didn't have that, anti-depressant use is highly frowned upon (even if it's past use and not presently being taken), and even common thyroid meds are apparently enough to knock you out of the running.

I've thought about lying - I mentioned these restrictions to our family physician, who said it was ridiculous and has no concerns about us being parents given our health situations, so might be willing to give us a medical clearance - but I tend to be a horrible liar, even when it's a lie of omission. And R, whose character is one of the things I love most about him, vetoed the idea.

So, now that we're at the point we're willing to consider international adoption, it appears to no longer be an option for us. And that one seemed like the closest you can come to a "sure thing", so it's been a bit disheartening.

So yes, we have options. But of the ones that are practical, they don't feel particularly likely to get us to where we want to be - out of this maze, with a baby in our arms.

June 07, 2010

An Attempt at Being Positive

I realize all of my recent posts have been downers. Honestly, IRL I don't walk around with a 10-foot field of negativity radiating from me - apparently it all just comes out online.

So, I decided to post a couple of happy things. On the bright side:

I've lost another 5 pounds in all of this. No good reason for it, it just seems that my body is now at a stage where it plateaus for 4-5 weeks then suddenly drops 5-7 pounds with no warning, then plateaus again, drops again, etc. etc. So at least the scale is saying nice things (relatively speaking) to me.

I called my insurance company to find out how much of my $10k infertility benefit is left, because we need to know that in weighing what to do next. I was kind of afraid to do it, because I thought maybe it would make them re-evaluate my claims and find some infertility ones that they overlooked. But I figured we have to be pretty close to the $10k at this point, so really what did I have to lose?

Imagine my shock when they called a few days later to tell me I've used less than $3,800 of it! And then they even sent me a follow up letter stating that fact, and a printout of the spreadsheet that shows which claims counted toward that amount. So I have good news from an insurance company, in writing. If the earth feels like it's a little bit off of its axis lately, that's probably why.

The $3,800 is for one fresh retrieval and one FET. Apparently most of what is billed falls under diagnosis codes other than infertility ones. Last month's FET counted for $840 toward that amount. So technically we have enough of a benefit left to do about 8 more FETs. Not that I see that happening - I don't think RE will allow us to use my uterus much longer.

And speaking of using my uterus again, yes, that is one of the options we're debating. It's not that we don't have options, it's just that none of them (for various reasons) seem particularly hopeful/realistic/appealing to us at this point. But this is supposed to be a happy post, so I'll save the rest of that for later.

Oh, and one other happy thought. I'm taking next Monday and Tuesday off work so that I can have a long weekend. I figure after this past month, it's the least I can do for myself. :-)

June 04, 2010

The Never-Ending Miscarriage

Beta #8: 96. So it's still going down, but slowly. Beta #9 will be next Friday - I think I'm going to set a new record for the most betas ever during one cycle.

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what the heck our next step will be.

For once, I'm a woman without a plan. For someone who usually has a backup plan for the backup plan, this is a new feeling.

And it's one I'm not sure I like.

June 01, 2010

It's Almost Over, Really (I Think)

Out of all the miscarriages I've had, this has definitely been the most unusual one. Typically, my numbers go up, my numbers come back down, the end.

Not this time. Beta #5 (last Monday, 8 days ago) was 188. The bleeding that had started 5 days before that (and seemed like a full period) was pretty much winding down by that point. Beta #6 was Friday, and there had been no bleeding at all for a couple of days by then. It was 187.

The nurse wanted to talk about a D&C or methotrexate, but I wasn't ready yet. They were concerned about the possibility of an ectopic, but I wanted to push it out a bit to see if we could get confirmation that that's really what was going on. (My logic being that if it's truly an ectopic, then I can hold out hope that this cycle was just bad luck. In all my other miscarriages, my beta was back down below 5 by time time I stopped bleeding, so it seems strange to me (and the nurse agreed) that my beta would still be that high even after I stopped bleeding.) She made me promise to call if I started having any pain or other symptoms.

We didn't wind up with official confirmation, but I'm about 95% sure that's what it was. On Saturday, I woke up to pain on the lower left side of my pelvic area. It wasn't super sharp, but it wasn't dull either. It was pretty constant, but I didn't want to call RE's office, because I knew they'd tell me to go to the ER. Then when I went to the bathroom that afternoon, there was bright red blood again. Not a lot, but it struck me as strange seeing as how I'd just ended a week's worth of bleeding a few days before.

So I called. And they told me to go to the ER. And I had blood drawn twice, because the doctor decided to order one more test after the nurse had already drawn blood. And the nurses kept marveling that I wasn't a sobbing, hysterical mess. And I was treated to the lovely experience of a bladder catheter. And the ultrasound tech wanted to do the trans vag portion of the ultrasound with the bladder catheter still in place! (A word to the wise - never, ever. Ever. let someone try to do that to you.)

And after 7 hours in the ER, we were told mostly what we already knew - that my numbers were too low to show anything on ultrasound, so they couldn't be certain it was ectopic. But the one new thing we learned was that my hcg level was down in the 120s. So it seems to be moving in the right direction at a pretty significant pace.

The pain went away by Sunday morning, although the bleeding is still continuing, at that same small rate as it was on Saturday. Beta #8, to confirm that the number has gone back down below 5, is scheduled for Friday.

This is the first time I've ever wanted a pregnancy to be over.

May 25, 2010

It's Not Over, After All

Not yet, anyway. But it's not good, either.

Beta #5 was drawn yesterday to make sure that my levels were going down. Last Wednesday, beta #4 was 45. Yesterday it was 188. That's a doubling time of 58 hours - not great, but definitely within the 48-72 hour doubling window.

I freaked out when RE's nurse told me, and I asked if it was possible that we stopped the meds too early on what could still be a potentially viable pregnancy. She said no, RE still thinks it's a non-viable pregnancy and that it may be ectopic.

My last pregnancy implanted in my uterus right next to one of my tubes; at first, the obstetric radiologist thought it was in the part of the tube closest to the uterus. So I went for an ultrasound this afternoon to see if it was possible to get any sense of where the pregnancy might be.

The ultrasound didn't show anything; given my levels, it's probably too soon for anything to be visible. But the doctor reviewing the ultrasound kind of confirmed what I was concerned about - when he came in to tell me what he thought of the images, he said "It's too early to tell whether this is a viable pregnancy or not."

I said, "Well, at this point I hope it's not, because I was told to stop my meds 5 days ago." At which he started backpedaling and saying "Well, it's very likely this isn't viable, I'm sure they know what they're doing."

But now, if this isn't definitively determined to be ectopic, I will always wonder if I should have kept going with the meds.

Beta #6 will be on Friday, unless I bust a tube before then...

May 19, 2010

It's Officially Over

Today's beta was 45, so it was only up 2 from Monday. No big surprise there.

The nurse didn't say much, other than that she had thought this cycle would work for us. Yeah, well, REs, nurses, and financial coordinators have been thinking that for seven years.

I scheduled a follow up with RE for tomorrow afternoon, and I also asked the nurse to have the surrogacy coordinator call me. We will probably try one more time with me if we can, but I have a feeling it's time to start looking for a uterus to borrow.

Thank you all for the support and kind words.

Oh, and I thought of Upside #11 while I was in the shower this morning - no more having to scrub my skin raw to get the sticky estrogen patch residue off.

Oh, and one more thing. My mother is not speaking to me. Instead of just simply saying "I'm so sorry, I wish there was something I could do", she started a conversation with me this morning that began with "Aside from you and R, I'm the one most impacted by all this. This is really upsetting to me, and I'm really hurting because of this, too..." (This, after last Friday she implied that perhaps we're not having any luck because we're not praying enough or not praying correctly.)

After she said that this morning, I told her I didn't want to talk about it, but she kept pushing. Finally I just had to walk away while she was still talking to me, so now she says she's just not going to talk to me any more. Ever again.

Fine by me. She's been diagnosed by a psychologist (who she saw) as having narcissistic personality disorder, and another one (mine, who hasn't seen her but has heard the stories) also suggested it was NPD without me mentioning she'd already been diagnosed as such. So I know that part of it is just who she is, but frankly, I don't have the energy to even care.

There is Blood

Perhaps I shouldn't have said in my last post that there hasn't been "even a speck of spotting"...

I got up at 1:30 this morning to go to the bathroom. I wiped. I totally did not expect blood. I gasped, because there it was - and not just a speck, either. It looks like the beginning of CD1, and there was even a little bit in the toilet, along with a tiny little clot.

Please don't say lots of women spot or bleed during early pregnancy. I know, because I'm one of them. And every single time, it has marked the beginning of the end.

I'm sitting on the floor of my closet typing this, so that I don't disturb R. I want to throw myself on the ground and cry, wail, have a tantrum, but the emotion won't come. I'm numb inside - there have been a few tears, but no sobbing.

We've failed. At the place that is supposed to be the holy grail. At the place that is supposed to be our last (and best) shot.

I was going to get up early, go to a lab near my office, then go in to work for most of the day. Instead, I will be showing up at a lab near my house, without even showering first, and attempt not to cry during the draw. (I didn't even tell you guys about how I completely lost it during Saturday's draw when the phlebotomy tech started complaining about how she was tired of being pregnant and is annoyed that she still has five more months to go. I will be going to a different location today.)

Then I will come back home, get on an 8 a.m. call for a big, very visible project that I was assigned yesterday, and then cancel the rest of my meetings for the day and await the call with the number, probably while downing copious amounts of sugary desserts alternating with fried foods.

But, because hope is a **tch this way, this time I will not take off the patches or skip any doses until I'm told to. Because, you know, maybe just maybe the number will still be good. Ha.