Friday, December 29, 2006


This was supposed to be the "immigration sucks ass" post, but I don't have the energy to tell you ALL my immigration woes. Instead, I'll just tell you about one. I am grounded. The DMV refused to renew my driver's license.

You see, they set the driver's license to expire about two weeks before my visa expired. Now, normally I would have had the visa renewal documents by now, but USCIS decided to approve my immigration petition just around the time we were going to petition to renew my visa for 1 year. Woo-hoo, you would think, I'm legal! But no, because of a cock up at my employer, they filed under the wrong fucking employment category, and even though I'm approved as an immigrant, I now have to wait about 3 years for the quota to open up in the crappy category that they put the application under. So, no green card yet. Even though I'm approved for it. Well, while we were sorting out all that approval stuff, we couldn't apply for a 1-year visa renewal, and had to wait until it was all finally finally approved before we could then apply for a 3-year renewal. All fine and dandy, except the visa renewal documents haven't arrived yet. The holidays haven't helped.

The DMV first tried to make me feel like an idiot for turning up without the right documents, but I asked them what else I could have done - I got the last possible appointment before my license expired, in the hope that the documents would be here, and I hoped they would at least give me a 30-day temporary permit. No such luck. No temporary permit because my visa expires in less than 30 days. How about a 15-day permit then? Nope, no such thing. So I was rudely turned away, and told that I cannot drive from January 1st. They give even drunk drivers the ability to drive to work, but not me. I have to wait until my visa approval document arrives (the ORIGINAL document, mind you, none of your photocopies or scans). I can't drive to work. I can't drive to the supermarket. I can't drive to my appointment with my RE. I can't drive to see my 90-year old grandpa who is over visiting from England. I can't drive fucking anywhere.

Well, let me rephrase that, I asked if I was legally allowed to drive. They said no, but I was a big girl and could make my own decisions and live with the consequences. I said "are you telling me to break the law?" They said "no ma'am, but you're a big girl and you can make your own decisions". Like fuck am I going to break the law, because I just know if I get caught it'll mean deportation or some other ridiculously out of order punishment, just because I'm not a US citizen.


Fucking bastards.

It was the rudeness that really got me. Like it was my fault that all this was happening. I tried to explain that their OWN website says that the driver's license should expire with the visa, but they just blew me off and said that they no longer go by the visa expiry date. Oh yeah, well why refuse me a temporary permit because my visa expiry date is less than 30 days away? They just told me to stop wasting their time and come back when I'd received the relevant documents.


I had to pull the car over on the way home because I thought I was going to faint as I was hyperventilating so much. My hands were shaking so much I could barely hold the steering wheel. I bawled and sobbed and sobbed some more in this parking lot on the edge of a busy road. I tried to do some deep breathing, and eventually calmed enough to continue driving home. But then tried to call a buddy and ended up sobbing more while explaining the situation to him. And then sobbed some more when I called the family to explain why I wouldn't be going to visit for New Year.

Fucking bastards.

Immigration has been nothing but stress, hassle and bureaucratic nightmares. And the US wonders why it has such a problem with illegal immigrants - maybe it should stop fucking making life a misery for the ones who are trying to do it legally.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Insurance sucks ass

I hate insurance companies. Have I mentioned that before? I'm sure I have, but just so everyone is clear on this point, I HATE insurance companies!

They pay nothing for my fertility treatments.
They pay nothing for any of the expensive drugs whose only use is in fertility treatments. But I can have other drugs, like Viagra, purely for enjoyment if I want them. And I can have therapy after the fertility treatments have failed.
Although my insurance policy covers some acupuncture, it is only to be used for pain relief, so although I could lie and ask my acupuncturist to lie, silly old honest me pays full price for it.

I could go on, but as everyone has their own woes with insurance companies (or the NHS), we'll leave it there.

But I got a letter yesterday. From a subrogation company that has been contacted by my insurance company, demanding that I tell them if my physical therapy in September (at Clear Passage) was due to an accident. Because they want to sue the other party involved in the accident so they can reclaim some of the money. Now, they only reimbursed me $1200 out of the bill of $5200 in the first place, because of all their insurance company tricks of only paying 60% of what they think the service should be in the first place. But now I have to tell them if it was an accident or not? Just to treat some pain? Which is supposed to be covered by my effing policy. So, I duly put down my horseriding accident from 1982, and I'd like to see them come after me for the name of the riding instructor or stable. Given that I remember neither of these, that any statute of limitations will already have passed, and that said riding stable was in England, I doubt whether they'll be suing anyone. Except maybe me, for daring to try to claim for treatment for pain/pelvic adhesions. Presumably I was supposed to have been on prescription pain pills all this time to prove that it was real pain.

In other words, Insurance sucks ass.

Tomorrow, or maybe Saturday, we'll have the "Immigration sucks ass" post. I'm sure you're looking forward to it. I have an appointment tomorrow with the DMV to renew my driver's license. Which I last renewed in July, but they only gave me until January 1st. My visa runs out in the middle of January, but they keep renewing my license to periods somewhat before the visa expiry period. Which they are NOT supposed to do, as they are supposed to expire at the same time. So, I have to go down to the DMV, which we all know is a boatload of fun, without all the necessary documents in hand, because although the visa renewal documents are expected shortly, they haven't arrived yet. Because my visa hasn't expired, so why would USCIS act any quicker than they need to, as there should be no reason for me to have to prove that my visa has been renewed yet. Duh. And of course, there are other ramifications too, but I won't go into them here. But, immigration woes have been sucking up a lot of my time and energy lately. If it all goes horribly wrong, I may be making an emergency trip to England in the next few weeks, just to be able to drive. Tossers. Immigration sucks ass.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Girding my loins

I just don't seem to be bouncing back from this IVF as quickly as I did previously. I think it's because I'm finally facing reality that I might never have a child that is biologically related to me. And because I'd got my hopes up with my good quality embryo and then the faint lines on Accuclear.

The tears continue to leak out at odd moments. I continue to catch my breath at a possible child-less future. I allow myself to stare into that loneliness and try it on for size.

But, slowly, slowly I can feel hope start to creep back in. I am trying to do lots of positive thinking and visualizations, and I don't feel despair any more when I tell myself that there's no reason to believe that I can't produce a good quality egg. I know that there is still a chance. So that is what I am hanging on to now. It may not be as good as visualizing that all my eggs are great quality and that I'll get 12 perfect embryos next time, but it's as good as I can get right now. The thought that I can produce a good quality egg if conditions are right.

I am trying to control my food intake though. I have noticed that, although I thought I bounced back emotionally from the previous IVF failures, I definitely sought refuge in comfort food for a lot longer amount of time. So clearly there was some unprocessed emotion going on. This time, I want to try to control my blood sugar and my alcohol intake. I am wondering if blood sugar can affect egg quality - if I am ingesting a lot of ice cream, cookies, cake and chocolate, perhaps that is not helping. I found one study about blood sugar levels in non-PCOS women being a predictor of IVF success. So that's my plan for this time - get on Weight Watchers to monitor portion sizes, be stricter about only eating healthy food, and don't get smashed at all before the next cycle. I'm allowing myself a glass or two of wine on any day that I feel the need, but definitely want to keep it to two glasses maximum on any one day. I forced myself onto the scale today, and it was not good. I now need to lose 28 lbs to get back to being a normal weight for my height. Or 48 lbs to get to my ideal weight. Sigh. But, hopefully I will be able to force myself to go to the WW meeting on Saturday so I can start getting serious about not cheating.

I'm actually looking forward to my IVF consultation, which is a nice change, as up to now I was dreading it, so that's good. I still haven't called about a second opinion, as I still can't decide on which clinic to go with, so I think I'll wait until after I've discussed the whole thing with my RE.

P.S. (edited to add) I bought the camera! Having discussed it with my buddies at work, I decided that I didn't want to spend the extra cash on a printer right now, especially as I should be saving for the next IVF but I could use the gift cards to pay for camera accessories that I will need, like a 1GB memory card, more batteries, and a travel case. And buy the camera from the cheap internet place. Yay! So, coming soon to this blog - pictures! We're moving up in the world.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dull dull dull

Well, that was dull. There was much waiting around for my aunt to shuttle between families. The big "family" meal where we were all finally together was on two tables, and her husband's family all squabbled over being on the "cool" table (theirs, naturally), leaving us with the maiden aunt and octogenarian family friend. Husband's 21-month old grandchild was cooed over ad infinitum and ad nauseum. My aunt suggested that she and I disappear for a while to go visit her best friend, as best friend's 10-month old grandchild was visiting. I declined and tried to explain that although I want a baby, I do not want the company of too many other people's babies, as it just reminds me of that which I may never have. I may have got the message through that babies = pain, but maybe not. I started to weep when "Eleanor Rigby" came through the CD system. All the lonely people, indeed.

In happier news, it was nice to see my grandpa, though he has aged a lot in the last year, and requires a cane now. It's always nice to see my aunt. Um, I got some cool earrings, and a salt crystal lamp which is supposed to send out healing energy. Whatever helps, right?

I also got a $50 gift card to a certain big box electronics retailer. I still haven't spent the $40 gift card to the same electronics retailer I got last year, so I decided that I'd add the two together, and finally get me a digital camera. I perused my aunt's collection of Consumer Reports (she must have got a free subscription, because it isn't the usual magazine she'd get, but hey, it was handy). I decided on the right model for me. The list price is $350, so I figured $90 in savings would make it more reasonable. But of course, I had to go and check the old internet first, didn't I? Not only does big box retailer not have a discount on this particular model, they will charge me tax on the item as they have stores in Florida and so are supposed to do that sort of thing, bringing my total to $372. But I can get it from the normal places I buy electronics from for $264. With free shipping. And no tax. So even with the $90 off using the gift cards, it's still no different to buy from some dodgy mail order place in New York or wherever it is. And it would just freakin' annoy me to waste $90 just so I can get this particular camera from the big box place, when for $2 more I can just get it somewhere else. Which leaves me, yet again, with gift cards which I may not spend. Unless I manage to find a good camera which said big box retailer does have a discount on, but then it won't be a Consumer Reports best buy. Grrr. I suppose I could get some CDs, or maybe a printer, but I just know I'll go through the same deal with the printer, and find it cheaper from some internet retailer. Although the printer I want to get is $150 or so, so I doubt I can find the same thing with $90 off somewhere else. Why is shopping so complicated these days? For that matter, when did life get so complicated?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry (?) Christmas

Well, here we are, another Christmas without a child. Another "adult" Christmas where we can sit around and exchange presents in a sensible, quiet manner, without any kids waking us up at 5am to see if Santa has been. It's all so wrong. Christmas morning should involve ripping wrapping paper at some ungodly hour, followed by shrieking children running around the house trying out their new toys. There's no joy in being polite and adult. There's no joy in having breakfast first and doing the crossword while waiting for everyone to appear. And then of course there are no fun presents either. It's all very nice, and all, don't get me wrong, but I don't want nice. I want shrieking excitement.

And then of course I have to do the obligatory phone calls to the family in England. And to all of them I'll be saying that I'm fine, but I won't have any tales of interesting things that I've done lately. Because all I've done this year is IVF after IVF after IVF. And I'm really not fine. But of course I will be lying through my teeth, because they really don't want to hear that I'm not fine and that I've failed so many IVFs when they've just watched the Queen's speech on TV and are settling down to another glass of sherry.

Bah humbug. I guess all I can do is hope that next Christmas I will have a little one, or at least I will be pregnant and happy. And until then, I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other so I can somehow endure.

But anyway, merry merry to you and yours. If you celebrate. And if you don't, I hope you get to have a lovely day off work.

I have finished the Domar book, by the way, and it was great. I highly recommend it if you're dealing with this shit too. She even had a chapter on how infertility affects singles and lesbians. Woo-hoo! It was so nice to be included and validated. And Belleruth is still making me cry with the meditations, but it's more of a leaking of tears than sobbing and wailing. But damn it, she says all the right things.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Amazon delivers

My new book and CD arrived last night, and I have to say that so far they are both pretty promising.

The book, Conquering Infertility by Alice Domar, seems to be a very well rounded look at the emotional aspects of infertility, and includes various coping strategies. I'm only up to chapter 5, but so far so good. I have definitely resonated with a lot of what she says in there about depression, frustration and stress. The CD, Guided Meditations Help for Infertility by Belleruth Naparstek, also seems very good. I've only played one meditation so far, but it left me with tears streaming down my face, sobbing and crying out "yes....(gasp, sob)......yes....(gasp, sob).......yes" in agreement with everything she was saying. I have tried the Anji meditations, but unfortunately often fall asleep before they even get to the guided imagery part (far too much general relaxation stuff ahead of the good stuff if you ask me), and I've borrowed and played Julia Indichova's CD which was better but still not really my style. So I hope that I'll be able to get a lot of use out of this CD. I played it again this morning, and managed not to sob, so we'll see how I do.

I definitely needed to work on the mind-body stuff, as I need to get my hope back before the next cycle. It's currently taken a little holiday, and while it might occasionally send me a postcard or two, saying "hey, why not us?", so far it is staying away. I'd like to think that I can still do this, and still make it work. I try to think about the people I have heard of who did multiple multiple IVFs and succeeded eventually. The trouble is, I know of painfully few people who did multiple multiple IVFs and then managed to have a successful pregnancy. I wish I knew of more so that I could think about them and hold them out as an example to myself. While doing one or two IVFs is very very scary indeed, continuing on past 4 cycles is so unbearably scary that it really does require a level of bravery that I haven't had to call on before. Except maybe that time in Vladivostock where I hid in the toilets for a few hours shaking before boarding the trans-Siberian express a day early with no food or roubles, because the Russian travel agent messed up and put me on the wrong damn train. And thought I must be a man as I was traveling alone, so had booked me to share a compartment with "other" men. And warned me that I'd probably be raped or killed, and I must be completely crazy to be a woman traveling alone. Yes, that type of bravery. Or is it bravado? That's the level we're talking about now. The type of courage that you have to pull from the deepest recesses of your soul, so that you can square your shoulders and walk into battle knowing full well that you may never come out of it again.

And yes, I had a lovely time on the train, thankyouverymuch. One of my compartment mates was a small time gangster who changed my dollars into roubles, and the other was a general in the army who spoke English. By the time I got off in Moscow a week later, I had a military escort to my hotel, had had ice cream on the platform in such icy Siberian weather that it hurts your lungs to breathe, had had wonderful food that the other passengers shared with me, watched a Belgian porn movie in first class with my buddies, had learned a few words and phrases of Russian, learned a new card game and had generally been taken care of.

If only I knew that this would turn out positively as well, squaring my shoulders and walking into battle would be a lot easier. But that's the problem isn't it? You just don't know in advance, and while it's OK to breathe a sigh of relief after it's all worked out OK and tell yourself that you knew it was all going to be fine, you're really kidding yourself. Nobody knows in advance whether they are going to come out OK or not OK. And that's why it's hard to put one foot in front of the other.

In clinic news, I've emailed my RE asking him for his recommendation of where to go for a second opinion. Hey, why not? I think he'll be honest. No response yet, but then again, I don't think he's really up on the whole email thing. I called Cornell, and found out that only 3 of the doctors do telephone consultations, and I couldn't get myself excited over any of them really. I know it is the protocol, and the embryology lab, that will make the difference, not the actual doctor, but it's so hard to think of someone else, when I happen to think my RE is pretty darn great. Oh well, there's plenty of time to figure this out.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Back on the treadmill

Well, I'm pretty much decided. I'm going to do another IVF cycle. I was going over my bank accounts yesterday, and figured out if I take X amount from here, Y amount from there, cash in Z mutual fund, and file my tax return electronically really effing early so I get the rebate quickly, I can make the financing work.

The remaining thing left to decide is where to do it. Do I do it with my current RE, who I know and love, and who has been working with me over the whole stims protocol thing, or do I go to a fancy place like CCRM or Cornell? I'm wary of SIRM because they are so in your face about how much better they are than everyone else, and yet won't release their stats in the same form as everyone else, because the stats are misleading. Riiight. Cornell's stats for 2004 for my age group were a full 10% lower than my clinic's. 10% is huge in this business. H U G E. Now of course, Cornell's patients may be 90% difficult cases that come to them from failures at other clinics, and that could account for the difference. But still, 10% is a lot to think about. CCRM has better stats, of course, but I hear that they turn people away if their cases are too difficult. And let's face it, if anyone is at high risk for being turned away, it's me.

So I don't know what to do. I guess I'll try for a consult, maybe at Cornell, as a second opinion, and see what they say. I'm worried that all these other clinics will look at my age, history and results and say that I should be on the ganirelix/cetrotide protocol (sorry, I have a mental block over whether that's the agonist protocol or the antagonist protocol - I think antagonist, but I'm not sure). I'm very concerned about trying that protocol, because all my poor results have been because of a dominant follicle situation and I don't think ganirelix can fix that. So I think I'd have another poor result if I tried it. I don't know, but I want an RE to tell me positively that I wouldn't before trying it out, and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't ever give me a 100% certainty on anything. I really think I want to try another long lupron protocol.

Oh well, much to think about. I've ordered a "coping with infertility" book, and a mind-body CD thing from Amazon to give me some light reading over the holidays. Hopefully they won't be a crock of shit as half the other things I've bought over the years have turned out to be.

And in other news, I received a catalog in the mail yesterday from the sperm bank, and the donor I have been using for the IVF cycles is back in the program. He'd previously sold out. It would be so tempting to buy more vials, as I really like this donor, but I promised myself that if I did more cycles after this (yes, there's a chance that I'll be even more of a weirdo and go on to IVF #6), I'd change donor. But Ididn't see any others in the catalog that caught my eye. Sniff. Maybe I should look on it as a sign that I will finally get pregnant and then be able to try for a sibling in a couple of years. Yeah right, like getting a sibling will be easy! Like I'll be able to walk past the vial and get knocked up because I'm so fertile. That's me, all over, that is, fertile myrtle.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

At the crossroads of indecision

Thank you for the hugs and comments. It means a lot.

I'm still here. Don't know what to say, really. I'm very very sad. Well, let's face it, I'm crushed. I really, truly don't know if it's ever going to work for me. If I'm ever going to have that child. And I don't know if that's a truth that I can face. I'm still not ready to move on to adoption or DE, and frankly, don't know if I ever will be. There's a third choice that we don't talk about enough in the IF world, and that's living child-free. It's all very well to say "you WILL be a mom, one way or another", but that's only if we choose to continue. If we choose to get off the rollercoaster and go in another direction entirely, that's another perfectly valid choice.

But how on earth do you do that? How do you make the decision to let go of the dream entirely? I just don't know at this point. I feel like a part of me is dying inside. I just feel so heartbroken to take that path, but right now it is calling to me more than adoption or DE is. Well, partly it's the ease factor that is calling me. Stopping is just that. Stopping. Sure, I might have to do some therapy, but therapy may be in my future anyway, and at least insurance will pay for that. Adoption is so so difficult to contemplate, particularly as I can only do domestic adoption and the thought of a birthmother changing her mind after going through everything to get to that point is way too scary. And DE isn't a guarantee. Many women fail a DE cycle, and that must be so crushing, I can't even imagine it. Both adoption and DE seem to be very difficult and expensive paths to take, and I don't know if I have the energy for those journeys.

My current thinking is that I may do one last IVF cycle. And then if that doesn't work, try the FET with the one frozen embryo that I have, and then call it quits. For good.

I know that thinking may change, but that's where my head is at. I honestly don't know at this point in time whether I have the strength to go through another IVF cycle, and I feel a bit like a freak for even considering another one. I mean, who does 5 IVF's? I haven't come across that many people, and most of them are Australian where the government will pay for the IVF's. Who, apart from rich celebrities, pays for this many cycles out of pocket? It just seems like the utmost foolishness - throwing good money after bad, doing the same thing again in the hopes of a different outcome.

And how do you keep the hope alive? How do you pick yourself up and do it again? I know it's too early for me to be trying to conjure up hope, and I know that in a couple of months things will be different. But, god, it's so fucking hard.

So fucking hard.

But, I have made an appointment for a post-IVF consultation with my RE. I want his honest opinion of whether there's any chance with my own eggs. I know he'll tell me I have a better chance with DE, but I also know he'll cycle again with my own eggs if that's what I want. The appointment isn't until January 9th, so it'll give me some time to get my head together a bit.

We'll see.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Beta was negative

So much for Accuclear.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


I really wanted to stop doing the whiny "is it positive?" type posts. I really wanted to. I went plum crazy at the store today, and bought four different types of pregnancy tests. Yes, four. I really figured I'd get a positive on a couple of them (maybe all of them!) and I could post triumphantly that I believed.

Clear Blue Easy Digital says: Not Pregnant
Equate says: Not Pregnant
First Response says: Not Pregnant

Accuclear has another faint pink line. Which may be a tad darker than yesterday's faint pink line.

Is Accuclear really that much more sensitive? Am I just getting errors? The test I just tried was from a different lot than the tests I did before. Surely they wouldn't all be crap?

Sigh. Roll on beta results.

Wringing hands and wondering

This morning's pee fest didn't really turn up anything different from yesterday.

The ept is perhaps a smidge darker than yesterday morning's. Definitely darker than yesterday afternoon's, but that's not hard seeing as that one is pretty near impossible to see. Maybe a disinterested person would say "wait, there might be a shadow on here" today. Maybe the scanner would pick it up if the lighting were right. The Accuclear has another faint line, much like yesterday's. Maybe a teeny smidge lighter than yesterday's.

So, I'm still too afraid to say that this is a real positive. Shouldn't they be darker this morning? I mean, it's 14DPO after all! I'd have expected nice dark(ish) lines by 14DPO. Anyway, they are lines and that's what matters, so I'm just going to say I'm cautiously optimistic, but I'm going to wait until good beta results before I actually say the "p" word. The beta is tomorrow, so at least I'll know fairly quickly.

And yes, I'll probably buy more tests tonight and do some more testing later. You know, just in case I'm one of those afternoon people who gets better pee stickage in the afternoon.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

P.M. peeing

More tests!

After holding pee for 3 hours and 40 minutes, I tested again. The top one is an ept, the same test as this morning. Looks negative to me. The bottom one is an Accuclear. I think I may like Accuclear!

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No! Wait again!!

I scanned the test. It looks negative to me on screen. Bah humbug.

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But with the aid of digital trickery, here it is made darker, which shows that there may be a hint of something:

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And just for the obsessives, here is the original inverted:

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No, wait!

The test dried a bit darker. I'm upgrading it to inconclusive.

You still need POAS squinto-vision, but if you do squint really hard, click your heels three times and hope for the best, there's the merest hint of a faint darkening where a line might be imagined to be.

So, therefore the upgrade: inconclusive.

It would still be negative to a normal person, so don't go getting all excited on me.

And the test says...

Well, I suppose there was no surprise really. Resigned despondency more like.

It was negative.

Well, I should rephrase that. It was negative to any normal person, but to an experienced POAS-er who is prepared to take the case apart, there was the faintest of evaporation lines. Like super faint. Like you'd have to have taken many pee tests to see it. But I've had plenty of evaporation lines in the past and none of them have turned into a real line the next day, so I'm not going to get excited.

Don't know what to feel, really. I think I'm kind of numb at the moment. It looks like my future involves dieting and counting points, and not morning sickness and babies.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Miserable Monday

I've moved on from yo-yo head to just plain inconsolable. I am so miserable. Of course I am in a buddy group on "that" charting site and everyone is getting positives. Everyone. And it was supposed to be safe because it is an IVF veterans group. I just get that sinking feeling that I'm going to be the one left behind again, and I don't want to be there again. I don't want to be the one that gets the "I'm sorry" responses and not the "congratulations" responses. I'm so tired of being that person. I'm just so so scared that this didn't work. It seems so much more damning this time because if it didn't work with my only "perfect" embryo, I don't know what will help it next time. If there is a next time. And it seems so much harder to make the decision to do another cycle. I seem so stuck in my decision making.

Anyway, I have decided I just have to know. One way or another. So I think I'll test tomorrow. It'll be 13DPO, and while there is a chance that it may be too early, I just have to know. I was trying to hold out for longer, but I don't think I can any more. I can't stand living my life just wondering if it failed or not. I need to be able to think positively (and I do try - I can still get myself into a semi-meditative state and be all positive for a short while). But it's just so hard.

So, there you are. Tomorrow I will have an inkling of what the next few months hold.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Yo-yo head

Hi! Welcome to the crazy yo-yo world of Sarah's head! Yes, I have been up and down, up and down, up and down. Culminating this morning in a complete inability to get out of bed, and lying there staring at the ceiling doing nothing. Except thinking about IVF #5. And whether it was even worth flogging my ovaries one more time. I do have one more vial of sperm left, so I'm kind of coming down to doing one last cycle to use it up, then an FET even if my solitary embryo has little chance of making it through the thaw. And then calling it quits. Or maybe doing a DE cycle. Or maybe adoption. Ha, so I really haven't got very much further with my thinking. I do have these imaginings of a child-free life involving going back to school and doing something completely different, but due to my immigration woes I have to stay at my job for another 3 years or so (boo!) so even if I pick that course I have time to figure out what my second career will be.

The only thing I am certain of is that I won't arrange the post-IVF consult until well into the New Year, and I will be doing Weight Watchers if I'm not pregnant. Although I've lost the 3lbs stims bloat weight, there's still the little matter of the other 30 that need to go as well. And yes, I am way up from the last weight I posted on this blog, but let's not go there just yet.

Well, here's the good and bad news so far this weekend:

The acu says I have a deep, slippery pulse. Which Randine Lewis says in The Infertility Cure is a clear sign of pregnancy. Except my body seems to like deep, slippery pulses and I've had them on other cycles. The acu told me it was "good, but could go either way".
I am kind of off my food. Nothing is really appealing, except bland soft cheeses like cottage cheese or mozarrella, or custard. Or cookies. Last nights dinner was rice pudding. Yup, still on the rice pudding kick.
I may be imagining it, but I may have the beginning of a metallic taste in my mouth. Or that could be the aftertaste of Friday night's Indian food still.
I have been cramping. Yesterday I think it was worse than in previous cycles. Today it is milder. It seems more constant than in other cycles, though.
My pee smells sharp. It always does after the trigger, but then fades. Doesn't seem to have faded yet.
I have become obssessed with cleaning my teeth and spraying myself with perfume. It's not that I am smelling bad things really keenly, like pregnant women are supposed to do, but more that I'd rather be smelling nice things. And without all the cleaning and spraying I don't think I do smell nice. Again, could still be just lefover Indian food aftertaste working its way through my pores and mouth. Maybe Indian food is a bad idea late in the 2WW!

My boobs have deflated and aren't sore any more, even when I poke them. No pert progesterone-filled lovelies any more for me!
In similar boob-related news, I don't have veiny boobs or sticky-out nipples, which would be good signs in my book.
I haven't exactly got a good track record.
I expect it to fail.
I'm a pessimist.

OK, so basically I seem to be pretty positive apart from the boob issue. Except I'm not. I've had so many potential "signs" in past cycles that I tend to discount them all as either figments of my imagination or progesterone side effects.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Poof! It's magic!!

Just like that, ladies and gentlemen, I can magically make all hope disappear at 9DPO. Every cycle. Like clockwork. Hit 9DPO and poof! Despair.

What on earth am I going to do if this cycle didn't work? I just don't know if I can do another IVF cycle. I don't know if I can do donor eggs. I don't know if I can do adoption. I don't know if I can live child-free. I am stuck.

My aunt handily pointed out that I am still ovulating and I'm not yet 40. Which would be fine if I had a husband and hence a ready supply of sperm (assuming it was good sperm of course). Sure, then I could just continue with the acupuncture, call it quits on the ART stuff and try naturally knowing that a miracle could happen in the next few years. But I don't. And I'm not likely to find anyone in the next few weeks. And I'm not ready to just leave everything up to fate, because I have a sneaking suspicion that fate is eyeing me as the crazy cat lady.

So, if I want to keep TTC'ing with my own eggs, either I find a known donor, or I continue with IVF's or I go back to pointless and expensive IUI's with frozen sperm. I suppose I'm stubborn enough to do another IVF, but it's getting kind of embarrassing at this point. 5th IVF? Yup, sounds great! Sign me up! Why not try the same thing again and see if the result will be different (wait, isn't that a definition of madness?). Will my RE even continue treating me at this point? Would it be better to go to an out-of-state place, as had been my original plan if this cycle failed (but I heart my RE and he knows me now, and I keep thinking he has the best chance of putting together the protocol which will finally work).

Then there's donor eggs. I'm conflicted on so many levels about donor eggs. I've been toying again with the idea of using my bro' as a sperm donor, so at least my dad would have one genetically related grandchild. But that could just be so weird. In so so many ways. My aunt, who really doesn't see the point of donor eggs as a single woman because it's not like I have a husband whose baby I want to have asks why I would want to put myself through pregnancy under those circumstances. Uh, because to those of us that haven't experienced pregnancy, it might be kinda cool? And we'd know about the nutrition status of the pregnancy, and that we're not smoking and drinking. And we could breastfeed. She says "why not just adopt?" Well of course, there's always the fact that there's no "just" about it. And I'm limited to domestic adoption, so not only will I be worried that the birth mother was smoking and drinking during pregnancy, she could also change her mind, leaving me devastated. Not to mention that I'd be freakin' broke and emotionally very fragile by the time I got to that point, so I just don't know if I'm strong enough for that whole process.

So you see, stuck.



9DPO Despair.

What if, internet? What if it didn't work?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The progesterone saga

Well today was the progesterone blood draw. And the result was an underwhelming 23. Last cycle it was 30. The cycle before it was 17.9. The cycle before that it was 12.7. Blah blah blah. I could go on, with all my lousy results down to 3 the first cycle we tested. I shouldn't complain too much, as it has sloooowly been getting better from an average down around 7 up to now having 3 cycles over the magical 15.

23 is fine. It's within normal range. It's not bad. I tell people all the time that the progesterone result is meaningless. And yet.

And yet, here's the rub. Last cycle and this cycle I have been doing my PIO shots in the morning, about 1.5 hours before the blood draw, because I am also doing progesterone suppositories which the RE told me to do overnight. So you would think that any high result would be because I only just shot up with the stuff, and that it's fairly meaningless. If it was like 70 or something I could say, oh, well, it's higher because it's fresh in my bloodstream. If it's 23 and I only just shot up, surely that means that prior to me shooting up it was lower. Like crappily low?

And how on earth can I be shooting up with 1cc of PIO, putting nasty nasty specially compounded 400mg suppositories up my hoo-ha, and STILL only have a level which some women get on a natural, unmedicated cycle? It's all a bunch of crap if you ask me. Or a bunch of gunk, if we're talking progesterone suppositories, as that's what I've got floating around my nether regions.

Progesterone results are meaningless.

But a nice high number would still have made me very happy today.

I got the Ambrosia rice pudding yesterday, by the way, and it didn't hit the spot either. The custard was yummy goodness, but the rice pudding, not so much. So now I'm on a mission for Kozy Shack, and will probably make my own at the weekend if that isn't good either. But now I feel like it's less like a sign and more like just a greedy phase.

Grumble, grumble.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Food, glorious food

I'm all about food today.

Well, when am I not about food? But what I mean is that today's post is all about food.

I decided to stop at Winn Dixie on the way home last night to pick up a few things. I don't like to, but there's one close to the house and I was feeling lazy. Awful place. [It's a crappy US supermarket for the non-US readers, which I think is basically Katty]. Anyway, I was tootling around and I suddenly decided that I really needed to get some cottage cheese, because a spoonful of cottage cheese might make a yummy snack now and again. Now, my normal average rate of consumption of cottage cheese is approximately 0.0000000000000001 ounces per month. I'm throwing in that "1" in there because maybe once every year or two I am forced to eat something with cottage cheese in it as the only vegetarian option somewhere. I am not a fan. It's all icky and diety and not pleasant. And there was me yesterday, merrily adding a tub to my basket. And I didn't get the yogurt sized pots either, I got me a tub.

Strange, I thought, that I should suddenly want cottage cheese, maybe it's a sign. Because of course in the 2WW everything is a sign, and not just me being greedy.

And then I found myself seized with a desire for rice pudding. Again, I am not a rice pudding eater. I mean, it's OK, but it's not something that I long for. I have maybe one serving of rice pudding a year. Now, I know Publix has rice pudding (Publix being the nicer supermarket that I go to), because my local Publix has a British food section. I kid you not. They have chocolate hobnobs, Branston pickle, curry sauce, PG Tips, several Cadbury's choccie bars, and Ambrosia custard and rice pudding. All in a neat little shelving system with a union jack over the top of it. I don't know who else shops in the British food section, and friends of mine have even called me from Publix in disbelief at some of the food items there ("salad cream? What's salad cream? You people eat this shit?") but I guess there must be enough ex-pats around to keep it going. I started salivating for the Ambrosia creaminess.

I decided the need for rice pudding must be another sign, so I started wandering the aisles of Winn Dixie in the hopes that they may have some. I felt too embarrassed to ask a staff member if they had rice pudding, because I wasn't even sure if Americans ate rice pudding, or if they did, if they called it rice pudding. Maybe it had a more exotic name, and presumbably wouldn't have the word "pudding" in the title as most Americans don't seem to conversant with that one. You'd think I'd know every single language quirk there was by now, but sadly no.

And then I found an aisle which had some pudding snacks. Lo! Americans do use the word "pudding"! There was a vast array of Kraft "handi-snacks" of all types of puddingy varieties. And there, on the shelf, were the rice puddings. I snatched them up. I paid, I zoomed out of there dreaming of my first tast of the rice pudding when I got home. I just about resisted opening the pot right there in the car.

Oh my god, internet, it was foul. It was nasty and synthetic and had a very low rice to pudding ratio and just was not pleasant. I just kept thinking that it's no wonder that so many kids these days are picky eaters if their parents feed them on that type of garbage. Yick. What are we doing, America, that Kraft and other manufacturers put out gross snacks and we feed them to our kids willingly?

So, today, I feel that I may have to stop at Publix on the way home, and buy every last can of rice pudding and Devon custard that they have. Just to take the taste out of my mouth. I didn't dare try the cottage cheese after all that. Maybe another day...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

OK, back to ovary gazing

So, I was thinking about the "it only takes one" thing earlier. And don't worry, all threats of violence have long gone and I'm actually thinking happily to myself that it only takes one. But here's the thing, to get one good 3-day embryo over three IVF retrievals/transfers, I went through 28 eggs. And I got one nice 3-day embryo. Which may or may not make it. And I got one not-so nice 3-day embryo that did manage to make to to blast to be frozen. Which may not be all that great anyway.

One potential good one out of 28 eggs. 3 IVF cycles. 14 embryos. One. Good. One. And at this stage it's only a potential good one, because of course I have no idea if it's actually going to implant and stick around to become a real live breathing baby. Which is after all, the point of all this.

Plus, if I add up the mature follicles (and presumably therefore eggs) on the nicely-timed IUI cycles which also had a chance of working, to the eggs retrieved in the IVF cycles, that's 40 eggs which have been instructed to party with some sperm.

So one out of 40 looked good as a 3-day embryo.

That's kind of a sobering statistic.

I mean, now I'm at the happy place of telling myself that it only takes one, because I now have one good one. I have a decent chance, finally, of this working. But that's why it hurts when you get told it only takes one if you end up having a crappy response to the meds. Because by the time you get to IVF, you already know that you've blown through way more than one egg which didn't end up as a baby, so what are the chances that one of your current crop is the golden one. And let's face it, I've been trying for much less time than some other people. Maybe I'm being a tad over sensitive, but that's where my head's at. That's why I bristle at being told it only takes one, especially from fertile people like most of my family and IRL friends who seem to constantly sing out the refrains of "it only takes one", "maybe you need to relax more" and "just think positively". Maybe I'm just not a positive enough person that when I have one mature follicle I can think "oh THIS could be the one!", but instead peevishly demand some sort of extra proof that this could be the one, like some sign from on high, or a nice embryo grade.

And clearly, my RE was right when he told me early on that egg quality was my issue. He's a smart cookie, that one.

Anyway, now, now, now, I am telling myself it only takes one. And it really does. That lucky egg. I hope I found it, because if I didn't, I just don't know if I can keep going at this. I don't know if I have another cycle in me or not.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Roof ripping

Well, I spent the weekend mostly horizontal, though I admit by Sunday it was starting to get difficult, so I ended up cooking up some pasta sauce to freeze. I did take some lying down breaks in between chopping vegetables, so I was mostly good. But then when my friend P. called to ask me out to dinner on Sunday evening, I jumped at the chance. He drove, so I was able to stay fairly slouched in the car. Hey, at least it was more rest than I've got after previous transfers. Not bad really.

And I was having a nice mellow time of it this morning as well, munching on my leftover pizza for breakfast, catching up on some blogs. And then a big old dump truck pulled up in front of the house. Odd, I thought, what are they doing? I was just peering out of the window of the office when a guy knocked on the front door. There was I, total bedhead hair which was even worse than usual from not having bothered to shower on Sunday, in a crumpled t-shirt and knickers, opening the door and feeling like an idiot that I hadn't even run for a robe or something to cover the cellulite. But it had taken a while to secrete the embarrassing cold pizza breakfast back in the fridge so I'd run out of arse covering time. It was the roofing company, there to start ripping up my roof, and they wanted me to move my car out of the way.

Now, I found this somewhat surprising for several reasons. The first being that they hadn't told me that they were coming. The second being that I only signed the contract 8-10 days ago. And the third, and perhaps most important, being that I BOUNCED THE FREAKIN' CHECK that I gave them for the deposit. I didn't post about it because, well, you know there were ovaries to discuss. But yes, I bounced my first check, internet, and of course it was a big one. It wasn't actually my fault. Well, not entirely my fault. I traced it to a software glitch at the mutual fund company that I was transferring some of my rapidly dwindling life savings from. You see, I used to have my checking account at Bank A, and now it is at Bank B. And I changed over all my records. And when I look online at mutual fund company's website, it says "Your Bank: Bank B" so when I arrange a transfer of cash, you would think it would go to the appropriate place. Apparently not, because apparently the software didn't delete the record of Bank A on the "other" side of the screen, so the mutual fund company's employees see that there is a choice between two banks. Of course, OF COURSE, they sent the money to Bank A, where I no longer have an account. So it bounced back to them. And the check I wrote, safe in the knowledge that the money would turn up the next day, also bounced. Yes, I have transferred money repeatedly over the last few months as I've been paying for IVF cycles, and it's always worked in the past. So, why they should decide now to send the money to a defunct account is beyond me. Anyway, I had a frantic time on the phone first trying to figure out what went wrong, get some sort of apology and at least a waiver of fees from mutual fund company, get an overdraft on my checking account (answer = hahahaha are you kidding us?) before I was aware that the check had already bounced, then apologizing to the roofing company.

So you would think, wouldn't you, that the roofing company wouldn't turn up early on a Monday morning, seeing as I've proven myself to be an unreliable customer already. Nope. By the time I got in the shower it sounded like there were two elephants on the roof, skipping. By the time I got out of the shower, it sounded like the original two elephants had been joined by several of their friends and were now having a double-dutch contest right above my head. The cat, at this juncture, decided that the best place to be was under my bed, and I have to say, if I could have fit under there easily, I would have joined her. I don't think I've managed to get dressed and out of the house as quickly in quite some time. I feel a bit bad that I've left the cat to the bad noises, but hopefully it'll only last for a couple of hours. Besides, she's got the primo spot in the house, under the bed, so she's golden.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Single embryo transfer, sort of

The transfer went well. It was very smooth, I got the water drinking correct so my bladder was full but not bursting, and the acu came to the clinic to do a session pre- and post-transfer. In fact, I kind of fell asleep when I was lying on the table after the transfer with the needles in me. Of course, that probably had something to do with the valium I took as well, but hey. Snoozing is good.

But the real news is that I got one good one! I'm pretty happy about it - I got an 8-celled grade 1 embryo. Grade 1 is the best at my clinic, and that's the best embryo I've managed to produce so far. My previous best were an 8-celled grade 2 and a 7-celled grade 2, both on the first ER/ET. Last time the best I got was a 5-celled grade 1. The other two embryos did make it to transfer but they were both 4-celled grade 5's. Which are just about as sucky as they can get and still be transferred, I would guess. In fact, they probably would have been discarded had I had any other embryos.

So, I'm going to look on it as a single embryo transfer, with the best embryo I've ever had. That's not bad, really, and at least gives me one little guy to be positive over.

Friday, December 01, 2006

I know, I'm whiny

I've been trying to think of something to post all day. Mostly I want to thank you guys for commenting and for being positive on my behalf. I just can't do it for myself at the moment, especially when someone tells me to be positive, as most of my family and friends IRL are doing. And telling me it only takes one. So I really appreciate you all. I really do. I promise the threat of knifing has now past, so if you want to post that it only takes one, you may do so freely and I will not inflict any bodily harm.

I'll find out how my three embryos are doing tomorrow. If I'm super duper lucky they'll all be 8-celled grade 1's, and I can quit complaining about sucky egg quality for a while. Let's hope, eh, because I'm sure you don't want to read more whining. Unfortunately last time they were mostly 4-celled which is bad bad bad at day 3. I'm hoping not to have a repeat of that. I think that's why they let me transfer 4 embryos last time, because they were obviously bad quality. So these, assuming none have arrested prior to transfer, will be #'s 8, 9 and 10.

Anyway, I posted a photo of me in my profile, finally. I think there are definitely too many uneven teeth going on - I was obviously doing an especially wide grin for the camera. It's all a bit jaws-like, really. Da-dum. Da-dum da-dum da-dum. Da-DUM! OK, pathetic attempt at the jaws theme there. But there ya go, that's me in all my toothy glory. And for the record, I am not normally that toothy. I'm normally scowling, but I don't exactly have too many photos of me so you'll have to put up with toothy.

Oh, and I did do ICSI if you were wondering. That's why I was so shocked at the low fertilization rate. I've done ICSI on all my cycles, and have now had 70%, 100% and 43% fertilization based on the number of mature eggs retrieved. So it's a bit of a drop this time. Based on total number of eggs, the fertilization rate is 50%, 80% and 33%. Why oh why are all my numbers all over the place? From numbers of eggs retrieved to fertilization rate? Why so temperamental, ovaries?