Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Red wine, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Urgh, another evening of debauched drinking under my belt, and I'm suffering slightly this morning. Even the detox foot patches couldn't keep the headache at bay, but it's pretty mild, so who knows if I would have been incapacitated without them!

I absolutely have no self-control mechanism with booze once I've had that first delicious sip, so its either all or nothing with me, I'm sorry to say. Unless I'm out at a restaurant with people who do have self-control, that is, as then I can usually stick to one glass of wine so as not to appear to be a complete lush. But I only restrain myself for appearances sake, and so I don't kill someone by driving drunk. When I lived in England and public transport was freely available at pretty much all hours of the day and night there was generally no stopping me, however.

Of course, as I was lying in bed awake this morning at 5.20 because the booze doesn't like me sleeping to my normal wake up time, I was mulling over whether all this alcohol consumption over the years has affected my fertility. I mean, the acupuncturists say that my Liver Qi is stagnated, among other issues, so could the abuse my liver has taken over the years really have fried my reproductive system? I suppose all infertiles indulge in the "why?" questioning. Why am I having all this trouble conceiving? Was it something I did, is it purely random chance or has it been visited on me by a vengeful or testing God or even bad karma? And if it was something I did, was it the boozing, or the eating of cakes, pasta and other carbs, or maybe too much dairy? But then, isn't your liver supposed to be pretty good at healing itself, so the fact that I do quit drinking every time I am trying to conceive (several times for months at a stretch, before permitting myself maybe a glass or two for Thanksgiving or some other occasion) should have helped already if it was going to help, no? In other words, I am scrabbling around for an excuse to permit myself more boozing before I start shots for the next IVF.

Not that I'm an alcoholic, you understand. I just like alcohol, particularly red wine. No, wait, that makes me sound completely like an alcoholic! Giving it up isn't hard, and I certainly don't drink every night or even every week, but after a failed IVF, I just want to indulge. And is that so wrong? My current acupuncturist wants me not to booze, drink caffeine, eat wheat or dairy, but also wants me to have fun and destress. To be entirely honest, I don't quite know how to have fun if I'm not allowed any of those things, so what is better? A fun evening with friends eating and drinking, or a virtuous night at home on my own? For IVF#2 I boozed up until shot time, and had a MUCH better response than with IVF#1 where I was practically a saint for months beforehand. Doesn't that say something? That maybe enjoying myself and destressing with a few glasses of wine is better for me than trying too hard to be perfect?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The things we do in the name of fertility

So, I spend an absolute fortune every month chasing that elusive golden egg. And not just on doctor's fees and sperm, but on dietary supplements, herbs, acupuncture visits, massages, yoga. You name it, I've pretty much tried it. My latest kick is...detox foot patches. But what on earth do detox foot patches have to do with fertility you might ask? Well, probably nothing. But hell, I'll fork over some cash just in case.

The concept behind these foot patches is that you stick them on the soles of your feet overnight, and the combination of herbs and minerals in them warms your feet and draws out toxins, which are left as a sticky gooey mess when you take the patch off in the morning. Honestly, I have no idea why this would work. I can get the concept of acupuncture points, that an area on your foot can correspond to your ear because there are little electrical channels running through the body. Even if they haven't been documented by western science, I get the concept. But toxins out of your feet? I mean, the lymph system runs throughout your body so if you were drawing things out of your lymph, why not stick the patches somewhere we know there are a lot of lymph nodes, like your armpit? And why would different areas of the foot correspond to different body parts? I can see why electrical circuits correspond, but the lymph is surely all mixed together.

Anyway, irrespective of the skepticism I have, I am of course a desperate infertile. So I bought some of the patches last year. And lo and behold, sticky, stinky gook appeared on the patches overnight. Aha! The sharp-eyed skeptical reader will think, your feet sweat, there must be something in the patch that just produces gook when it mixes with sweat. Well, after using them for about a week, I pretty much thought the same, and put the rest of the box to one side and didn't think about them again. Then on Saturday night (after I had drunk an entire bottle of red wine), I woke up at 3am with an almost certain hangover coming. Somehow I saw the box of patches, and thought, hey, detoxification, maybe it'll help. Worth a shot anyway. So I stuck some patches on my feet, one on the back of my neck because I was having some neck pain, and one on my lower abdomen just in case it could suck some toxins out of my barren uterus. At 2pm, once I'd already been up for several hours with no hangover (a miracle in itself), and once I'd been back to sleep for a nap, I took the patches off. The ones on my feet - covered in gook. The back of my neck - less gook, but certainly some there. The one on my abdomen? Nothing at all. Nada.

So much for the "sweat mixed with patches = gook" theory. But, being of a good scientific mind, I then spent the rest of the long weekend with various patches all over my body testing this out. And suprisingly, most of the places I stick them don't produce any gook, but my feet are still reliably producing nasty sticky stuff. Now, I have to admit, I haven't been brave enough to stick them in my pits, because, well, my skin there is pretty sensitive, and I don't need to have red scaly armpits that I can't put deodorant on when the temperature outside is 90 degrees. But if I'm admitting embarrassing things, I may as well tell you that my chest can get pretty sweaty, so I stuck a patch there, and nothing.

There you go. Maybe there's something in it. Maybe I can detoxify my body by sticking patches on my feet every night. So, like a good desperate infertile, I just spent $128 dollars on a box of 72. Oy. The things I do in the name of fertility.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Jumping on the blogging bandwagon

I've decided to join the throngs who think that someone out there will want to read their random thoughts on life. My thoughts on life mostly center around being single and desperately trying to get pregnant, motherhood (hopefully we'll get to that one), and being an ex-pat Brit in the good ole U.S. of A. Sunny South Florida to be exact.

I'm about to start the journey that is IVF#3. I'm using anonymous frozen donor sperm from a sperm bank, and did 8 IUI's before moving on to IVF#1. That one was cancelled because I had a shitty poor response and converted to IUI#9. After switching up the meds, and some illicit dietary supplement use, I had a great response to IVF#2 and produced 14 eggs, 7 of which made it to becoming embryos. But the great response didn't actually extend to me getting pregnant so not exactly what I was hoping for. One lonely little embryo made it to the freezer, so it doesn't seem worth doing a transfer with just that one and I'm going to attempt another fresh IVF cycle. I hope it'll be my last!!

So, why am I doing this while single? Well, partly because I have come to realize that I like being single. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like men - I like having the companionship of a boyfriend, I like sex, and I like getting to know someone so intimately that they become deeply entwined in your life. But then again, I don't like a lot of the shit that men pull. For instance, why on earth do they think that farting is something to be proud of? How can they still take their laundry home for their mom to do at the age of 30 (yes, at least one of my single guy friends does this)? Why do they feel perfectly entitled to go to any Thanksgiving, Christmas or other large party and do absolutely nothing but stuff their faces, or maybe man the grill if asked, or carve the turkey? Seriously guys, those are not large contributions. So, I'm happy on my own. Yes, sometimes lonely, sometimes desperately horny with no boyfriend in sight, but I frankly just can't be arsed to look for someone. Then also there's the realization that I would like to parent without interference. I'm a vegetarian, and it's always been an ongoing theme with boyfriends about whether I'll be allowed to raise my own children as vegetarians. I don't want to have to fight those fights. It might also be nice to focus on the baby time without worrying about a husband who is suddenly shut out of my affections. But then again, I realize it'll be damn hard and there'll be times I'll weep in desperation about not having another adult there to take some of the burdens. I'm a strong woman, though, so I hope I'll make it through the tough times. And finally, I'm 37, and feel that my eggs are rapidly running out of steam - my doctor thinks so too, especially after all the failures.

Enough of the justifications. Mostly I want to get pregnant, because like most other women in the world I desperately want to have children. And society has moved on (at least in the US and Europe) where I will not be outcast or considered unmarriageable if I have my children out of wedlock. Hopefully none of their classmates will call them a bastard because none of the children of today will think that's a bad thing.