Monday, July 31, 2006

Feeling blue

I have spent the afternoon feeling blue, and I don't really know why. I am of course disappointed that I only got 5 eggs, when last cycle I got 14. And everyone tells me that 5 eggs is great, and a lot better than cancellation, and of course they're right. But it doesn't stop me pouting. None of really means anything until the fertilization report tomorrow morning, so I've got to try to stop thinking the worst as it won't do me any good at all.

I keep wondering if I had a lower response because I've put on weight recently. I have put on 12 lbs since my last IVF cycle. 25 in all since my first appointment with the RE. I was ashamed to admit my weight today at the clinic. My friend A. came with me in the procedure room, because they allow spouses to do that so they invited her in too, and at one point they had me spreadeagled and uncovered. And I was so much more worried about the size of my gut than that she could potentially see my hoo-ha. Sigh. I'm also very uncomfortable this afternoon. I feel so bloated and enormous. And did I mention that I'm uncomfortable? I just feel like my life and my body are out of control. I hate my job, I don't like my life in this city, I hate that I am doing IVF and some days I wonder why I am doing this at all. I see so many women getting pregnant so much quicker than me, that sometimes I think I should just give up. Just take it as a sign that it isn't meant to be.

I expected to feel hopeful today. I certainly did this time last cycle. But I just feel sad. Sad that on my third IVF I get 5 eggs out of nearly $14,000. Why do I torture myself with repeated cycles?

I meant to post today about the funny things I said or did under the anesthetic today, seeing as A. was there to hear it all. I figured that would be a quirky funny blog thing, perhaps to show how even with heavy duty drugs in my system I can still entertain. But, sadly, no profession of undying love to the RE. No singing. Not even any farting in the RE's face. I snored.

Order for 5 eggs, scrambled, coming right up!

They got 5 eggs. I'm a bit bummed because with 10 total follicles I was expecting 8-10 eggs, and then the phone call tomorrow to say 5 of them were mature and 4 fertilized. Or something like that. Now with 5 total, I'm worried that they might not have got all the mature ones, and I might be left with not very many embryos at all. But I shouldn't grumble too much, especially as on Wednesday I was convinced they were going to cancel the cycle.

I am pretty uncomfortable, and haven't been doing so well on the napping so far, but hopefully that will pass soon. I've also got this strange desire for Ramen noodles, so I might limp along to Winn Dixie shortly to get some so I can give in to temptation. But then again, seeing as I'm not supposed to drive and it's hot out there, maybe I won't. Oh the exotic life I lead. Will I or won't I shuffle down the street in search of sodium-laden convenience foods?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The blood draw chronicles

I went to the clinic yet again today for my final daily blood draw to check my estrogen level after the trigger shot. And to check that I have HCG in my bloodstream to ensure I gave myself the shot properly! Today's supposedly a good day because there are no injections, but to me the blood draw is infinitely worse.

The blood draws have been really getting to me over the last few days, and I'm also a bit freaked about the IV I'll need at the egg retrieval. You see, I only have one spot on my left arm where it is easy to take blood from. It's an area maybe 7-8mm long. When I first read about the IVF procedure and read that daily blood draws were a pain, I thought people were referring to the pain of having to go to the clinic every day. Because having one blood draw doesn't hurt much, right, so I never thought that they would ever be bad. But no, they are literally a pain. My "blood drawing spot" is now permanently scarred and is a dull, bruised reddish purple shade after the last two IVF cycles. Heh, at least I don't have to camouflage it any more after a blood stick, because it's permanently ugly now. And after a few daily sticks, the area gets very sensitive and further sticks fucking hurt. It looks like someone has taken a knife and made a vertical incision up my vein because all the blood sticks line up. My vein screams in protest every time someone new sticks it. It is taking longer to heal each time because of the daily assaults so I spend the morning with a swollen lump there. My arm becomes pretty much useless for a good hour, as it just throbs and feels so heavy yet empty of blood. And they don't even take that much out, so I know it's not actually empty of blood!

Over the last few days I have asked, begged and pleaded with the nurses to take blood from somewhere else. They have tourniqueted my right arm. They have slapped it and smacked it. I have squeezed little balls to try to make the veins pop up. And they never even attempted it. They all just gave up and said they'd have to switch to the left arm. Last cycle I had one nurse who managed to get blood from my right arm, and how I wish I could have had her this time. She would have taken the time. She was experienced enough to do it. But no, I was not so lucky. This morning, I offered the backs of my hands to the nurse. Now, having blood taken out of the back of your hand also fucking hurts, as I also found out last cycle, and leaves a big bruise on the back of your hand that lingers around for days. But I was desperate. I was willing to put up with it because at least it would have spared my left arm. And I have to have an IV in my left arm tomorrow, people! Oh the agony. But the nurse said they didn't have any butterfly needles left, so no go, as the other needles were far too big to use in the hand. No butterfly needles? In an IVF clinic that size? Aaaagh. I think that's downright criminal. So she stuck my poor left arm. I had to drive back from the clinic with my arm in my lap like some stroke victim. It hurt to steer, and it hurt to indicate, and I'm a good girl so I like to indicate when I'm changing lanes. Bah humbug. This better all be worth it.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It's trigger time!

Dragged myself out of bed early this morning again. These early starts and the drugs are really wiping me out now. I went to bed at 8pm last night and am just exhausted. So, anyway, off I went to the clinic, and it was slightly better news than yesterday. All my doom and gloom of a few days ago was a bit misplaced, and although it's not stellar news, I'll take it. I had 3 mature follicles (over 20mm), 1 at 18mm and 2 medium sized guys at about 15mm. Then four smaller ones at 12-13mm. Yes, that makes 10 total, whereas previously I had 9 total. One more popped up today on the right ovary. I'd never quite figured out how follicles could suddenly appear during a cycle, but there it was, clear as day, when before there'd definitely been only 3 in all on the right. But as it's one of the smaller guys, it probably is a little late to join the petri dish party. Maybe though there'll be 4-6 mature eggs if I'm lucky, depending on how the medium sized guys do, which is a whole lot better than cancellation. A whole lot better.

I'm doing the HcG trigger shot tonight, and egg retrieval is set for 9.30am on Monday. And my friend who is driving me arrives home from vacation in South Africa approximately 12 hours prior to that. I haven't arranged a back up driver at this point, and am just going to trust that she'll make it home and her flight won't be cancelled. Well, you know, it'll be cycle day 11. I didn't think I'd be going that early, so thought it would be fine that she was on vacay. I did have a kind offer of a drive for Sunday morning if it was going to happen on Sunday, but I know that person can't make it on Monday. So I have to trust that I'll have a driver! If not, I'll be having a major panic on Sunday night. No doubt, more on that will follow.

OK, back to bed for nap #2 today. Did I say I was wiped?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Reclaiming the maiden aunts

Another ultrasound this morning, another early start. But the news is slightly better again, as it looked to me like I have three good follicles, as one on the left has caught up. All three had at least one measurement over 20mm, but the clinic uses an average of at least two measurements, so hopefully they average slightly less, and they'll let me stim another day. I don't want to trigger tonight! I want as much time as possible to enable the smaller ones to catch up (hopefully).

I'm pretty certain now that I'll definitely go ahead with the egg retrieval and IVF. Three, with potentially another two or three that could contain a mature egg, is OK. And I think an IUI definitely wouldn't have any chance with the medium sized follicles. Of course, it looks like I won't be doing a 5-day transfer, as was the original plan. I figure if there are 4 or fewer embryos they will want me to do a 3-day transfer, and I will agree, provided we can transfer all the embryos. If the purpose of a 5-day transfer is to select the best embryo, then I don't mind doing a 3-day if we put them ALL back. I thought I'd be freaked by the thought of 4 embryos, but hey, some of them won't be good so they won't all take. We'll have to wait and see if I actually get that many, though, which is somewhat unlikely at this point. Probably more realistically the best I can hope for is 3, and then we'll definitely transfer all of them.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about what to do if this cycle fails, and I think I have another IVF attempt in me. But that's probably my limit. I do have one frozen embryo, so I'll do an FET for that guy, and then may go back to doing IUIs after that - well, I'll discuss it with my RE so we'll see what he says. But IVF is too hard for me to keep gearing up time and again. Not to mention too expensive! And after that, once we get into next year, who knows. I have been pondering the whole donor egg and adoption route, but as I'm not ready to give up TTC with my own eggs, it is hard for me to be able to really come up with any plan. I just don't appear to be emotionally ready to embrace those options yet.

I also have been doing a lot of thinking about living child free. Which has made me think of maiden aunts. For some reason, my mom's side of the family had a ton of maiden aunts (well, great aunts) when I was younger, most of whom unfortunately have since died. How I would love to be able to sit down and have a good conversation with them now, though - I guess I come from stock that likes to be independent. When I was a child I used to pity their unmarried state, mainly because I pitied the fact that they didn't have children - the lack of a husband didn't seem such a big problem! And I always thought that they didn't marry because they didn't have the opportunity, but these days I know better. For example, one was a math professor. You don't get to be a math professor by accident, so I know now she must have chosen to be a "spinster" for the sake of her career because that was the only way to be able to devote herself to her chosen field. It makes me proud of these women and sad that the options available to women were so limited in their generation that they had to give up family life in order to succeed at work. And here we are in this generation trying to do it all, with varying degrees of success. I wish there was some way I could somehow reclaim the maiden aunts, because as old ladies although they were definitely a loved part of the family they were always loners, always a little bit sad If they were still around I'd love to enfold them in a huge hug and thank them for their sacrifices and choices, that enabled them to have careers and open up paths for the rest of us to follow, that set a great example, but which left them alone and lonely in their elder years. I wish I had some good way to honor them. I hope not to follow them, in that I hope to be able to have a family to love and to love me back, but sometimes I wonder if that's what fate has in store for me.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Baby love

I held a baby today! My friend K. had her baby yesterday, and I went to visit at the hospital at lunch time. He is adorable, and I hope my ovaries were listening. It's kind of weird between K. and I since our argument, and I think she's kind of testing me because she has said several times that I probably won't go to see her when she's on maternity leave, or visit her in the hospital. Like I don't want anything to do with her since we had one argument. Oh well. So, I did my duty visit just to prove to her that I am still her friend, and he was perfect and quiet and good and just cute as a button. And it was so good to hold him. Sigh. There's nothing quite like the weight of a newborn baby's bottom in your hand, with his head resting on your arm. He's 7 lb 13 oz, 21 inches long, and is called Tyler. Awwww.

My scan this morning was a little better than yesterday. They are pretty confident that I have two good follicles - 1 at 19mm and 1 at 18mm. Then there are three potentials which are smaller but which may catch up if I'm lucky, so the doctor said that at most we'll go into retrieval with five, but it's more likely to be 2 or 3. Yes, that's right, I said "go into retrieval". The clinic feels that there is no need to cancel if you have two mature follicles so they want to go ahead. Even though their literature says they will cancel if you don't have at least 4 mature follicles, I've come across several people who've gone to retrieval with two so it looks like that's their real cut off. So, I'm bummed about the maximum potential number being 5, because you can't expect all 5 eggs to fertilize, and obviously more = better with IVF, but what can I do. As of right now I think I will go ahead and do the retrieval, because of the better success rate, but I'm still a bit on the fence. I will see what tomorrow's scan says (assuming they have me back tomorrow). The doctor thought it would be a couple of days before I trigger, so I'm hoping for a Saturday trigger and Monday retrieval. Partly because the friend I've arranged to drive me is out of town on Sunday, but another friend, J., has now stepped up and offered to take me if the retrieval is on Sunday, which is fabulously nice of her.

So, I'm doing better today. But still jealous of people who post that all their follicles are between 9 and 9.6 after four days of stims, and wonder if that's OK. I'm at four days of stims, and mine are between 10 and 19. That's a pretty crazy range, because there's no way that a follicle can bridge a 9mm gap in two days to be mature in time for retrieval. Well, given that my big one grew 3mm yesterday, maybe that one could, but the little ones grow at more normal rates so I know they ain't going to catch up. I guess I should look on the bright side and say that at least I used fewer meds, but the nurses always make me buy enough for 10 days of stims so it doesn't really help me!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Deja vu all over again

Well, it wasn't the best news at my ultrasound. It's pretty much deja vu all over again.

I had nine follicles in all. It was hard for her to see my left ovary because she said I had a lot of gas in my bowels. What IS it with my bowels this cycle? No-one's ever mentioned my bowels as being an issue before, and this time they're getting in the way constantly. Hmmm, maybe it's the Bolthouse Green Goodness or something making me gassy. Nice.

Anyway, the uterine lining was 7mm, so that was just peachy. On the right ovary there were only three follicles, 1 at 16mm, 1 at 15mm and 1 at 8mm. On the left ovary there were 6 follicles, 1 @ 12 mm, 1 @ 10mm and 4 @ 8mm. It's like a bad re-run of my first (cancelled) IVF cycle where I had 7 total follicles on cycle day 6, with a 16mm whopper hanging out. By cycle day 7, it was at 19mm. By cycle day 9 it was at 24mm, and I had to trigger even though nothing else had caught up. And there was me yesterday maybe kinda hoping for more than 20 follicles today because I thought the DHEA would have done it's work. But I guess being on birth control for too long messes that up. I wish I'd just waited another month, and done BCP for the regulation 3 weeks, but I wanted to get this cycle over with. And, yes, I wanted an April baby (or two) because, well, Aries and Libra get along well together. So I pushed it. With the doctor's blessing, I hasten to add. He thought everything would be fine, but clearly it's not.

I am so bummed, and depressed. I just don't know if I can do this again. I don't know if I can gear myself up for another IVF cycle, pay all that money and deal with all the angst. I just don't know if I can put myself through that, because I don't know if I have the mental stamina. I probably will do another cycle, I suppose, but I'm definitely getting to the end of my tether on this TTC stuff. I can see the end coming.

I know, it's too early to write this cycle off, and it's quality that counts, not quantity. But if I get booted to an IUI again, I've got the wrong vials of sperm, because they only had IVF vials left at the bank, which only have between 5 and 10 million sperm. The doctor may do an egg retrieval with only a few follicles, but I'm not sure I want to spend all that money if I don't have a good result - I might as well save it for one last try later in the year. I just feel so defeated, I don't really know what to think.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Worry wart

The ovary party has quietened down for now, so I guess that burning was just them waking up after a long snooze. Hopefully they've settled into a quiet growing mode that is just growing a bunch of follicles for me. I'll find out tomorrow how many I'm dealing with, and I'm really quite nervous. It was such a pleasant surprise last cycle at my first post-stims ultrasound to find out that I had 20 follicles, that I became positively giddy. 20 follicles after your previous cycle was cancelled for a poor response is a pretty amazing turnaround, and after an antral follicle count of 10-12 because the ultrasound technician didn't bother to keep counting. Not that all 20 made it to egg retrieval, as I went in with 6 big ones and 8 medium sized ones which yielded 14 eggs, of which 10 were mature. But I was pretty darn happy with that crop.

Now, however, I don't know. I secretly hope for more follicles, because I've been taking the DHEA for longer. I have put so much faith in the DHEA working that if it hasn't made more of a difference, I will be upset. But anyway what I really want is more mature eggs, and more embryos. I should say that I want more good quality embryos, as it's quality that really counts, not quantity. Out of my 10 mature eggs, I got 7 embryos. However, even though it's quality that counts, IVF is such a numbers game, that more embryos would make me very happy indeed, because I have more potential chances for high quality embryos if I have more eggs. In other words more = better. But then again, most people don't end up with more. They have more or less the same numbers, especially if their meds protocol is the same. And with my propensity to grow follicles at different rates, even if I have more follicles, there's no guarantee that any more will mature at the same time as each other.

I was going to try not to worry this time around! And here I am, worrying. But although I'm worrying, I'm not stressing about it, if that makes sense. I know that what will be will be, and me worrying about it, while giving myself something to think about, will not change what happens. So I'm trying to keep it at the level of mental worrying, without allowing it to sink to that gut-wrenching emotionally tied in knots level of worrying.

In other news, my belly is already covered in bruises and welts from the injections. It's not a pretty sight! And it makes giving shots a bit harder because as time goes on it becomes harder to find a clear patch among the welts. But I shall wear them proudly as a badge of my courage to stick myself in the search for a baby. Well, OK, I'll wear them proudly under my pants, thank you very much, I'm not that proud that I want to show them off to anyone!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ovary party

There's a party going on in my ovaries. I can feel them burning and churning, and something going on. I don't remember this happening this early last time around, but I checked my chart, and sure enough, I've marked "ovary discomfort" as happening every day from cycle day 4 onwards. Sigh. I just remember them getting uncomfortable near to egg retrieval day, but I suppose that's when they must just have got really uncomfortable. I've blanked out any other pains from my memory.

But then again, I do grow follicles quicker than average it seems. I'm the one that can go in for an ultrasound on cycle day 11 on Clomid and have a 32mm follicle that causes the technician to exclaim "boy, you're ready to pop!" and then have the nurses scurrying around to get me a trigger shot ASAP. I'm the one that can have a 16mm follicle on cycle day 6 on an IVF cycle, when everyone else is still growing them nice and slow and steady at about 8-10mm or smaller on the same day. So of course, now I'm nervous, and just hoping that the extended birth control pills helped to slow everything down, and stop them getting to be monster sized too quickly. Now is not the time for sprinters to get ahead of the pack. Now is the time for all the follicles to be growing at the same rate. Come on, kids, play nice together.

At least, I hope there's a few in there, partying it up together, and I hope that the DHEA has done the trick to make sure I have lots of potential eggs ready to go. Because while last cycle was a good test of DHEA, we did also change up my protocol a lot. So, who's to say whether going from 2 mature follicles the first cycle to retrieving 14 eggs the second cycle was due to DHEA or more follistim, or the BCPs beforehand. But this time, the protocol is the same as the second cycle (apart from the longer period of time on BCPs), so any change in the number of follicles should be due entirely to DHEA. Which will be an interesting test, but I am so ready to stop the DHEA - I have been pretty zitty lately, which I think is due entirely to too many male hormones. I also have a few stray hairs in places I don't really wish to discuss. In other words, I am ready to be done with the stuff. But if this cycle doesn't work and yet I have a good response with the number of eggs retrieved, I'll be in difficulties as far as a decision to continue with the DHEA - do I risk a lower response or do I get rid of the acne? I suppose I'll compromise on a lower dose, but man I hope there is no next cycle. I know, we all hope that. Even if it's the first cycle TTC'ing or the 9th IVF, we all hope there is no next cycle. And I wish I could wave a magic wand and stop all infertility so we all have our hopes fulfilled - wouldn't that be nice?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Stimmy stim stim

Did my first stims shot of this cycle this morning. It was all pretty easy and standard. I keep wondering if I'm forgetting something because I'm not really paying all that much attention to the shots, but what's to forget? Do the lupron, mix the two follistim and the repronex, shoot up, have breakfast, take the doxycycline. I love the concept behind taking the doxycycline, by the way. I googled it last cycle, and found that they give it prophylactically as a treatment for chlamydia, because there were some studies that show an improved success rate when it is used. But this is my third cycle taking it now. Surely if I had chlamydia it would be long gone if the doxy does what it's supposed to do, so I don't really get why I have to keep taking it each cycle. You'd think by now the doctor would fess up and say that the doxy isn't doing all that much for me by now. Oh well, I guess there may be some other bugs it is fighting so maybe it's doing some good. Apart from destroying my intestinal flora, of course, for which I am drinking lots of kefir in order to get some probiotics. Actually, this morning, I had some kefir with the doxy, which was probably pointless, as the doxy probably destroyed all the good bacteria on contact.

Tried to listen to an IVF meditation this morning after breakfast, and promptly fell asleep for 2.5 hours, so there went my plans to spend the day in the office catching up. After one nap, my Sundays can degenerate pretty quickly into a laze-fest. In fact, I'm heading back to bed for another nap shortly. I think I could be a serious contender if there were a nap olympics! It's definitely something I'm pretty good at. But I guess this time I'll have to set an alarm so that I don't sleep through the 6.30 pm shot time.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

And we're off!

Cycle day 2 today, so I went for my ultrasound. I managed to get to the clinic by 8, and was surprised that it wasn't very busy. However, by 8.30 it was standing room only (and they have a BIG waiting room, so that's a lot of people), so I need to remember to always try to get up early on days I need to go to the main clinic. I met an internet buddy there, so we were able to chat while I was waiting to be called, which definitely helped pass the time. Had my blood drawn, and then was taken straight into the u/s room, which is also unusual, because there's often a looong wait between the two.

But the scan was a little embarrassing. My endometrium looked good, but when she went over to look at my right ovary, she couldn't find it. Hmmm, says I, that's weird, it's usually the left one that hides. So she went over to the left ovary...and couldn't find it. Then back to the right. She started pressing down on my abdomen. Still nothing. I said again how weird it was, and she said "well, your bowel is VERY full". Ooops! I somewhat sheepishly admitted that I hadn't needed to go this morning. And then thought of volunteering to go and have a quick session in the loo, but the u/s room has it's own bathroom right there and I wasn't even sure if I could poop knowing the u/s technician was there waiting for me especially as I still didn't really need to go so there'd presumably be some, ahh, pushing involved. I was trying to figure out a way of volunteering to go, provided that I could use a different bathroom for a bit of privacy, when she decided she'd found my ovary. I looked at the screen, and I can't say it looked anything like an ovary to me. And I've seen my ovaries on the ultrasound screen pretty often, so I like to think I would recognize them. Now I'm a bit worried that my file contains pictures of my full bowels, which are just labeled as left and right ovary. I can imagine the RE saying, hmmm, this ovary looks surprisingly like pieces of penne pasta. The technician said there was no cysts (well, there wouldn't be if she was looking at poop, would there?), and pronounced me good to go.

I met the IVF nurse, who diluted my lupron, and went over the meds schedule with me. Three times. Which I know off by heart anyway, because, hello? I've done this before. But she was very nice about it all so I didn't mind too much. Apart from when she made me repeat the schedule back to her. Once I had the diluted lupron in hand, I shot up while she was talking to me, and we were done. It made me laugh a little that that very first injection was so damn hard, and now a nurse hands me a syringe and I've got my pants undone, the syringe filled, and I've stuck it in myself before she finishes a sentence! I'll get my estrogen level later today, and am to go back on Wednesday for the next ultrasound.

Woo-hoo! Finally moving along!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Oh. My. God. What an awful night

I can't even begin to say how I am functioning today. I had a terrible night last night, and am running on empty.

I guess it started last week, when my city decided to flush extra chlorine through the drinking water to kill bugs. As I don't particularly like drinking swimming pool water, I started slacking off on my drinking. And yes, I do have a filter, but even that wasn't cutting it. So I think I started getting dehydrated by the end of last week. Then I went out of town to Alexandria, where it was super hot and I was wandering around like a tourist, sweating and with my feet swelling. Not a pretty picture. I tried drinking liquids at every available opportunity, and believe me, I downed plenty of cold water and iced chais, but I could tell I was getting run down and dehydrated. I figured I'd catch back up when I got home to the land of decent air conditioning, but I also figured that most of my tiredness was due to the fact that I'm not as fit and healthy as I used to be, so maybe the extra walking was too much.

But here's the thing, my brain plays tricks on me. Once I start getting dehydrated, I don't drink enough. For some reason, I was drinking less than normal once I got back home. I was busy, trying to catch up from two days out of the office - I didn't have time to run backwards and forwards to the kitchen. So that brings me to yesterday afternoon. I noticed a headache threatening to invade my brain. I recognized it as a dehydration headache (I am prone to them for some reason) but then the big boss called me into his office just before I was supposed to leave for acupuncture and I didn't have time to chug any water. Then I was late for acupuncture, and had to fly, so again, didn't have time to drink. I was really beginning to feel it as I was driving to my appointment, but didn't have any water in the car. I chugged as much water as I could when I got to the acu, but it didn't really make a dent. Then I had my treatment, which included being on a Migun thermal massage bed. Yup, that's right. Treatment such as acupuncture realeases toxins. You're supposed to stay hydrated so you can flush the toxins out of your bloodstream. Mine were just about to explode into a brackish swamp of nasty poisons.

I got home, chugged some water, and had dinner. Then I was bloated and nauseous from the food, I guess because of the dehydration thing. So I couldn't bring myself to drink much more water because it just made me feel worse. I tried to have some before going to bed, but by then my head was splitting, my stomach was complaining and I just felt like shit. My mouth started feeling really dry. I figured I should take some Tylenol, but when I went to the medicine cabinet, there wasn't any straight Tylenol in the house. I had some Tylenol PM in there, but I figured that was overkill. I should have taken the Tylenol PM.

I woke up a couple of times early in the night with someone drilling into my head with a power tool, padded to the kitchen, got a glass of water, and went back to sleep. But at about 2am I woke up to an excruciating headache. I couldn't bear it any longer, so I hit the only headache medicine I had in the house - Excedrin Migraine. Which has caffeine in it. Oh well, I figured, I wouldn't get back to sleep with that pain anyway, so I just started drinking as much water as I could possibly manage. I got up to 6 14oz glasses before the pain started to ease. But by then, what with the pee trips to the bathroom, and the refill trips to the kitchen, and the caffeine, I was wide awake. I thought about going for a walk, but in the end decided to do some reading. And drink some more water. I think I finally fell asleep again at about 4.30. I drank 140 oz of water overnight.

I woke up this morning, still with a very dry mouth, still with a headache, though just a dull ache, and with bleary eyes. Not fun. I feel like I've been on an enormous bender, and yet haven't touched a drop of alcohol. I've been drinking more water since I got up, but it still hasn't made much of a difference. Why oh why did I let it get to this state? When I should be being careful of my health because I need my eggs to be good? Sometimes my stupidity amazes me - I know I am prone to bad headaches when I'm dehydrated, I know the signs, and I ignore them. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot.

But, today is cycle day 1. Finally! That last cycle was 48 days, and I certainly felt every one of them. I will be going for my baseline ultrasound tomorrow morning, and will also start lupron tomorrow. Which gives me headaches. Oh joy! But at least we're off and running...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What is a single mother by choice?

This question has been bugging me a lot lately. The "standard" definition of an SMC is that she is a woman who chooses motherhood intentionally, while single. That's all fine and dandy. But most SMC support groups or web boards are at pains to include single women who get pregnant accidentally but decide to keep the baby, or who get pregnant while in a relationship and then the dad clears off before birth. I'm sure that while in the 60's and 70's, the act of choosing to deliver the baby and parent on your own was a formidable choice, and not one that was entered into lightly, it seems to me that these days it is pretty much a norm in many parts of our society. It is no longer a scandalous option in many areas. Ending up pregnant as a single woman when you did not choose to be pregnant or when your partner does not support you, is a scary and difficult prospect whatever the woman decides to do. Any of the choices available, including parenting alone, abortion and giving the child up for adoption, require heart-wrenching decisions to be made, and every single woman who makes a decision and goes forward with it is making a brave choice. But these days, unless you live in a very conservative community, no-one really bats an eye at the choice to parent alone. That doesn't mean it's not really difficult to do, but do women who get pregnant accidentally get more sympathy from society and their families? Are they told they brought this upon themselves so they shouldn't complain if the going gets tough? Maybe, I don't know.

I suppose what has really been bugging me lately is that these women are not like me at this moment in my life. I think there is a huge gaping chasm between finding yourself pregnant, and deliberately choosing to become pregnant or adopting on your own as a single woman. That gap is thrown into sharper and sharper relief for me with each failed month that goes by. With each increment of a thousand dollars that I spend on trying to get knocked up. With everything I can't afford to do because I spent that money on drugs or IVF or frozen sperm. Every single time, I have to ask myself if I am prepared to continue. If I am willing to keep going forward on the fertility rollercoaster alone and unsupported. I feel the need to justify my choice to myself. To tell myself I'm not crazy, that I can do this on my own, that I can give a child or children a good home. To tell myself that I'm not entirely giving up on finding a mate of my own, but that my focus has to be elsewhere at the moment.

And IVF (and adoption) ups the ante considerably. There is so much money and emotional energy invested into this. So many hopes and dreams ride on these moments in our lives. Women who got pregnant accidentally just don't experience and probably don't appreciate this deliberate act of conception, particularly when it gets difficult. This phenomenally expensive, all consuming, very deliberate act to radically change our lives.

Am I saying that I think SMC support groups should exclude women who became pregnant accidentally? No, not really, because I think anyone who self-identifies as an SMC should have the right to a support group. There also aren't enough of us around at the moment to splinter into many different factions – I'd hate to have separate "communities" of single adoptive moms, donor egg moms, IVF moms, IUI moms, known donor moms, relationship moms, etc. But then again, they didn't make that deliberate choice to conceive or adopt, nor did they struggle or are struggling to get there. I know, if/when I get to having a 10 year old child, I'll look back and say that parenting isn't about how you got there, and as an SMC it's about being totally there for your child, being the one that has sole responsibility for everything, and about understanding that choice from the get-go. I really hope I can get to that point, but for now, there's this bitter seed inside of me that's growing. That says these women aren't really SMC's. They don't know the angst and the pain of planning for this, and having even one failed cycle. I guess I just feel a bit weird about this because the whole SMC label is defined by the word "choice". I keep thinking it might be better to be defined by the word "planned" or something similar. But then that's not very inclusive and politically correct I suppose, so I should just shut up about it.

In other news, no sign of Aunt Flo yet. I hope she hurries up and arrives so that I can get on with this cycle. I feel like I've been waiting for it forever, so I'm already sick of it, and I want to be on the other side quickly so I can get on with my life. Whatever direction that life takes.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I am back!

So many things going around in my head!

First, I LOVED old town Alexandria, which is where I was staying. I loved the history, the old houses, the restaurants, having everything within easy reach. Definitely my sort of place! I think that is my ideal living environment - an urban setting with plenty of townhomes, but with tree-lined shady streets and little gardens, with shops and restaurants within a few blocks walking distance, cultural activities, a metro or train station for easy access to a city, and preferably lots of architectural interest. There's just something about those Georgian townhomes that really makes me catch my breath. I mean, I love Victorian townhomes too. In fact, some of my earliest thinking about what constitutes a "cool" house comes from visiting my great uncle Trevellyan and great aunt Râré (yes, those were there names, though Râré - pronounced rah-ray was actually called Florence) in their Victorian townhouse in London. There's always been something about that house layout, with its foyer and black and white checked tile, and the long kitchen at the back, that really gets to me. But Victorian townhomes are just, well, neater, with nicer brickwork, and sturdier looks about them. It's the ramshackle agedness of the older buildings that really appeals to me. I guess it goes along with my personality, which is definitely more tumble-down than high maintenance. God, I would love to live somewhere like that. I used to wander around neighborhoods in London and Manchester dreaming about the day I would own my own Victorian or Georgian townhouse, but it was not to be. I never thought there could be the option of having the same thing in the States, so it's exciting to imagine that sort of life over here, but where I can also have a properly functioning shower and air conditioning. Yes, I have officially been spoiled by the creature comforts that are available in the U.S.!

And another thing about Alexandria is that you could get good vegetarian options in every restaurant. No problem. And they were delicious! There was no fabricating a meal out of nasty fried mozarella sticks and a side salad. And there were lots of cool looking couples with their kids in Bugaboo Frog strollers living this type of lifestyle that I would love to have - going to the green market on Saturdays, strolling to the local coffee house on Sunday mornings, eating at the cute little Greek restaurant. I was so jealous.

So, that got me thinking about Florida, as usual. It is summer, after all, when Florida is not at its best. I often start thinking about moving to Colorado or Oregon when it's so hot and sticky here, and the hurricanes start to threaten. By the time winter comes around and Florida is at its best, I shove aside the unhapiness, and try to make the most of it. But I am not very happy in my current job, either. OK, not happy at all, really. I work in a big law firm, and let's face it, big law firms think your loyalty lies with the office, not with any other aspect of your life. I think all around, I would be better off living somewhere else a bit more in tune with the way I envision my life being. The fly in the ointment, well, there are two flies really, are that a) I am stuck here until my green card comes through and cannot change jobs at the moment, and b) I moved here to be close to my family. I don't know if my aunt would want to move, or if I could bear to be so far away from her, and I don't know how to politely say "hey, when your husband dies, would you ever think of moving somewhere else?" Oh yeah, and I'm not a big fan of cold weather, but maybe I could find somewhere that wasn't too bone chillingly cold in winter.

But if the baby thing doesn't work out, I definitely want to start travelling to various cities to check them out and think about living there once the green card comes through. I need to get away more often anyway, so a few long weekends will be a great opportunity to see the country. And if the baby thing does work out, who knows, maybe I'll be happier here, but then again there's always the internet for researching new places to live.

So, that's where my head's at. In other news, my flight home was nearly 2 hours late, so I got in after midnight, and my cat Lulu decided she had to wake me up to check up on me every hour or so, to make sure I was really there. Or maybe it was just to punish me for leaving her alone for a few days. In other words, I've had very little sleep. I'm tired, my feet hurt from walking around with them swollen up from the heat (did I mention that it was HOT!), and I really don't feel like working. Hey, if I make this blog post long enough, maybe I can spin this out to lunch time and start work in the afternoon. I'll catch up another day, right?

Friday, July 14, 2006

See you later, gators

Going to Washington DC for a conference, and will be back on Wednesday. The next time you see me, blogosphere, I will be a new woman, because I will be OFF the BCPs! Hallelujah. And I will be counting down to my IVF, which I'm finally getting excited about. I just can't wait to get started - this time period on the BCPs has been sooo long. But it WILL work this time, damn it! I can blog about follicle sizes and injections and all sorts of other fun stuff, instead of having to bore you with my random observations about trucking companies.

I promise to try to limit my alcohol consumption while I'm away, but I can't guarantee that I will be successful. Which is a shame, as I've been completely off the booze and coffee for a while (hey, for me, a week or two qualifies as a "while", so stop laughing) and haven't missed it at all lately. But I bought a small bottle of my lovely Bolthouse Green Goodness to take with me, so that I can keep up with my vow to have 8oz a day of the stuff. See, I'm trying to be good!

In other news, and in proof that miracles really do happen and you should always test even if you think you've got your period, check out CJ's blog. I'm hoping for a very sticky bean for you, CJ!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I'm in love!

I went to pick up my folic acid prescription from CVS today, and there was a new pharmacist. Who. Was. Fucking. Gorgeous. Absolutely dreamy. Yummy yum yum. I couldn't see if he was wearing a wedding ring, as I was in the drive through lane, but clearly I suddenly need to fill a LOT of prescriptions in order to go and see him again. He looked me right in the eyes, and smiled in that way that could have meant there was chemistry between us, or could have meant he was just a polite pharmacist. And then I dropped my sunglasses. Yeah, really cool, Sarah. And by the way, I had wet hair, because my idea of hair styling is to open the car windows on the way to work. Oh, yeah, and there's that acne that has been cropping up over the past few days. I'm sure I was the very picture of loveliness. Not.

Part of the problem here is of course that I'm no good at flirting, so I have absolutely no idea how you come on to a pharmacist without either appearing to be a complete slut or appearing to have Munchausen's syndrome. Additionally, there's the little problem that the only prescriptions I have are vagina-related. I could refill the prometrium, which is supposed to be to correct menopausal symptoms, so that would hardly be a good one to make googly eyes at the pharmacist over. I already filled the folic acid, which presumably only has one use, so if he thought anything of me at all, he'll assume I'm involved with someone as I'm trying to conceive. Ditto with the birth control pills, although I guess that's a little less likely as I could be using it to control the acne that I clearly have. So what do I do? Go in and try to discuss a rash with him?

Hey, Mr. Pharmacist, I have a rash on my butt - want to see it, and are you free on Saturday night? We could discuss my symptoms over dinner.

Oh well, I'm sure it wasn't meant to be anyway, and at CVS it seems there's a new pharmacist every other week (apart from the crotchety old dude who is a permanent fixture) so I'll probably never even see him again. But at least it brightened up my Thursday morning a bit to finally see a man in this town that caught my eye. Until I came into work and checked the internet to find out that CJ is not pregnant, and this may be the end of the TTC road for her. I feel so bad for her. It just sucks that good people can have so many problems at this baby making stuff, and yet teens and crackheads procreate constantly. Damn it all.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Oh Lordy, I'm nearly 40!

Eeeek. I'm getting old. I'm nearly 40.

Well, OK, not really. I'm going to be 38 later this year, so I've got 2 more years to go. But today is my brother's 40th birthday (happy birthday, bro'!), and I remember freaking out on his 30th birthday because that meant I was going to be 30 soon. Yes, in my head, his birthday is all about me, not him! Haha, sorry bro'. I'm a bit more mellow this time around, but it still makes me stop and think, because unfortunately wherever he goes with the age thing I eventually have to follow.

40 kind of strikes fear into me because I've always wanted 2 kids, and if it's taking me this long to have #1, how on earth am I going to manage to get #2 if I'm going to be that much closer to 40 by then (assuming I ever manage to have #1, that is). If I don't have twins from the IVF, or several frozen embryos, it's going to be seriously stressing me out. I know, I could adopt #2 (or #1 and #2), and maybe I will, but as I'm not a US citizen, international adoption is out for me, and domestic adoption seems so risky. And it's so freakin' expensive! But it gets so much harder to conceive, and to avoid miscarriage, the older you get. It's at times like this I really wish I'd started trying to conceive at a much younger age, but then again, I kept thinking that my husband would turn up somehow and I didn't want to give up on that thought. I was also naive, and thought I could get pregnant at will so that I could have #1 at 36, and then #2 at 38 and be done well before 40. Now, even if I get pregnant next cycle, I'll be having #1 at 38 and who knows what happens after that? It may even take a couple more years to have #1, you never know. And I know it's possible to have children after 40, but even for previously fertile women it takes a lot longer, and I don't want to have to start trying to conceive when #1 is only 3 months old.

Then there's the worry about genetic birth defects and other problems that come along. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Can I handle a special needs or disabled child? Obviously you do what you have to, and if my child was born disabled or became disabled, I would step up to the plate and deal with it. But I don't know, I dwell on this these days. The incidence of autism spectrum diagnoses is skyrocketing and nobody knows why - is it from pollution, the vaccines (supposedly disproven but you never know), or from something else? Not being able to know what to do to protect our children against some of these illnesses is scary. And the rising incidence of Down's syndrome (or is it Down syndrome?) and other trisomies with age scares me too. I used to think I'd have an amnio and abort if something was wrong, but now I know what a miracle it is to even get pregnant, I don't know if I can do that. Then again I don't know if I can handle looking after a disabled 40 year-old when I'm 80. Sometimes I wonder if I'm brave enough at all to go through with this. But then I think about not trying to have children and that scares me even more, so I just keep plodding on. At least for now. There may well come a time when I give up, and sometimes that day is clearer in my thoughts than at other times, but I'm not there just yet.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Norbert and Eddie

It's funny the things that you miss from the mother country when you're an immigrant. Yesterday I went to get a new kitty litter box, and decided to go the quick way home along I-95. As I was driving along, I kept thinking how much I miss Norbert Dentressangle and Eddie Stobart. Of course, if you're American, you won't have a clue who I'm talking about, and probably think these are two of my old friends that I left behind.

Nope, they're trucking companies. OK, yes, I'm weird, I admit it.

Every time you get on a motorway/highway/freeway whatever you want to call it in the UK, and probably in most of Europe, you see either or both Norbert Dentressangle trucks or Eddie Stobart trucks. Usually a ton of both. At least, you used to. I just checked Norbert's website, and they seem to be going to a fancy "ND" logo with the name written smaller. When I lived there, both companies had their names emblazoned in the hugest letters possible all over their trucks so you just couldn't miss them. But you know, it was like they were keeping you company as you drove along, usually in miserable weather. I spent many a day inching through low clouds on the M62 between Manchester and Leeds (the UK's highest motorway, with a sign marking the summit no less) with Eddie and Norbert trucks keeping me company. It was like Eddie and Norbert were your buddies on the road, and you just don't get the same feeling with XYZ Transport Company, Inc. written in small letters on the side of a truck door.

Everyone knew who they were as well. You could mention Eddie Stobart to someone and you had this instant bond, a common reference point. I remember watching a current events news quiz, and the question master asked a visiting politician "who is Eddie Stobart", and literally everybody on the show and in the audience fell about laughing when the guy couldn't answer. But I'm not alone in my weirdness, you know, as I just did some googling and there's an Eddie Stobart fan club, truck spotting websites, at least one book about the trucks, memorabilia and of course toys and many other things to fuel your obsession if you choose to participate. But I'm not crazy, honestly, I just miss seeing their trucks, I don't have to join a fan club! Norbert Dentressangle doesn't seem to be quite as well represented in the crazy fan following although I did find one poem devoted to them. But one reason I liked Norbert is that I liked rolling the name off my tongue. I'd repeat "Norbert Dentressangle" to myself over and over again. Hell, I still do. It's just a fabulous name. Norbert Dentressangle. Norbert Dentressangle. Norbert Dentressangle.

I miss you, Norbert and Eddie. Driving behind the US Mail truck or the Publix truck just isn't the same.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The day gets worse!

I was refused cake! There was yummy cake in the office, and I was not allowed to have any! How can they do this to me? My day is going from bad to worse!

They get cake every month at work as a bribe for us to turn in our billing proformas all signed to approve the proposed charges as being accurate so that our accounts department can send the bills out to the clients. I always thought it was kind of a stupid idea, but hey, it's free cake! And you know, it did kind of work as people would make an effort to go through their proformas quickly rather than let them sit there for several weeks. But there's a new regime in town as we have a new office administrator, who seems to have appointed herself as keeper of the cake. Now it seems that you can only get cake if you actually hand over completed proformas. A stack of paper = one slice. But, see, only the bosses can sign the darn things, so really it's only bosses and their secretaries who now can possibly qualify for cake because they're the only ones handing over the documents. The rest of us, who may have to go through the proformas to approve our own work entries before we hand them to the bosses to sign are now excluded from participating in billing day cake. Even though we have to interrupt our other work to get it done. I tried to explain the mechanisms of getting your hands on the precious signed proformas to the office administrator, and that I don't have any, but she flat out refused to let me have even a crumb of cake. So that's it. No more free cake for us. Unless we ambush the secretary/boss as she/he's about to deliver the signed proformas I guess, and demand that they hand over half the stack for us to hand in as a fake free cake maneuver. Hell, my boss is a skinny arsed guy who has no interest in cake anyway, and our team secretary is equally skinny and always refuses cake because she's watching her figure, so maybe I could just volunteer to deliver the proformas to get me some baked goods. But I refuse to stoop to that level. Even though the chocolate cake did look particularly gooey and moist. OK, I did think about it, but my boss still isn't finished signing the proformas yet and probably most of the cake is gone now anyway.

Mark my words, this is the beginning of the cake rebellion. You don't interfere with the worker bees' ability to get their free cake. I have heard many people muttering that this just proves that the new office administrator is a bitch. Ha, it's the beginning of the end for her. This'll be office politics gone crazy.

But I'm now hungry with all this talk of cake, and the vending machine hasn't been filled with anything decent for weeks. Ugh.

Grumble grumble grumble

Not in a sunny mood this Monday morning, which is worrying me that psycho bitch from hell might be back. Even though I only have a week to go on the BCPs, I still don't want to be miserable for that length of time!

I also have a lovely crop of acne along my jaw line this morning. Nice. I love me some hormones.

I can also feel the old jealousy rear its ugly head. My coworker K. is now full term (37+ weeks) and there's been a parade of giggly excited women going into her office all morning, talking about babies and C-sections and all sorts of other things. I should be happy for her, and yet there's that old green eyed monster saying "it should be me, I should have been first!"

But, it will be me soon, won't it? And I'll have twins, so they'll make even more of a fuss over me, and K. will be wistfully saying "oh, I can't wait to have another one, I'm so jealous of you." Or something like that. ;) See, I'm still trying with the positive thinking!

Have I mentioned that I hate Toyota, by the way? I have a Prius, and was supposed to get some battery work done as part of a recall. But I procrastinated for a year (or maybe more - I'm pretty good at procrastinating). I figured I'd just take it in when it needed the 60,000 mile service and they could do everything at once. And besides, I have needed the car for all the darn RE appointments! So I called a few weeks ago to make an appointment, and specifically stated the name and code number of the battery recall. Oh, that's an old one, but no problem says the scheduling lady. I got to the dealership, and not only do you need to take the car in the night before to have the battery work done, they didn't even have the parts in stock. They said they'd have to order them, and it would be Monday (today) before they'd be in. I told them it would have been nice to have been told this at the time I booked the appointment, but they just made excuses about the scheduling lady not knowing these things. Riiiight. So I had the service done, for $300+, and they didn't even vacuum the car or clean the windows like Jiffy Lube does, so I was a bit miffed. Then I got a phone call from Toyota following up. "Did you have excellent customer service?" the lady wanted to know. "NO," says I, "it most definitely was not what I'd call excellent." "Was it satisfactory, then?". Pause. "Ma'am? Was it satisfactory?" "Hmmmph," says I, "barely satisfactory, I guess. In that they did manage to complete the service, but.... " "OK, great then!" the woman cuts in. And then I remembered them asking me the exact same thing the last time I took the car to the dealership (for the 30,000 mile service), which again I thought was not anywhere near the level of service I get from Jiffy Lube. And they sent me a follow up post card saying "we are glad you had excellent service at XXX Toyota Dealership". So, today I'm expecting a nice post card congratulating me for having had excellent service, and no doubt no phone call about when I can take the car back in for the battery work. I hate Toyota. Don't get me wrong, I like the car, just not the people!

And finally in this morning's grumbles, the cat and I are battling over a pooping on the floor issue. I don't know how many times I have to scrub the darn kitty litter box with bleach, or the floor in front of the kitty litter where she likes to poop, in order to try to remove whatever smell she's finding objectionable or attractive. I guess I'll have to get something that gets cat smells out, but out of laminate flooring? I don't know if they make anything like that. And I'll probably have to buy a new litter box because I've just run out of other ideas. Oh well. I got so irritated that I shouted at her and smacked her across the nose at 5.30 this morning when she did it again (she scrapes her paw repeatedly across the laminate to cover the poop up with nothing, which now wakes me up as I've learned what that particular sound means), and she spent breakfast time sulking under the coffee table. Damn right she should sulk. Pooping on the floor is not allowed!

OK, can I go back to bed now so I can get out the other side, please?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The wait is nearly over

One week from today I will take my last BCP. I can't believe that this interminable period of time is finally coming to an end, and that I should be on my stims shots within 2 weeks. Who'd have thought that 6 weeks could stretch out like such an eternity? Well, of course, really I suppose it's just like the summer holidays from school. As school lets out for the summer you can see these long lazy days stretching ahead of you for an eternity, and even half way through you still think there's plenty of time left, but then all of a sudden it is time to go and buy school supplies. I'm kind of in the school supplies buying phase at the moment, as I'm planning out the vitamin supplements that I'm going to take, along with the healthy things I'm going to eat and drink. It's like starting off the new school year with a mental homework planner, because of course this time I'm going to be perfectly good, and not procrastinate or indulge in destructive behaviors. Yeah right. We'll see about that. I still have a very boozy conference to get through next weekend, although I'm feeling a little more confident than usual about restricting my drinking because my best conference boozing buddy is only going to be there for 2 of the 4 days, and I'm not staying in the conference hotel because I'm cheap. I'm hoping that'll give me an excuse to leave the bar "early" (as in, before midnight) in order to stagger down the street to el cheapo inn, and not get into the "hey, lets do shots!" stage. At least, not every night.

I had a bit of an anxiety dream last night, about not being ready to go on a work trip, and nearly missing my flight. And I am very unprepared for this conference. Ahem, yes, I'm speaking at it on Saturday, so I am supposed to do some preparation other than training my liver, and I haven't reviewed my material at all. Nor have I got through the large mountain of work that has to be done before I leave. So, in order to prepare fully, today I have bought a new suitcase to feed my luggage infatuation (that I really didn't need to spend any more money on), and have come into work. Except all I've done since I got here is surf the internet, and now I'm feeling like I really need a nap. Maybe if I just work really late all next week, it'll get done somehow? I could take a file home with me and read it tonight with a glass of wine, because that's a really efficient way of working. Not. But hey, I've got a new suitcase, and that's what really counts, isn't it? It's made by the Swiss Army people, and I promise that I'll look really cool wheeling it through the airport. In fact, I think I should go home and play with it now.

What was I saying about not procrastinating....?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Loud Pipe-Music Will Be Strictly Enforced

I was driving to my acupuncture appointment this morning (a Saturday appointment! How rare and wonderful!), and I was tootling down the main street in Delray Beach in heavy traffic when I saw one of those mobile flashing road signs. I swear it said:


And then I drove past and couldn't see any more. I swear that's what it said. I'm not making it up. Now, I fully believe that I could easily have misinterpreted it. I hope that it didn't really say "loud pipe-music". And I sincerely hope that the third part of the message enabled the whole thing to make sense. Not that I can figure out what any sensible third part of the message could be. And c'mon, I know Delray Beach prides itself on being a kooky kind of place, but can it really be that kooky? Maybe one of the sign operators was having a little joke, but now it is going around my head like an annoying ad jingle, because my stupid little brain keeps trying to make sense of it. If only there hadn't been a truck in front of me and I could have seen it as I drove along, I could have figured out the whole message. In fact, I'm kind of tempted to drive back there, just to see the sign again but I probably won't because I am after all a lazy arse.

The acu appointment was fabulous though, and they told me that they actually go to my IVF clinic to do the acupuncture on the day of embryo transfer, which is wonderful news. My old acu made you drive to his office before and after the transfer, and as I had to rely on the kindness of a friend to drive me, I got pretty stressed at wasting their time so only opted to do one session. But now I can do the proper acupuncture sessions at the proper time! Of course, it'll probably cost me an arm and a leg, but after the cost of the IVF itself it all pales into insignificance.

So, things are looking up. I'm off to Barnes & Noble for a Chai tea and to browse through the books to see if they have anything on pipe music.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Goodyear Blimp has escaped

Oh the bloat! I am enormous this morning. I feel like a blimp. Or a Macy's Parade balloon perhaps. I couldn't fit into any of my fat jeans for work, and all the enormous elastic or drawstring waist pants that could possibly be worn into work were either wet from the laundry I did this morning or waiting to be washed.

And yet first thing this morning I was feeling pretty good. You see, I used to exercise every morning religiously. It might only be walking or going to Curves, but I got out of the house and did it. However, since the last IVF cycle I felt less and less like exercising and I found it harder and harder to get out of bed, so I would snooze until about 7.30am, at which point it would be too late to do anything. And I was eating a lot of ice cream and other bad things so of course my waist (and everywhere else) started to expand pretty rapidly, and let's face it, I wasn't all that small to start with. I think it was all to do with the hormones and depression, because I just didn't have the energy to care and all I wanted to do was sleep. However, since last week and my mood turnaround, I've gradually found it easier to get up at the right time, and today I managed to spring out of bed at 6.30am, get dressed, put a load of laundry in the washing machine, take the trash out and go for a walk. I was so pleased with myself.

Then I have this new plan for eating a ton of protein in order to feed my growing eggs lots of good quality food. You see, I've been struggling a lot with my protein intake and I keep wondering if that had something to do with me not getting pregnant. I'm a vegetarian, so I used to eat a lot of soy foods. Then I read that soy wasn't good for TTC because the phytoestrogens interfere with your natural hormones. So I quit soy. Then my acupuncturists told me that I shouldn't eat dairy. So I quit (or at least drastically reduced my consumption of) dairy. Two pretty major protein sources gone. I tried to up my intake of other proteins, like nuts, beans and eggs, but honestly I don't know how good of a job I did. But I have decided that "protein power" is my new motto, and I'm going to get protein in my mouth at every opportunity. And if it helps me lose any weight in an Atkins kind of way, all the better (but don't worry, I'm not actually doing Atkins, because I know that would be bad for TTC'ing as well). I may quit soy again as I get closer to egg retrieval, but then again I may not. Well, this morning, I had an egg along with some Morningstar Farms "Chick'n" strips for breakfast, and a Bolthouse Farms milk/whey protein mocha latte drink. Oh, and my Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness drink for the wheatgrass. I think it was the whey protein that pushed me over the edge. My stomach blew up like a balloon and honestly I looked 5 months pregnant. Ugh. Maybe the acu was right about quitting dairy!

But I forced a pair of jeans on hoping it was only a temporary bloat, even though I couldn't exactly zip them up and still breathe, and had to drive to work unzipped (oh the horror of re-zipping on arrival in the parking garage at work, hoping no-one would see me do it). The pressure around my abdomen from the darn denim corset is pretty bad, but as the morning wears on I seem to be deflating a bit and am now down to looking about 4 months pregnant. Oh the joy.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Darn it

The accounts department of the IVF clinic caught up with me and demanded payment for the upcoming cycle. And my credit card clicks over to another billing month on Monday. Monday! I was that close to delaying actually parting with the cash for another whole month, but alas, it was not to be.

Darn it.

Wow, it's been a week

Since my mood turned around. How bizarre that I was psycho bitch from hell for so long, and couldn't find my way out of the pit of despair, and then poof! Gone! Was it really the acupuncture? Was it really my crazy theory that I got a bad packet of birth control pills? Was it that I told enough people that I was psycho bitch from hell, so they could back off because I couldn't take it any more? Was it due to the holiday weekend so I didn't have to see too many annoying people? I don't know, but I don't care. I feel so much more normal than I did even a week ago. And normal is good, really. Normal I know how to deal with. Normal is nice and even keeled.

I feel like I can start looking forward again, I can start getting excited about the IVF cycle because it's going to work this time, damn it!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Jersey calling

So, after coming up with the potential boy's name, I was thinking yesterday how weird it was that for such a common name, I'd only really known one guy with that name. I've met others of course, but never gotten to know them. How strange, I was thinking, if it's in the top 5 names, you'd think they'd be all over the place. It kind of made me feel better that maybe even if a name is in the top 20, there's so many names used nowadays that they're all pretty spread out.

And then yesterday evening, I got an email from an old friend who I had literally forgotten existed. And he has the same name. Spooky. I mean, honestly, he was not on my radar when I was pondering on how many people I'd ever met with that name. We used to work together, carpool together, go to each other's houses for drinks, generally hang out. And I had forgotten he existed. We haven't been in touch for nearly 10 years, and he found me through our mutual friend Google.

The other thing that weirds me out about this, is that this friend is from Jersey. No, not Joisey. Not New Jersey, but the original one. The one New Jersey is named after. The one where Jersey Knit and Jersey Cows come from (yes, yes, you thought they came from New Jersey, but they didn't). You see, I lived there for 3 years and I had this real love/hate relationship with it. It was a bit of a culture shock for a city girl to suddenly be on this small island where everybody knows your business, and where you can be stuck for weeks on end in winter because the island gets fog-bound and the planes can't land. I was suddenly somewhere where tourism and generally being a tax haven were the main "industries". Where there was so much wealth and privilege that many of the locals seemed so out of touch with reality. My job was boring, and I thought it was the worst managed place in the world - this was obviously before I started at my current place ;). But then again, there were beaches, and clifftop walks, and beautiful scenery. God, it was pretty. You could live in the countryside and be 10 minutes from the main town. France was on our doorsteps, and there was a real sense of camaraderie between everyone who lived there. Or was that the booze - one of my favorite definitions of Jersey which I heard often was that it was "80,000 alcoholics clinging to a rock".

Why does this weird me out? Because in the last few months, Jersey has been invading my dreams. I dream of going back there, of working at my old company, of raising my kids there or even living my child free life there. I dream of the scenery, I dream of the houses (made of pink granite, no less), I dream of the winding roads, I dream of the pretty villages, I dream of the beaches, I dream of the beachside cafes. I even dream of the weather when I'm sweating in the Florida heat and humidity.

And now there's this odd combination. The place I have been dreaming of. The name that suddenly came to me, and seemed to be calling to me across the ether. Is it a sign that my kid is coming to me, or a sign that I've gone wrong in my life and should have stayed in Jersey, or a sign that maybe there's just an odd coincidence going on that I think of a name and someone from my past with the same name contacts me the next day. Whatever it is, it's just all a little, well, weird.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The name game

Is it just me that plays the name game constantly? I'm always always trying to think up names for my babies, or at least, I think up names in those moments when I have not given up all hope that there ever will be babies.

Ideally, I want three perfect names per sex so that I can take them into the delivery room and choose which one suits them best. But I have such a hard time with boys' names because there just aren't very many that I love, and I have so many "rules" about naming that usually if I like a name, it doesn't fit within the rules so has to be discarded. To further add to my craziness, I feel that if I don't have at least one boy's name picked out before I even get pregnant, then I must be destined to have all boys and I have to admit that that thought saddens me a little. Yes, I am weird like that. Trust me, at this point one single healthy baby would make me more than ecstatic whatever the sex, and two healthy boys would be phenomenally wonderful. Or at least I know this logically. And I've been saying that out loud all along. I know that either boys or girls would be amazing. However, I still can't shake the illogical wish that I've had all my life, which is that I want at least one little girl. And yes, secretly, even though I was saying that I really didn't care about the sex, deep down that statement was always followed in my mind by something along the lines of "but I'd really prefer a girl." I already have two great girls' names picked out. I can so easily imagine having a little girl or two that sometimes I think I'm not wishing hard enough for just a baby, just a child, a boy OR a girl. Maybe by wishing for and thinking of girls I'm setting up bad karma because I'm not putting my all into wishing for the right child to come into my life. For my child. In whatever shape or form that child takes, and from whereever that child comes.

So because of course the world works exactly as I think it does, I feel driven to constantly sift through boys' names to try them on for size, even while I have been secretly wishing for a girl, just in case I can fake karma into believing that I'm really more evolved than I am and that I actually wish for any child. But I have tried to see how it would feel yelling boys' names out of the back door, so they'll come in for dinner. To see how it would feel doing that "first name second name family name comerightherethisinstant" thing that they just know means they are in big big trouble. To imagine having rambunctious little boys running around the house. Because I know that if I don't have at least one boy's name and am only thinking of girls' names, I may be destined never to have any babies. Because I know that the lack of a boy's name means instantly that blue paint is in my future if I do manage to get pregnant. Because I know that if I don't have at least one boy's name by the time I find out the sex(es), I might pout and cry if it's a boy if I don't already have some vision of who my boy is going to be. And pouting and crying at finding out the sex is something that an infertile person should never do because they should just feel grateful to have got to that point, so I don't want to let the side down. Or seem like a whiny bitch.

The point of this post is that last night as I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep, a boy's name finally came to me out of nowhere. Except it doesn't fit at least one of the rules, which was "no names in the top 20". And it's been in the top 10 in the U.S. since 1974, so not exactly a rarity. But, hey, it's a start, right? It's finally a boy's name that I can see myself loving. That I can be proud of introducing my son to the world with. And I've no earthly idea why I didn't think of it earlier because it just seems so right. It makes me excited to meet the little guy with that name.

I know, I know, it's all pie in the sky until the darn IVF works, and none of my thinking makes any logical sense, but it makes me feel that I'm moving forwards because I might have a glimmer of a boy's name. That maybe, just maybe, this might be why it will work this time, because I'm maybe finally ready to welcome a boy into my life and it's only been my stupid imaginings of girls that has been preventing my children from coming into my life.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy birthday, Grandpa!

I am still in a pretty good mood, despite England losing at the footie, so hopefully I have beaten the funk. Hopefully.

Called my grandpa today to wish him a happy birthday - he's 90 today! Way to go, grandpa! Of course, he doesn't really want to celebrate much since my granny died 18 months or so ago, but he went out to lunch with a friend today, is going out this evening for drinks at a neighbor's apartment and is going out to lunch with other friends tomorrow. I told him he had a much better social life than me, and that I was jealous. Unfortunately, it's true, but he insists this is only due to his birthday weekend. He wistfully hoped my brother would call and wish him a happy birthday, but we both knew it wasn't going to happen. I reminded my bro' by email a few days ago, and I'm not going to call him to remind him today. I'll only get accused of nagging. Though it saddens me greatly that my bro' can't spare 5 minutes for his only surviving grandparent's 90th birthday. All of us gave up on receiving cards or gifts from him years ago, but you'd have thought a phone call wouldn't be too hard. And sadly I'll be the only grandkid that calls today, as one of my cousins is currently in Laos having a grand old time touring around South East Asia, and the other one doesn't speak to us because we're evil (long story). What gets me even worse is that he has no family to be with him today, because my bro' is useless, my mom died, and my aunt, cousins and I are all over on this side of the pond and none of us could make it over this weekend, what with finances and other travel commitments coming up shortly. Grandpa has a few nieces and nephews in the UK still, but none of them live very near by. However, he said he'd got 22 cards so that's cool - he feels remembered even if we aren't there in person.

Of course, I'm also a bit sad that none of us grandkids have managed to provide any great-grandchildren yet and I'm wondering if I'll ever manage it before my last grandparent dies. Granny loved babies with a passion, and would have been over the moon to have great-grandbabies but sadly it was not to be. Oh well, the IVF's going to work this time, right, so I can tell grandpa soon that the great-grandbabies are on their way. And I'm sure granny's looking down on me and hoping with all her might that it's going to work soon - I often imagine my mom, granny and my other grandma looking after my babies for me, until the right time comes to send them on their journey. I just wish they weren't clinging on to them so tightly!