Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Sunday Funnies

After that last long and angst-ridden post, I knew I had to lighten it up a bit. As promised, I managed to dig up a couple IF-related jokes. Goodness knows we could all use a LAUGH about this topic now and then!

Joke #1:

Q - How does an RE like his eggs?

scroll down for answer...
A - Over 20mm!

Joke #2:

Q - Why did the RE cross the road?

scroll down for answer...
A - Because there was an affluent, infertile woman in her 30s on the other side.

Joke #3:

Q - Why does it take 50 million sperm to fertilize one egg?

scroll down for answer...
A - Because they won't ask for directions either!

If you guys know of more, please put them in your comments and I'll add to this master list. :-)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hot Forks, Sharp Knives, and Rusty Nails

My best friend is named Kelly. She is smart, beautiful, funny, a former airline pilot, a talented artist, and a true joy to have in my life. She and I met because I worked with her husband. They didn't even know each other when I started working with him, but later they started dating and got married. Before they got married, she and I lived together in an apartment for a while.

She is also a little kooky. She tends to make things much harder than they should be, and she takes really strange approaches to certain tasks. But I don't care, that's part of why I love her so much. She keeps me entertained, I don't want her to change one bit. Plus, she'll tell me what she *really* thinks when I ask her (and sometimes when I don't).

Kelly and her hubby (also K) got engaged 5 months before me and Kevin. Kelly and K got married 6 months before us. Kevin still works at the same company where K (Kelly's hubby) and I did, so we all know each other very well. It's a wonderfully comfortable friendship that I treasure like gold.

Even before we got married, Kevin and I started TTC. Call it intuition or call it paranoia, but I just had a sense it wouldn't be easy. Kelly and K thought we were crazy to start working on kids so quickly, as they were enjoying their time traveling and going out on their boat. However, after Kevin and I had been trying for a year, they thought that maybe they should try too. Just in case it took a little while.

Kelly and I both feared that she would get pregnant before me. Whether it was luck or not, I did manage to get pregnant first. Kelly got pregnant 5 months later. Kelly and K's daughter is smart, funny and amazing. She has a fiery strong personality and a cold stare that could hurt even an apathetic 14 year old's feelings. She keeps them on her toes, and they do their best to be good parents to her. Our daughters play together like siblings -- loving each other one minute, beating the snot out of each other the next.

When Kelly and K's daughter was 2 months old, Kevin and I started TTC #2. Kelly and K thought we had lost our minds. As you can see from the info on my sidebar, that was over 2 years ago. We're still trying.

Last summer, after Kevin and I had been TTC for over a year, Kelly and K decided they should try again too. They admit that they can barely handle the daughter they've got, so we were all a little surprised. Plus, they were getting ready to buy a business and move from Maryland to Florida. Seemed like crazy timing, but oh well. I even said to her, point blank, "What am I supposed to do when you get pregnant before me?" I know that's a terribly selfish thing to say, but it's something I can freely say to my best friend. She said, "C'mon, we have to be in this together or it won't work."

She was right. She was always in it with me, always supportive, always willing to listen. She knew more about my cycles and RE appts and suspected symptoms than my own husband. When Kevin and I were undergoing our IUIs, she would call me as I was driving to the Doctor's office, then she'd call an hour later to see how my follicles looked. She worked incredibly hard to understand all the terminology, procedures, and drugs that I was working with. Perhaps part of her was using it as an opportunity to educate herself in case they had trouble conceiving #2. But probably not, because she stated repeatedly that they would "never be able to" do what Kevin and I were doing. She was truly just trying to support me.

So I shot myself up with drugs, gave dozens of vials of blood, and subjected myself to countless wanding sessions with the dildocam. Then the 1st IUI failed. And the 2nd. And the 3rd. She was crushed. I suspect that was for many reasons. First and foremost, it was because she knew how badly we wanted a baby and it hurt her to see us struggling so much. But also, I think she was scared that, as the months went on without a BFP for her, that they'd have to consider this route.

In December 2006, Kevin and I were at his parents' house for an early Christmas. I had brought my Lu.pron in a cooler and was busy bursting blood vessels all over my stomach injecting it. However, it was our first IVF and I was excited. Truthfully, I was alternately scared shitless and excited, it was nervewracking for sure. I was patiently awaiting the arrival of AF so that I could start the heavy duty stims in preparation for a retrieval.

I knew Kelly's AF was due to appear while we were visiting the in-laws, so we kept in contact every day. Out loud, I said all the right things. I said I wanted her to get pregnant, and I said that I was sorry it had been taking a few months. But inside, I'm not sure either of them were true. I didn't want her to get pregnant before me, and I wasn't all that sorry it was taking a while because misery loves company.

Imagine the ugly scene that followed when Kelly called me on my cell to tell me that she took an HPT and was pregnant. I was crushed. I have no idea what I said to her, but I'm fairly confident that it was appropriate (my Mom taught me well). The second we got off the phone, I ran up to the bedroom where we were staying, flung myself on the bed, and cried like a teenage girl who was just dumped at the Prom. I'm really not prone to dramatic displays like that, so everyone was a little alarmed. But we all got over it. The bummer is that the cycle we were gearing up for turned out to be a bust (I was over-suppressed by the Lu.pron), so that was yet another kick in the teeth.

The biggest bummer of all was that exactly 1 year earlier, in December 2005, we had learned of our first miscarriage just 1 day before boarding the plane to head to the in-laws for Christmas. So I was a wreck that year too. It's a miracle they still love me and that they still want us there for the Holidays.

Geez, what a long freaking post and I haven't even gotten to the point. Sorry.

Just before the 12 week mark in Kelly's pregnancy, we were going out to dinner with a group of girlfriends. Kelly was torn about whether to tell them she was expecting or not. She really wanted to get past the 1st trimester and the nuchal translucency testing before they told too many people. So she hemmed and hawed about it for a while.

I don't have to tell you guys how it feels to hear a pregnancy announcement. Like a hot fork in the eye, a sharp knife in the gut, a rusty nail through your foot. Bad, bad, bad, it feels bad. Therefore, when I was given the opportunity to know up front that a pregnancy announcement was going to be made, I decided to skip it. I asked her, "If you are going to tell everyone you are pregnant at dinner tomorrow night, please let me know. I'd like to create an excuse to show up late. As you know, I have a hard time with pregnancy announcements, and as soon as they are done gushing all over you -- rightfully so -- they will all look at me with those sad, pity-filled, puppy dog eyes. I would just rather avoid the whole thing."

At that, she said, "Oh, right. I hadn't even thought of that. Well, that settles it, I'm not going to tell them." Luckily, I know Kelly well. I knew she wouldn't be able to avoid telling. The minute she refused wine before dinner, they'd be on her like white on rice, and she can't lie for shit. So I did create a legitamite excuse for being late to dinner, and she did make her announcement before I got there. Everyone there got to fawn all over her without holding any of it in check to save my feelings. They got to talk about how great it is to have kids so close together (everyone in the group -- except me, of course -- has 2 children under 3 years old).

For about a week after that, Kelly was a little cold. When you talk to someone every day (sometimes multiple times a day), it's easy to pick up on uneasyness. I finally asked what was wrong, and she said, "When you asked me not to tell them about the baby while you were there, you made me feel guilty for being pregnant." I said I was sorry for making her feel bad.

But that's not true. That's EXACTLY how I want all pregnant people to feel. (Except people like us who struggle, they are grandfathered in to receive genuine joy.) For everyone who gets pregnant naturally, easily, quickly, by actually having sex with their husbands, I am angry. I want them to feel lucky and blessed. But I also want them to feel guilty because I can't get pregnant. I want them to slink around, to avoid rubbing their bellies, and to tell me that they are sorry 100 times a day that I am not pregnant yet. I really do want them to feel guilty.

It's an ugly thing to say, I know. It's not even rational, but it's true. I am surrounded by breeders -- that's what my sister calls people who get pregnant easily. Almost all of my friends are breeders. They have lapped me in the baby department, and it makes me so angry. Don't *even* get me started on the people who ACCIDENTALLY get pregnant. Worse yet is that while I'm desperate for them to feel guilty and terrible for me, I don't want one ounce of pity from them. Truly, they just can't win. Goodness knows I already covered this topic in a
prior post, so I don't need to beat that horse to death anymore...

What are they doing that I am not? Are they better people than me? Is God mad at me? Why must I continually feel so left behind? So defective? So broken? Gee, you don't think that it's because, just maybe, I am evil and deranged and have the nerve to state on the world wide web that I want them to feel guilty? Nah, I'm sure that's not it.

Since all that drama (including another unsuccessful IUI), we've done 2 IVFs. When the first IVF actually worked, Kelly was beside herself because she was so happy. Now she could finally discuss pregnancy stuff with me and not worry about me melting down. We even went shopping for maternity clothes together (I didn't buy anything because, at just 6 weeks along, I wasn't nearly comfortable enough with the idea that this pregnancy would work -- rightfully so, it turns out). The day I called to tell her that we lost that baby and I was having a D&C, she was absolutely speechless. Mostly, I'm sure, because she felt sorry for us. But I have to imagine she felt sorry for herself too because now she was going to have to tiptoe around me with pregnancy nonsense all over again.

I didn't even tell her when we did the 2nd IVF. My big plan was to surprise her with the 6 week sonogram. Ha, that's hilarious. Instead, I could have told her about it with the message from my nurse explaining that my beta was negative. Oh, wait, I didn't get that message because I did my big F YOU to the IF universe and boycotted the beta entirely. Anyway, when I did tell her, she just took it in stride. As if I had said our freezer was on the fritz again. I think she's over all my IF drama and just doesn't even know what to do at this point. I truly don't blame her.

Kelly is now 34 weeks pregnant and expecting another girl. I'm still jealous every single day, and that makes me sad. The first time we went out somewhere and she was wearing maternity clothes, I cried in my car on the way home. Why can't I be happy for my best friend? She would be truly, completely thrilled for me. Why can't I do the same?

These are rhetorical questions, they don't really require answers. Infertility has turned me into a werewolf. One minute, I'm fine. The next minute, I've sprouted fangs and claws and have grown thick fur all over my face. It's just ugly and I don't like it. Plus, there's the whole hot fork in the eye, sharp knife in the gut, rusty nail in the foot pain to contend with. That really sucks.

Wow, what a bummer of a long post. Sorry for the novel. I guess I just needed to get that off my chest. I promise that my next post will be witty and funny -- even if I have to stock it with random jokes!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Let Them Eat Cake!

Since a bunch of people asked for it, I figured I'd just post the recipe for that super yummy cake from Mel's Cake Day. I have modified it from the version that is in the book, but just slightly. It would probably be just as delicious if you made it exactly like the book says to. But, if you want to save $10, don't bother buying the book and just use this recipe: :-)

Chocolate Better Than Sex Cake

Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan
Flour for dusting the pan (I use Baker's Joy spray instead of oil and flour)
1 pkg (18.25 oz) devil's food cake mix
1 pkg (6 oz or 1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips (I use at least 1 cup, sometimes more, whatever amount I have at the time)
1 pkg (3.9 oz) chocolate instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
1/4 cup water
4 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist a 10-inch bundt pan with vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. (I don't mess with all that, I use Baker's Joy spray which has the oil and flour already in it.) Set the pan aside.

2. Place the cake mix, chocolate pudding mix, sour cream, oil, water, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 to 3 minutes more. (I beat it as little as possible, until all the dry stuff is just mixed in. It seems to make for a lighter, moister cake that way.) The batter should be thick and well blended.

3. Fold in the chocolate chips until they are well distributed. Pour the battter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Place the pan in the oven.

4. Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly pressed with your finger and just starts to pull away from the side of the pan, 50 to 55 minutes. (I never cook it longer than 50 minutes, and will sometimes pull it out 4 or 5 minutes earlier if it starts to smell "done" to me.)

5. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack for 20 minutes more.

6. Prepare the Chocolate Shiny Glaze below. Immediately pour/drizzle the glaze on the cooled cake.

Chocolate Shiny Glaze

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Melt the butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the cocoa powder and cream and stir until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Do not boil.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.

I hope that I've made the recipes look easy because they really are! For people who love chocolate, this cake just knocks their socks off.

After making it lots of times, I think the keys to success are:
a) don't over bake it
b) don't skimp on the chocolate chips (but don't go insane either or it will be a big mess)
c) don't skimp on the sour cream -- I always use full-fat sour cream and often put an extra tablespoon or so in just because

Clearly there isn't a damn thing that's low-cal or low-carb about this cake. I don't even bother trying to make it so. Just bake it when you feel like indulging and then go to town!

Also, you don't have to pair up this cake and this glaze. I've made the cake with a caramel glaze. Likewise, I've used this glaze on a marble cake. It's like the Garanimals approach to baking.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Cake Day and other Lovin' Things

Happy Blogoversary to Mel! It's hard to believe that her blog has been around only for a year when it feels like the center of the IF blog universe to me. I considered writing a little song about you today, but then peed myself laughing because, really, who am I kidding? I don't write songs.

But I do bake cakes. This one is called the Chocolate Better Than Sex cake. As if that isn't good enough, it's got Shiny Chocolate Glaze on it (think chocolate glazed donuts).

I took to it a friend's house for her birthday tonight and people attacked it like they were jungle lions and it was prey trying to escape. If you like chocolate, this cake is to die for. If you want the recipe, leave your email in the comments and I'll send it to you, or go buy the world's best book -- The Cake.Mix.Doctor. This book was sent directly from heaven.

Now on to the other lovin' things...

I was so frenzied last week with the Commentathon that my finger slipped off the collective pulse of my regular bloggy friends. I felt like lots of stuff was going on (2WWs, BFNs, etc.) and while I had it all in my head when I prayed for everyone at night, I still wasn't real organized in my thinking. So I took a tour of my blog roll, and would like to ask everyone to send some love to these various places:

Changing Expectations - gearing up for DE IVF #2

Shelby - today is her birthday (!) and she's in that outrageously stressful window of time between retrieval and transfer

Artblog - she just had a recent BFN from IUI, I'm so sorry!

H2H - currently pregnant (yay!), first ultrasound on Monday

Lara - gearing up for DE FET

Laura - in 2WW

Carlynn - in 2WW

Rachel - in 2WW

Mary Ellen - in 2WW

Tam - recent BFN from her 1st IVF. This one is particularly saddening because she and I were true cycle sisters, our retrievals and transfers were just one day apart. After my BFN, I was desperate for her cycle to work so I wouldn't lose hope in the whole damn process. My heart is breaking for her and Frank.

Please feel free to eat some (virtual) cake and visit some nice ladies who could use your support right now.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Not all that shocking

Online Dating

How nice that they were kind enough to tell me exactly why I received this rating. Apparently my liberal use of "ass", "suck", "shit" and "crappy" isn't to their liking.

I wonder if, after typing them above, I've bumped myself up to an R rating?

Why is it that all of a sudden I feel like I'm performing a George Carlin bit?

Updated: Erin was kind enough to explain that NC-17 is actually worse than R. Shows how many movies I've been to since they developed those new categories, huh? So, as Erin and I are proud to admit, there's nowhere else to go from here. We're at the rock bottom of the smut-o-meter for blogs. Wahoo!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Snow White, IF Style

I assume that most of you remember the story of Snow White. Forgive me if I've paraphrased too much or if some of the details are different from the version you're used to, but the gist remains the same. For those that need a refresher, here's the Cliff Notes version of the original story:

Snow White’s Mother died when she was young, and she gained a Stepmother when her Father remarried. Her Stepmother, the Evil Queen, was beautiful, but vain and possessed supernatural powers. Snow White was treated like a servant in her Stepmother’s castle. But even as she was doing a servant’s chores, Snow White still sang sweetly and remained pleasant. Often, a Handsome Prince would pass by the castle walls and hear Snow White’s beautiful singing. He wanted to talk to her, but she was too shy. Meanwhile, the Evil Queen was jealous of Snow White’s beauty and continually asked her magic mirror “Who’s the fairest of them all?” One day the mirror answered “Snow White” and it enraged the Evil Queen. The Evil Queen told a Huntsman to take Snow White into the forest and kill her. The Huntsman took Snow White into the forest, but couldn’t kill her because Snow White was too nice. So he lied and told the Queen that Snow White was dead, while Snow White roamed the forest looking for a place to live. Finally, Snow White found a little cottage where 7 dwarfs lived – Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Bashful, Doc, Happy, and Grumpy. Snow White and the dwarfs co-existed happily, and all was well. Then, one day, the Evil Queen asked her magic mirror the usual question. She was shocked when the mirror said, “Snow White” because then she knew the girl was still alive. The Evil Queen drank a potion to turn into an old peddler woman, then used another potion to poison an apple. She found the cottage where Snow White was living, and got her to eat the poisoned apple. Snow White fell into a deep sleep, but when the dwarfs discovered her, they thought she was dead. They built her a glass coffin so they could look at her every day because they loved her so much. One day, the Handsome Prince was riding through the forest and saw Snow White. He remembered how much he enjoyed her singing, and how sweet and shy she was. He was enchanted her beauty, so he lifted the coffin and kissed her. This kiss of true love awakened Snow White. Snow White and the Handsome Prince got married and lived happily ever after. The Evil Queen died a particularly nasty death, and everyone celebrated.

What a heartwarming story, eh? For reasons unbeknownst to me, I started imagining a different version of Snow White that was centered around infertility. That's what gave me the inspiration for the title of the Stark White post last week. Anyway, since I didn't feel like working today (despite the fact that they are paying me to do so), I spent some time "tweaking" the story. It's sorta long, but hopefully it at least makes you smile once or twice. Enjoy...

Snow White’s Mother (Queen Easy Fertility) died when she was young. Yes, sadly, Easy Fertility left Snow White when our heroine was in her early 20s. Queen Easy Fertility was replaced by a wicked Stepmother named Evil Queen Infertility. Evil Queen Infertility was mean, nasty, and awful. She was unfair, unpredictable, and downright rude.

Snow White was treated like crap by Evil Queen Infertility. Despite this poor treatment which included basal body thermometers, OPKs, calendars, pineapple, decaf coffee, and contorted sleeping positions, Snow White was determined to remain pleasant and optimistic. All Snow White wanted was to be released from Evil Queen Infertility’s castle, and to go live happily in her own castle with lots of children. Month after month, Evil Infertility would trick Snow White into thinking that her prayers had been answered. But they never were, and each month Snow White would have her hopes and dreams crushed while the Evil Queen sat by, laughing cruelly.

A few times, when Queen Infertility wasn’t paying attention, Snow White managed to get pregnant. But, each time, the Evil Queen would figure it out and ruin everything by raining down a plague called Miscarriage. This went on for years, and it really wore Snow White down. She cried all the time, wondered what she did to upset The Powers That Be, and started to avoid the parties and balls that were held all around the kingdom. Some days, she was just too sad to face people.

What’s worse is that other Princesses in the castles all around her were being released. They were riding off in their horse-drawn minivans, loaded up with babies and toddlers. They were settling into their new castles with swing sets in the back yards and diving boards in the moats. There was nothing Snow White could do except manage a forced smile as she waved to her Princess friends who rode off into the sunset with their growing families. She tried valiantly to remain positive.

Often, a Handsome Prince would pass by the castle walls and hear Snow White’s beautiful singing. He found her enchanting, and loved her very much, but he often had no idea what to say to her to lift her out of her sadness. He longed to beat up Evil Infertility, and release his beloved Snow White from the Queen’s grips, but as hard as he tried, he could never figure out how to do it.

Meanwhile, the Evil Queen Infertility was jealous of Snow White’s determination and optimism and continually asked her magic mirror “Who’s the strongest of them all?” One day the mirror answered “Snow White” and it enraged the Evil Queen as she hissed, “How dare Snow White have a positive attitude, thinking she could finally have children? I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen!”

The Evil Queen told a Huntsman to take Snow White into the forest and ruin her chances. She instructed him to give Snow White some endometriosis, lots of ovarian cysts, a healthy dose of PCOS, elevated FSH, a whacky thyroid, a blood clotting disorder, a bicornuate uterus, scarred fallopian tubes, and crushed spirits. Then Evil Queen Infertility told the Huntsman to track down the Handsome Prince and rough him up too. She insisted on low sperm count, poor morphology, and poor motility for the Prince.

The Huntsman took Snow White into the forest, but couldn’t completely ruin her chances because she was too wonderful to be forever deprived of children. He did manage to inflict a few of the nasty problems on her, but not all of them. Likewise, when he found the Prince, he managed to give him just 1 or 2 of them. Apparently it was just enough to make things really, really difficult but not necessarily impossible. (As it turns out, this was even more cruel since it still allowed them some small margin of hope.)

After her incident with the Huntsman, Snow White roamed the forest looking for a place to live. Finally, she found a little house in a clearing. It had a peculiar sign above the door which read “Reproductive Endocrinologist Cottage.” There were pictures of babies in the windows (lots of twins, she noticed), so she very much wanted to go in. She knocked on the door, and was greeted by someone they called The Receptionist.

It seems that the owner of the cottage (Sir BabyMaker) wanted to help her, but she didn’t have something he kept referring to as “insurance coverage.” So she left to spend her days picking fruits in the forest and selling them at a roadside stand. Once she had saved up enough gold coins, she went back to see Sir BabyMaker.

Sir BabyMaker was very optimistic that he could help Snow White. He quoted lots of encouraging statistics, took lots of notes from their conversation, and gave her something magical called A Protocol. He told her to come back every day for the next month so he could introduce her to his 7 dwarfs: SemenAnalysis, HSG, BloodDraw, InjectedHormones, DildoCam, Hope, and PositiveBeta. He explained that those last 2 dwarfs weren’t always around, but that surely she would get to meet them someday.

Snow White felt better than she had in years! She had A PLAN. She even managed to track down Prince Charming and introduce him to Sir BabyMaker. Snow White and Prince Charming spent lots of time with those first 5 dwarfs. They did everything Sir BabyMaker told them to do, and things were really looking up.

Then, one day, the Evil Queen Infertility asked her magic mirror the usual question, “Who’s the strongest of them all?” She was shocked when the mirror said, “Snow White” because then she knew the Huntsman had not stricken Snow White barren. The Evil Queen drank a potion to turn into an old peddler woman, then used another potion to poison an apple. She found where Snow White was living, and got her to eat the poisoned apple.

Once Snow White ate the apple, everything started going wrong. She had a cycle cancelled for cysts, then she had a cycle cancelled for overstimulation. During another cycle, they had dreadfully low fertilization despite using a fancy new invention called ICSI. Many times they made it to that special place in the little cottage called The Room of Transfer, but each time it ended in sadness.

One day, Snow White finally got to meet the 6th dwarf, Hope. They had a long discussion which made Snow White feel a little better. After hearing Snow White’s story, Hope promised to go find her gang of friends: Lotta Drugs, Surgery and Tons ‘o Prayer. Hope and the gang tracked down Evil Queen Infertility and kicked her ass all over the place. Eventually, they broke the spell that Evil Infertility had cast over Snow White and Prince Charming! Evil Queen Infertility moved out of the kingdom forever, and was forced to live in a desolate cave on the highest mountain as far, far away from other people as possible.

The very next cycle, Snow White and Prince Charming were thrilled to hear that they were finally going to be parents. They had finally met the 7th dwarf, PositiveBeta. That dwarf even brought along his favorite cousin, DoublingBeta. They waited those long months while Snow White grew bigger and more uncomfortable, but it was worth every second. They planned a huge celebration and invited the entire kingdom, there was rejoicing everywhere! Finally the day arrived for the birth and they were shocked to learn that they had been blessed with two babies!!

The overjoyed parents named them Itsamiracle and Wearesohappy. From that day on, they lived happily ever after.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A little of this, a little of that

I had a number of different topics to cover, so instead of doing multiple posts, I'm just including them all here...

DC Metro Get Together

Last night was the DC Metro get together, organized by LJ. What a wonderful time! Thank you, LJ. Amazingly, there were NINE of us at dinner. We traveled from far and wide, but we made it there and I'm pretty sure a good time was had by all. How refreshing it was to talk for a couple of hours with people who never asked what a particular acronym meant, nodded their head with understanding at all of your stories, and got all of your jokes. Aaaaah! I'm really looking forward to our next gathering.

Leah Needs

Kate tagged everyone to do the " Needs" game. You just go to Google and type it in, then see what pops up. Here's what I got...
  1. Leah needs to shed the pounds and the sooner the better (um, yeah, no kidding)
  2. Leah needs her own talk show (not so much, although I do love to talk)
  3. Leah needs the final copies by July 8
  4. Leah needs your help to raise nearly $4000 for her 8-week mission trip to Egypt
  5. Leah needs to finish the leaders contact sheet
  6. Leah needs to date more (not sure Kevin would agree with this one)
  7. Leah needs more training before she becomes the big star that she is GOING TO BE (that's just funny)
  8. Leah needs rescuing (AMEN to this, I need rescuing from my IF hell)
  9. Leah needs to watch herself on TV after she makes the rounds of the talk shows
  10. Leah needs pretty pictures
What's even funnier is that I found another blog that did the "Leah needs" thing back in October of '05. Here's that link.

Cycle News

AF arrived with a vengance yesterday. I stopped taking the estrogen and PIO on Saturday after the BFN, so I knew she'd show up sometime soon. Progesterone-enhanced periods really, really suck. All the better that I went to the gathering of DC Metro ladies, it really took my mind off of it. The only time I found it hard was when Mel said, "I'm really sorry. I thought we were going to be celebrating tonight." Her kindness touched me so much, if I knew these women better, I would have started crying right at the table. Mel, for that and a thousand other reasons, you ROCK! (And, for anyone that's wondering, she's every bit as fantastic as you think she's going to be.)

We have a follow up appointment with the RE on July 3rd. I think that Kevin wants him to tell us we should do another cycle (read: hemmorage lots of cash) with my eggs before moving on to donor eggs (read: hemmorage lots more cash). I'm not sure how I feel about this. Obviously I would love for it to magically work with my eggs, but that seems highly unlikely. I'm definitely less afraid of the donor egg concept, however, after talking to the lovely Changing Expectations last night. It was invaluable to talk to a real, live person in the flesh about her journey there. She is an amazingly strong woman who, with her husband, has been through an awful lot. Please hop over to her blog and show her some love.

I guess this is going to be an off cycle. Since I don't know what we are doing next, and it's already CD2, there's really nothing to do this month. I suppose I could start taking BCPs because they're the jumping off point for everything IVF-related at my clinic. But I don't feel like it. I'm acting all nonchalant right now, but I'm fairly confident that within a week I'll be stocking up on OPKs and trying to pretend like we aren't having scheduled sex.

One last thing, I found out that the folks at my clinic still really, really want me to come in on Friday for the beta. It's painfully obvious that I'm not pregnant, but apparently they need the official numbers to close out the cycle. Because I feel like being a rebel, I don't think I'm going to go. Why in the world would I want to pay them for a test when I already know the answer? Um, no thanks. If, during our consult on July 3rd, they notice that I never did the beta and want to suck my blood then, more power to them. But I'm not making a special trip in there. I guess that's my tiny way of saying F you to the IF universe.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Gone Forever?

In honor of the Commentathon, I am writing a post. It won't be as entertaining as The New Baby Guy, but if people happen to hop over to my blog in an effort to boost their points and find new blogs, I'd like them to read something other than details of my recent BFN Pity Party.

We have all been to waaaay too many of those parties anyway, so no need for me to drone on and on about the anger, disbelief, crushed hopes, broken dreams, despair, and other terrible things that go on at these parties. We know the words to all of the songs, we have all the party favors, and we've gotten sick off all the party food served there. I'm confident that I'll circle back to further explore the range of shitty emotions I'm feeling right now related to the latest BFN, but it's not going to be the topic of this post. (Except that I just spent 14 lines writing about it. Nice.)

Like the Pity Parties, we are also all aware of the changes we go through as a result of IF. None of us are the same people we were when we started TTC. Pretty common things to be ditched along the side of the road are: innocence, naive optimism, emotionally unencumbered sex, and the ability to feel true, pure joy at someone else's pregnancy announcement. But there are dozens and dozens of other ways that we all change -- many are the same for all of us, but many are different. We've lost friends, we've lost joy, we've lost that spark inside of us that used to shine so brightly. I can't possibly express strongly enough how much this sucks.

I had a particularly rough patch about 8 months ago. Three pregnancy announcements -- by very close friends -- in one week sent me over the edge. First was one of my closest friends whom I also work with named Laurie. Shortly after her twins turned 1, Laurie told me she was pregnant again. I'll never forget it, our cubes are right next to each other so she rolled up next to my chair and had a horrible look on her face. I thought someone had died. She spoke very quietly and simply said, "I have something to tell you." Somehow, in that instant, I knew. This woman got pregnant naturally. On the first try. With boy/girl twins. Then, she and her husband decided that they'd like their kids 2 years apart so they did the math and figured out when to start TTC again. Yup, you guessed it. On the first try again. They just had a beautiful baby boy, born 2 weeks after the twins' 2nd birthday. It would be impossible to express the jealousy I feel at being able to plan like that. But I don't need to tell you guys, you already know how it feels.

The next announcement was by my neighbor Lynn whom I see every day. She already had 3 kids aged 4, 3 and 1. Like a complete dumbass, I came home the day of Laurie's announcement and boo-hoo-hooed to Lynn about it. Imagine my surprise when, the very next day, Lynn looked at me -- with exactly the same expression that Laurie had the day earlier and said, "I have something to tell you." You could have knocked me over with a feather. The real kicker is that she was already 17 weeks along and I had no idea. I see this woman every day. I was so wrapped up in my own dramas that I didn't notice a pregnancy right in front of me. She now has another baby girl who, although I get to snuggle on whenever I want, still makes me sad and jealous every time I see her.

The next announcement was by our former nanny named Jessie. It came 2 days after Lynn's announcement. Jessie cared for our daughter Megan part-time starting when Megan was 3 months old. (I work 3 days a week.) Just before Megan turned 2, Jessie and her live-in boyfriend broke up and she decided to move back to Pennsylvania to be close to family. At the time of this decision, she wasn't pregnant, but by the time she moved away, she was. Not by the now-ex-boyfriend, but by another guy. Anyway, she moved away, and a few months later emailed me to tell me she was pregnant. I was stunned. She also now has a beautiful baby boy, although she's only 21 and the father is a lazy, 19 year old loser.

The point of me telling you all this is that all 3 of these people were AFRAID to tell me they were pregnant. Laurie said that the very first thing that went through her head was, "Leah is going to be so upset." She didn't think, "Wow, how great that I'm pregnant!" or "Yeah, we're going to have another baby!" She thought, "Shit, Leah is going to be so upset."

Apparently Lynn went through the same thing. They didn't tell anyone (even their own kids) that she was pregnant for over 4 months because she could never figure out the best way/time to tell me. And if she told her kids, they would certainly tell me since I see them every day. So they kept it a secret until the day before they left for a week long vacation. Lynn said she wanted to tell me just as they were leaving so I "wouldn't have to look at her" while I was adjusting to the idea. The outrageously sad thing is that she was so right. It was a horrible week with lots of mean thoughts and crying, and it was truly best that she was away. I was okay with it (really, what choice did I have?) once they returned.

Jessie was scared to death to tell me. I think hers was also because she knew she messed up by getting pregnant so young with a loser, but she also knew I'd be crushed. That's why she had to tell me over email instead of when we talked on the phone every other week.

I hate that I am now THIS person. I am the person you avoid. I am the person you walk on eggshells around. I am the person who causes you to pick and choose your words. I am the person who makes you filter your conversations so that there aren't any pregnancy stories. I am high maintenance and that might actually be worse than being infertile.

I am this person because of the changes due to IF. As if all the crap that goes along with being infertile doesn't suck enough, we need to add in the fact that our friends and family see us as emotionally fragile. That sucks. I hate that. I was never the emotionally fragile person, the sensitive one. I was the rock-solid person who could handle anything and was there for all of my friends to lean on. That was the Old Me -- funny, carefree, generous, giving, strong. Strong. I miss the Old Me. Every day.

Now they all pussy-foot around me, hoping that I don't crumble. However, one day when I dicussed this with Lynn, she said something really helpful. I was lamenting how I hate that I've become THAT person. The one you are afraid to tell things to. She assured me that I wasn't THAT person, I was just in THAT situation. It made me feel much better, like I hadn't actually lost the Old Me, she was just hiding under layers of shitty situations.

But now, I'm not so sure. I think I might be changed permanently. Surely things will get better when we eventually reach the end of our BabyQuest journey, but will I ever be the same again? I just wonder if that Old Me is gone forever?

Friday, June 15, 2007

I'm Shocked

And not in a good way. BFN. I think I'm just too stunned to really process it. Ugh. I had more hope for this cycle than any others we ever did.

Kevin is already talking about how to find the $ to do another cycle with my eggs. This means I'll be creating a complicated spreadsheet that compares the costs of a donor egg cycle with a Leah egg cycle. I'd better not put the odds of achieving a successful pregnancy in that spreadsheet or the Leah side of the spreadsheet will be woefully lame. :-(

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Snow White's Evil Cousin: Stark White

Stark white. That's what was staring back at me where I hoped to see that darned second line today. I had no idea how much I thought it was actually going to be there until it wasn't. The rational side of me says that it could just be too early. However, the emotional side has already thrown in the towel, packed her bags, and purchased a one-way ticket out of IVFTown.

I was awake at 4:30am, so that's when I took the test. Like a dumbass, I stood there staring at it for a full 10 minutes. I don't even think I blinked. I was WILLING that line to appear. No such luck. I started to hallucinate, creating a completely non-existent line where the 2nd one is supposed to be -- because goodness knows I am well aware of *exactly* where that line should display. Not the faintest hint.

I can't remember whose blog it was that discussed looking for that line using the light of a thousand suns. But that's precisely what I was doing. Careening around the bathroom, drunk with fatigue, trying to get the damned pee stick into a position that would make it display a 2nd line. Heavy sigh.

After my "I'm OK, You're OK" post yesterday, of course I've now got some slightly sore boobs and a bit of bloating. Nice job jinxing yourself, Leah. But after today's POAS failure, I have to assume that these are simply signs of AFs impending arrival. Damn her.

Seriously, how can this be? How could we have put back 3 excellent quality embryos and not a damn one of them stuck? Geez, this really sucks. The good news is that I will now pour all of my hoping-for-BFP thoughts and prayers into the rest of you lovely ladies who are in the 2ww.

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I am going to take another test tomorrow. I bought a pack that had 4 of them so I will probably go ahead and use them all. But really, if I don't get a BFP by Saturday, then clearly the game is over. And then I'll be the one boo-hoo-hooing under the bleachers.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Feelin' Nice but Weird

Most importantly, let me say THANK YOU to everyone who has been so sweet and supportive with their comments. Starting this blog was a fantastic idea (thank you JJ!), it's helped me get the craziness out of my head at times, but even better is that it's allowed me to enjoy the unconditional, genuine support from friends who truly know exactly how I feel. Before I start sniffling and weeping, I just wanted to say that I luuuuuv you guys. Also, I've already started working on my Secret Odes because I have a few to write. Perhaps that's what's making me so misty.

Okay, with my random Hallmark moment out of the way, let's move on...

Here's the weird stuff going on with me, none of which is particularly good. First off, my boobs are not sore one bit. Nor are they big at all. I've been on progesterone supplements 6 times now, and the first 5 produced breast tenderness so severe that I didn't even walk fast for fear of getting tears in my eyes. This time, nothing. Nada. Zip.

On a scale of 1 - 10 (1 being so not-sore that they might be made of play-doh or something else which has no nerve endings, 10 being so sore that the wind blowing makes me wince), I'd say they are a 3. It's so weird. I even called the nurse at the REs office at one point to ask what the deal was. She said not to worry, that they have never seen a case of low progesterone when someone is doing PIO. I got the whole "every cycle is different" speech.

Seriously, if my ass didn't hurt so much when I sit, move or walk, I would think I was hallucinating the shots entirely. There is just no evidence at all that it's in there. Huh. In truth, I think the tenderness I do feel is due entirely to the fact that I poke my boobs about 300 times a day. Poor things.

Then there's the bloating. Last time, I was so outrageously bloated that I thought I'd have to wear a bathrobe all day every day. This time, almost nothing. It's hard to tell because I put back on the 4 lbs I lost on the Be.ach Diet, so I'm not sure if it's bloating or just additional fat (great!). But my (fat) clothes still fit pretty much normal. What's up with that? What's funny is that when we decided to do this IVF bullshit again, I wasn't even dreading the monitoring or the stims or the shots or the retrieval or any of that stuff -- I was dreading the bloating after transfer. And I haven't really had any. Like I said, if my ass wasn't sore from the shots, I wouldn't even have any idea that I had done a cycle at all.

The one thing that is different is pooping. At the risk of providing WTMI (that's WAY Too Much Information), it feels like I stood on my head and let someone pour Quik Dri concrete in my behind. What in the hell is up with that? I need to make an effort not to walk around like a duck with my ass sticking out. That's not very cool.

So there you have it. No side effects from the meds, and no pregnancy symptoms. How can I possibly have any hope for this cycle? What's nice is that even though this is my last ever attempt to have a child biologically related to me, I'm not nearly as spazzed and stressed about it as I was the last few cycles.

Last time, I kept telling myself that it didn't do any good to be freaked out all the time, it wasn't going to change the outcome. I was instantly transported back to those feelings when I read H2H's post today. Even though those words sounded lovely and rational, I still couldn't control myself.

This time, I sort of actually believe it. I'm anxious and interested to see what the results are, but am not completely wrapped around the axle about it. Surely this could (and will) all change, but for now, approximately halfway through the 2ww, I'm kind of okay. Thank you, :-)

I'm going to start the POAS festivities tomorrow. That's 10 days past retrieval. I know it's early, but I've seen people who got faint positives that early. So I'm buying a bunch of tests tonight and will commence peeing on them every day for the next week. I 'fessed up in advance and told Kevin I was going to do this, and he's okay with it. His parents are arriving tonight and staying through the weekend so it would be sweet to share some extremely preliminary good news with them. But we'll see. In truth, I think I'm actually a little numb about it all.

Mostly, it feels nice not to be in my usual state of sheer panic. But it also feels weird too. Not really sure what to make of it...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Good Omen?

It took over 2.5 hours to get to the office where they do the transfers. This office is exactly 41 miles away from my house. This is absurd. I do realize, however, that I should be thankful because the office where I do my monitoring is only about 20 minutes away and that's not too shabby.

Thankfully it only took 50 minutes to get home. Anyway, we got home and I was just settling into the blissful heaven that is our bed when the phone rang. I checked the Caller ID and saw that it was my REs office. My heart sunk. I just left their office an hour ago. Why are they calling me already? Did they put the wrong friggin embryos in me or something? They've never called after a procedure, I wonder what's up. (Yes, I am capable of having this entire conversation in my head whilst the phone was ringing -- I talk really fast in my head.)

It was my RE. Not a nurse, but the actual Doctor. Not the one who did the procedure (you get whoever is doing clinic duty that day), but the one I meet with over the desk who has rarely ever seen me naked. I'm okay with that, it's a really big practice and I don't expect special treatment. I assume that my RE is paying attention to my case, and has my best interests at heart.

Usually, when we do meet with him (these days mostly for failed cycle follow-up appointments), I go in with a list of questions a mile long. I question his protocol choices, his drug choices, his interpretation of my results, everything. I'm just that way. I do it nicely so I don't come off looking like some sort of ogre, but I simply cannot help myself. The last time we went to see him, he told me two things: 1) That I should get a job there because I know more than some of the nursing staff; and 2) That I need to stop researching on the Web. Ha ha ha, that last one was funny. Obviously he has no idea what kind of relationship I've got with Dr. Google. We're on a first name basis, Dr. Google is my crack.

My RE has got a pretty good handle on our case, but often he misses details. I'm a take-charge kind of patient so I make sure nothing funny happens. He's got a good beside manor, but I've never gotten the impression that he laid awake at night pondering why I *personally* am not getting pregnant. I do have to admit to some flagrant ass kissing when I baked him cookies at Christmas, so perhaps he had a few warm, fuzzy feelings about me for a day or two. A desperate infertile will try every little thing, you know?

Basically, he's nice to us and good at his job and that's enough for me. Imagine my surprise when this is the phone conversation that transpired just as we walked in the door from the transfer:

Me: Hello?

Dr: Hi Leah, It's Dr. RE. (sounding chipper like we are best buds who talk every day)

Me: Uh, hi. (sounding like a complete moron with no phone manners)

Dr: I just wanted to call and wish you much luck.

Me: Oh. Um. Thank you. (waiting to make sure he's not really calling to tell me that they accidentally put someone else's embryos in there, or that they've had a terrible outbreak of a flesh-eating disease in the office or something)

Dr: Everything looked great this morning, I hope you are as pleased as I am.

Me: Uh, yeah! (I swear I really did sound this stupid -- what with all the ums and uhs and yeahs he probably thinks I dropped out of school in the 3rd grade)

Dr: Do you have any questions?

Me: Um, no. (shit, what was I thinking? I had at least 4 questions I would have liked to have asked him. Now if I call and ask, I look like an even bigger jackass that I've already convinced him that I am.)

Dr: Well, I just wanted to let you know my thoughts are with you guys.

Me: Okay, thank you.

Dr: Bye.

Me: Bye. (semi-confused, hanging up and looking at the phone like it just grew 6 heads)

This is our 6th cycle. He's never called after any of the others. In the absence of any other explanation, I'm going to take it as a Good Omen. Of course, this morning I managed to sail through a particular traffic light that has NEVER EVER before been green when I approached it, so I think that's a good omen too. Clearly, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to decipering events that qualify as good omens but I'll take what I can get...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sneaking around the house

I had to sneak downstairs to use the computer while Kevin wasn't looking. He'd kill me if he knew I was up, he takes this bedrest stuff pretty seriously (it drives me batty).

So, very quickly, we put back 3. All 3 of them were Grade 1, 8 cell. The 4th embryo was Grade 3, 5 cell. Since the Doctor wasn't too keen on putting 4 back (he said, flat out, "No"), we were okay with that since the 4th looked sketchy.

He was kind enough to say they'd keep an eye on it in case it was able to be frozen, but even he couldn't deliver that thought with any real confidence. But that's okay.

Now, the 2WW. You will see me deteriorate progressively as the days go on, don't be alarmed. I'll just get more and more neurotic, but I'll do my best to hide it. Perhaps I'll pass the time like so many of our other blog friends and will post pictures on our fancy new Picture Pages site. (Thank you, JJ!) Any requests?

Thank you all SO MUCH for your well wishes, advice (NOT assvice), and wonderful comments. It really means the world to me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Fert Update and a Question

First off, let me tell you that I am a raging idiot. I slept like total crap on Monday night, waking up every hour. It never dawned on me that, um, perhaps, just maybe, I was a little keyed up about our initial fertilization report. Duh! It wasn't until I read Tam's description of her bad night's sleep until I realized that what was going on with me. Oh well, even though I'm thicker than cement sometimes, at least I smell nice. (Or so I like to think.)

Today's report is good. All 4 embryos are still hanging in there. Transfer is scheduled for 9:15am tomorrow. We need to be there at 8:45am. The crazy thing is that even though the office is only about 30 miles away, we will need to leave around 6:45am due to the outrageous traffic in our area. Oh well, a small price to pay. If it works.

Last cycle, we browbeat the Doctor into transferring 3 embryos. Two were of excellent quality, one was good. Even so, they really didn't want to transfer more than 2. But we persisted, and in the end we won. Not that it mattered anyway.

This is going to sound psycho, but I swear I want them to transfer all 4. Let me state right up front that I do not secretly long for twins. Our *magic number* of children has always been a nice, even 2. Since we have Megan, the basic math leaves us at wanting just 1 more. Now, don't get me wrong at all, we'd be THRILLED with whatever we got -- one, two, three. But if we were given a choice, we'd take 1. We don't doubt our ability to care for multiple babies, but carrying them to term (especially given my age, and my difficult pregnancy with Megan) would be tricky for sure.

Having said that, we all know that my egg quality is crap. I mean, we put back 3 embryos last time, only 1 of them took, and it was abnormal (Trisomy 5). Our RE theorized that perhaps the other embryos just couldn't get out of the tough, leathery shell of my shriveled up eggs, so we are going to do Assisted Hatching this time.

Will AH make a difference? If we put back 3 with AH, will we have better results? What if we can convince them to put back all 4 (which they pretty much never do in this clinic unless they are all poor quality)? I also feel bad because if we transfer 3 of them, then that leaves 1 behind. Everyone agrees that there is no way our embryos would a) make it 6 days to freeze, or b) make it through the thaw to do an FET. So, in essence, we'd be wasting that last embryo. Shouldn't we give it a fighting chance? What about that theory of "No Man Left Behind?"

I don't know whether it helps or hurts, but Kevin is with me 100% on this thinking. He's just as torn about lobbying (begging) to put back 4 so that we don't "waste" an embryo, but also scared of the complications trying to carry high order multiples.

We'll make the decision once we get the report tomorrow -- immediately prior to transfer -- about the embryo quality. But, in the meantime, if you come across this post before we leave in the morning, please weigh in and let me know what you think. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Dirty (Half) Dozen

Retrieval went well yesterday, no major complaints (except I'm a bit tired of people shoving things up my Love Canal). Here are the stats so far:

Had 6 follicies on trigger day
Retrieved 6 eggs yesterday
6 eggs were mature
4 eggs fertilized
4 embryos made it through the night

Wahoo! This is better than last time when we got 4 eggs and had 3 embryos to transfer. So, for now, we are happy. Cross your fingers, pray, do a funky chicken dance, whatever you can think of that will help these 4 keep chugging along until transfer on Thursday.

There was a woman in the bed next to me yesterday who was a little kooky coming out of the anesthesia. She kept saying (well, more like slurring), "I need to know. I need to know." She wanted so badly to know how many eggs they got. The nurse was incredibly patient and explained -- about 20 times -- that they wouldn't know for another 10 minutes or so. That pacified the woman for about 6 seconds and then she'd say again, "I need to know." It was amusing and provided me and Kevin with a little levity while we waiting for my turn in the OR. Finally, they told her that they got 12 eggs. She was thrilled, especially since last time they apparently got 6. That's a 100% increase!

I did feel bad for her when her husband showed up, he was a bit of a doofus. (I know that isn't a very nice thing for me to say, especially when I'm obviously a dirty eavesdropper.) He clearly had no idea what she had just been through, and wasn't all that familiar with the mechanics of the IVF. How do you get to (what is at least) your 2nd IVF without knowing what's going on? It made me appreciate all that much more when Kevin genuinely tries to understand what we are doing.

So that's it for now. We wait and pray that our 4 embryos make it through the night. Oh, and I can't forget about the awesome PIO shots that I have to look forward to. The one last night hurt like a mutha. Remind me to tell you someday about the time I suckered Kevin into taking 1cc of saline in the ass -- as a show of solidarity. It was damned funny!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The New Baby Guy

A few hours after that last post, I got a call from my nurse telling me that they decided NOT to trigger me yesterday. Apparently there is a note from the RE attached to my file that directs them to let my follicles grow as big as possible before trigger. Wha? Okay, if you say so. Based on that, and that my E2 had climbed quite a bit, they decided I could go another day. Sure, no problem, except that as we all saw from my 2nd picture yesterday, I was fresh out of drugs.

How nice it would be if there was a little IVF Lemonade Stand down the street. I could just pedal my bike there, pay a few bucks, and select the amounts of Men.opur and Gan.irelex that I need. Yeah, like *that* is going to happen. Then maybe the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa and I could sit on our cloud of BabyDust and wait for the New Baby Guy -- like the Ice Cream Man but way better -- to come down the street. He'd be driving a stroller-shaped delivery truck that played lullabies over a loud speaker attached to the roof. I'd rush out, select a lovely little gurgling, cooing infant from the cute pictures on the side of the truck, and he'd smile as he handed me one out the window. Ah, if only...

Instead, what did I do? I panicked. Okay, I didn't actually panic, I fought the rising urge to panic. Luckily the monitoring nurse at my RE's office is a Saint. I was able to drive back there and pick some meds up (they keep a treasure chest of the good stuff).

I went back again for more monitoring this morning because it's clear that they love to suck my blood and take pictures of my Womanhood. All 7 follies are still there, got a little bigger, and everything is looking okay. Once again, I'm waiting for the nurse to call and tell me that TONIGHT is the real trigger night.

Then, after the superfun trigger shot and the equally as superfun Doctor Prescribed Inter.course, I'll drift off to sleep and dream of the New Baby Guy, dressed in a stork costume, giving me my heart's desire. I promise that that if I do ever meet him, I'll send him to your house next!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Before and After

With a title like that, hopefully you didn't come here thinking you'd see some fabulous transformation of a dumpy back yard into a garden oasis. Or a scroungy looking antique chest into a lovely heirloom for my family to treasure. Or a mangy looking wretch into a beautiful Super Model. Nope, these are before and after shots of my stash of meds. If you're looking for that other stuff, you should try

Here's the "before" picture. In case you don't know (and the blog title didn't give it away), I've got tired, worn out, dusty ol' ovaries that need some serious prodding with drugs to eek out just a few eggs.

Holy Lotta Drugs, eh? What's even scarier is that each of those boxes contain 5 vials of stuff (Bra.velle in the green boxes, Men.opur in the yellow boxes). I gleefully shot myself up with these little beauties for the past 11 days. To show for my efforts, I've got 6 decent follicles and a map of the milky way (fashioned from needle sticks) on my belly. Now, here on Trigger Day, this is what's left. The "after" picture*:

I considered saving all the old boxes and vials so that I could scatter them around in a picture to make it look like they had a huge party. One day I even had delusional visions of finding dollhouse-sized liquor bottles and making little paper lampshades to put on some of the vials just to drive the point home. Then I decided that perhaps I had officially Gone Around the Bend and didn't need to do any of those things after all, lest I immediately scare off the handful of folks that might actually read this blog (which will, most likely, just be a few of you from The Braces Bunch). I can hear it now . . . "Boy, that new chick is a real freakshow."

So today is, in fact, Trigger Day. I have 7 follicles, but only 6 of them are anywhere within range of being invited to the Petri Dish Party on Sunday. Since I've noticed many different ways to measure follicles, I won't bother posting the exact sizes. But suffice it to say that I am THRILLED to have this many follicles. Never, ever, ever have we gotten this many to play so nicely in the ovarian sandbox together.

My RE, bless his rich little heart, has managed to cook up a new protocol for every one of our 6 cycles. All of the IUIs ended up basically the same (1 giant follicle, 2 small ones), but the 3 IVF protocols have yielded increasing numbers of follicles each time. We had 3 the the first time (and thus converted to another useless IUI), 4 the second time, and now 6 (or 7 if you want to give extra credit to The Little Follie That Could who is trying desperately to catch up in the home stretch).

Of course this could all mean a big, fat nothing if we don't get any decent eggs on Sunday. Now the pre-retrieval questions have begun to whisper in my head...

Will I ovulate in the car on the way there? (Boy, would that suck)
Will we get any eggs?
Will they be mature?
Will Kevin's sample be good?
Will any fertilize?
Will any make it through the first night?
Will any make it to Day 3?
Will the embryos be of decent quality?
How many should we put back?
Will any of them stick?

This says nothing of the carnival that starts when I launch into the POAS frenzy. In the meantime, my biggest worry today is going to be what time they'll schedule my retrieval. Last cycle, it was at 1:30pm on a Wednesday. Not a big deal except that given the requirement of the exact 36 hour window between trigger and retrieval, that meant we had to set the alarm to wake up at 1:30am on Tuesday morning to jam a giant needle into my butt. Then, as if that wasn't exciting enough, we got to have some s.ex. Let me tell you that at that time of the night, it surely wasn't our best quality love.making. But to say that babymaking s.ex lost it's luster is a giant understatement and could perhaps be the topic of another post some other day.

So, for today, I am happy. I feel pretty good, my follies seem to be cooperating, and I've just painted on a fresh new coat of Hope. It's sure to lose it's lustre, get all scuffed up, and peel right off the wall during the 2WW, but today it looks nice.

* To be fair, there are some other things from the Before picture that are still around. For example, the PIO vials and antibiotics haven't been used yet. But, frankly, I was too lazy to drag all that other stuff out and arrange it. Plus, the stark image of the lone box is more entertaining, isn't it?