(Click to See My Fertility Chart)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Finally a Post About Canoeing and Gender Roles!

I don't like feeling sorry for myself. Except when I'm feeling sorry for myself and then I'm pretty much okay with it. But I need to stop writing posts only while I'm feeling that way, cuz they're just depressing. So here's a post on a completely different topic.

So, I love that TV show about the Dug.gars. You know the one. (*cough* 19 K.ids and C.ounting *cough*) I understand that there may be some controversy over the fact that they have so many children. But I say they've got a good thing going and they know it. So good for them.

And I love Michelle. If/when I am ever a mom, I would hope that I can be just like her (except with a tad bit more personality, I mean, does she have any interests outside of her family and God?). She never yells at her kids. Ever. She gently asks them to do the right thing, or she takes them aside and talks quietly with them about their behavior. She follows the "praise in public, criticize in private" motto. Love. Her.

Okay, so why am I writing about the Dug.gars? Well, I was watching a show yesterday in the midst of feeling sorry for myself (you'd think this show would be depressing to me, what with all that fertility running around, but it actually makes me smile), and something in particular irked me. Now this is not to be a criticism of the Dug.gars specifically (like I said, I love those guys), but of our gender-roled society (I know, finally, the post you've been waiting for!).

What happened on the show was that Jim Bob decided to go on a father/son canoe trip with a few of his sons. They showed an interview with him where he was talking about how important it is to spend time with your children and how important his sons are to him, and then they showed the canoe trip: camping, setting up tents, finding spiders under rocks, canoeing down the river. And all I could think was that if I was a Dug.gar girl, I would have been so insanely jealous.

This episode reminded me of the time, when I was about 7, that my dad and brother, along with his boy scout troop, went to a baseball game. And I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to go with them to this baseball game. And I asked to go. I BEGGED to go. And I was told that it was only for boys. And I was so sad. And you know what? To this day I have never been to a baseball game with my dad.

On another episode of the show that I watched yesterday (okay, yes, I watched more than one episode, maybe even more than two...), Michelle talked about how the little girls liked to play with dolls and the little boys liked to play with trucks. And then she mentioned that little Johanna also liked to play with trucks. Now, I don't think the Dug.gars, although they are a conservative family, force their boys and girls into gender roles on purpose. And I don't think that they would, for example, take away Johanna's trucks just because she's a girl. But I bet that if Johanna were old enough to want to go on that canoe trip, and if she had asked to go, she would have been told that it was for boys only. And then what would she have done? Wait for the mother/daughter canoe trip? And would it have really spoiled the father/son bonding if a daughter who had an interest in canoeing had come along?

I suppose I continue to harbor resentment over being denied that baseball game (okay, yes, it's true!). But when I was a kid I was so often jealous of what the boys got to do.

So, to all of you mothers and mothers-someday out there, don't gender segregate your children: let your children participate in the activities they want to participate in regardless of their gender!

(Oh, and I've been canoeing with my dad a bunch, so I guess it's not like I was denied everything!)

Did any of you ladies out there feel left out of activities because of your gender?

Or does anyone disagree with me and think that boys and girls should participate in separate activities? (Or think that that Dug.gars have way too many kids?)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Infertile Woman Not Pregnant

I'm not pregnant.

I know, this should not come as a shock to me after 22 failed cycles. And yet every month I entertain the notion that I could be pregnant, and then I start to be convinced that I am pregnant, even though I know I'm not pregnant.

And I'm never pregnant.

I've never been pregnant, not even once over these 2 years, not after 4 IUIs, not after IVF, not after spending upwards of $16,000. Not once.

I've never seen a positive pregnancy test.

And it feels so idiotic for us to keep throwing (all of our) money at this thing when clearly I CANNOT GET PREGNANT. But without a clear diagnosis, it's easy to hold on to a glimmer of hope, to even consider that maybe there's nothing wrong with me (us) at all, that our timing has just been off and we just need to keep trying.

Sometimes it feels like hope is my enemy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Jane Says Relax

I wanted to get to this before I put it off any longer. I promised you a review of Circle + Bloom's IVF/IUI program, and so here it is.

(Before I begin, I should clarify that I paid out of my own pocket for the IVF/IUI program, I am not affiliated in any way with Circle + Bloom, and was not paid for this review.)

I first heard about Circle + Bloom through Jin's blog, The Truth is Out There. Jin at the time was trying naturally, after doing several clomid cycles. Pretty much 2 weeks after she mentioned on her blog that she was using Circle + Bloom's "Natural Cycle Fertility Program," she announced her BFP.

Hmmmm.... I thought to myself.

That was back in March. In July, Self published an article called "Breaking the Silence on Infertility." In that article I noticed some interesting information in this paragraph:

In a small study of 97 Boston IVF patients younger than 40, women who had participated in 5 to 10 mind/body sessions were 160 percent more likely to get pregnant after a single IVF cycle. And more than two thirds of women with a clinical diagnosis of depression got pregnant after these sessions, whereas none of the depressed women in the control group conceived. The meetings teach relaxation techniques to ease anxiety and cognitive-behavioral strategies to fight depression. "These results can absolutely be replicated," Domar says. "Isolating oneself during fertility treatment is not helpful to getting pregnant."

Hmmmm.... I thought to myself.

On July 17th, when I got my period, and my 4 last-ditch natural cycles before embarking on IVF were over, it was time to get the IVF show on the road.

One month later, on CD1 of my IVF cycle, I purchased the Circle + Bloom IVF/IUI Program. The program comes with 3 sessions to listen to pre-cycle, so I missed out on those (although I listened to 2 of them in addition to the ones I was supposed to be listening to).

So here's how the program works: There are 18 "sessions" total, 3 for pre-IVF; then one every 2 days (so one session for cycle days 1 +2, one for cycles days 3 +4, etc.); one for trigger/retrieval; one for the cycle days in between retrieval and transfer; one for transfer (IVF)/insemination (IUI); and then one every 2 days for the 2ww. Each session is 13 to 19 minutes long.

The sessions start by asking you to take several deep breaths, and then use several different techniques for relaxation. The most common relaxation techniques used are: 1) asking you to concentrate on relaxing each separate part of your body (toes, feet, ankles, calves, knees, etc.); and 2) asking you to imagine that you are in a warm bath, and then imagine each separate body part as it is soothed by the warm water. I found these relaxation techniques to be effective, especially the more sessions I did.

In the second half of each session, once you are very relaxed, you are asked to think positive thoughts specifically related to the part of the cycle you're in. So, during stims, you are asked to visualize your follicles growing and responding well to the meds. In the 2ww, you are asked to visualize the embryos implanting and growing. I found it very therapeutic to lie there in a relaxed state and think these good thoughts about my body and my cycle.

The only 2 complaints I have are that: 1) the woman whose voice you hear is, I believe, the founder of the company, and I'm not sure she has the best voice for relaxation; and 2) although mostly the descriptions used of the various things going on in the cycle were extremely accurate, when talking about the embryo implanting, it was often referred to as "the egg" implanting, and this bothered me a bit, but I have to give them credit that they got things mostly right.

Also, I was a bit worried, since this was an IVF/IUI program, that it would be too geared toward IUI, or try too hard to be totally fair to both IUI and IVF and end up just being confusing. But, if anything, this is actually more geared towards IVF than IUI, although not in a way that I would recommend against it for those undergoing IUI.

So, in summary, I feel that my $59 was well spent. Except for the fact that I didn't get my BFP. I guess that would have been the ultimate recommendation. But I do plan on using it on any future IVF cycles I may have.

And speaking of future IVF cycles, we are getting, little by little, closer to being accepted into this IVF study. We went down to Philadelphia for the first time in the 2ww of our IVF cycle for our initial consultation, then I went back a second time on CD3 after our IVF BFN for an ultrasound and bloodwork (which was considered "testing" and thus not part of the study, so I had to pay for); and then DH and I went back last week (my 3rd time, his 2nd) for a genetic consultation and IVF nursing consult. Now, we just wait for my next period, and then I'll go back for another ultrasound and bloodwork and THEN they will FINALLY submit our paperwork to the study and I will find out a couple weeks after that if I've been accepted into the study. If I am accepted, I'll start stims at my next period, so about a month and a half from now. Oh, and I've found out that they don't do any suppression before the start of stims: no lupron, no BCPs, nothing. This seems weird to me, and I assume it will mean that I end up having a lower response to the stims.

I also want to mention that if anyone reading this is interested in participating in an IVF study, you can go to www.clinicaltrials.gov and search for "IVF" and then, in the refine search tab, limit the studies shown by state to find studies in your area.

Oh, and I finally ovulated, it looks like, yesterday. Cycle day 25 for those not following my cycle obsessively. This is 4 days later than my last latest ovulation, and 9 days later than my average ovulation (average is CD 16, according to Fertility Friend). I was getting a bit worried, but I guess this is somewhat normal the first cycle after IVF. We had "relations" at optimal times and I am now hoping for a miracle, between IVF cycles, BFP. I am not, however, holding my breath on that one.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Off the Deep End

I'm having a hard time.

I've constructed a fantasy world where I'm happy. I described it to my husband and now I can't stop talking about it. In this fantasy world we have twins. We live in the country and grow all our own food, and we have chickens and goats. I sell the extra produce at the local farmers market on the weekend, and I'm a freelance food writer (I know, what?!). I'm still trying to figure out what my husband does in this fantasy world. I've tried getting him to play along but he's not into it. Probably because IT'S CRAZY. But right now it's the only thing that's keeping me going, the idea that maybe this fantasy could be my life someday, instead of infertility and my current soul-sucking job.

My reality:

I wanted my WTF appointment to have its own post, but there's not that much to say. My RE wants to change the way I'm stimmed - he thinks I was slightly over-stimmed and triggered a bit late, and that could account for the poor embryo quality, and he wants to do ICSI to hopefully improve fertilization. I think he might be right and he might be wrong and the only way to find out is to spend another $12,000.

We decided we'd try naturally this month, not because I have any hope of it working, but because not trying, even for one cycle, is just too much like giving up. But I'm now on CD 18 and I'm tired of the OPKs and taking my temperature and just want this cycle to be over. I want TTC to be over. I'm so done with it.

Next month will be 2 years of trying, but it feels like much much longer.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Blogoversary to Me

My first blog post was one year ago today. Some highlights from my first post:

"My hope is that I will not have this blog very long. That doesn't jinx it does it?" Guess I jinxed it.

"My husband and I have bee TTC for 10 months. I'm 34 and he's 49." Depressing.

"...it's already taken longer than I'd hoped..." Um, yeah.

"Besides my husband no one else knows we're trying." I've told one person now, but I've started thinking I'm going to tell my parents, too.

"We still don't know if there is anything actually wrong with us." Still don't know. Ugh.

"Go for beta tomorrow..." Tomorrow I have my post-IVF WTF appointment.

Happy blogoversary to me.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Of Two Minds

Are we closer than we've ever been? Or farther away? Are we getting the answers that will lead us to success? Or the answers that will shut down any hope we have left? Is this a labor of love? Or an exercise in futility? Should we keep fighting the good fight? Or throw in the towel?

I am more resolved than ever, and I have more doubts than ever.

I am ready to bankrupt myself, and I shudder to think of all the money we've already spent.

I am a woman possessed, and I am a woman afraid.

"Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before." ~Jacob A. Riis

"When the horse is dead, get off." ~Author Unknown

Monday, September 13, 2010


It was better getting the news from my husband than from a nurse.


It's b-day, ladies. No, not the birthday kind of b-day, the beta kind of b-day.

I've had my blood drawn and they will be calling my husband with the results. This is the first time we're doing it that way, and I'm hoping that it will soften the blow of what I know is the inevitable outcome of this cycle. I tested twice yesterday (13dpo) - nothing. So, yes, I am hoping for a miracle, but not expecting one.

Although the early testing started out kind of rough (the problem is at 10dpo if you're going to get a line at all, it's going to be light, so I was WAY over-scrutinizing that stupid test), I'm now glad that I did. If I hadn't, I would still be filled with hope right now, and that phone call would be such a crushing blow. But instead, I'm feeling mentally prepared. Although I will probably cry anyway.

The good news is that we DID get some answers this cycle. A lower than average percentage of my eggs fertilized, and my embryos were slow growers. Hopefully my RE will have some good suggestions on how to improve both of these things for our next cycle. I am also considering getting a 2nd opinion from another RE just to see if they have a different take on things before we sink more big money into a cycle.

Of course, before we do another cycle with my current RE, we're hoping to do that IVF study in Philly. So, currently my mind is hopeful for the future, which is where I want it to be. I already went through all the woe-is-me stuff over the weekend, so that's over with, and I now feel... optimistic? Maybe not. But hopeful, yes.

(Although there may be more woe-is-me to come after I get the call. It's funny how sometimes I'm surprised by the fact that I was secretly still holding on to so much hope when I thought I'd moved on from it. So stay tuned!)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2010

I know it's been 9 years, but I still want to recognize the significance of this day and take time out from my small concerns to pay tribute to those whose lives were lost. I was here in NYC on that day, and I will never forget.

Friday, September 10, 2010

And the Results Are... Still Inconclusive

Same result this morning: a shadow that turns into a very thin blue line after the point when you're not supposed to read it anymore.

I am going to assume this means nothing.

Now I know the dangers of testing early.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Confidence Evaporating

I have now become convinced that what I saw was an evaporation line. I've never seen ANY sort of line on a test before, so seeing the barest hint of a line this morning made quite an impression on me, but I've also never used this brand before. So, I did a little research and it turns out the blue dye tests are notorious for showing evap lines. Apparently, the thing to look for is color, and if the line you see is at all blue, it's positive, but if it looks like a shadow, then it is most likely not positive. What I saw was a shadow. Like I said, it just looked like I could see where the line would be if there had been a line. The picture below is NOT mine, but the brand of test I took looks similar to this one (the line I got was much MUCH fainter than in the picture below):

So at this point I am going to just assume it was negative, but if anyone has more experience with HPTs than me (I've never been much of a POASer), please let me know what you think.

So I Tested This Morning And...

Today is 7dp3dt or 10 dpo. I decided it was time to start testing, but felt pretty sure that I would get a negative today as it was still early. After 2 minutes, the test looked pretty negative, but then I thought I saw something, so I took it out of the bathroom and held it under my desk light. What I saw was this: If there had been a second line, I could see where that second line would be. It was like a hint of a shadow. My husband confirmed that he saw something, too. After 20 minutes, I could actually see a VERY thin sliver of a second line, but obviously you're not supposed to read it after 20 minutes. It is also still early enough that perhaps there is still hcg left over from the trigger, I suppose (I did not test out my trigger).

So, I'm hoping, of course, that tomorrow's test will be darker.

But I'm very afraid tomorrow's test will be either starkly negative, or, perhaps worse (for its inconclusiveness) exactly the same as today.

Can't stop thinking about it.






Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hope, More Hope, and a Funny Story

Ah, the dangers of over confidence.

First, let me say that obviously I was being a little melodramatic in my last post. I have not lost hope. Well, not all hope. Maybe a little hope.

But I've thought about it and I think I've figured out what my problem is. Over confidence. It's getting one's hopes up (which as you may know I try not to do), but with more hubris.

You see, I had convinced myself that I would (of course!) make top notch embryos. What I fully expected was that we would tranfer 2 grade-A blasts on day 5 and then, 9 days later, have a starkly negative beta. And so we would still have no answers. Because I was getting used to not having any answers. That seemed to be the way OUR infertility worked: on paper we're perfect but in reality it's like pregnancy is some fairytale that only exists for other people. So, I came out of the retrieval thinking that I knew what was coming, that it was all following some pre-ordained path and I felt secure in my confidence that our embryos would be stellar but that we STILL wouldn't get pregnant.

So, really, this is GOOD news. We have an answer, or at least a partial answer. And I'm sure there are things that we can do to try to improve the situation. DH is finally taking his multi-vitamins every day, for example (why is it so hard to get men to take their vitamins, sheesh!). So, I haven't given up hope on this cycle and I haven't given up hope on us.

And thank you for all of your kind comments talking me off the ledge. They were what I needed to hear, and you guys are [sniff] awesome.

On to new news.

Speaking of not giving up hope, we had an appointment at a clinic in Philadelphia today to see about being part of an IVF study (free IVF!). If you haven't heard about this study, I recommend looking into it. Here is a link to a description of the study at clinicaltrials.gov. The study is being conducted at clinics in the following cities (this list is from the above web page, but is obviously not comprehensive since the Philadelphia site is not listed there):
  • Encino, California, United States, 91436
  • Irvine, California, United States, 92604
  • Miami, Florida, United States, 33176
  • Tampa, Florida, United States, 33617
  • Kailua, Hawaii, United States, 96734
  • Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60610
  • Hoffman Estates, Illinois, United States, 60194
  • Waltham, Massachusetts, United States, 02451
  • Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, 89117
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, United States, 28207
  • Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, 45209
  • Memphis, Tennessee, United States, 38120
  • Bedford, Texas, United States, 76022
  • Webster, Texas, United States, 77598
The following criteria must be met in order to qualify:

Ages Eligible for Study: 35 Years to 42 Years
Genders Eligible for Study: Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No


Inclusion Criteria:
•Willing and able to provide written informed consent for trial P06029 as well as for the Frozen-Thawed Embryo Transfer (FTET) follow-up trial P06031, and for the pharmacogenetic analysis (if applicable).
•Female and >=35 to <=42 years of age with indication for COS and IVF/ICSI.
•Body weight ≥50.0 kg, BMI >=18.0 to <=32.0 kg/m2.
•Regular spontaneous menstrual cycle with variation not outside the 24-35 days.
•Ejaculatory sperm must be available (donated and/or cryopreserved sperm is allowed).
•Results of clinical laboratory tests, cervical smear, physical examination within normal limits or clinically acceptable to the investigator.
•Adhere to trial schedule.

Exclusion Criteria:
•A recent history of/or any current endocrine abnormality.
•A history of ovarian hyper-response or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
•A history of/or current polycystic ovary syndrome.
•More than 20 basal antral follicles <11 mm (both ovaries combined) in the early follicular phase.
•Less than 2 ovaries or any other ovarian abnormality.
•Unilateral or bilateral hydrosalpinx.
•Intrauterine fibroids ≥5 cm or any clinically relevant pathology, which could impair embryo implantation or pregnancy continuation.
•More than three unsuccessful COS cycles for IVF/ICSI since the last established ongoing pregnancy (if applicable).
•A history of non- or low ovarian response to FSH/hMG treatment.
•A history of recurrent miscarriage.
•FSH >15.0 IU/L or LH >12.0 IU/L during the early follicular phase.
•Positive for HIV or Hepatitis B.
•Contraindications for the use of gonadotropins or GnRH antagonists.
•A recent history of/or current epilepsy, thrombophilia, diabetes, cardiovascular, gastro-intestinal, hepatic, renal or pulmonary or auto-immune disease requiring regular treatment.
•Smoking or recently stopped smoking (ie, within the last 3 months prior to signing informed consent).
•A recent history or presence of alcohol or drug abuse.
•The subject or the sperm donor has known gene defects, genetic abnormalities, or abnormal karyotyping, relevant for the current indication or for the health of the offspring.
•Prior or concomitant medications disallowed by protocol.

The study is pretty ho-hum: they are testing a new stimulation drug that is very similar to follistim/gonal-f but is long lasting so that for the first 5 days of stims you only have to do one injection. The drug is already approved in Europe.

We of course hope that we are going to get good news on Monday (beta day) and won't ever have to go back to the clinic in Philly. But, I'm, well, hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, as they say.

Finally, a funny story that I wanted to share a couple weeks ago when it happened but got distracted by, you know, life, and didn't get to it until now.

(This story is only funny in hindsight. At the time, well, I cried, people. I did.)

So the story starts with me leaving my husband's laundry in the backseat of our car. Thinking that I would just bring it in later, I went about my business. A couple hours go by and I go out to the store. As I walk past the car on my way home I notice that the driver's side door is slightly ajar. As I get closer I notice the door is unlocked, and I know I didn't leave it unlocked. I look into the back seat and my husband's laundry is missing. That's right, someone stole my husband's laundry! So, I notice that my neighbor is outside in front of his house, so I ask him if he saw anything. He tells me no and then proceeds to talk my ear off about who knows what and in the middle of this conversation I lean down to pet his dog and the dog bites my hand! I feel so embarrassed about it that I don't even look at my hand to see if I'm bleeding because I don't want my neighbor to feel bad, so now I'm standing there, worried about buying all new clothes for my husband, my hand throbbing, and then, the cherry on top: my neighbor asks me when we're going to have kids.


(my hand turned out to be fine, we went out and spent $300 the next day getting DH new clothes, and I told my neighbor "oh, I don't know, maybe someday.")

Friday, September 3, 2010

Losing Hope...

A quick update. Transfer was yesterday. For someone reason I had become convinced that our embryos would be top notch and OF COURSE we'd get to do a 5 day transfer. Nope. I was a little devastated. When we went in for the transfer we found out that we only had 4 embryos left out of the 6, and the embryologist called them "fair to good." He said that they liked to see 8 cell embryos on day 3 and we had one 6 cell and two 5 cell. He didn't even talk about the fourth embryo. He recommended transferring three, which we did.

He said that they generally see an 80% fertilization rate, but out of our 14 mature eggs, only 6 fertilized, and none of those embryos were very good quality. So, I guess maybe we're not unexplained anymore. Either my eggs suck, my husband's sperm sucks, or they just don't make good embryos together. Either way this doesn't look good. I know I'm being too defeatist right now, but I feel like this is pretty bad news.

I lost a lot of hope in this cycle yesterday. I lost a lot of hope in us every becoming parents yesterday.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

6 Embryos!

The fertilization report is in. We have 6 embryos growing in the lab. I am THRILLED, just absolutely thrilled.

Having said that, though, I feel like that is a somewhat low fertilization rate (and I'm not sure how many out of our 17 eggs were mature: I didn't ask, and this info wasn't volunteered). I'm not going to worry about it too much for now, though. But I do wonder if this may at least partially explain why we haven't been getting pregnant?

Also, that progesterone needle looked like it was going to kill me. But then, it went in so easily. And was absolutely painless. Still, that is one long ass needle.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Egg-cellent News!

Okay, I'll just get to the good stuff right away. 17 eggs!!! Woo-hoo!!!

Although this is not an exciting story, here is what happened. We took a cab instead of the subway because I was worried that walking to and from the subway would jostle out any remaining eggs that hadn't already skipped town. We totally over-estimated the amount of time it would take to get there (we figured traffic at that time of day would be terrible, but I guess it wasn't) and arrived 40 minutes early. I had time to read the entire NY Times before they called us back. I disrobed and put on the requisite gowns, we waiting a few minutes in a small room by ourselves and then they called back hubs for his contribution. Hubs finally returned and then we waited a LONG time and I started to get nervous. Finally they came for me, hooked me up to an IV, and took me into the OR. After making sure they had the right person, all of a sudden I started feeling a little light headed. Then, I woke up, and thought I was still in the OR and they hadn't started yet and then realized that I was in recovery. They offered me canned orange juice and graham crackers and I when I finished them I told the recovery nurse that they were delicious (and they were!). About that time she told me that they got 17 eggs. After about 45 minutes, which somehow passed really quickly, they escorted me to the bathroom, and then afterwards took out my IV and told me I was all set.

I'm supposed to take the rest of the day off but I feel totally okay. I guess I should just to be on the safe side, though, so I've got some DVDs and I'm just going to hang out on the couch for the rest of the day.

Okay, Eggs, Stay Where You Are!

The calmness has left me. Over the past 24 hours I've convinced myself that I'm going to ovulate early and that by the time of the egg retrieval those eggs are going to be long gone. I mean, 36 hours is a long time between trigger and retrieval. And my eggs were getting kinda big there at the end. It's 7:30 am and we don't have to be there until 9 but it's all I can do to stop myself from rushing over to the clinic, flinging open the door of the OR, and yelling, "We're gonna lose 'em, people! Let's get these eggs out, STAT!"

I have never heard of this happening to anybody during IVF (but I have not and will not google it lest I find that it HAS) yet I am certain this will be my fate.

I also had a dream last night that they were able to retrieve 50 (!) eggs, but then only 2 went on to fertilize. So, my conscious and subconscious apparently disagree about exactly how things are going to go wrong, but they do agree that things WILL go wrong (although 2 fertilizing is not the end of the world, but 2 out of 50 just sounds bad).


In other, more positive, news, I'm having a good hair day! Although I'm not allowed to shower today (something about fragrances being bad for eggs/embryos), my (slept on) hair looks fabulous anyway. I heart good hair days.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Of Mice and Men (and Infertiles)

I have no idea what my estrogen level is. I don't know exactly how many follicles I have or how big they are. I am not temping, I'm not using OPKs to make sure I don't ovulate early, and I only know how thick my lining is because the doctor volunteered this information.

Ah, sweet ignorant bliss.

That $12,000 is spent whether I get a BFP or BFN. So, whatevs.

I triggered 10 minutes ago. Retrieval Monday. I am like an isolated lake on a clear summer's night: calm.

But tired! Took a 4 hour nap this afternoon. Those kids! It was like watching a tornado for 3 days. Not stressful (for me, hubs was a different story: I was almost afraid that by the end of it he'd say, "Stop the injections! Let's rethink this whole kids idea!"), but fascinating. What do you do when 3 kids all refuse to go to bed, and you're completely exhausted? (Speaking from my "fertile friend's" POV, of course: me and hubs just said "goodnight" and closed our bedroom door.) What about when you're on an elevator full of people and your 4 year old and 20 month old won't stop pressing the alarm button? (MFF looked at me and loudly exclaimed "Jane, your kids are sooooo bad!") Or, when, on a city street, your 4 year old disappears around the corner and when you go looking for him he's nowhere to be seen? (She screamed at the top of her lungs until he finally reappeared. Yes, people stared.)

But the husband, amazingly, did not ask me to call off the IVF. He said we would raise better behaved children. Best laid plans, indeed.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

IVF Update CD 10

Quick update: today my biggest follicle was at 16mm. I have about 10 follicles on the left and 8 on the right. I go back in for monitoring tomorrow. They are estimating retrieval will be Sunday or Monday. Things are moving fast! I don't have time to update much more than that: my "fertile friend" (the one with 3 little kids) is in town and I am spending all my time going to playgrounds and parks. It's not so bad, really. I will write a post soon about her kids. They are cute but sure are a handful. I've been cuddling the littlest one, trying to get her to send my uterus some baby dust! It's been keeping my mind off this cycle and as of this moment I'm still feeling very calm. I think the circle + bloom is helping. Or maybe the acupuncture. Or maybe all my hope has been sapped away over the last 20 cycles and I am now an empty and emotionless shell of my former self. Anyway, I'm calm, so I'll take it!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

All Aboard!

Today I officially boarded the IVF train. Woo-woo!

Rolled out of bed at 6:30 am (pretty early for me), caught the subway and on the (lightly) crowded elevator up to the clinic was surprised when only one button was pushed.

Ah, yes. We were all going to the same place.

Then there was a long line (of 30-something professional women) to sign in.

Ah, yes. Fertility clinics.

Bloodwork, ultrasound, and I was pronounced "good to go." I start 150 units of gonal-f and 2 vials of menopur tonight, lupron down to 5 units (goodbye headaches? fingers crossed). I go back on Sunday, cycle day 6.

In other news, I had my second acupuncture session today. Although I like my acupuncturist, she did tell me at my first appointment that she was experiencing "mommy brain." UGH! She then quickly told me that she didn't have her first child until she was 38 and then her second when she was 40. I resisted asking her how long it took her to get KUed, cuz I bet it was on the first try each time. UGH! Anyway, like I said, I DO like her. She is calm and centered. She also says I need more "fire" and less "dampness." Is that why I love the desert so much? Hmmmmm....

And! I have purchased the Circle + Bloom IVF program. I've only listened to 2 of the sessions so far. I'll get back to you on my review soon.

Finally, I am feeling very calm. Almost too calm? I'll take it, though.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Punched Him In the Face

Just kidding. I wish. But I did confront him.

I didn't think I could do it, I didn't think I had it in me. But I was urged on by your comments. It was pretty unanimous that I should confront him. And I had to admit to myself that it was the right thing to do. The problem was that I did not want to do it. Instead I wanted to bury my head in the sand. But then I thought, well, what if I did? It would be turning over a new leaf for myself, and maybe it was time for me to turn over a new leaf: the standing up for myself leaf. So, I decided what I was going to say, and I stuck a post-it to my computer with the 3 main phrases that I wanted to make sure I used: "not called for," "not appropriate," and "disrespectful." I spent 10 minutes repeating them over and over in my head so that I wouldn't forget, and then I called him into my office. As I waited for him my heart was beating so loudly in my chest I thought he would be able to hear it when he came into the room. But then... all of a sudden I started to get mad. Mad that I was sitting there with a post-it note and my heart racing all because he gets a power trip out of giving me shit. And when I got mad my heart stopped racing and I became calm. And he came in and I said "I just want to tell you that I didn't appreciate your criticism on Friday. It was not called for, it was not appropriate, and it was disrespectful." And then he apologized. Sincerely. He said that he had felt bad afterwards and that I was right, he shouldn't have criticized me like that, and then he apologized again. And so my anger melted away and I started to get anxious again (ugh!). And I said it wasn't a big deal and that I appreciated the apology. But my voice cracked a little when I said it. Luckily, I had already planned that as soon as I talked to him I was going to leave for the day, so I then said "Okay, I'm off!" and walked out the door!

Thanks for your supportive and encouraging comments. They really meant a lot to me. I'm so glad I stood up for myself. Such a little thing, but a step in the right direction (and, boy, I would never make it in the "real" business world, sheesh!!).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

These Are the Bullet Points of My Life

I know I haven't posted in forever. The truth is that I seem to have over scheduled myself. I panicked a bit when I first realized this, but hey, maybe this is the best time to be over scheduled? Gotta keep busy, right? So, a bullet point post is in order, to convey my current bullet pointed life:
  • Today is day 11 of lupron. I've been told if I don't get my period after 13 days of lupron, I have to turn myself in to the period police, er, I mean my RE. Hopefully it doesn't come to that. AF is due tomorrow, but I have been googling and it seems sometimes lupron will delay one's period by a few days. I am just starting to feel little twinges of cramps down there, which usually means that AF is still a few days away, so we'll see.
  • At first I thought lupron was my bitch. But lupron is sneaky, and now I'm thinking lupron might have turned the tables on me. Headache: check. Irritability: check. Fatigue: uh, CHECK. Hot flashes: eh, not so much. YET, that sneaky SOB!!
  • I have given up coffee, both decaf and regular, and am avoiding most caffeine. This could also explain my headache, irritability and fatigue. Yeah, so giving up coffee SUUUUUUCKS!! Don't let anyone tell you different. If you've been drinking coffee every day for the past 20 years, it is NOT fun to give up.
  • I have taken on another volunteer position. This is a big part of me being over scheduled. It's only 6-8 hours a week, but on top of my other volunteer position, which is about 10 hours a week, it's kind of feeling like a lot. But I kinda flipped out that if I can't have a baby than I need to go back to grad school so I can have a REAL career and for that I need to be able to have letters of recommendation in the field I'm interested in, THUS, the volunteer position. If you want to make fun of me for wanting to go back to school at 35, I will not hold it against you.
  • I made an appointment with an acupuncturist and will start going twice a week. I had thought about it before, but it wasn't until I read on someone's blog that acupuncture cured their teeth grinding that I decided to go for it. If she can make me stop grinding my teeth I will be so happy. I've been doing it for 4 or 5 years now (maybe longer, but it's been 4-5 years since it's affecting my day to day life) and my jaw and teeth ache all the time and I hate it. Oh, and if she can help me have a baby, that's cool, too.
  • My fertile friend (the one with 3 kids and the only person I've shared our TTC struggles with) is coming to town in a week and a half and is going to stay with us for a few days. Not exactly sure where I'll be in my cycle then , but most likely I will be stimming and getting close to retrieval. Now, some would question as to whether or not it's a good idea to have a bunch of little kids running around my house at that point in my IVF cycle. I, however, just want to get my hands on her baby again. I think if I can just cuddle her baby for a few days, maybe my uterus will finally "get it." But, we'll see. My uterus is a hard nut to crack.
The last thing I'd like to write about is a workplace issue. Fun, right? And I'm just going to put it out there right now, so there's no question as to my purpose with these last paragraphs. I'm looking for some sympathy, people!

Ok, so I own a small business and I have employees. This is the first and only business that I've owned, and I've never managed employees before, so I don't know if this is common or not (any other employers or managers out there please let me know), but my employees kinda treat me like shit. One in particular. This is a story about that employee.

Now, I don't want to tell you what business I'm in, since I'm trying to remain somewhat anonymous, but I'll just say that on some days I will do the same work that is expected of my employees, and I believe strongly in the "lead by example" motto, and so when I'm doing the same work that I ask them to do, I do it well (if I do say so myself). But I have one employee in particular that likes to criticize my work. Which leads me to yesterday's incident. It was a busy day yesterday, and I rushed to complete all the tasks that needed to be done, but was not successful. This was not necessarily my fault: I was on my own, with no help, and different things kept coming up all day that were getting me more and more behind. I knew at one point that there was no way that I would be able to catch up. When my employee arrived at his designated time and he saw that I hadn't completed everything, I made the comment to him that "it was a busy day." He then said (sarcastically) "yeah, right, lot's going on, huh? Real busy? Isn't it always for you?" And I said that, well, yes, it had been busy, actually, and what's the big deal? And he said the big deal is that I'm the only one that doesn't get all the work done when it needs to be done and that I'm always coming up with "slacker excuses." At that point I just walked away.

Now tell me that that isn't a super disrespectful thing to say to your boss? And he says this stuff to me all that time. And, I hate to say it, he makes me feel really bad. He is always questioning my decisions, often in a subtly mocking sort of way ("How many of [product x] did you order? You really think we need that amount?") or asking me to do things for him ("Can you get [product x] from the back for me?"). And I don't know what to do about it. I would really like to fire him, but we are a small company and 1) I know it would rock our little world if I were to fire someone; 2) I don't have the time or inclination to hire someone new and train them; and 3) I don't know if I have it in me to fire someone.

I would like to just ignore this behavior, and to just not engage him when he acts like this (I am guilty of trying to defend myself against his accusations in the past, which he usually just turns into "oh, excuses, excuses."). But maybe I need to confront him?

Anyway, I was in tears much of last night due to him accusing me of being a "slacker" yesterday and I, for obvious reasons, don't need this BS right now.

******And finally, please go say "congratulations!!!!" to Egg over at Such a Good Egg on her long awaited BFP!!!******

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Would Anyone Sign This?

I was reviewing the IVF packet they gave me and found that they'd included the "Research Subject Information and Consent Form." This is the consent form for the "research study" that I was "invited to take part in" that would allow them to use our "discarded, non-viable sperm, eggs and embryos to further [their] research towards understanding and advancing reproductive science." A worthy cause, indeed. But I refused to sign because of the following sentence:

"Should we ever provide your cell lines to anyone else for research or commercial use, it [sic] will do so in such a way as to try to protect your privacy and confidentiality as stated in the confidentiality section of this consent form."

Yeah, you read it right, they're gonna "try" to protect my privacy. Uh-huh. Sure. And commercial use? What, exactly, does that mean? (If Mon.san.to's going to start splicing my genes into soybeans so that they're no longer able to reproduce, thus protecting their intellectual property, well, maybe that could work, but I would be totally against it.)

Sheesh, are they able to get anyone to sign this?

Or am I overreacting?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ignorance is Bliss, But Sometimes It's Not

Heather at "Can I Get Some Sugar With These Lemons" recently weighed in on this article in Elle written by a woman who became pregnant with twins after an IUI and then struggled over whether she should undergo selective reduction. Heather wrote a scathing but altogether reasonable reaction post here, mainly criticizing the author's ignorance of the multiples risk that was inherent in the procedure she chose to pursue, and also speculating as to the negative perception of infertiles this article would produce among the general public.

And I totally agree with Heather.

But, I can't say that I am at all shocked by this author's ignorance.

Because, here's the thing: I think that infertility bloggers tend towards the opposite end of the spectrum. We are the over-informed consumers of ART. We not only know that a doctor "transfers" embryos instead of "implanting" them, we also know what E2 is, we know how much of it you need per follicle for there to be viable eggs, we know how big those follicles generally need to be to hold viable eggs, we know how high our progesterone should be, we know what FSH is, what MTHFR is, what endometriosis is, what RPL stands for, we know about thyroid problems, we know about PCOS, MFI, morphology and motility. We know based on a beta number and the number of days past ovulation whether to cheer for a fellow blogger with reckless abandon, or whether to cheer for her with words of encouragement and hope. We know that cramps mean nothing. We know that boobs mean nothing. We know that google lies. We know that google tells the truth. We know too much. And I dare say, we may be the outliers, and the author of this article may represent the average IF patient.

Do most IF patients trust their doctors? Do most IF patients get all their information from their doctors? Do most IF patients base all their decision making on what their doctors tell them? Is this a reasonable way to go through IF treatments?

At this point I'd like to relate a story from my own journey through infertility. After 6 months of trying on our own, using OPKs and charting, and having nothing to show for it, I took the first step of making an appointment with my OB/GYN to ask about next steps. The appointment lasted, oh, 5 minutes. He said to me "I'm going to give you a prescription for something that helps a lot of women get pregnant. Take this for 3 months and if you're not successful I'll refer you to a fertility doctor." The prescription, of course, was for clomid. I had never heard of clomid, I didn't I know what it was or what it did. When I got home and told my husband that I had a prescription from the doctor that might help us get pregnant, my husband asked me if it would increase our chances of twins. I remember telling him that I didn't know, and I remember thinking to myself "Duh! It probably does!" At that point, I started doing my own research.

It's entirely possible that if my husband hadn't said anything that I would have continued being as ignorant as the author of the Elle article. But as soon as I started doing my own research, I started questioning everything. Clomid was supposed to be for women who didn't ovulate (or so I read), so why was I being prescribed this when I seemed to be ovulating fine? I also read something that said that clomid can cause cysts, and cautioned against taking the medication without being monitored by ultrasound throughout your cycle. I had previously had two cysts discovered during regular check ups (with a different OB/GYN), and so I began to worry about taking this drug for multiple cycles without being monitored. I actually called my doctor and expressed this worry, told him about my history of cysts, and he dismissed it immediately. But I didn't trust him any longer and after just one unmonitored clomid cycle, where I had a lot of pain and discomfort around ovulation, I decided to move on to an RE right away.

And I haven't trusted doctors since, because now I don't believe anything they tell me! (Kidding! I totally believe them, but only when they say things like "I don't know how much that costs, you'll have to talk to our financial department.")

Speaking of financial departments, I also wonder, if this was all being paid for by my insurance, as it was in the case of the author of the Elle article, would I have a more relaxed attitude? Because as it is, a big motivator for me to be my own advocate is the very real financial risk that my husband and I are agreeing to by undergoing an incredibly expensive treatment (IVF) that only has a 44% success rate (at our clinic, for my age group), and of course the multiple not-quite-as-expensive-but-still-more-expensive-than-an -iPad procedures that we underwent that only had 10-20% chances of success (IUI).

So did her insurance coverage have some influence on her relative ignorance?

I guess it's just hard for me to understand how someone could enter into IF treatments so carelessly. But, at the same time, it only took her one IUI to get pregnant, so it's not like she ever got to the point where she felt she needed to step up and take matters into her own hands.

But here's where I end up: whether the patient is informed and aware of the risks or not, IF treatments increase the rate of multiples. And as such, there are many many women who are finding themselves in the same situation as the author of this article, having to make a heartbreaking decision (though more likely they are pregnant with 3 or more, not just with twins). And until the precision of IF treatments is improved, or the underlying causes of IF are treated rather than just "worked around," women will continue to be faced with the decision to reduce, after working so hard to get pregnant in the first place.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My IVF Anthem

Since my issue with this company is ongoing, it seems that being put on hold and listening to the song "Eat For Two," with its "baby blankets" and its "baby shoes" and its "baby slippers, baby spoons" and "walls of baby blue," is now just a part of my everyday life.

But after listening to it today, for the... um... 5th time in 4 days, it seems that I am now, officially, immune to the song "Eat For Two."

Go ahead, make me listen to it again, it's okay. It's kind of catchy.

In fact, perhaps I'll make it my IVF anthem. I'll sing it loud, and I'll sing it proud. Just because I don't already have my "two," doesn't mean that I'm not already living for my "two." I quit coffee cold turkey (ow! my brain!), I quit drinking cold turkey (ow! my... okay, not as hard as the coffee, but still), I take my pre-natal, my folic acid, my extra B-6 and B12 every day, I am trying to do low impact exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, I am trying to de-stress and am thinking about trying some deep breathing and relaxation techniques (anyone have experience with Circle + Bloom?).

So, yes, I eat for two, walk for two, and breathe for two, now.

In your face, Natalie.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I've been feeling pretty sorry for myself lately. I don't like this stage of life that I'm in. I just wish I could move on to something new - either a baby (please, please, please!), or other stuff (to be determined, but if we don't get a baby, it's kinda going to change my whole outlook on life, and I may have to: a) move somewhere else; b) go back to school; and/or c) become a drunk).

It's easy for me to get into that woe-is-me way of thinking, but it's not a healthy place. I'm trying to get it all out of my system now so that I can buck up when we actually start meds (August 4th!!). My goal, then, is to be in a zen place by August 1st. Okay, yeah, we'll see how that goes.

But, it certainly helps me lose the bad attitude when I'm confronted with the lives of others who are undergoing their own hardships.

There is a certain popular blog that I read (and if you read it too, which I bet some of you do, you're going to recognize which one I'm talking about). This blogger will, on occasion, and with much compassion, write about families that are dealing with challenges of their own:
  • Today she linked to the blog of a woman whose baby was born with a rare genetic disease. The woman found out when she was 17 weeks pregnant. Her daughter, now 3, has to have round the clock care and so lives permanently in an assisted care facility.
  • About a week ago she linked to the blog of a young mother of 6 who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had just died, only 2 1/2 months after finding out she was sick.
  • The blogger's own sister, a mother of 4, was horribly burned over 80% of her body in a plane crash. She survived, but is permanently disfigured.
I can't help but ask myself, even though I want so desperately to be a mother, would I trade my plight for the plight any of these women, all of whom have achieved motherhood?

***Oh, and BTW, I had to call that company again today. Guess what song I got to hear TWICE MORE while I was on hold? Eat for F-ing Two. I hung up the phone and asked my husband to shoot me and put me out of my misery.***

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shut It, Natalie!

Two days in a row I've been assaulted by the song "Eat For Two" while on hold (with the same company). Both times I had to listen to the part that goes "You know where this will lead, to hush and rock in the nursery, for the kicking one inside of me. I eat for two, walk for two, breathe for two now."

It ripped my heart out.

I couldn't help but imagine the (fictional?) woman who's perspective this is sung from: too young, not ready, but maybe in love; full of regret, but thinking of her unborn baby, kicking inside of her.

I have to admit that it made me long to be that woman. I guess I could have been that woman (maybe). One break of the condom and I could have been knocked up at 23, too young, not ready. It happened to a good friend of mine. She and the father, her partner, have a beautiful, smart 11 year old daughter now.

When I imagine the woman who is the subject of this song, I imagine my friend, alone in her pregnancy, with all of her friends still in school, or just embarking on their first jobs, maybe taking some time off after finishing college to see the world (I had just moved away from my college town after graduating when I found out about her pregnancy). And there she was, pregnant and unmarried (the father, also a good friend, did stick with her, although I know he was scared).

I wasn't envious for her then. But I am so envious of her now.

Maybe it's because that song, truly, is a beautiful song, and it kinda glorifies young unwed mothers a bit. Doesn't it?

Ugh. Gimme a baby, already, universe! Or please please stop torturing me!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

This Is Not a Post About My Boobs

On Thursday, after hitting "publish" on the "Boob Update" post, I rose from my chair, went to the bathroom, said a little prayer before looking in my undies (come on, you do it, too... right?), breathed a sigh of relief, peed, wiped... red. So, yeah, the boobs, they lie.

I called in to the my new REs office and they told me to come in the next day (yesterday) for bloodwork. I had to bring the hubs with me for his own bloodwork. We sat in the waiting room together, not speaking. I was on the verge of tears.

They called me back to take my blood, and the nurse barely spoke to me, just handed me forms. "Fill out the highlighted sections," she said. "Okay, sign here," she said. I continued to be on the verge of tears.

The nurse stuck me and it hurt, and the pain persisted the entire time as she took about 8 vials of blood. Still on the verge of tears.

We then met with our IVF coordinator and signed consent forms: ICSI, assisted hatching, cryopreservation, etc. I signed but forgot to date everything. Because I was on the verge of tears.

She also gave us papers to sign if we wanted to be involved in a research study that would use leftover unviable eggs and sperm and could potentially help other couples undergoing IVF in the future. I wanted to help, but when I read over the paperwork, the sentence that caught my attention was the one that said something about if any of our leftovers were ever used commercially our privacy would be protected. Used commercially? Privacy protection? Uh-uh, no way. We didn't sign, I felt bad that I wouldn't be helping other infertile couples in the future, and I remained on the verge of tears.

Finally, we left.

I was not myself. Hubs said "Are you feeling okay?" and I shrugged. He said, "I think all that blood they took from you must have tired you out."

Yeah, okay, NO.

I don't feel bad because they took a few vials of blood from me. I feel bad because I'M BROKEN, I'M INFERTILE, I DON'T WANT TO DO IVF, I DON'T WANT ANY OF THIS TO BE HAPPENING TO US, AND EVEN DOING THIS STUPID IVF WE MAY STILL NEVER END UP WITH A BABY.

The tears welled, but I did not cry.

I'm going to try and put on a brave face for myself, for my husband, and for the world. But I'm scared.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dear Boobs...

Dear Boobs:



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Boob Update!

Okay, everybody: exhale. I don't think it's my turn this month.

I started spotting a little yesterday, and today I feel like I'll be getting my period any second now. Boobs are still larger than normal and a little sore, but not as firm as they were a few days ago. I think this just may have been the universe's way of f-ing with me. Maybe the universe saw how relaxed I've been over the last few months and instead of rewarding me with a pregnancy, decided that there just wasn't enough crying going on over at the TTC Hopeful house, so why not try to get my hopes up a little a lot so that they can just be CRUSHED MERCILESSLY.

Anyway, it's not over until the lady in red makes her debut (seriously... any second). But I'm looking forward again, instead of being trapped in that horrible endless cycle of "Are my boobs still sore?" Ten seconds later: "How about now?" Ten seconds later: "Now?" Ten seconds later: "What about now?" ("aaaaaggggggghhhhhh!!!!!")

So, as soon as the red lady shows, I will call my new and improved RE's office (Dr. Big Time) to let them know that I'm on CD1. On CD3 I'll go in for day 3 bloodwork. If that checks out fine (***please!***) then I'll start Lupron at the end of the cycle, wait for my period, and then start stims.

IVF!!! Hee-yah!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Breaking News About My Boobs

Today I am 12dpo. Starting at 9dpo my boobs started to A) feel firmer; and B) feel bigger. Yesterday, they started to feel a little bit sore.

On all of my clomid and injectable cycles I had sore boobs starting at ovulation. They would remain that way until a few days before my period was due, at which point they would go back to normal, and all my hope would be extinguished.

In every other non-medicated cycle, they have stayed "normal" throughout the 2ww, despite all my poking and prodding.

So, on Saturday, when I did my regular cop-a-feel test, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that, in fact, they felt different.

So, now I'm poking and prodding like a maniac all day long, thinking that as long as they stay like this, I have hope, but worried that the next time I grope myself they'll be back to normal and, again, my hope will die.

Ugh. My period is due on Friday. So. Far. Away.

And I hate that most likely this is some stupid fluke that actually means nothing and will get my hopes up and then CRUSH THEM.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hello (Again) World!

It looks like I took June off from blogging. Hmm. Not sure how that happened. And I'm not sure if this is going to be an "I'm back" post or just a quick update before I disappear again. So, we'll see.

I am currently in my last cycle before embarking on IVF. As soon as I get my period I'll go in for day 3 bloodwork, then start Lupron at the end of that cycle, then get my period again and start stims.

This month is our fourth month of "trying naturally" since we failed our last IUI. Am I crazy to still be hopeful that "natural" could actually work for us?

Last month I miscalculated when my period was due and thought I was late. But I knew there was a possibility that I'd miscalculated so for 2 days I didn't look at my chart because I wanted to live in that other world, just for a little while. And it was a wonderful wonderful world. It's like lollipops and unicorns over there, ladies. Then, those 2 days went by, and I thought maybe it was safe to check my chart, that maybe I really wasn't going to have to leave that wonderful world. And when I checked my chart I saw that my period was due the next day. Well, it was nice while it lasted.

Oh, and I came back positive for the MTHFR mutation. Dr.'s email said "your blood clotting workup was essentially negative except for one very minor thing called an MTHFR mutation. This is very very common and is associated with a very low clotting risk...i merely recommend for this that you take additional folic acid daily." He makes it sound so... benign. Is it? Dr.'s email went on to say: "You had one of the a type mutation and one of the c type mutations = double heterozygote." He says I should take "minimally 2mg total" of folic acid daily. If anyone has any experience with this and what it really means to me please let me know.

Finally, our one year anniversary is coming up next week. Married life is awesome. We were together 7 years before we got married. They were often tumultuous years, too, which is maybe why we waited so long. But this past year, besides the IF crap, has been blissful. Just blissful. Wish we'd tied the knot earlier.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Post Where I Over-Analyze My Over-Analyzation, and Then Some

Slight change of plans. Our quote from Dr. Big Time's shared risk plan came in. Sheesh!

In my second to last post I mentioned that we are thinking about doing a refund (or "shared risk") plan. Out of the 3 IVF REs we've seen, 2 offer a shared risk plan: Dr. Big Time and Dr. Immunity. The details of the plans are different in ways, but at their most basic they are the same: you pay a large sum up front (does not include meds or anesthesia), and get up to 3 fresh and 3 frozen cycles, and a portion of your money back if at the end you don't get a baby.

Dr. Immunity's plan costs $19,050. The refund at the end (with no baby) would be $4475. The refund is small, but the initial cost is also, comparatively, small. However, Dr. Immunity's success rates are all over the place. For 2008, Percentage of Transfers Resulting in Live Births:
  • Under 35 - 54% (National Average - 47.3%)
  • 35-37 - 32% (National Average - 37.3%)
  • 38-40 - 10.7% (National Average - 28.2%)
  • 41-42 - 35% (National Average - 16.7%)
Dr. Big Time's plan costs $36, 772. The refund at the end (with no baby) would be $26,009. The refund, obviously, is rather large, but the initial cost is also rather large. And Dr. Big Time's success rates are pretty good. For 2008, Percentage of Transfers Resulting in Live Births:
  • Under 35 - 51.9% (National Average - 47.3%)
  • 35-37 - 44.4% (National Average - 37.3%)
  • 38-40 - 31.1% (National Average - 28.2%)
  • 41-42 - 18.2% (National Average - 16.7%)
Another thing to take into consideration is Dr. Immunity's total cycles for the year are 584, while Dr. Big Time's clinic did 2,028. This could be a partial explanation of why Dr. Immunity's success rates are all over the place.

So, how does this change our plans? Well, first of all, I don't think we can do Dr. Big Time's shared risk program. Here's the thing, the worst case scenario financially is that I do all six cycles (3 fresh, 3 frozen) before I get pregnant. In that scenario, we would not get a refund, plus we will have to have spent money each time on meds and anesthesia, which I guess could be about $14,000, in addition to the original $36, 772, for a grand total of $50,772.

I can't do it.

Spending $50,000 on a baby... I mean... I just don't think I can do it. Ugh. The thing is, we have the money. We don't have much more than that though, so pretty much we would be in a position that we have spent ALL OUR MONEY and are now pregnant. And maybe with twins (Dr. Big Time has a 32.3% twins rate). It feels irresponsible to do that. Of course, there are a lot of couples out there that get pregnant with twins and probably don't have a lot of savings and they make do. We could, too. I know we could. But we have a choice here. We don't have to do it that way.

The thing that I find so difficult to wrap my head around is that the very reason I qualify for these shared risk programs is that, based on my stats, I am likely to not end up having to get a refund. I am likely to get pregnant from IVF (again, based on my stats, not on my own feeling about it, which is that I'M BROKEN AND I'LL NEVER HAVE CHILDREN! WAAAAAH!!). I am (fairly) young, and so far no one had found anything wrong with me. I SHOULDN'T do the shared risk program for the same reason I am covered under the shared risk program: based on my stats I am likely to have success with IVF.

Okay, next (I feel like this post is scattered all over the place, but I'm gathering my thoughts on all this as I type, sorry!). What is our maximum budget for IVF? Hubs and I talked it over, and we think we'd like to try to not go much over $30,000. And although 3 fresh and 3 frozen cycles would give me a really really good chance of getting pregnant, I can't help but think it's a little overkill. (Oh boy do I hope those words don't come back to haunt me. Please please don't come back to haunt me, words...)

Okay, let's do a little exercise. Let's take 100 women between the ages of 35-37. Let's say they go to Dr. Big Time, and they are in it to win it: 3 fresh, 3 frozen, or until they're knocked up. Based on his stats here's how it would go:
  • 1st Fresh IVF: Out of 100, 44% (44 women) would get pregnant, leaving 56 women not pregnant
  • 1st Frozen: Out of 56, 30% (17 women) would get pregnant (btw, 30.2% is their success rate for FET), leaving 39 not preggers.
  • 2nd Fresh: Out of 39, 44% (17 women) would get pregnant, leaving 22.
  • 2nd Frozen: Out of 22, 30% (6.6, but lets round down and say 6 women) would get pregnant, leaving 16.
  • 3rd Fresh: Out of 16, 44% (7 women) would get pregnant, leaving 9.
  • 3rd Frozen: Out of 9, 30% (3 women) would get pregnant, leaving 6.
So, we have a 94% success rate. Not bad odds. BUT, if you look at the difference between the results of the 2nd frozen and the final 3rd frozen, they are only 10% different (i.e. 84% are pregnant after the 2nd frozen, while 94% are pregnant after the 3rd frozen).

If I paid for the cycles one by one, and it took 2 fresh and 2 frozen for me to get pregnant, I would pay:
  • $9,215 x 2 (for fresh IVF cycles)
  • $3,500 x2 (for frozen cycles, and I actually don't know how much their FETs cost, so this is just an undereducated guess)
  • $750 x 2 (anesthesia)
  • $4000 x 2 (meds, which I hope is an overestimation)
  • Total: $34,930
That number is more in the ballpark of what we would want to spend (not that I want to spend any of it, but you see what I'm saying).

Now, the final option would be to go with Dr. Immunity's 3 fresh/3 frozen shared risk plan. Total cost if it takes all 6 cycles to get knocked up: $32,550 (approximately, obviously). Of course, his success rates are lower, so my exercise above would look very different for him (I'm not going to show you that one, because I'm guessing you can't take much more of this!!).

Based on all of the above, we are now thinking we will either do a cycle by cycle with Dr. Big Time (up to 2 fresh and 2 frozen), or the shared risk with Dr. Immunity. And we have decided to wait until all of our immunity tests come back before we decide, which we found out could be up to a month (oh, yeah, they took 26 VIALS OF BLOOD FROM ME, HOLY SMOKES!). Which means we won't start our IVF next month as planned. We'll probably start in July.

And finally, I just want to say that I realize that all of our planning and figuring things out and all of my little "exercises" could add up to diddly-squat when we finally do an IVF. For example, we may find that my eggs SUCK, in which case if we didn't sign up for the shared risk, we may wish we had, as it would then be more likely (I would think) that we would need all the cycles, imagining that if my eggs are crap I might not be able to do the FETs at all.

So, that's it! If you've read this far, congratulations! You either: A) really care about my life (thank you! you are so sweet!), or B) are as obsessed with IVF costs and success rates as I am (you should really chill out about that. seriously.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Friday, August 7th, 2009: The Day I Got My Stupid BFP

Well, at the very least I had to look up the exact date on FF. It's not like I have the date memorized or anything. And no, I never calculated my due date. I didn't really think much of it at all at the time. And I still think it was total BS...

So why do I still think about it?

Why can I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I got that phone call?

Okay, let me back up. So, I've never gotten a BFP, but last year, in August, I got a stupid BFP. What's a stupid BFP? One that only serves to get your hopes up but doesn't mean s--t. At 9dpo (yeah, that's right, 9 stupid days past ovulation) I went in for a beta. It was my first cycle at the RE. A clomid cycle. No IUI, just "timed intercourse." Oh, and I should mention that we had been married for just over a month, so it wasn't like it was THE MOST PERFECT TIMING EVER. Especially since we'd been trying, and worrying about trying, for the last 8 months or so (you know: what if we're successful and I can't fit into my dress? and all that BS). Anyway, why was my RE doing a beta at 9dpo? Who knows! At the time, it being my first cycle with the RE, I thought that was just the way it was done. (Oh, when you're seeing a professional, you don't have to wait the whole stupid 14 days! Woo-hoo!) Anyway, every cycle after that they told me to come in at 14 days, so that was wrong. Maybe it was for the progesterone level? But isn't that supposed to be 7dpo? So, who knows why, but they did my beta at 9dpo. And guess what? It was positive. Or, stupid positive. As in, not really positive at all. But boy was I ignorant back then.

So the call goes like this:

Jane: Hello?
RE: We got your pregnancy test result back, and it is positive...
Jane: (heart racing) Oh, okay?
RE: But it's a little low. It's at 9. So we need to retest it on Monday to make sure.
Jane: So what are the chances it's really positive?
RE: Oh, it is positive. Anything above 5 is positive.
Jane: Okay, well, what are the chances it's going to be a viable pregnancy?
RE: Well, there's no way to know really.
Jane: Well, do most women in your experience with a number that low go on to have a viable pregnancy?
RE: It's just too early to tell.
Jane: Okay, well, I guess I'll come in on Monday, then.

9? Seriously? And she's telling me it's positive?

But, okay, it's only 9dpo. If it were 14dpo, then 9 would obviously be super low, but maybe at 9dpo an hcg of 9 is okay? But no, she said it was low. But I did do a trigger shot, so maybe it was leftover from that? Probably. But they also tested my progesterone and it was over 40. That is pretty high. Like, maybe I was pregnant high. And when I went back on Monday and they retested my hcg it was at 2. One other time when I had my hcg tested at 12dpo (several months later) it was at 0 at 12dpo, so if it really was leftover from the trigger, wouldn't it have also registered the other time I had my hcg tested at 12dpo?

Can you tell that I'm still thinking about this? I mean, way over thinking about this?

Was I or was I not pregnant?

Okay, I was not pregnant pregnant. If an embryo implanted enough to produce hcg but not enough to delay my period (okay, I think it was delayed by 2 days, but clomid always seemed to lengthen my luteal phase), then that's not really pregnant. But could an embryo have implanted? In my uterus? Is it possible?

Going into IVF... I guess it would be nice to know that it's possible.

So, in closing, stupid not-even-enough-to-be-called-a-chemical-pregnancy pregnancies can SUCK IT.

And get out of my head stupid not-really-a-BFP BFP!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Long and Winding Road to IVF Or: Doctors and Finances and Testing, Oh My!

As you may know, we are on the road to IVF. The long and winding road. We have seen 3 IVF doctors over the last 2 months, and although we're leaning toward one in particular, we haven't made any final decisions yet. I don't want to name these doctors/clinics here (because I wouldn't want them to find out that they're being blogged about), but if anyone wants to know names, feel free to email me. (And anyone in NYC that's familiar with its REs can probably make a good guess who they are based on the descriptions below.)

RE#1: With a respected fertility clinic associated with a major university. Definitely top 5 for IVF success rates in the city (top 1 or 2 depending on the age group). I'll call him Dr. University

RE#2: With a large and respected fertility clinic NOT associated with a university. Also top 5, or top 1 or 2 depending on the age group. We'll call him Dr. Big Time

RE#3: A fairly new NY clinic that is associated with a well-known clinic not in NY. In top 5 depending on the age group, but also not in top 5 in some age groups. They are known for testing for and treating immunity issues. We'll call him Dr. Immunity.

Let's start with Dr. University. Nice guy. Really obsessed with his clinic's awesome success rates. And why not? They're top notch. Two big drawbacks: First, really far from the subway (I know, I know, this seems like a silly thing, but since I'm going to have to be going there A LOT, and this is going to mean it will take me about an hour and a half to get there with that long walk tacked onto the subway ride, which is of course 3 hours round trip, plus the time actually spent at the clinic, I just don't know if I can find almost 4 hours to go there every time...), and, second, they don't offer an IVF refund plan (more on that below).

Okay, Dr. Big Time. Another nice guy, although a fast talker, but also very optimistic, which I liked. He advises us when we tell him that we also have an appointment with Dr. Immunity that Dr. Immunity is not in the same league as they are. Describes how their lab is a "clean room" just like where they make microchips, and that they had to close down a major avenue in Manhattan and use a crane to deliver and install their lab's air system. This impresses me, but probably impresses hubby even more. Hubby says "Well, we'll probably cancel that appointment" (but we didn't). Plus: they have a refund plan. Plus: they are close to the subway. They also have us speak to an IVF coordinator and a financial coordinator, who both are very professional and helpful. Drawbacks: none, really. Their success rates are not quite as phenomenal as Dr. University's, but really the difference is minor.

Finally, Dr. Immunity. Nice, soft spoken, maybe a little too soft spoken. They also have a refund plan, and are close to the subway. Big drawback: IVF success rates are all over the place. Also, as stated above, Dr. Big Time doesn't have much respect for them. But big "plus": immunity testing.

So, about immunity testing. As you may or may not know, so far no one has found ANYTHING wrong with either me or hubs. We have both passed all our tests with flying colors. The only thing is that I have had some symptoms of endometriosis (more on that here, if you care to know). But I asked all 3 IVF docs about this and every one of them said that if they can't see it on an ultrasound or HSG, then it's probably not a problem. So why the F can't we get pregnant? I'd love to have an answer (although I'm also afraid of an answer), and so immunity testing sounds good.

Also, about the refund plans. Hubs and I are leaning toward doing a 3 cycle refund plan. Basically, you pay for 3 cycles (at a discounted rate) up front and get a (fairly large) portion of your money returned if you are not successful. Hubs is way behind this, for some reason. I'm going back and forth over it. Part of me thinks it's rather pessimistic of me to think that I might not get pregnant after 3 IVF cycles (I've heard that 85-95% are pregnant and deliver a baby after 3 IVF cycles), but at the same time, if we'd already shelled out the money, and the first cycle fails, I'm thinking it won't be as big of a letdown if I know that I can try 2 more times (plus up to 3 FET cycles, too). Also, statistics are such that I know the majority of women do NOT get pregnant after the first cycle (the clinics I've been to have about a 42-44% success rate for my age group, meaning that 66-68% of women DON'T get pregnant each cycle, thus most women will require more than one cycle of IVF). Anyway, we haven't decided yet, so I'll probably write a longer post on this subject later.

We are leaning towards Dr. Big Time. If we go with him, I would start my BCP cycle in early/mid June and my IVF cycle in early/mid July.

But first we are going to do all the tests recommended by Dr. Immunity. Just to see. So, I had my first test today, which was not an immunity test, but a fluid ultrasound to look for fibroids/polyps, etc. in my uterus (which, if present, I understand could cause implantation problems). Results: all clear!

Next are blood tests.

Here is what they are testing the hubs for:
  • HLA phenotype panel
  • Hepatitis B surface ag
  • Hepatitis B total core antibody
  • Hepatitis C Ab
  • HIV I and II
  • HTLV I and II
  • GC / Chlamydia-Urine Aptima
Here is what they are testing me for:
  • HLA phenotype panel
  • NK Activation with IVIg
  • Hepatitis B surface antigen
  • Hepatitis B total core antibody
  • Hepatitis C Ab
  • HIV I and II
  • HTLV I and II
  • Type and screen
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • GC / Chlamydia-Urine Aptima
  • Rubella Titer
  • CBC
  • Activated Protein C Resistance
  • Protein C Activity
  • Protein S Activity
  • Prothrombin 20210 Mutation
  • Fasting plasma Homocysteine level (Cardiac)
  • Factor V Leiden (DNA)
  • Anti-thrombin III activity
  • Lupus Anticoagulant
  • Plaminogen Activator Inhibitor - 1 (Activity)
  • Anti-Cardiolipin IgG, IgM, IgA
  • Beta-2 Glycoprotein IgG, IgM
  • Phosphatidylserine IgG, IgM
Phew! Geez!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dear Movie Theater Ticket Taker

Dear Movie Theater Ticket Taker -

You wished me a happy Mother's Day when you tore my ticket today. All I could think of to say was "thank you." But afterwards I thought, "Does he assume that I'm a mother because I look past the age that I should have popped out a few by now?" and it made me feel old. Then I thought, "Does he say that to all women on Mother's Day?" and it made me feel not so special anymore. Then I thought, "Does he know something that I don't know?" and it gave me a little thrill. And then I thought, "Don't go reading into every little thing, missy," and I tried not to think about it anymore. Then I thought, "That's what it sounds like to hear someone wish me a happy Mother's Day," and I wondered if I would ever hear those words spoken to me again.

If that turns out to be the only time, then, once again, thank you, Movie Theater Ticket Taker. I will always remember you.


P.S. We really liked Iron Man 2.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Previously on TTC Hopeful

Okay, to catch you up on where I was in March. Our last IUI (#4) went pretty awesomely. A nice 9mm lining, 4 decent sized follies, some good swimmers. I was so hopeful. And I knew it was our last chance at IUI - our next step was IVF and tens of thousands of dollars.

So, anyway, yeah, went awesome. Until that stupid beta.

And, like I said in my last post before my break, that kinda put me in a bad place. Now, I'm usually not a crier. Before starting TTC I cried maybe once a year. If that. And when I do cry, it's very dignified. A single tear, maybe two. A muted inhalation, perhaps, but never a sob. But after that last BFN? Sobbing so hard that I began to hyperventilate, get lightheaded, and consciously tell myself to calm the f down before DH called 911. Like I said, bad place.

So after that I didn't want to talk about TTC, read about TTC, or even think about TTC. Like ever again. Okay... for at least a month. So that's what I did. Or, um, didn't do.

Luckily, I have hobbies. Very time consuming hobbies, actually (I'm considering writing some blog posts about my hobbies at some point... so make sure you're all on the edges of your seats!). So, I dove head first into those and started to wonder how I had ever had time to go to the RE 2 or 3 times a week. Sheesh!

And, I'm not going to guarantee that everyone will have the same break results that I did... but... it went back to the way it used to be. Yes, you heard that right. Don't we all say that we wish things could be the way they were before we started TTC? Back when it was just us and our hubbies and we were content that way?


I remember before we saw the RE for the first time how much I was looking forward to a doctor taking over my care so I could stop the temping and the OPKing and the running the show all by myself. But it turned out to be so much more stressful, with the wanding and the blood draws and the injections... and I have to say that it is such a relief to be back temping and OPKing. A relief, I tell you! I feel like I could do this forever. But, we don't have forever, and so it looks like we'll have 3 cycles of trying naturally before we start down the IVF path (we're getting towards the end of cycle #2 right now), and I'm happy that we'll have those 3 shots at doing this on our own, but, honestly, I don't have a lot of hope. And since I don't have a lot of hope, I'm not getting my hopes up.

And so instead, I'm just relaxing.


That's right. I'm terribly relaxed about the whole thing right now.

So, it's like the way it used to be, before we started TTC. But we're still, technically, TTC.

It's brilliant.

Except that there is, like, a 99% chance that we'll still have to do IVF.

Oh, well.

So, in summary: breaks are good, and you CAN have it back.

Take that, infertility!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Vacation Story: Part 2

Once we decided on Key West everything else fell into place pretty easily. Hotel? Check. Flight? Check. Ummm... okay, that's it!

The island is only a mile and a half wide and about 4 miles long, so we really didn't need to plan anything ahead of time. We figured we'd stumble upon the interesting stuff just by walking around.

We came in on an evening flight and grabbed a bite to eat at the beachfront restaurant next to our hotel. They were closing up at 10, so we just ordered appetizers and a couple beers. We then decided to take a walk up Duval Street to relax and stretch our legs. A block or two up we saw a crowded open-air restaurant/bar. Oh! If we'd known we could've come here for dinner and drinks! Then, a half block later, another one. And another one. And ten more. And, ummm... I thought this was a sleepy little beach town?

Okay, don't laugh all those who have been to Key West before. We didn't know!

All those who don't know anything about Key West: it is a party town. A loud drunken party town.

And just like any respectable touristy party town it had tacky T-shirt shops galore all up and down Duval. My favorites: "I got Duval faced on Shit Street" (does it get more poignant than that?) and "I'm not drunk, I'm just naturally a loud, clumsy, friendly person" (Oh! The insight!). I am easily amused.

Anyway, we proceeded to avoid this aspect of Key West as much as possible, which was kinda easy since we got up early and went to bed early like old people.

Instead, we concentrated on Key West's historical sites, and enjoying a wonderful little thing we like to call "physical exercise"! We visited Hemingway's house, the Customs House, the Lighthouse, and we took a trolley tour. We went kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, and did the glass bottom boat tour (word of warning: glass bottom boat=horribly sea sick). We also rented bikes for a day.

And, we visited the Key West farmers market! Which... was just one table. But it was a table filled with an abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, and all sorts of stuff we won't be seeing here until July or August. And they told us that this would be the last farmers market of the season: their growing season ends in April! I love finding out about the odd little regional differences in farmers markets around the country (for example, they sell snow cones at the Reno farmers market. Which would so not fly in NYC).

All in all we had an amazing time. We found that most activities were very affordable, but that ALL of the "guides" would ask very humbly for tips at the end. But only after giving AMAZING service, of course. An example: on our kayaking tour, our guide at one point spotted something in the water, DOVE in head first, came up with a conch shell in hand, and passed it around so we could all admire the cute little conch creature inside. Wow! Every guide had an endless stream of warm and witty banter. Every tour they gave seemed like it was given just for us. They were all knowledgeable, friendly, and funny! That said, we tended to tip generously and I began to see what their angle was. Low prices up front, knock-your-socks-off service, and humble requests for tips that probably produced windfalls for them at the end. Brilliant. Hats off.

One last thing. Apparently, there ain't no party like the Key West party 'cause the Key West party don't stop. I counted about 5 visibly drunk people on our flight out. Visibly because they were stumbling and slurring but also because they, separately, had to each be told that no, they couldn't bring their drinks from the airport bar onto the plane, and so I watched as each one chugged said drink and then deposited it in the trash before being allowed to board the plane. Oh, and one of them was wearing a T-shirt that said "I'm not drunk, I'm just naturally a loud, clumsy, friendly person."

Key West out.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Vacation Story: Part 1

Hubs and I both wanted to get away for a few days, but the truth is we are just not vacationers. I don't mind moving, strangely enough (Pack up all our stuff in a U-Haul and relocate to the other side of the country? I'm in!), but vacationing, mmmm, not so much (Ugh, I have to pack a suitcase? But I have so much work I need to do! And who's going to take care of the dog? Do we have to go?). But, I guess we wanted to try it out. We see other people vacationing and raving about it, so why not us?

I didn't really want a sit-on-your-ass vacation though, so when I saw a blurb on the ol' internetz that had a picture of a couple on mountain bikes in the desert I was like "oooooohhhh... maybe a vacation could be good after all..." It was a resort in Arizona. They said they had miles of bike trails. I put in some random dates in May to get a quote. For a 9 day stay it quoted $890, which was just under $100 a night. Not bad, I thought.

Meanwhile, the hubs was looking at Key West, another idea we were mulling over. He had found a hotel right off the beach that was $115 a night. There was a bar right on the beach. There were pictures of people drinking Pina Coladas in beach chairs. Oh, my. Key West is a tiny little place and we wouldn't have to rent a car. Bonus! But I then saw that the place in Arizona would pick us up at the airport, so no rental car there either! Another bonus!

This was shaping up as quite the competition. Pina Coladas or mountain biking?

Key West had snorkeling.

Arizona had a complimentary spa (what?!).

Key West had kayaking.

Arizona had all meals included. Gourmet meals. Ummm... you're kidding, right?

For $100 a night all meals were included? Did I happen to enter in dates during the off-est of their off season? Was that a sale price? Arizona was starting to sound like a *really good deal*.

Hubs decided to put in some real dates (there was no way we would be able to go away for 9 whole days). So he put in a more realistic time frame: 5 nights. Their quoted price came back at... $890. Again.

And then I realized what was going on.

Arizona was $890 A NIGHT.

Anyway, we went to Key West.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Quick Update

Since I last posted:
  • I turned 35 (ugh.)
  • Hubby and I took an amazing vacation (more on that later...)
  • We've been seen at 2 different IVF clinics (one more to go next week)
  • I remembered that I have ambitions other than having children (phew!)
  • We got another BFN (natural cycle)
Overall I'm feeling positive. I'm trying to stay patient and hopeful. I am trying to continue cultivating all my interests and activities, and to be happy with all the wonderful opportunities that life presents, even to the childless.

Oh, and a big thank you to everyone for all of your supportive comments - they warmed and continue to warm my heart!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Trying to Get My Life Back

I would like to apologize. I have not been blogging, but neither have I been commenting. I've still been reading, and so I know I'm not the only one out there who's gotten a BFN over the last few weeks, and although I'm still feeling the love through all of your warm and wonderful comments (thank you!), I haven't been returning that love, and I'm sorry.

So here's the thing. Yes, this most recent BFN hit me hard. I felt very positive this past cycle, and I knew that would get me in the end. When I get my hopes up, I don't take the inevitable BFN very well. I do much better when my hopes are tempered a bit. And this past cycle, even though I tried to think long term and not be so emotionally invested in the outcome of this one cycle, I couldn't help but think "this one's going to be it." Whether it was because the cycle went very smoothly (especially when compared to my other cycles) or whether it was because it was our last cycle before IVF, I don't know.

Anyway, the BFN hit me hard, but it kind of hit me in places I didn't expect it to hit me. Usually I get sad and sulky and all "when is this going to work already?" But this time the questions I was asking myself (and my poor DH) were much darker, along the lines of "what does my life mean if I can't have children?" and "how can I have f-ed up my life so badly?" I have truly felt like I hit a brick wall, as if my life was going along fairly smoothly but now I realize that somewhere I took a wrong turn and I'm at a dead end. And I can't go back.

Although I'm feeling better than I was a few days ago, I've realized that if I'm going to get over this wall, I need to get back in touch with the things in my life that are not TTC related. I've thrown all my strength and determination and hopes and time into this TTC project to the point where if it doesn't work I'm afraid of the life I'm going to discover I'm left with on the other side. Also, if we are successful, I don't want to be a desperate inconsolable crazy person going into it.

I need to find some balance. I need to pull myself together. I need to feel good about myself with or without a pregnancy, with or without children.

And I think part of that is taking a break from blogging and commenting. So much of my day to day life was revolving around things TTC related that I had lost my life beyond it. I mean, I still had a life outside of it, but I was only going through the motions and it held no meaning to me. The only thing that would hold any meaning to me was a BFP. And, well, that's just unhealthy. Whether I end up getting the BFP or not, I don't want to have that as the only thing in my life that will bring me any pleasure. That's just too sad and pathetic, and I don't want to be that person.

So, I'm pulling back.

Because I'm switching clinics for IVF, we probably won't cycle again until May, so I'm going to take this time and devote it to non-TTC related things. Just in the last few days I've already been able to rediscover some really rewarding things in my life. I'm going to continue on that path, and hopefully when we're back to cycling in May, I will be a much more grounded and emotionally stable person.

Again, I want to thank everyone for all their support. Your wonderful comments remind me that I'm not alone, and that means so much to me. Thank you!

Friday, March 12, 2010


No more IUIs. IVF is next.

I'm having a hard time. I'm in a dark place right now.

I will probably take a break from blogging for a while.

I just want to have a family... why does it have to be so hard?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Husbands. Can't Get Pregnant With Them. Can't Get Pregnant Without Them.

An Open Letter to All Husbands Undergoing IF Treatments with Their Wives

Dear Husbands-

First of all, we love you. We know you don't want to be going through this any more than we do. We appreciate your support, your calm, your patience and kindness, and your ability to have hope even when we have none.

Having said that, we need you to take this as seriously as we do. Your sympathy for us when we are subjecting ourselves to daily injections and almost daily wandings and blood draws is appreciated, but what we really need you to do is take an active role in this journey. And what we mean by that is we need you to take your contribution seriously. Because although maybe sometimes it seems like we're doing this all without you, like maybe we can do it all without you, we can't. We need you. And your "contribution."

So when that time of the cycle comes around (you know the time we're talking about), you need to do what it takes to get the job done. We know that the pressure affects you. That's why we try to be so nonchalant about it when it comes your time to contribute. But we're not nonchalant on the inside. Oh, no. Inside, we're freaking out. Because you're watching sports on TV. Or you're going out for a drink with your buddies. Or you're just generally distracted and not on task like you need to be.

And when there's an IUI involved, precise timing is kind of important. When the doctor tells us to be there at a certain time, we would appreciate it if you took that seriously. But we will not bug you about it. Because we're afraid to stress you out, because we know that could affect your performance. And when you sit around wasting time instead of doing the things that need to be done before we leave for the IUI (like walking the dog, and moving the car for street cleaning), we will offer to do those things for you. We will quietly seethe inside and wish we had husbands that gave a damn about procreating, but we will smile and say, "I think we'd better get going pretty soon, don't you, honey?" And when we get to the appointment 30 minutes late and you say, "I'm sure it will be fine," we'll nod and agree, while inside we are screaming.

And when the IUI is over, and both of us have successfully performed our respective duties, you in a couple of minutes in that backroom we've never seen, and us over the last 2 weeks, injecting ourselves, getting ourselves to early morning appointments, tracking everything with precision, dealing with the insurance company and the mail order pharmacy, and researching all our treatment options on the internet, don't be surprised when we refuse to walk the dog, or to move the car. And don't be surprised when we say that these things are now your job and the least you can do. Because this is a partnership, and even if you don't act like it is sometimes, we will gently cajole you into your role as dutiful and attentive husband. Because we love you. And we're in this together.


IF Wives Everywhere (but especially this wife, right here, at TTC Hopeful)

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Post Where I Prove That You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

  • My estrogen on Friday was 226. Today? 1297.
  • I have 4 follies in the running: 17.3, 17, 15.9, 15.7
  • Trigger is tonight, IUI tomorrow morning. Apparently my RE thinks I'm ready to pop.
  • Lining: a fluffy 9.1mm (Egg, that one's just for you!)
  • Last, but definitely not least, while talking to the infamous Dr. "Young" about possible scenarios based on the results of my b/w, he said, and this is more or less verbatim: "Depending on your bloodwork, I may instruct you to have intercourse tonight, just in case you ovulate earlier than we think, that way we can make sure that the sperm is waiting there for the eggs, with their fangs out, ready to go!" And when he said "with their fangs out" he made fang gestures with his hands, like he was ready to pounce. And while he was saying this, and making those fang gestures with his hands, I was thinking to myself, "Put it on your blog. Put it on your blog. You so have to put this on your blog." And so here it is, on my blog: My RE. Making fang gestures with his hands, pretending he is my husband's sperm, ready to pounce on my eggs.
  • And I so hope he does my IUI tomorrow. Because I think he's got more to say. And I have a blog. So maybe we're a good match, after all, me and my RE.