Monday, November 30, 2009

Where do we go from here?

I've done a lot of thinking about what happens next. If - or when - this cycle doesn't work. Let me start by saying that while I'm not optimistic about my chances, I am absolutely hopeful. I don't want to banish that hope and say to you - or to myself - that I don't expect it to happen, or that I *know* there's no way it will happen, because that would not be true. I do hope, very much so, that my period doesn't show up on Wednesday and that I see two lines on Friday. I hope so much that I want to scream, that my head hurts sometimes, that I can't sleep at night. And in order to hope, I have to believe that I have a shot. I have to believe that there's some chance - however small - that this might work.

But at the same time, to say I'm not optimistic ... well, that's a bit of an understatement. I am holding onto hope because it doesn't want to let go, but that doesn't mean that I'm window shopping pink booties and this season's maternity clothes or picking out baby names. In fact, I find most of my thoughts swirling around the question: "What's next?"

I truthfully do not know what happens next. (If this doesn't work.) I want to do whatever it takes - I really do - but only if "whatever it takes" comes without too steep a cost. Because lately I have come to face the reality that what I have been through over the past two years has cost me. And my marriage. And my son. I am tired, so bone weary, of being consumed by this quest, and the thought of jumping off the ride now makes me feel happy and light in a way that I have not felt since I can remember. I don't believe for one second that the hits we've all taken can't be repaired; I know these wounds will heal. Of course, jumping off the ride means living the life that we didn't technically choose for ourselves, and therein lies the tough choice. We want another child. I don't know how to reconcile this; I just can't figure it out.

For now, I'll do what I'm *supposed* to do. I'll meet with the RE to discuss what went wrong, and what my next steps will be, if I choose to continue treatments. I'll put all the information aside for a short period of time ... short, because let's face it, I don't have much time to decide here. And then we'll figure out what our path will be. We'll weigh and consider, we'll take some time to heal and get stronger, and then we'll decide.

I have to say, it might be the path of least resistance.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A happy sort of post

Reading back over my last several entries, you'd really think I'm a big Debbie Downer. I'm not usually so damn negative (and clearly I've had some crap hit me lately) but I also believe that mood and behavior can easily follow outlook, so I'm going to focus on the good and great stuff for a moment.

Here's what's good right now:
* A four day weekend. I mean, what's better than that? As I love to tell my husband, we're getting paid to *not* work today, and even after the two busy days we've had, we still have two more days off. Love it.
* I have half a strawberry swirl cheesecake sitting in my fridge, plus a nice chicken and stuffing dinner for tonight. (Have I mentioned that the only thing I dislike more than cooking is trying to figure out *what* to cook?)
* I have plans with my sister to go to a movie tomorrow. I love going to movies: the popcorn, the chocolate, the amazing picture and sound, and simply escaping for a couple hours. Can't wait.
* I have gift ideas for most people on my list already. Huge hurdle overcome.

Here's what's great right now:
* My kiddo. Seriously, he rocks. He's the most laid back kid out there, so chill and smart and funny.
* Everybody is happy and healthy around me lately.
* Naps. Four day weekend = at least two, maybe three, naps. Aw, yeah.
* I'm less than a week away from my period being due. I will be so relieved when this is over, because being in the middle of this wait is like a huge stupid mocking weight on my back. I know that when my period comes I'll have a new kind of crushing disappointment to deal with, on top of the kind I already am experiencing, but I want this uncertainty behind me. And it will be soon.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What my ovaries have stolen from me

Of course my slacker ovaries can be said to have stolen many things from me over the years. The easy to name stuff, like a spontaneous sex life, a romantic TTC journey, and not feeling about 10 years older than I am due to their response.

But, more specifically? Recently? My slacker ovaries have stolen two important things from me.

First, I have to endure the much longer 2ww that comes with an IUI cycle. I was so looking forward to the shorter, 9 day wait, after an IVF embryo transfer. My RE doesn't do a beta until 16 days after the IUI. But since my IUI was done on a Friday, and 16 days after that is a Sunday, I have to wait until Monday, 17 days after my IUI.

(not that I'm going to make it that far; my period will come long before Monday December 7th. But still.)

Secondly, because my IVF was converted to IUI, I didn't get to have the four days of bed rest that I was so (pathetically, I know) looking forward to. I know that going under anesthesia and having a needle put through my delicate ladybits wouldn't have been fun. I'm aware. But I was *so* seeing the brightside of having a few days of bedrest. Days where I wasn't allowed to do anything but lie around and read and watch TV. A few days seemed like a nice amount of laying around time; enough time to decompress and chill out but not so much as to make me want to go crazy. It felt like pampering.

Did I mention that my birthday was last weekend? (38. Painful. Enough said.) My wonderful husband bought me three books that I was really looking forward to reading, specifically because he knew I had those days of bedrest coming up. And I bought myself a little gift too - two seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD.

I think I'll try to find a way to make it up to myself, like with a trip for a mani/pedi or by going out to a movie or something.

Stupid slacker thieving ovaries.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


IUI for Friday, confirmed this morning. Thank goodness this didn't get pushed back further, because I really just want it over and done with.

It's funny, but I've been so open about what we're going through, and I think it's finally biting me in the ass. I was just so excited about starting IVF, and I don't mind being open about my infertility in general, so I told people about our cycle plans. Now I have everyone I know asking me (excitedly, mind you!) about how things are progressing, when retrieval will be, etc. It's been rather tiring to have to keep explaining the cancellation. Lesson learned, I suppose.

People's reactions to these developments have been interesting. Here's a little recap:

Boss who is living child free after 10 IVF attempts: She's always been so understanding - much more so than I expected, actually. She let me vent, she listened, and then she moved firmly into the "understand how lucky you are" camp. I can appreciate that; I am lucky.

Boss who has had no trouble conceiving, and who has 2 little ones of her own: Very sympathetic, hopeful, and accommodating.

Assorted friends: I've gotten varying degrees of anger, sadness for us, frustration, etc. But the overriding theme is along the lines of "what's the next step?" This is why I wish I had kept this cycle a little (not completely, but just a little) closer to the vest. Answering these questions is not easy now, because my thoughts are changing on an almost hourly basis. One friend made me laugh out loud with an email where she told me to tell my ovaries to stop slacking off, and "quit acting like they have a state job. It's time to get to work." (She's a state employee, by the way, before anyone gets offended.) It was just the levity I needed at that moment.

My husband: He's disappointed. I think he's taking this harder than I am. While I am automatically looking at the positives of having one child (and there are plenty of positives!), he is forcing himself to look there. I really think he's .... sad. Last night we were talking about Friday's IUI, and he said, "what time will we need to go back for the insemination?" We, I asked him? "Yes," he said, "I'm coming with you." Ummmm, ok? Honey, we're not newbies, you don't need to take a half a vacation day to hold my hand. Heck, we haven't done that since, well since the very first IUI, three and a half years ago. Ah. "Hey, I was there for him," he said, as he pointed to the kiddo, "I want to be there this time too." I don't know if it's superstition on his part (hey, it worked that time! Maybe there's something to having him in the same zip code when I get knocked up), or if he just wants to round out the circle because he feels - like I do - that this might be our last attempt.

Me: First and foremost, I think I'm confused. I'm so used to having a next step, a plan B (and C and D), and this time I just don't. Yet. And all of the questions I'm getting are not making it any easier to figure out, frankly. I'm being honest with people close to me, letting them know that we need to take some time to decide, and that maybe clarity will come with a little space. Other than that, I'm also alternating among anger, frustration, sadness, crushing disappointment and longing, and relief.

Yes, relief. I truly, honestly, fully can not wait for this to be over. I'm tired. I'm tired of spending 20 minutes every night mixing meds. I'm tired of being late to work all the time, scheduling meetings around my appointments, and not knowing what days I'll need a coworker to cover for me. I'm tired of getting my hopes up and then having them crash down around me, Every Single Month. Most of all, I think I'm tired of not knowing what happens with us. Uncertainty is not something I work well with. I like to make decisions and move forward; speculation and waiting are not part of my comfort zone. So, the idea of ending this now, moving on with our lives ... well, it's a decision, isn't it?

And that, in itself, is comforting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I had another follicle check yesterday morning. Guess what? A big miracle! My 3 follicles turned into 24! My doc said I looked like a 20-year old in there. No wait, better yet, it turns out I'm actually pregnant! I guess that's why the meds weren't making any follicles. But don't worry, the doc said that the Gonal-F and Menopur I've been using won't harm the baby; in fact, it's gonna make him a rock star! A genius, charming, sensitive, adorable rock star. Who knew. Oh, and labor won't hurt either - it's another side effect.

Should I throw in some lottery winnings too, just to make it more sarcastic?

Ok, so the real news is nothing new. I still have three (maybe two, but probably three), and my E2 is still chugging along. I go back tomorrow for what I hope is my final check, and then (*crossing fingers*) I should trigger tomorrow night and have my IUI on Friday. My stupid, senseless, annoying IUI. Did I mention that my husband had to talk me into doing it? I don't even want to bother, I know it's a waste of time and money, but at the same time I know we'll both regret it if we skip it. So, IUI it is.

I'm holding up fine. I'm crying here and there - the disappointment is just overwhelming at times - but for the most part I'm dealing. I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head about next steps - if there will be any next steps, that is. I keep telling myself to let this cycle finish, take a couple months, and then figure it out when the time is right. Right now, I'm in no rush.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Progress - Follicle check # 2

I'll start this with a gentle warning: if you don't approve of cursing or it in any way offends your sensibilities, this blog might not be the place for you today.

I was psyched for my follicle check today. I finally stopped bleeding yesterday, so I was looking forward to seeing how my lining is growing. And, although I've felt some mild tenderness in my ovaries for the past couple days, today was the first day that putting on pants hurt. A great sign! So of course, I was dying to see how those eight follicles were looking, and how many more I might have cooking in there.

My lining looks great - getting lusher day by day, and is currently 7.8mm. Aww, yeah. Now onto the follicle count. He starts on the right side, where last time I had three. He says to his assistant, who is taking notes, "twelve." Twelve?! Shit, how could I have gone from three to twelve?? No wonder my ovaries are so tender and swollen. Then he moves from right ovary to left ovary, where a couple days ago I had five. He says, "eleven..... [big pause here] ... and twelve." Wait a minute. Wait a fucking minute. It starts to sink in. He's not counting them, he's measuring them.

Three. That's how many I have. Fucking three.

He turns on his gentle voice. "That's right, there are three." I'm speechless, and then this voice in my head goes off, telling me to ask something, anything, because I'm going to want to know later what the hell this means. Ok, so I ask him - what happened to the eight that were there just two days ago? He said there are still plenty there, but they're not growing the way these three are. Now I move in with The Big Question. What does this mean? Dr. Gentle replies, "IUI."

Still in his "I hope she's not going to cry" voice, he tells me to keep my dosage the same (because why the fuck would we increase it now, those others clearly have no shot of catching up) and come back on Monday. He said there's always a chance that we'll get a nice surprise on Monday morning, so don't count anything out.

Sure, because my body has often surprised me in a good way. Right.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Progress - follicle check # 1

More blood work today and an ultrasound, and it looks like things are moving along nicely. I asked the nurse why the doc told me I wasn't responding as well a couple days ago, and she said my E2 was a bit lower than they like to see. My baseline E2 was 22, and on Tuesday (after two days of stims), it was up to only 42. They usually hope for it to be in the 80-100 range at that point.

Then came my ultrasound. Lining is super thin at 4.5, but I'm still bleeding, so that isn't surprising. I swear I thought I was going to burst with anticipation until the tech started counting follicles. So far, there are eight: five on the left side, and three on the right. She kept stressing that it was too early to see much, and that more will be visible as they get bigger, I think because she thought I was going to be upset at the number. On the contrary, I was thrilled! Clearly I'm not expecting very much out of my body.

Doc left me a message a while ago, and said that my dosage stays the same, and I go back on Saturday for another check. She didn't specify the E2, but now that I know about it I'm going to keep asking.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


That's me. Well, more specifically, my ovaries. I had blood work this morning, and according to the doctor, I'm "not responding as well as we'd like." He says I'm to increase the Gonal-F tonight to 450 (from 375), keep the Menopur the same (two vials), and go back on Thursday for an ultrasound and blood work.

I didn't really ask questions - I understand all about what my follicles should be doing, but as far as blood work, I'm not sure what my E2 levels should be at each stage - or what else they're looking at as far as blood levels. So, I just took him at his word about me not responding well. I'm honestly torn between wanting to research so I can obsess - I mean, ask appropriate questions - and wanting to keep taking him at his word and leaving it at that.

Something to ponder between now and Thursday, I suppose.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Chill, with a side of anxiety

What a great, laid back weekend. I had a gift certificate for a facial, and I used that on Saturday afternoon. I have to admit that while it was nice (and I always love being pampered and any kind of massage whatsoever), it wasn't nearly as good as getting a full-body massage. I think that I'd do it again, but not super often and definitely not instead of a massage. My face does look fantastic though.

Otherwise this weekend, we just hung out, enjoying the beautiful weather. I'm a little bummed about the impending cold weather - why I live in the North East is beyond me (oh, that's right, it's because the bugs down south would send me to a looney bin and the dry air out West would lead to constant raw, sore throats) - so I'm sopping up every ounce of warmth there is left this year.

I'm so laid back about my current cycle it's amazing. The primary-IF me of four years ago would be stunned and impressed at how I'm taking it all in stride. I haven't figured out yet if this will be my only IVF attempt (if it doesn't work, that is), and what's more amazing, is that I feel no pressure to figure it out yet. That's a huge thing for me, just going with the flow and taking it as it comes. Hey, I'm no dummy, I know that with my age, FSH, and the fact that this is my first IVF, my chances aren't phenomenal that I walk out of this with a baby. I know that. And yet, for some reason that I have yet to figure out (probably because I'm not spending every moment analyzing it), it's ok. It's ok if I decide to cycle again next year, it's ok if we have frosties left over and do an FET .... hell, it's even ok if we decide to stop. Right now, it's ok for us if we just don't decide yet, and focus on being hopeful for this chance.

That being said ... there's a little "but" here. I feel laid back. I do. I feel like I'm ready for whatever happens. And yet, I'm having these awful, anxiety filled dreams. Now that I think about it, they seem to be centered around the meds. I'm not new to mixing the meds, shooting myself, having my husband shoot me in the butt - I feel comfortable with all of that during my waking hours. But at night? After I fall asleep? Apparently I'm really worried that I'm going to screw something up. One night, I dreamt that I used PIO instead of stims. Another night, I gave myself ten times the amount of Gonal F. In a different dream, all my meds were missing when it was time to inject them - I just couldn't find them anywhere in the house. And last night, I dreamt that I forgot to take them, for two nights in a row.

Tonight I start stims. I just hope that once I begin the nightly routine, my sleeping self will chill out a bit, and catch up to my waking self. Here's hoping.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Check it out. My kiddo, my iPod, and are all predicting that I get knocked up this cycle.

First I should explain about infertility songs. Do you have any? The first time I was trying to get pregnant, my infertility (aka my make me cry, or even make me shake my fist in anger) songs were a little different than this time around. The songs that got to me were ones like Stevie Wonder's "For once in my life" (all about finally finding someone who loves and needs you ... just spoke to me in a baby sort of way) and Dave Matthew's Band "The best of what's around" (you're not gonna get the best of me, infertility!). That kind of thing. This time around, it's a little different, and not so prominent, but there are definitely a few songs that "speak" to me about my struggles. One in particular. More on that in a second.

Does your iPod ever get into a ... well ... a mood? For example, about two weeks ago, my iPod - on the shuffle setting - could not get enough Beatles. Early (innocent and sweet) Beatles, Helter Skelter Beatles, covers, and even pulling from a lullaby CD that's all Beatles renditions. I mean, I had the thing on shuffle for about 40 minutes, and I heard at least 6 Beatles songs. What's up with that? Sometimes the iPod is all about Motown, sometimes it's modern rock, sometimes Beatles. But then other times I get a true shuffle.

So earlier this week, I was out running errands with my kiddo, and my iPod was all about telling me I was going to get pregnant. First as I put it on, I got the Infertility Song of 2009. "No Other Way" by Jack Johnson. I suppose he meant it as a song about a troubled relationship and insomnia (yeah, I'm oversimplifying here). It's so beautiful. Rather than link or try to explain, here are the lyrics:

When your mind is a mess
So is mine
I cant sleep
Cause it hurts when I think
My thoughts aren't at peace
With the plans that we make
Chances we take
They're, not yours and not mine
There's waves that can break
All the words that we say
And the words that we mean
Words can fall short
Can't see the unseen
Cause the world is awake
For somebody's sake now, please close your eyes woman
Please get some sleep

And know that if I knew
All of the answers I would
Not hold them from you'd
Know all the things that i'd know
We told each other, there is no other way

Well too much silence can be misleading
You're drifting I can hear it in the way that your breathing
We don't really need to find reason
Cause out the same door that it came well its leaving its leaving
Leaving like a day that's done and part of a season
Resolve is just a concept that's as dead as the leaves
But at least we can sleep, its all that we need
When we wake we will find
Our minds will be free to go to sleep

And know that if I knew
All of the answers I would
Not hold them from you'd
Know all the things that i'd know
We told each other, there is no other way

Beautiful, right? Anyway, after that song - which captured my attention and turned my already IF-riddled mind sharply to the cycle at hand, G. Love's "Christmas Baby" comes on. Very simple, cute lyrics, "Won't you be my Christmas baby?!" Hhmm. You know I went right to "aah, I'd probably see the heartbeat right around Christmas time, wouldn't that rock?" Then P!nk's "Nobody Knows," which, frankly, is kind of a sappy, angst-filled thing about people not getting the pain and heartache you're feeling. Then, get this. Bon Jovi's "Everybody's Broken." Hah! Yes, iPod, I do realize I'm not the only one, thankyouverymuch. Next up, "I want to hold your hand" by the Beatles. Okeeee. Then we went to the park, and when we got back in the car, the iPod spell was broken.

So then that very same day, no lie, I was putting my kid to bed for his nap, rubbing his back, and he says to me, "Mommy, how is that baby going to come out?" I thought maybe he saw a pregnant woman at daycare or something, so I said, "what baby?" He points to my stomach, and says, "that baby." I frown a bit, "what are you talking about kiddo?" He says, "mommy, that baby [pointing], how is that baby going to come out?" I told him there's no baby, and asked him if he knew someone with a baby in their belly, and he switched the topic to Elmo or something.

Freaked me out a bit.

I also have a monthly forecast that I read, Astrology Zone. I find this site to be really good, and somehow a good number of big events in my life have been predicted in these forecasts. Specific stuff, which I won't get into now. Anyway, this is part of November's forecast for Scorpio:

When you get to the new moon in Scorpio, November 16, your life will take on a new glow.


Do you hope to welcome a baby? Start trying or begin the process of adoption after that new moon appears.

My ER will be the week of November 16.

So there you have it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This is called planning

No wonder I can't get knocked up. My sister-in-law is hogging all the pregnancies for herself.

Ok, to be fair, she's *only* on pregnancy #3. It's not like she's knocking the babies out like a future reality show star or something. But out of three pregnancies, guess how many were oops? One? No. Two? Nah. Yup, all three.

First one, they knew each other a month or two, and didn't bother with birth control. Ok, good for them - it really worked out, because they were madly in love and clearly meant for each other. So she quit grad school, and they got married. Second one, she said - and I quote - "my birth control method failed." (I had to bite my tongue from telling her that not everyone ovulates on day 14. I did, however, lend her my copy of "Taking Charge of Your Fertility.") Now I think they have to be doing it on purpose.

Is it rude if I buy her some condoms next year for Christmas?

Yeah? Darn.

After I got pregnant with the kiddo - and she still only had one baby - she said to me, "it must be really cool to be married, have a house, and actually plan for it to work out this way." Um. Yeah. I suppose you could call it "planning." Or something.