Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The snake oil purveyors

The storm turned out to be a damp squib. So I'm stuck at work because they opened the office. Hardly anyone is here though, as most people have enough sense to just stay away when they can. Not me, though, I'll always drag myself in if I am physically able. Idiot.

The big news of the day in Sarah's world, though (apart from the fact that I've got some spotting going on on CD12 - WTF?), is that I have booked to go to Clear Passage Therapies in Gainesville for a week. I had been a bit hesitant lately because I found details on an enzyme therapy that is supposed to help break up adhesions and am going to be trying that. After all, why spend $5k on a massage treatment, when you can get the same results for $100? But I decided to go for it, as I believe that it will not only help with adhesions, but with motility of all my "innards" as well. However, I have been warned against going, because various people think it's all a crock of shit, and that they are snake oil purveyors.

It has got me thinking about the things us desperate infertiles will do to try to improve our chances. I mean, there are the RE's that push immunological factors as being very important in unexplained (or under-explained) infertility. My RE seems to think that this is all bogus. There are people that will tell you that acupuncture and Chinese medicine will cure anything. Others who think it won't work. There are people who will tell you that you must cut out caffeine and alcohol, and others who say it makes no difference.

If you speak to proponents of various treatment modalities, you come away thinking that it is all very cut and dried. Why is it that so many people in this world think it's an either/or problem and solution? Why is it that more people aren't recognizing that there must be a myriad ways to become infertile (or sub-fertile if you prefer), so that there can't be one solution for everybody? Surely if I want to try something because I think it might help, shouldn't I be free to try it without being told that it is bogus? I don't know, I just feel that in this area in particular, western medicine is sadly lacking, and that it will probably take many more years of research before they figure out how to help everyone.

Anyway, I checked out snake oil on Wikipedia to find out why it is so vilified, and find out that real snake oil has been vindicated as being a useful pain reliever for joint and arthritic pain, and that it contains some of the highest concentrations of EPA anywhere (much better than salmon and other fish). Interesting. It was just the western imitators that were doing it to scam people that put out the bogus products, and who claimed that it could miraculously heal many ailments rather than just one, that brought the term into disrepute. Hence we have come to associate snake oil with fraudulent products.

I guess that's the real key, isn't it? Finding out who is advocating for a treatment modality that they really believe in, and which has the capability to help some people, and finding out who is just scamming the public. For what it's worth, I feel that the Clear Passage people do really believe in their treatment, and I believe it could help me, so I'm going for it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I managed to get most of my storm prep done, mostly because I decided not to shutter up the house as the predictions aren't as bad now as they were before. I'll make a final decision on that once the 11am prediction comes out. I did move all the patio furniture and other junk inside, so that there shouldn't be much flying about in the wind. This one is supposed to be more of a rain event, so I'm hoping the roof holds up and doesn't leak.

Pretty much it's now just a wait to see what the weather brings us.

Had a flat tire yesterday, so that's another thing I've got to do over the next few days - get to a tire shop. Except they'll probably all be closed tomorrow. And I've got an accupuncture appointment on Thursday, an RE appointment on Friday and a massage appointment on Saturday, all of which need driving more than just schlepping backwards and forwards to work, so I don't want to still be on the little donut spare wheel for any of them. But, at least I now know how to change a tire, and I know that all cars come with jacks, which I wasn't quite sure of before!

The door codes at work STILL haven't changed, by the way. So clearly they're not going to be done before the storm, which means if the jackass wants to come into the office and wreak havoc on Wednesday while we're not here, he's got plenty of opportunity. I have not quite figured out why the people running this place are such idiots, but hey. I suppose I shouldn't complain. I haven't actually been beaten with a baseball bat by the jackass, so I should think that everything is rosy, shouldn't I?

In TTC news, I got an "acceptance" email from Clear Passage Therapies, saying that they think they can help me, and will contact me about costs and scheduling. Hmmm. Been having second thoughts lately, especially after I decided to try taking some enzymes which are supposed to help break up adhesions (and help with fibromyalgia). Maybe I can say to them I only want to do it if my insurance will cover some of the cost.

Monday, August 28, 2006

She who delays drinks Evian

So, I did nothing at all yesterday to prepare for the storm, apart from drink too much red wine. OK, that may not count as "storm preparations" to you, but maybe we can chalk it up to mental preparation. And of course, the projected path swung around, meaning that instead of hitting the west coast of the state, it's now supposed to be coming straight for us. The good thing about this, I guess, is that it's projected to have a lower strength because it'll have less time over warm water, so I won't have to evacuate and it hopefully won't cause as much damage.

Anyway, jobs done so far:

Checked current hurricane supplies.
Bagged up all the ice from the freezer's ice maker. Set the ice maker running to make more.
Taken DVD's back to Blockbuster (yes, this counts as storm prep to me! Don't want to forget and then end up owning any Disney movies).
Got cash from the ATM.
Been to Publix to stock up on water. Unfortunately, because I didn't rush to the store yesterday like a good girl, all that was left was either really little bottles of water, a few large gallon jugs of the cheap shit that tastes like plastic, or 1L bottles of Evian. As I already have 6 gallons of the cheap shit left over from last year (and it tasted gross then, so who knows what 10 more months in plastic containers has done to the taste), I went for the Evian. Hey, at least I'll be living large with the fancy mineral water!
Bought baby wipes, air fresheners and paper towels.

Jobs to do tonight:

Get completely caught up on laundry.
Ditto with dishwashing.
Shutter/screen up the windows at the back and sides of the house, leaving the doors and front windows open. Move the potted plants to safe spots behind the hurricane screens.
Take ALL trash and recycling out to the curb.

Jobs to do on Tuesday:

Pack up the office (presumably).
Move all the patio furniture, garbage cans and other miscellaneous outdoor junk inside.
Finish shuttering up.
Hunker down.

***Edited to add***

Forgot the Monday weigh in!

Today's weight = 177. Down 2 from last week, down 1 from start, up 2 from this week's target.

It was 176 on Thursday, so I slipped a bit at the weekend. Oh well. There's always this week.

Also, I have been dealing with ridiculousness at work over the jackass. They decided that his demands for staying were just way too much, and asked him on Friday not to complete his notice period, but to just leave (yay!!!). He was walked out of the office. Normally, the security codes to gain access to the office would have been changed immediately. It wasn't done because the guy that normally does it was out. I didn't feel comfortable coming in at the weekend, in case the jackass decided to put in an appearance. This morning, I asked the office administrator if the door codes were going to change, and cc'd the guy who normally changes them. That got me into trouble, because she got all uppity that it was an HR issue, and I shouldn't have involved anyone else, and she didn't see the need to change the codes. She also tried to tell me that the jackass had NOT been asked to leave immediately, but that it had been a mutual decision, which is not what he told people on Friday. She said it wasn't the policy to change the code (bullshit). I asked if they could be changed because I felt uncomfortable. She blew me off. I went over her head to the managing lawyer, who demanded to know if I felt physically threatened at the thought of the jackass coming in to the office to attack me. Typical lawyer! Of course, I should have just said yes. But I explained how, no, logically I didn't, but the thought was in the back of my mind. I explained how the policy always used to be that the door code was immediately changed any time someone left on bad terms. I explained how a friend of mine who works at a different law firm had told me that she'd heard this guy hated me. I explained how I didn't want to come in at the weekend because I was worried the jackass might make an appearance. I explained that I was worried about him coming in and doing something to our files. I asked if they could just change the door codes because I felt uncomfortable, and wasn't that enough? He said he'd check the policy with the head office. I mean, for eff's sake, I still work here, I sit close to the door, if I say I'm uncomfortable, shouldn't they put my peace of mind ahead of any confidentiality issues of not wanting to imply that the jackass left on bad terms? Hello? I still work here, he doesn't. My needs should come first. They finally decided to change the door codes, but in typical bureaucratic fashion have asked the building management company to do it, instead of the guy in our office who knows how to do it, so it probably won't happen until next week now because the building maintenance guys are busy putting up shutters on the ground floor windows. Oy.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The cone of death

Well, the projected path for Hurricane Ernesto has swung around, and I am now in the 3-day projected path, or "cone of death" as we like to call it. Hopefully it'll swing again, and miss me completely, but I suppose I'd better spend some time making preparations. I'm pretty prepared except my hurricane shutters at the front have still not been fixed since last time, so they'll have to be wired shut instead of properly closed. Don't have any granola bars in the house since my peanut sensitivity came to light during the last hurricane, but I guess I could grab some peanut-free ones from the supermarket (if there are any left). And I haven't bought any water since the last hurricane, so I'll have to get some today or tomorrow. Oh, and my roof is in bad shape since the last storm, so I'm going to be worried about that.

But at least right now the path is projected to be towards Tampa, and I'm towards the edge of the cone, so it could very well miss me altogether. Sorry, Tampa, but I'm hoping it hits you instead of me. I know there's no hard feelings though, as I know you guys are praying for it to hit me instead of you. It's all just that "anywhere but here" thinking which we in the hurricane prone areas are very good at doing.

I am in an evacuation zone, and have to evacuate if it's a major storm (category 3 or above) and normally I'd go south to my aunt's in Miami, but they are likely to be in the path too, unless it does a swing across the state. My other plan was to go directly north to a hotel in Melbourne or somewhere, but again that's looking like it'll be in the path this time. I'll just have to wait and see what the predictions are showing.

Well, I suppose it's good that I'm not pregnant, because getting the house ready for a storm is many sweaty hours of back breaking work. Although it would probably have been a good time to "come out" to my guy friends so that they'd come to my rescue and do the work for me.

But anyway, here we go again...

Please, please let the storm miss us.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I am a sap

Yes, it's official. I am a sap.

I just rented Eight Below, and bawled my eyes out the entire way through it. The puppies! The bravery! The canine camaraderie! The adorableness!

A Disney movie, people. I actually chose to rent a Disney movie. And I sobbed. Nay, I wept uncontrollably. I am now very snotty and puffy eyed. Highly attractive. Not.

Hey, if you can't make yourself cry over a failed IVF, maybe Uncle Walt can do it for you.

Friday, August 25, 2006

About last night

So, um, yeah, I have been suffering from fatigue lately, which I think is due to the fact that I am having a fibromyalgia flare up. I have had fibro for about 4 years, but for the last 2 years it was almost completely under control - thankfully it was caught early by my naturopath, and I immediately started taking appropriate supplements, having massages and reducing my stress level at work. Well, I guess I haven't been dealing with the stress lately as well as I thought I had. I suppose IVF will do that to you. So my back, hands and feet are now pretty darn painful, my digestive system is complaining, and the old fatigue is hitting hard. I'm hoping that I can get it under control again soon.

Anyhoo, due to this whole fatigue thing, I went to bed at 9pm on Wednesday night. Last night, I made it to 8.30pm before deciding enough was enough and that I had to hit the hay. So I spent a few minutes relaxing all my muscles, and drifted off to sleep pretty quickly. Then who knows how long later, I was woken up by someone banging on my door. They have to bang because the doorbell doesn't work, but that's another story. I jumped out of bed, and started rummaging around in my closet for a robe to put on, and of course my fleece winter robe was the only one I found quickly, and who knows where the tie for that one has gone so I had to hold it closed. I put the lights on, and as I got to the front door, I could see red and white lights twinkling through the glass in the door. Figuring it was the cops (who else would wake me up in the middle of the night?), I turned the alarm off, switched the porch light on, and opened the door.

It was a drunk dude standing there, in a ratty t-shirt and jeans. Someone else was sitting in a truck that had just backed into my driveway. I am standing there in a ridiculous fleece robe, in the middle of summer in Florida, blinking at him. The dude sways a bit, and says "Hey, I'm Freddie xxxxx, and I live a block over. This is a bit embarrasing, but I, uh, hit your car last night." He sways a bit more. I clutch my robe around me even tighter, and, being typically eloquent, said "huh?". Because I think I would have noticed yesterday if someone had hit my car, and besides, I never park on the street. I park in my driveway, with enough room behind my car for a whole other car. Also, there's a tree at the end of the driveway which you have to be pretty careful not to hit, so if you were just swerving along the street driving drunk, you'd hit the tree way before you'd get to my car. But of course, part of me really wanted to go outside and check the car for damage, however, the rational part of me was thinking, shit, it's the middle of the night, I'm in a robe that doesn't close properly and I foolishly already opened the door. This guy could be trying to lure me outside in a cunning ploy to kill me and then rob the house. So I stood there for a bit, uncertain what to do. Drunk dude registered my confusion, and blinked at the house door number. "Oh" he says, "this is 1234? I wanted 1230." [Not my real door number, in case that wasn't obvious.] "Where's 1230?" "Next door, that way" says I, pointing. Drunk dude staggered off back to the truck, and his driver (AA mentor? Annoyed spouse? Friend?) drove him all of 20 feet to the neighbor's house.

I locked the front door, went and found my summer robe, which I can actually close, and snuck out of the house to quickly look at the car, just in case. It was fine. I then locked up the house, put the alarm back on, and went back to my bedroom for a sneak peak at the neighbor's house, though I couldn't see what was going on, because their SUV in their driveway was blocking my view. Figuring there was no point trying to spy for too long, as I was damn tired, and it was after all the middle of the night, I gave up looking out of the window as a pointless exercise. At that point, I caught sight of the clock as I fell back into bed.

It was 9.06pm.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Good news!

I was getting bored of reading my own whining, so I figured a post about good news would be better.

1) The work jackass of "operation get the jackass fired" fame has handed his notice in. I guess he realized that no-one was happy with his work. They have offered him a different position, to which he had a laundry list of demands that they are considering (idiots, they should just let him go). Whatever, whether he goes or he stays, he won't be doing any more work for us, which I'm pretty happy about.

2) I got a delivery yesterday of the best bra ever in the world. Ever. Victoria's Secret Ipex Wireless. It's the bomb, and is on offer for $29.50 at the moment (usually $42) so I ordered a couple last week from the internet, as my local stores never have the nice colors in my size. It's all comfy, yet supportive, and just shaped and padded enough to cover any random nipplage that would be oh so uncomfortable for any members of the American public to see, yet not so padded that you feel like you're carrying around a brick on your chest. And no nasty pokey wires!

3) Last week in my post-IVF internet shopping binge, I came across a vegetarian EPA/DHA supplement which also looks to be the bomb. I have taken flax and/or DHA in the past, but didn't feel either was really doing anything for me. But this one is more like fish oil that is touted to have all those fab health benefits, so I'm excited to see what it does. It is called V-pure. It is hella expensive, and I had to order it from England, but hey ho.

4) The weight is slipping back down again, so I have a chance to be back on track by Monday's weigh-in.

5) My cat hasn't pooped on the floor for 3 whole days. It's an ongoing battle we've been having, and usually when she lulls me into a false sense of security by not pooping on the floor for a day, she's right back at it the next day. So, this one could come crashing down around my ears when I get home tonight, but so far so good.

6) They just upped our pre-tax medical savings account maximum to $8000.

Um, OK, running out for now, but hey, it was a good start.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Something weird is going on with my boss. He had been keeping very odd hours lately, leaving super early or not coming in, then turning up unexpectedly muttering about having a crazy day, and leaving again after an hour or so. He's been looking exhausted, and keeping his door shut pretty much ALL the time, which is not usual.

So today I told him that we'd filed something wrong on a matter (not a biggie though, and thanfully not something I did), and he apologized that he'd missed the mistake and said he was just not catching things because his mind was elsewhere. Then told me in confidence that he had a lot of "stuff" going on, and that he may not even be able to attend the conference in Sweden that we're supposed to be going to in October. Which will be really shitty for me, because as annoying as my boss is, he's better than hanging out with the big bosses who will also be going (I'm the lowliest person from our place attending). And he would have included me on meetings and schmoozing with clients, but now I'm going to have to do that on my own. Bleuch. Hate that. I'm so not happy about walking into a room full of people on my own and trying to strike up conversations. It reminds me of all the weddings and other social events I've had to attend on my own as a single person, which just makes me downright depressed and causes me to drink way too much wine. And of course, I hate being sworn to secrecy as I'd love to speculate about what's going on with people here, but I gave him my word. Hey, telling the world via my blog doesn't count, all right!!

So, I first of all thought him and his wife might be doing IVF. Ha, why do I assume that whatever is wrong with me must be wrong with other people? But then, thinking about it a bit more sensibly, I started thinking that maybe their marriage is in trouble, and she's demanding that he gets home early and not go on business trips. Or maybe she already left him, and he's stuck with full responsibility for their kid? I'm assuming it's not a physical illness as I figure he'd just tell me about that, and not be coy about "stuff", but you never know. I said that I hoped everything was all right, and he just said he was hanging in there. So clearly everything is not all right. He told me not to worry as he wasn't thinking of leaving work, and anyway if he did he'd want to take his team with him, so we'd know about it in advance. Shame really, as I've love to leave this place!!

Hmmmm. I wonder if I can get out of going to Sweden if he doesn't go? Probably not, I suppose, but ugh.

Unsolicited advice

So, I have this one work "friend", S. I have put the word friend in quotes because although we sit and chat together, and get along pretty well, I often walk away shaking my head and wondering whether we'd ever be friends if we didn't work at the same place. We don't have all that much in common, apart from being the same age and both wanting kids, although she's usually very nice (except when she's being all Republican on me, but these days I usually ignore her on that if I just can't be bothered to get into it yet again on whatever topic she's going on about). However, she does have this annoying habit of giving out unsolicited advice, which is highly annoying. And, as she's now 3 months pregnant, she has deemed herself to be the pregnancy expert. And the infertility expert because it took her and her husband 2 years to conceived. She's also the vitamin expert, by the way, because she used to work for a vitamin company. Not on the research side, where she might be expected to actually know something, I hasten to add. No, she was an admin assistant, but still regards herself as the expert.

Now, while it took them 2 years to conceive, she didn't want to listen to me when I gave her the usual "how to conceive" tips like: take your BBT and chart your temps to find out when you're ovulating and have sex around and before then (too much effort), have sex every other day after the end of your period (that was just too much sex), use OPKs (she tried them one month and couldn't read the lines very well, so decided they were too confusing). She also didn't want to go to a doctor to have any testing done, just in case there was something wrong, because she didn't want any intervention. It seemed like she just wasn't all that bothered about having kids, and seemed to be doing it to placate her husband. Whatever.

So, all along she's been offering me advice, like how her friend in Miami got pregnant through IVF and I should switch to that doctor. I'd tell her I was very happy with my doctor, and anyway, Miami was a long way to drive for daily monitoring, to which she replied that her friend is the type to research everything (like I don't?), and therefore HER doctor must be the best, and after all, did G_loria E_stefan's IVF, so must be good. I guess there's really no answering the "oh, if a celebrity chose him, he must be good" opinion of doctors.

Her latest advice from yesterday is that I mustn't think of myself as infertile, because look at her, it took 2 years for her to conceive, and it worked in the end. I was like, but I AM infertile. I tried to explain that "infertile" doesn't mean that you can't or won't conceive, it just means you're having difficulties. I have tried to explain the definitions of infertility, and that even if I didn't qualify on any other criteria (which I do), you'd think that 2 failed IVF's would be enough in anyone's book. And I tried to explain that I no longer see the label "infertile" as a bad thing. It just is what it is. It doesn't mean that it won't ever work. And, in some ways, it is reassuring to claim the label for myself and to say "OK, this is the situation, but here's what I'm going to work towards doing about it..." But she was having none of it. And she suggested I changed doctors, again. And that I should relax. And that I should be careful what I wished for, because morning sickness was no picnic.

Oy, don't you just love friends like that?

In other musings for the day, why is it that every two weeks as I am frantically tidying the house before the cleaning people come, I swear that I will keep it tidy from now on, and two weeks later I am doing the very same thing? I guess if I was a natural neat freak or wasn't so damn lazy I wouldn't need the cleaning people in the first place, but honestly, it's all a bit ridiculous. I usually manage OK the first week, and then it all goes downhill rapidly. Especially when I've had a hangover day at the weekend!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The disappointment

Slowly, I am sinking into a fog of disappointment. It is not as bad as the pit of despair, but it still takes up my waking hours in wondering why this is happening. I know that there's really no answer to "why" in the grand sense of "why is the universe doing this to me?", at least not an answer that can be given to me by a live human being. But I've been looking for an answer to the small "why?". The thought that maybe there's still a hormone imbalance, or an immune system imbalance, or a physical issue like adhesions that is preventing me from conceiving a healthy baby. And then I wonder what those problems might be, and then I wonder how I might "fix" them. What more supplements I can take. What other acupuncture points I can have stimulated. What other Chinese herbs I can take. What other dietary modifications I can make.

And then I wonder why on earth I am wasting so much of my freaking life going over this again. And that's when the disappointment really hits. The disappointment that I am still stuck. I feel like I am stuck in the movie "Groundhog Day" where I have to keep reliving the failed cycles over and over again until I can get it absolutely perfect and end up pregnant, so that at last I have a way out of this nightmare. The disappointment that I am being left in the infertility dust by more and more people who have finally managed to get knocked up, and that the circle of my non-pregnant internet and real-life friends shrinks all the time. I hate it for all of us that are still here, wondering "when is it my turn?" I mean, I'm happy for those that make it out of the darkness, but oh so jealous at the same time.

I'm so disappointed that I didn't get knocked up quickly. That I don't already have a child and the life I envisaged. I'm disappointed that two IVF's have not worked. I have thrown my money and the best of modern medicine at the problem, and have come away empty handed. I'm disappointed that other people seem to do 3 months of acupuncture, and presto! Everything fixed! Why have I been doing it for 16 months through three acupuncturists (two of whom are supposed to be fertility experts) and am still only making baby steps of improvements? I'm so disappointed at the energy this has sucked out of my life.

I'm so disappointed that I have failed my body with the wrong choices in life, and yet still have no information as to which choices they were, precisely why they were wrong and how I can rectify the situation. It's odd that infertiles are supposed to feel that our bodies have failed us. One of my meditation CDs exhorts us not to think of words like "broken" to define our bodies. And yet I feel completely the opposite. I have always felt that my body was a great ally to me, and will do exactly what it is supposed to based on the choices I make. If I exercise, it gets toned up. If I eat ice cream, it gets fat. If I drink caffeine, I stay awake and don't sleep. If I eat bad food, it throws it up. So, I feel that any part of my body that I'm not happy with is entirely due to my own stupidity and lack of willpower to resist the siren call of chocolate. My body gives me what it is supposed to. So maybe that's why I run around in my head constantly trying to find out how I failed it so it can't orchestrate everything for conception. If I could find the key problem and change it, I have faith that my body can heal. However, there's that old disappointment thing again. I am disappointed that I can't find the damn key to unlock myself.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday's weighty weigh in

So, let's get the Monday weigh-in over with first, as it's not exactly what I wanted to post.

Today's weight = 179. Up 2 from last week, up 1 from starting point, up 3 from this week's target.

The diet is obviously going great, then. ;) But seriously, it was 176 on Friday, so this is entirely due to Saturday's overindulgence, Sunday's lazing around being hungover and eating leftovers from Saturday, and that little old thing called water retention. So I am hoping (a lot) that this is just a temporary upward blip, and that by next week I can be back on track again. Or at least closer to the track than I currently am.

As for what I thought about while lying around hungover, I have to admit that all I could think was that I wished I was pregnant so I didn't have to drink. Which is a very weird thing to be thinking, as I certainly didn't have to drink, and in fact had been looking forward to it. And it's not like I haven't been drinking since the negative beta, but I limited myself to one small glass a night. I suppose what I really wanted was a way to go out and have fun and to have an excuse not to drink that everyone knows about.

No, actually, let's face it, what I really want is to be pregnant, damn it. I'm so tired of still being here, and posting about boozing instead of posting about baby kicks. And the longer time goes on, the harder it gets because people who I started TTC with are now trying for their second or just enjoying their babies and ignoring those of us still in the trenches. I don't want to still be here. I don't want to be the IVF expert. I want to be the poopy diaper and breastfeeding expert.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Queasy like Sunday morning

Arrival of period with bad cramps + dinner at friends house + desire to consume as much red wine as humanly possible = hangover.

I'm going back to bed.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Photo Friday (well, Saturday)

I'm not an official member of Calliope's Photo Friday gang, because I'm too cheap to have bought a digital camera yet. I kept thinking I'd buy one when I was pregnant because then I could have a reason to splurge to get ready for the baby, and prices would keep coming down on the good models. However, the time is rapidly approaching for me to throw that feeble excuse where it belongs, and just buy one, damn it.

But until then, here's my favorite family photo. It's my mom and dad, and my brother and I going to a family wedding. I like it because my dad is all dressed up and looks kind of cool, and is focusing on me which is as it should be(!). My mom is in the photo and is not pulling a face at being photographed [note to those of you who always do this, IT ISN'T FAIR to the rest of us! I don't have enough photos of my mom because she hated being photographed, and then after she passed away it was heartbreaking realizing what we didn't have]. Although my mom does look pretty tired with the dark circles under her eyes, due no doubt to the crying, whining and general carrying on of the cute little person in her arms. Anyway, the main reason I just love this photo is that my brother looks so stupid in it. He, naturally, hates it. Which makes it all the more special to me. And yes, I am showing my age because it is in black and white, but oh well.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And my current favorite family member, my aunt (yes, that's my arm and butt to the left of the shot). This was taken at our favorite picnic spot in Miami, where we usually go for Thanksgiving and New Year's Day meals. My aunt has been such a rock of support to me, and I basically wouldn't be where I am today without her. And I'm speaking literally here, because there's no way I'd have picked Florida to move to if I hadn't wanted to be close to her.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, August 18, 2006

Clearing the Passages

As ever in my "seize the bull by the horns" moments, I am rushing forwards with plans to make the next IVF cycle a success.

The diet is going relatively well so far, although it isn't showing great results on the scale yet (yes, I was going to try to limit myself to a once a wek weigh-in, but I had to peek). But, I'm reducing my sugar consumption, finishing off the last of the Lean Cuisine lunch stash, and from next week should be entirely on healthy food.

I had an acupuncture appointment last night, and have got back on TCM herbs. So, back to making nasty mud-like tea morning and evening for the next 3 months. Sigh. It ain't pleasant, but it just has to be done. They were very nice about my IVF failure, much better than the last acu guy I ditched who didn't even tell me he was sorry when my first cycle failed.

But, more importantly, I sent off a questionnaire form yesterday to Clear Passage Therapies to see if they think they can help me out. They do an intensive deep tissue massage therapy to break up pelvic adhesions and hopefully increase fertility. It is outrageously expensive, but there's a (slim) chance that insurance will pay as it will be coded for pain, but then again, it's cheaper than another IVF cycle. I had adhesions diagnosed in my laparoscopic surgery last October, and I have a suspicion that they're back again. Or that I have more, this time caused by the surgery. Also, as I have a very retroverted uterus, and malpositioned ovaries, I do often wonder if there's enough blood flow getting to the right places. And there's a little matter of abdominal pain, which I get every month. So, I'm checking this out. I do realize that it might all be bogus, but I got good reports of them from someone who's had the therapy (thanks Nell!) and hope is a VERY precious commodity as you're going in to your third or fourth IVF. So if I have to do this to have hope, then do it I will.

Still haven't really cried properly over the negative beta, so I feel like I'm kind of in limbo waiting for the grieving to happen. I wonder if this is because I haven't got my period yet (yes, it's 18DPO and no sign of the old hag yet). Sometimes we need that visual confirmation of what the doctor tells us. Or maybe it could be because I haven't got shitfaced yet, which usually allows me to overcome that British stiff upper lip and general horror of sobbing uncontrollably. But have no fear, blogosphere, I have plans to get toasty on Saturday night, as I've been invited to a friend's house that is within staggering distance of my house, and she has enormous bucket-sized red wine glasses, a huge wine collection and loves to cook gourmet food. She's also very generous with the pouring! The only downside is that she has a large German Shepherd, and her mother's even larger German Shepherd will also be there. They both scare me, but hopefully they'll be on their best behavior and won't take any chunks out of my leg or anything similar.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Diet schmiet

Why are all the diets so different, and why are they all so confusing?

The Sonoma Diet would have me eat a ton of whole wheat (and other whole grains). So yesterday I bought some breakfast cereal that fitted in with the diet's requirements (must have at least 8 grams of fiber per serving, must be whole grain, etc), but as I was eating it this morning, it just seemed wrong to me. Apart from the fact that I am just not a breakfast cereal eater, that is, having given it up many years ago in favor of eggs, Ezekiel bread toast, oatmeal or fruit and yogurt, which are my normal breakfast selections. I mean, so many people say that wheat is bad for you, that even if you don't have celiac disease or any obvious sign of wheat intolerance, it can still be damaging your intestines. So why would I add more wheat to my diet? I mean, pasta is supposed to be evil, and I'm supposed to be drastically cutting down my pasta intake and only having it in wholewheat form. But then they want me to add more wheat for breakfast? Odd. To me, wheat should be a once-every-few-days kind of thing if we're talking eating healthily.

And cereals are just so sugary. Even the organic, super healthy, stuffed full of bran, high fiber stuff that I picked up. It was sweet. It had honey and other sweeteners in it. Somehow it all seems counterproductive. Why have all that healthy stuff and then make it so sugary? Sure, make it palatable, but it seemed far too sweet to me. Or is that just because I'm out of the habit of eating breakfast cereals? Maybe this one really isn't sugary, and my taste buds are just picking it up more than the average person? But then again, I've eaten an amount of ice cream lately that is approximately equal to the weight of a small cow, so you'd think I'd be used to sugary-ness.

Also, in the Sonoma Diet they want you to have only fat free milk for the first "Wave" of the diet, and only with your cereal. But milk is another thing I gave up, as it's supposed to be much harder to digest than yogurt or cheese. [OK, let's ignore the obvious ice cream and Starbucks iced chai aberrations here, I mean, when I am in my right mind and being healthy I don't eat any dairy other than yogurt or cheese.] So I had kefir on my cereal this morning instead of milk, flagrantly breaking the diet rules. But why would they want you to avoid yogurt to start with? Surely milk has more lactose, and therefore more sugar, which is what they really want you to stop eating on this diet. And yogurt has all those lovely bacteria which you are supposed to have every day. So why ban it in the first diet phase? All very confusing. I guess I'll finish the box of cereal that I bought, and then won't buy any more.

Somehow, I don't think me and this diet are going to have a very long relationship. At least, not in its pure form. I cooked a good Sonoma Diet meal yesterday for dinner, although I had a glass of wine with it, which you're not supposed to do until "Wave 2" of the diet. But hey, I've just had a failed IVF. I'm entitled to a glass of wine with dinner, damn it.

I think I'm going to have to go back to the old standby of the "Sarah makes it up as she goes along" diet. I think I need to trust my instincts as to what's healthy for my body, and I don't think eating whole wheat breakfast cereals is it. Or eating a ton of protein in the form of processed soy products, which the Sonoma Diet suggests if you don't want to get your protein in the form of meat or eggs. I don't think processed soy is good for my hormonal balance.

In TTC news, well, there is none. Starting to feel a bit depressed about all this, but I think that's normal. I think this cycle's failure is sinking in slowly, spread out over a week or so, rather than hitting me all at once. Somehow my brain knows that it needs to process this bit by bit as a protective measure, otherwise it will be too much to handle at one time, and I'll panic and go back to the ice cream badness. If it helps you laugh though, I did wonder this morning if I was really pregnant. I mean, I've had a negative blood test for Gawd's sake. But the nurse told me to call if I don't get my period in a week, and they've never said that before. Why do they care if I don't get my period quickly? So then I started wondering if I'd really had a very low positive beta, but they told me it was negative because they expected it to not be viable. And of course I was daydreaming of not getting my period and going in for another pregnancy test and having that one miraculously turn out to be positive. Hahahahaha. It seems that hope can't be completely squashed by good hard scientific evidence!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The morning after

Thanks for the kind words, it really helps. Now the reality is setting in. I really have been through 2 IVF cycles and I have nothing to show for it. If I was unclear before about whether I was infertile (and for the record, no I wasn't), this is really rubbing my face into the pile of infertility dogshit. This is the universe setting up a billboard opposite my home with 20-foot high words on it saying: You Are Barren.

It is better and worse than the failure from the first IVF. That first cycle, I had hope. I mean, IVF is supposed to work, isn't it? So, it was devastating when it failed. But then, most people have success on IVF#2 if they don't succeed on IVF#1, so while this is less devastating in certain ways because I was less hopeful, it is more devastating because I must be more infertile than the average person if I can fail twice. There's more of a panicky feeling of "what if it NEVER works?". There's more of a realization that I may have to face life after infertility without a baby in my arms.

But I am not ready to give up. I'm only 37 for eff's sake. My eggs shouldn't have completely conked out by now. I should still have some fertility left. Somehow I just need to make sure that I grow the magic golden egg, that it fertilizes and that it implants. Seems simple enough, huh? If only there was an instruction book that came with all this.

Anyway, I was quite restrained with the wine yesterday, I think. I had three 6-oz glasses. Which is way less than I'd normally have had using my bucket-sized red wine glasses. See? I'm learning restraint already. Although I did have some ice cream, but they were Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, so it wasn't as bad as having a vat of full-fat gorgeousness. I spent the night reading "The Sonoma Diet" which arrived yesterday from Amazon. A friend of mine has been raving about it, but to be honest it looks pretty hard to do because a) the portion sizes are teeny weeny, and b) it isn't exactly vegetarian friendly. But I'm going to give it a go, with a few modifications, because it is at least based on healthy food, which is what I need to be eating. So, it's off to the supermarket tonight to stock up on veggies and such. I can and I will do this. I think that's my new motto. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and if I can stick 1.5" needles in my own butt and go through IVF, I can damn well be hungry for a few days. I can damn well get off my arse and exercise, and I can damn well cook something in the evening rather than nuking a pre-prepared meal.

***Edited to Add***

Ever one to take the bull by the horns, I figured I might as well book my post-IVF follow-up appointment now. I'd rather do it early, even though I don't intend to cycle until November, because a) they might charge me for it if I leave it too late, and as this is the only free appointment they do I'm not about to pass up the opportunity to save some moolah, and b) I'm going to ask (yet again) for lots more tests, like immune system tests and a sonohystogram to see if my polyps have come back, so it'd be nice to have time to get those done. My appointment is for September 1st.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Beta was negative

It all fucking sucks, really.

The big day

15DPO. Beta day. I had my blood drawn. I am not hopeful. In fact, I am fighting back tears already.

I saw my RE at the clinic, and he gave me a cheery good morning (though I'm sure I just register as "oh, she's a patient of mine" rather than him knowing my actual name). Then he went straight into the ultrasound room, and I could hear him congratulating someone in there on their pregnancy. It cut through me like a knife because I don't know if I will ever get that far. I also heard yesterday that he calls people to congratulate them on positive blood test results. He hasn't called me since, I think, my second IUI cycle. Or was it my first? Now I'm just on the treadmill. I make the appointment, go in, pay lots of money to have a consult and then we start all over again with whatever treatment cycle he recommends. I don't merit a personal phone call. Or any congratulations. Commiserations might be nice every once in a while though.

Oh well, chin up as they say in Britain. I can and I will get through this.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Monday weigh-in

Should I even bother reporting that today's pregnancy test was negative again? It was, so let's move on. [But bizarrely my temperature went up which could get me all hopeful if I let it, but let's face it, a negative HPT at 14DPO is not a good sign.]

I have decided that every Monday I am going to weigh in, and put down in writing how much I have lost (or gained) that week. I need need need to lose weight so I can have some hope going in to the next cycle because the only two things different between IVF#1 and IVF#2 were that I got fatter and I was on BCP for nearly 6 weeks. And I got 5 eggs as opposed to 14. So I need to eat healthily again, and go back to just 3 weeks on BCP in order for me to have hope that I can bring that number back up again.

So, I toyed with the idea of actually telling you guys how much I weigh. I mean, I've told you about my periods and all about the va-jay-jay. However, there's something just so awful about having to reveal your weight when you're not happy with it. Something much worse than telling the anonymous internet about your cervical mucus, for some bizarre reason. So I decided not to. And then I flip-flopped. And I've been changing my mind all morning.

But, owning up to something is the first step to conquering it, so here goes.

I am 5 feet 7". The highest healthy weight for my height according to the doctor's chart is 155 pounds. At my egg retrieval this time I weighed 180. On Saturday I weighed 178 after the stims bloat had gone down, so I'm going to take 178 as the starting point for my diet. It's not that overweight, I know, but it doesn't make me happy with myself and that isn't a good position to be in. I'm happy at around 150lbs, at which weight I'm a U.S. size 8 (U.K. size 12). I don't need to be any smaller than that - in fact when I was a size 6 people in the U.K. would tell me I was too thin, and I tend to agree with them, because I have big childbearing hips and my hip bones stick out if I'm skinny. Nobody in the U.S. would ever tell you you were too thin unless you were smaller than a size 0, but that's a whole other issue, and anyway I'm pretty sure my skeleton is bigger than that. So, my ideal would be to lose 30lbs. As I have 3 months until the next IVF, I know that's a pretty ridiculous target, so my actual goal will be to lose 15lbs. Or more. I hope I can manage it, but hey, ANYTHING will be welcomed.

Monday weigh-in (week 1) = 177, down 1. Not bad for just one weekend, and I haven't quite quit the sugar addiction yet.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Snow white and the negative pregnancy test

This morning's test was just as negative as yesterday's. It was as white as the driven snow. So it looks like it really is true. I am now a failure at 2 IVF's. Or is it 3? I'm never quite sure whether to count that cancelled cycle. I mean, anyone who has either been cancelled or has been in danger of cancellation in an IVF cycle knows that it isn't just another IUI cycle. It is scary and heartbreaking and terrible and depressing in a way that no IUI cycle can be. But then, I didn't go through egg retrieval and transfer so I guess I shouldn't really count it.

So let's say 2 IVF's then. I have had 7 embryos placed into my uterus. None of them have taken.


Is there a reason why? Is it really just random chance? Is it just a question of laying the golden egg? If the eggs are so bad, why are they fertilizing to be embryos? Is is karma? Is it because I did something bad? Because I'm single? Have I been eating the wrong things for too many years? Is it because I'm vegetarian? Do I eat too much soy? Cheese? Pasta? Have I eaten too little protein? Is it because I don't go to church enough? It is just my age?

If I knew what the culprit was, I would cut it out of my life or add it in an instant. Well, I can't exactly change my age, though I guess I could live on wheatgrass and spirulina and raw food or something to try to help. And I'd have to think long and hard about eating meat again. Really not sure I could do that. But apart from those, yes, I could even give up pasta for a few months.

Anyway, I was told yesterday that at least I was being upbeat about all this. Upbeat? Upbeat? Oh let me just go and celebrate the fact that I spent $14,000 or thereabouts for absofuckinglutely nothing. No, blogosphere, I am not upbeat. I am doing what is called "putting a brave face on". I am trying to make the best of a bad situation. I don't believe in lying around the house moaning "woe is me" for any longer than absolutely necessary. Obviously, you've got to have a good cry and rage against the machine at some point but there's no advantage to be gained in wallowing. Last time I did way too much wallowing in the bottoms of wine bottles and ice cream cartons, and look where it got me - sucky embryos and a fat arse. I'd rather be making plans for how to improve next time. This time, I'd rather not depress myself by thinking just how sucky my eggs must be, thank you very much. Maybe if I had a husband I might lie around for longer crying, because I'd have an audience, and I find that having an audience encourages some behaviors. But the cat doesn't care if I cry or laugh. Just so long as she is in a situation where some purring is in order, she's pretty happy.

So, planning is what I have been doing. And spending money on new vitamins, new books, new diets, new yoga DVD's. I have been out jogging (badly - I'm VERY out of shape!). I have been hungry because I am determined to lose some of this weight I have gained. I am going to give the next cycle my all. I will try to be as healthy as I can possibly be so that I can never say I didn't try as hard as I possibly could. The trouble is, it is so hard to find out what you have to do to be healthy. Randine Lewis would have me give up dairy. And eat lots of soy. Other health gurus say that soy is poison. Others say that yogurt is necessary. Others say that I must cut out sugar at all cost. Well, I guess I'll figure it out as I go along. Isn't that what life is all about? Figuring out as we go along how to deal with the crap hand we've been dealt.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Well, I tested

And it was negative.

Stark, staring, white negative.

Surprisingly, I'm OK with it at the moment. After all, I've told countless people that 12DPO is too early for an accurate result, so I still have a tiny bit of hope that it could turn around for me. But then again, as I figured out The Plan for what to do if this cycle fails, I've also got some clear idea of what I have to do next for if this result is real.

Now, as it gets up to (and including) my beta test, I reserve the right to pout, sulk, whine and sob unattractively. And start drinking red wine again. But as it is, I'm starting my diet today to try to lose some of the IVF weight, and am about to pull my shorts on to go out walking. I haven't done much exercise basically since the last IVF cycle because I just couldn't deal with anything except drinking alcohol and eating ice cream for a while there, and then I just got lazy. But I HAVE to lose this weight and get healthy again.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Got an email from the big boss, sent to several people.

"I've heard a number of concerns about ***** and I intend to have a talk with him. I would like your succinct notation of problems, mistakes etc. I will not use names."

It appears that "operation get the jackass fired" is having an effect. Ahhh, that'll give me a nicer weekend!

No, really, I'm not vindictive. Moi? I just think that we don't need people who lie, are sloppy and actually prevent the rest of us from working.


I should be working, but I've never let that stop me before, so why stop now? TGIF, blogosphere. I will not have to see the work jackass for two whole days. I have, by the way, instituted my "get the jackass fired" plan, by blind copying the big boss on all my emails to him which point out his mistakes, and by urging everyone else who has complained about this guy to go and complain to the big boss. There's been a string of visitors to the big boss' office, I'm pleased to say. Hopefully the powers-that-be will get the message.

I keep pondering about all the brouhaha surrounding the latest terrorist plot. Not that it's not just awful and scary that these people think that it is a great idea to blow up planes, and to be honest, it puts me off wanting to move back to England a little bit. But mainly because I just think this will give the government even more "reason" to want to take away more freedoms from us. And of course we'll probably never be able to take liquids on planes ever again because the idiot media has told everyone how to make bombs. Why oh why can't they keep quiet on such details?

Anyway, of course you all know that what I'm really spending most of my time thinking about are my female bits. I had an acupuncture appointment yesterday, and she didn't declare that I had a slippery pulse (supposedly a sure sign of pregnancy), so that depressed me. But then again, in my self diagnosis wrist-holding sessions (of which there are many) it doesn't feel like anything else either. So who knows. Not that I know what a wiry, taught or choppy pulse really feel like so I'm just blindly holding my wrist and going "well, it kinda feels like it could be slippery". I also had a thought while lying there with needles in me that I've been really focused on having twins so I could be done with TTC'ing, and that I haven't focused enough on having one healthy baby. So I really tried to do that, and tried imagining the extra money I could spend on a kid if there was just one, how I could try for a natural birth, how the pregnancy would be easier, and all the other benefits to having a singleton. I think that helped. I felt a bit more at peace after that. Unfortunately, one of the things that was coming up in my daydreaming was having a Bugaboo stroller. I have serious Bugaboo envy, but the problem is that the very cheapest model is $679, and the most expensive model is $879. Honestly, how can any sane right-minded person justify spending that much money on a stroller? But I want one! Plus, I think I should be entitled to reward myself if I ever do manage to get pregnant. And I don't have a husband to remind me to be sensible. But then again, I know people would laugh at me for being such a snob/label hound, so maybe I should hold back.

In good news, I have had pretty strong(ish) cramps for the last three days. Cramps are normal for me in the 2ww, but these are stronger than normal. So I am trying to convince myself that a little one or two is/are snuggling in, but I know that my fellow infertiles out there know just how damn hard it is to keep doing the positive visualization going from the bottom of the pit of despair. I'm trying though.

This morning in the shower, I had a breakthrough of sorts. I finalized "The Plan". The plan for what to do if this cycle doesn't work. It feels good to have a plan, because I like to know roughly what I'm going to do if what I'm currently working for doesn't work out. And the plan is to do one more IVF at my current clinic, and if that doesn't work, do an IVF at a fancy-schmancy out of state clinic with stellar success rates. And if that doesn't work, do the FET with my one lonely frozen embryo. And if that doesn't work, I'm done. Done, done, done. Finito. No donor eggs, no adoption. I'll do something radically different with my life like go back to school to study for my second career. Or become a hermit. Or something. I'll figure that out if I get to that point.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The pit of despair

I started to post yesterday all about the shitty time I am having at work, particularly dealing with one jackass in particular. But then I decided that I didn't want to get Dooced so I canned it. Sigh. I can't stand working with jackasses, and this one takes things one step further by blaming absolutely everyone else for his difficulties. So he hates working with me because I am always on his ass about getting the work done, and he passively aggressively bc'd the big boss on an email he sent to me full of excuses about how its our fault that things have been inefficient. And for the record, I'm not always on his ass, but when it takes 5 or 6 iterations to get a project correct so I have to spend hours correcting his work when it should take me 20 minutes to review and approve it, I'm going to start getting pissed off. I'm also not going to want to see the same project day after day after freakin' day and at some point am going to ask for it just to get out the damn door.

Heh, maybe I'm a bitch, maybe not, but someone needs to have their ass fired around here, and it's not me. Well, actually they probably should fire me for the amount of time I spend thinking about my ovaries and not doing productive work, but that's another story. At least I'm not disruptive to others.

Anyway, onto baby-related things. I have fallen into the despair pit, and I can't get out. I can't imagine this working with just 4-cell embryos. I see so many people with all these gorgeous over-achieving embryos and I worry about my little slow pokes. I worry about my egg quality and if this ever going to work. I worry about my clinic and if they're any good. I mean, they're big and they get plenty of people pregnant, but their success rates aren't exactly stellar. I'm wondering whether to cut my losses and run to another clinic now, or whether to give them one more opportunity. If I go to another clinic, it'll be an out-of-state one so I can do an IVF vacation, so that'll have to be next year. During the waiting period I could fit in another IVF here. But then again, should I be doing that? Should I go back to unmedicated IUI's in the waiting period? It seems like they have as much chance of working as an IVF. But each unmedicated IUI is like $1400 a cycle because my clinic wants to do two IUIs each time, and two vials of sperm don't come cheap. I could be using that time to save money for the next IVF. Ugh, decisions, decisions.

And, I know, it's just too damn early to be thinking the doom and gloom thoughts, but that's the fault of the despair pit. It's just full of the dank dark stench of failure which insidiously pervades my brain and prevents me from thinking happy thoughts about my babies. I must, I must be happy and optimistic. If anyone has any quick and easy "get happy" ideas, I'd love to hear them. The vat of ice cream I downed yesterday didn't help and alcohol is verboten, so I may have to move on to chocolate today. Sigh. My waistline is not going to thank me.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Doing the progesterone happy dance

Good news! My progesterone level is 30! It's never been that high before. Ever. In fact, it's never not been completely sucky before. So I'm pretty happy about that. I know the progesterone level doesn't imply pregnancy, but hey, don't rain on my parade when I'm finally happy about it for once.

The crotch itch has gone as well (I'm sure you all were eagerly awaiting another update on that) so I think it was just irritation and not a yeast infection. Phew!

So, it's good news all around. Apart from the fact that I work with a bunch of jackasses who don't know their arses from their elbows. We have this one paralegal that supposedly has 15 years of experience, but he can't seem to get the basic stuff right, and then blames all his errors on absolutely everyone else. I want to commit violence on him. Except I won't, because I'm a nice English girl, and he's much bigger than me. I'm sure the raise in my blood pressure level that he's causing is not good for any implanting embryo, so I'm trying to stay calm, but it's difficult, blogosphere, it's difficult.

In a big off topic ramble which is now coming up, I was watching TV last night and it seemed like pretty much half the ads were for the gubernatorial primaries. Does everyone have that going on, or just some of us lucky ones? There's actually one guy who is running on a platform of banning gay marriage, limiting access to abortions and encouraging more adoptions. I have yet to see him explain satisfactorily just how my gay neighbors are threatening the sanctity of family life, as they wash their cars on Sunday and mow the lawn. Yes, it must be bad to feel so threatened by such terribly corrupting behavior and outward displays of...normalcy. And as for encouraging adoption, I know many gay couples in Florida would just love to adopt and yet they are prevented from doing so. When will people wake up and smell the coffee? It makes me so angry that I can't even vote or give any money to political candidates to fight this kind of bigotry, because I'm not a US citizen and don't have a green card either. Putting a sign in my front yard doesn't quite seem enough.

Oh, and it's not for want of trying that I don't have a green card. I filed my application over two years ago, and it's gone into the black hole that is our government's bureaucracy. In fact, my visa runs out in January so we'll have to see if they try to kick me out or let me hang on while they find my application. I'm supposed to get an automatic extension, but we'll see. Oh, and did I mention that my driving license expired this month? It was set to expire six months before my visa runs out. So I had to go and renew it and of course didn't have any proof that I'm allowed to stay in the country beyond the visa expiry date because the government won't provide that until 3 months before the expiry date. So now when does my new driving license expire? 2 weeks before the visa runs out. On January the first. Greeeat. So I have to try to renew it over Christmas, and hope that the piece of paper I'll get saying I have an automatic visa extension due to the government's slowness over processing the green card application will be enough for the DMV. Because I can't actually get a stamp in my passport unless I go to London to have it done. Which takes a minimum of 3 days, because you have to line up at the U.S. Embassy, give them a lot of money, photos and other information, and they take your passport and FedEx it back to you several days later. And I really don't want to have to fly to London over the Christmas and New Year holidays just so that I can drive when I get back. But then again, I suppose it'll make the family over there happy. Of course, I'm also hoping I'll be pregnant by then, so that'll be added stress - what if I have to go over there and I'm not allowed to by the doctor? Taxis will get pretty darn expensive after a while. I guess there must be some way of appealing DMV decisions if it comes to it. I do work for a fancy law firm after all, there must be someone around here that could handle that for me.

Anyway, the thing that makes me laugh in this whole process is that once I get green card approval, I have to have a medical examination to prove that I'm not bringing in any communicable diseases into the country. Hello people? I'll have been here for 7+ years by that point! I think if I had brought anything contagious with me, half the population of the state could have it by then. Ridiculous.

OK, ramble over. Back to the progesterone happy dance...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Damn, damn, double damn, and triple damn

I've screwed up my credit card, and managed not to pay my IVF fee on time. Which means that not only will I get hit with a crazy amount of interest, it'll probably be a ding against my credit score. Damn it.

Y'see I changed my checking account a few months ago, and I guess I didn't change the linked account for that particular card, which I don't use all the time. So come time to pay my IVF fee, I waited until the last possible minute, logged on to my account, and hit pay. Of course, the bank is so nice and concerned with security that it doesn't show the bank name for the checking account on screen or I might have noticed. Just some numbers, and lots of X's, which are frankly meaningless, so I didn't pay too much attention. And the payment bounced because I've closed my old checking account. So they nicely closed down my ability to make payments on the internet, and I can't even pay online at the moment, or even pay by phone. I mean, I was on the phone with customer service saying "I have the cash in my account, I'm willing to pay right now and I'm even willing to pay the extra fee you have for paying over the phone and you're telling me you won't take my money?" The nice lady on the phone told me that they would release the hold on online paying from my new account in a week or so, and then I could pay online, or I could send them a check. A check? I never pay bills by check if I can help it. Good lord, that involves stamps and everything. And would probably take longer for the money to clear than if I just waited the week and paid online. So guess what I'll be logging into every day in the hope I can pay this nearly $10k bill. Ugh.

OK, do NOT let me forget to pay this!

On crotch watch

OK, this was going to be a deep and meaningful post about how I turned into a hermit at the weekend, and how I'm such a loner when I allow myself to be, which isn't healthy. But sorry, all I can think about this morning is that my crotch itches.

Ha, sorry, TMI, I know. But it's uncomfortable.




More whining.

I'm trying to figure out if the progesterone suppositories have given me a yeast infection, or if it's all just irritated down there from the gunk. I've been eating a ton of yogurt, and it doesn't, um, have that smell, so it's hard to tell. I guess my last resort would be to stick the yogurt or some monistat where the sun doesn't shine, but there's enough gunk up there already I don't really want to add to it. Sigh. I guess I'll call the IVF nurse if it gets worse and ask what's OK to take.

Yuck. The joys of IVF. Why oh why do I have to have such sucky progesterone levels that the damn intramuscular injections aren't enough? Why oh why did the nice friendly prometrium capsules have to give me a damn peanut intolerance so I can't use them any more?

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Because I am on progesterone in oil injections and 400mg vaginal progesterone suppositories a day, I feel like I am awash in progesterone. I feel like I must have it oozing out of my pores (but watch when my blood level comes back as crappy as always at my test). And as any infertile who has been through medical assistance knows, progesterone makes you tired. And a double dose of progesterone makes you damn tired.

So I have basically turned into a teenager, napping all day. Except without the staying up all night and doing interesting stuff part of it. OK, so maybe we just say that I've now developed narcolepsy. Or some other sleeping sickness. I mean, I was always good at napping, but I had my limits. Now I basically wake up for food, stay up for an hour or so to check the internet and read a little, and then it's back to napping. At least that's the plan for the weekend.

And the thing with napping is that it's light sleep, so I am in dreamtime a lot. Apart from the sex dreams (ahem, well, just when you are banned from all things "down there" is precisely when your brain decides that it's a fundamentally necessary part of life), anyway, where was I? Yes, apart from the sex dreams, for some reason I keep dreaming of this one damn building from my home town. It's pretty annoying. But I always was fascinated by this building, so I suppose it's only natural that it crops up a lot in my dreams. And it does, repeatedly, just not usually dream after dream after dream in quick succession. You see, I lived in a "dormitory town" for London when growing up. There was a little business center downtown and we had our own "skyscraper" that housed an insurance company (don't be imagining anything more than 12 or so stories here, by the way), but pretty much everyone commuted. Except right near where our house was there was this little parade of shops (I guess the yanks among you would say a strip mall, but they had apartments above them and weren't exactly the same as what I think of as a strip mall). At one end of the shops was a pub, and at the other end was a gas station and an office block. Yes, an office block. About 8 stories high maybe. With a Spar convenience store at the bottom of it. But the office entrance had this enormous copper sign with a huuuge female symbol on it. You know, the circle with the cross underneath. I mean, it was a good 7-8 feet high, and was at ground level so you couldn't miss it. I used to walk past this building every day on the way to school and wonder why they were so pro-women. Until I found out that it was the headquarters of the copper marketing board or something, and the female symbol was also the symbol for copper. But the thing that used to get me the most was why the fuck anyone would willingly put their offices in a suburban backwater part of a suburban backwater dormitory town, when there was so so many other and better places to have an office. I used to wonder constantly what types of businesses were in there - I figured they all had to be reaaally cheap to not want to pay the rent on any better location. I used to try to make out people in the windows and see what they were doing, see how drab the offices looked behind them. I wondered if they had to shop at the Spar every day for their sandwiches, which would have been pretty bad news, or if they ventured to the not-very-savory pub for a pub lunch. Mostly I used to pity them, because of course I would never ever be caught dead doing an office job. Uh, yeah, that ambition worked out well.

Anyway, so that's where I'm spending my time these days. At the office building with the gas station in front of it, and the Spar to the right of it. With the copper entrance way. In fact, in some of my dreams, I'm opening a business there and remarking on how cheap the rent is. And then running home at lunchtime to the house I grew up in, so I don't have to eat Spar pre-packed sandwiches.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I've been remiss about updating, at exactly the wrong time, I know! It's just you know how sometimes you just become so overwhelmed with everything you have to fit into your day, and then there's this little IVF elephant in the room, and you just kind of run out of breathing space so you have to focus down onto just doing the bare minimum to survive.

Most of my craziness has been caused by a bitch attorney in another of our offices and her crazy client. I got an email Wednesday morning from her headed "It's 3.14am" which went on to say how she couldn't sleep because she was so stressed that I hadn't been able to complete this project for her client. That she asked us to do on Tuesday. I mean, OK, actually she asked us to do it several weeks ago, and we've been backwards and forwards a bit with questions for the client. Not stellar service, but we kept things ticking along. So on Tuesday we get the word that the project HAD to be completed on Wednesday. Um, yeah, thanks bitch. Perhaps if I didn't have my own stuff where clients are screaming for things, and projects with REAL deadlines, I might have got yours done. Perhaps the fact that we are hiring 5 new people to help us in the next 2 months, and are still recruiting might give you a hint that we are swamped right now. Perhaps if I didn't mind working until 2am and giving up my life I might get it all done, but those days are long over for me because I'm just not prepared to do that any more. The joys of law firm life.


The transfer yesterday went well. Mostly well. I got to the clinic already needing to pee (it's a full bladder procedure, but they want you there one and a quarter hours beforehand). I knew I'd never last until the procedure, so did a quick stealth pee in the public bathrooms on the ground floor of the buildings before going in. But I had a big water bottle with me, and was steadily sipping away as I sat on my bed and we went through all the preliminaries. They told me straight away that I would be transferring all four embryos. I was shocked, because I thought I'd have to battle the doctor over putting more than three in. But then they gave me the grades, and I had a 4-cell grade 1, a 5-cell grade 2, a 4-cell grade 2 and a 4-cell grade 4. The ideal would have been an 8-cell grade 1. So they were a bit sluggish, and that grade 4 probably isn't going to do anything for me, so that's presumably why they decided to just throw them all in and see what sticks. They also decided to do assisted hatching (cutting a small hole in the outer membrane), but I've yet to find out how much THAT will cost me as I didn't prepay for it.

I'd paid a small fortune for the privilege of having my acupuncturist come to the clinic, so she did a half-hour acu session while I was lying there enjoying the effects of the valium that we are given prior to transfer. And I kept sipping on my water bottle like a good girl. By the time she finished, my bladder was getting painfully full. My appointment time came and went. We asked the nurse how long it was going to be, because I was starting to feel like I'd burst, and she broke the bad news that not only was the doctor running slightly late, they'd changed the schedule and I wasn't going to be the first transfer of the day after all, but the second one. However, I think she could see that I was near to tears, so she let me go to the bathroom with instructions to pee out a cup full of urine. Yeah right. Have you ever tried to limit your pee to just a cup full when you've been completely desperate to go? I think I kept it down to about 3 cups before I could finally cut off the flow. So, given that I'd peed more than I should have done, I went back to the water bottle.

By the time I got into the procedure room, my bladder was painfully full again, and the nurse and doctor both exclaimed about how huge and full my bladder looked. I asked if they wouldn't press down too hard with the transabdominal ultrasound head, and the doctor said "yeah, because then I'll be paying the price, won't I?". I assumed that he had in fact been peed on before. He had to clean out a lot of progesterone gunk before the transfer, and remarked that he could always tell who was on vaginal progesterone. Nice. He said they definitely make it sticky to stay in there for a reason, but it takes a while to take it out again. I got the obligatory multiples and selective reduction talk, and when I said that I thought the grade 4 wouldn't exactly be doing anything, he surprised me by saying he'd had a patient have triplets from 4-cell grade 5's. I didn't even know the grading scale went as low as grade 5! So that gave me hope -not that I want triplets or quads, but I want 1 or 2 of my little sluggish guys to thrive and stick. They put the embryos in, which was all a little painful because speculum + full bladder does not a comfortable Sarah make.

As soon as we were done, the nurse brought me a bedpan. Right in the procedure room. With the doctor still there messing around on the computer. So it was a little hard to let go, but then I remembered how much it hurt so I managed it.

I was trundled back to the recovery area, had another acupuncture session, and waited out my hour of bedrest. One of my lovely internet buddies who goes to the clinic stopped to say hi, and it turned out that she was the reason I was rescheduled, as she was doing a 6-day transfer and two of her blastocysts were already hatching so they needed to get her transfer done ASAP. So I forgave her causing me that discomfort!

My aunt, who'd kindly driven me to the clinic, and I went home and hung around until about 3pm when she left, and I crawled into bed pretty quickly. I got out of bed at 9.20pm purely because I had to have more drugs, and this time with food, even though I wasn't hungry, but I could easily have just stayed in bed for the duration. I guess valium really knocks me for six. That and the double dose of progesterone. However, getting up wasn't all bad, as I got to see who was eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance, and I was glad to see that America got it right this week, so all was not lost for the world.

This morning I am back at work, back to more emails from the crazy bitch attorney and trying to stay as mellow as I can. The good news is that I was brave enough to step on the scale, and I've lost three pounds since Monday, so some of the stims bloat is going down. The weekend will involve as much napping as is physically possible, in an effort to allow those embryos space and time to get comfy and grow big and strong. God, I hope it works this time!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Moving forward

Last cycle I got my fertilization report before 9am, so I was expecting something similar today. 9am came and went. 10am came and went. 11am came and went. I was freaking out thinking that none of the eggs fertilized and that's why they were late calling. But finally I got the call, and it was good news! Out of the 5 eggs retrieved, 4 were mature and all 4 of those fertilized with ICSI. Phew!

Embryo transfer will be on Thursday. My aunt will be driving me (woo-hoo!), and my acupuncturist will meet me there to do the needles imediately before and after transfer. My aunt is a craniosacral therapy practitioner, so if I'm really super lucky maybe I can get her to do some work on me as well.

So the big question is, how many to transfer? With four, I'm very very tempted to ask them to put them all in (if they're all still alive on Thursday). I already warned the nurse that I want to discuss this with the doctor. Obviously, the thought of triplets or quads is not a prospect that thrills me. I just really rather wouldn't be in that situation. But then again, at my age, it is likely that some of the eggs are bad - I mean, last time I put three embryos in and none of them were good. I am holding out hope that the lower response this time means higher quality per egg, but still, one has to be realistic. And I was upset last cycle that the clinic just chose wrongly when they made the decision as to which embryos to transfer. They transferred the fast growing embryos, even though they were grade 2's. I had some slow growing grade 1's that they didn't even tell me about, and which ultimately grew into blastocysts at day 5 (albeit only one of them was good enough to freeze, at least both of my grade 1's made it). So I'm worried about making any kind of selection of the embryos at this stage because the selection process is little more than a guess. I'd rather throw everything in, and see what sticks. I think. Decisions, decisions.