Wednesday, January 31, 2007

It'll be April

I just spoke to the IVF scheduler for Dr. S., who finally called me back after I called first thing this morning and she said she'd have to have the notes first before talking to me. There's no chance of doing the endometrial biopsy next week, so she has tentatively scheduled me for the end of February/beginning of March.

I have to call on day 1 of my period, and then again when I get the LH surge. Not exactly sure why I need to call on day 1, but she muttered something about giving me instructions on using ovulation predictors. Uh, yuh, I do know how to use them, thanks! But whatever.

So it looks like this will be an April cycle. Which is fine. After some excitement yesterday thinking I might be able to cycle in February, I decided this morning that that would probably involve too much running around like a headless chicken trying to organize finances and trips out of town. And April will give me a chance to lose a bit more weight. S'all good.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The big phone call

OK, I am done with my consult with Dr. S. of Big New Clinic.

He was very nice, and very easy to talk to. Seems like a good guy, which is important. He said he thought they could help me, and that it wasn't necessary to give up on my eggs yet, so that was reassuring to hear.

We went through my sordid history, and it really sounded like he'd studied my medical records carefully. I like that in a doctor - don't like them flipping through as they're speaking to you!

He initially said that we had two options - do a microdose lupron protocol with BCP exactly like my best cycle, which I was very much against, or an estrogen priming protocol, which I liked the sound of much better. I'm not entirely up on what the EPP involves, but as he explained it essentially it involves monitoring for ovulation, then at 10DPO starting estrogen and at 11DPO starting antagon for a few days. Then antagon is stopped. I'm not sure if the estrogen is stopped, as I forgot to ask that question - I think not. Then you stim, and add the antagon back in when the follicles reach a certain size to prevent ovulation. No lupron, no BCPs. I've always been scared of antagon because of my early dominant follicle situation, but he explained that the initial dose of antagon in the previous cycle would take care of all that, and the estrogen would prime the ovaries to be more receptive to FSH. It all sounds very good in theory. I did ask what would happen if I did have a dominant follicle, and he said if I was worried and given my history I could have an u/s down here and if it showed a dominant follicle I could call him and we could cancel there and then if necessary without me flying up to Big City. So that sounds like a good plan.

He also recommended endometrial coculture. Yippee! Exactly what I wanted.

So, I pretty much got what I wanted, a different stim protocol and coculture. I actually wanted to do long lupron or EPP, so if he thinks EPP will help more (due to my low fertilization rate last cycle on long lupron), that is fine by me. I didn't actually even dare hope for him to suggest both EPP and coculture, so the fact that we are trying both is a bonus in my book.

He also said that they trigger with follicles at much smaller sizes than my old clinic - at 17-18mm. So that's another change we will make. He said they get better quality eggs at the smaller size. Hmmm, we'll see about that! Hopefully he is right.

I didn't really have any questions for him. He laughed when I said that Dr. Google was my friend and that I researched everything in advance anyway. I asked about any more tests we could possibly run, and he said I'd had pretty much every test going, so there wasn't any need to do anything extra. I asked about my thyroid level, and he said it looked fine and he'd be more worried if it was closer to 3, but it isn't. He said I'd have to rerun HIV, etc, tests and probably a pap before cycling, but otherwise we could get going whenever I wanted.

I am to call his scheduling coordinator tomorrow and talk to her about when to do the endometrial biopsy and other stuff, and get going from there. Yikes! It looks like I'm really going to do this!

Hair stylin'

It wasn't a gray pube. It was a freak of nature.

It is gray at one end, and brown at the other. Two tone. Half one color, half the other. Like it changed its mind about what color it wanted to be half way through growing. But not gray at the end you would think. Bizarre.

But seriously, ugh.

Anyway, enough about my nether regions. No, wait, this entire blog is about my nether regions one way or another. OK, enough of the use of the word "pube". Today is the day! The big telephone consultation. I tried to have a Word document open on my computer all day yesterday, so I could jot down questions. I came up with three and a half. Two of which I don't think I'll ask. So basically I'll be asking "please can I do coculture? Please? Oh, please? Pretty please? With long lupron? I'll wire the payment for your new Mercedes directly to you, shall I?"

Monday, January 29, 2007

Shock and awe

Oh people, terrible news!!

The worst!

Awful stuff!

The horror!

The shock to my poor fragile heart!

I think I found a gray pube this morning. I almost died. Am I that fucking old? Jeez. I didn't have time to check it out thoroughly, but I really don't think it was a trick of the light. There it was. The thing that I have dreaded. That I always thought "well, at least I don't have to consider myself really past it until I find a gray pube."

Oh dear god.

I. Am. Officially. Ancient.

At 38. Surely I'm too young to have a gray pube? Surely? Perhaps it just went blonde instead? Perhaps I was having hallucinations? Shurely shome mishtake?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Spreadsheets are dull

2 more days to go until my consult! Still no detectable LH surge that I can see, but of course who really knows what the eff is going on. But I might just be able to do the coculture this cycle if this keeps up. Except now I've learned that it requires a 2-day trip to Big New Clinic, because they want to draw blood at least one day prior to the endometrial biopsy. And they only do the biopsies on Tuesday and Thursday.

I did one spreadsheet shift yesterday, typing in my medical expenses. I'm about to start another one, because I got bored yesterday, thought "fuck it" and went off to watch TV. And of course, even though I thought I had collected all my receipts together properly at the end of last year, I am missing some. Specifically IVF fees, which are the biggies. So I'm going to have to rummage around the junk piles/drawers some more.

Sigh. Spreadsheets are dull.

It doesn't help when my trusty feline assistant tries to sit on the receipts. Or my right arm as I'm typing. The right arm thing is obnoxious, if you ask me.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A taxing time

4 more days until my telephone consult with Dr. S. of Big New Clinic! [Can you tell where my head is?]

Got my W-2 today, and as I promised myself that I would do my taxes immediately, instantly, lickety-split, and all that, so that I could get the refund quickly as I need it to pay for some of the next cycle, I immediately jumped onto That Famous Tax Software online to start entering information. I've used the online version for several years now, and I've always liked that it imports information from last year and that you can just stop where you are if you don't have one of the pieces of information, save it, wander off to find the forms or receipts you need, and enter it the next day, or whenever. And it can often import information direct from your bank, which is great for lazy people like me.

Anyway, one thing that I do NOT like this year, is the big box at the top of the screen, which keeps a running total of how much of a refund you are owed in nice green numbers, or (horror!) how much extra tax you owe in nasty blaring red numbers.

I entered my W-2 information, and it came up with a refund of over a grand. Sweet, I thought. By the time I enter my crazily high medical expenses for the year, along with the mortgage deduction and all that, it should be several thousand dollars, which will make a nice dent in the IVF cost. But then the next thing it asked about was income from investments. And I've sold off a lot of mutual funds this year to pay for IVF. After IVF. After IVF. [And I do know how lucky I am to have been able to save enough money over the years to do this, I really do.] So, anyway, off it goes to import the information from the mutual fund company. But for some reason, it doesn't import how much the mutual fund cost, just how much you sold. So initially it works out the tax based on the whole amount that you transferred from savings to checking, as if that amount was all pure profit. And I sat there and watched the "refund" box scroll from a nice green happy number to a nasty red "tax owed" amount of over $8000.

I almost keeled over in shock.

Oh dear god, I thought, how on earth can I afford to pay extra tax, on top of a super-expensive out of state IVF?

But then I realized that you have to input how much you paid in to the mutual fund, and it'll recalculate the tax just on the profit. So I did that. And it's still showing a tax owed, but less than $2000.

I mean, I knew I'd have to pay tax on cashing in my savings, I knew that. I just didn't realize it was going to be quite so much. Ack.

I've stopped for the day, because after all, I do need to do some work. And it wanted information that I don't easily have access to so I need to rummage in the mail pile at home. I just hope it turns back into a refund really soon, once I start entering deductions. Because I was kind of relying on a refund as part of my planning for this cycle. Oh well, this weekend I will be working on a spreadsheet of my medical expenses, and will be knee deep in receipts, so I'm sure I can shock myself all over again with just how much money I've paid out this year.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's Wednesday!

Not that Wednesday is anything special, but it was the best title I could come up with on the spur of the moment.

I just wanted to post that I seem to be bursting with energy at the moment. I don't know if it is the new herbs, or the extra protein, or some dietary changes I have made, but long may it last. I found a great article at on vegetarian nutrition, and it has really kind of clicked about how I can eat vegetarian food and still fall within the energy requirements for Chinese medicine. That I can really build myself up from all of these deficiencies without compromising my principles.

As far as the extra protein thing is going, so far so good, but I have already calculated that I need two whey protein drinks today because I had a black bean and rice dish for lunch instead of a soy or other protein type thing. It's going to be difficult to keep up an intake of 60g per day on a long term basis if I fall under 10g of protein for any one meal. Which is easy to do. Now, I confess that I'm not counting protein in vegetables - I know there is some, but it's just too hard to do the math. So I should be getting more than I am counting, but still. 60g is hard to do if you're not monitoring it carefully.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


My medical records arrived last night from my old RE, Dr. M., so I copied them this morning, and wrote out a nice summary for the new RE, Dr. S. (oooh, see, how brave of me, I'm "outing" them with initials! But it was going to be too hard to keep track of if I just kept saying "the RE"). Then I went straight to the Post Office the minute that lunch time rolled around, and Priority Mailed it off. It should get there by Friday, I'm thinking, giving him plenty of time to review the records before we speak on Tuesday.

The records were very dull and boring. All very professional stuff. No snide comments about patient's fat thighs or farting under anasthetic or anything. Though I did see a comment about them recommending patient see a dermatologist about nevi on legs. OK, so I have freckly skin! Sheesh. And actually I did go to a dermatologist on their recommendation, who said I don't have skin cancer...yet. Anyway, I digress. The only thing I saw in all the blood tests that was a little off was that my TSH (thyroid hormone) was 2.2 whateverunits. It listed "normal" as being 0.5 to 5.5, but it seems that more recent research implies that normal really should be 0.5 to 2.0. So I'd be a teeny bit higher than that. I'd never been told the numbers of lots of the tests before, just that they were normal, so it was interesting to see the actual values. I shall ask Dr. S. if it is worth retaking that test. I mean, if they're going to send me for a bunch of blood tests anyway to prove that I don't have HIV and all that jazz, why not add on an extra TSH? I also couldn't see a test for the MTHFR gene mutation, which all my other IVF buddies seem to know about, so I'll ask him about that too.

In other news, I bought some ovulation predictor tests yesterday. Man, it took me back to when this was all new and exciting and when I actually used things like that. But Dr. S. is big into co.culture so if he recommends that for me (which I'm sure he will) at some point I will have to go to Big New Clinic on a day trip to have an endometrial biopsy done. Which has to be done on a natural cycle, and at a certain point past the LH surge. So, in the possibility that I could get that done this cycle (yikes!) I decided I may as well try to use the old pee sticks. In the hope that I'm not as crap as before at actually detecting the LH surge with the darn things. The good news is that I can hopefully tie it up retrospectively with a temperature rise, so I don't need to be hanging on the result quite so much as if I were timing an IUI from it.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Ooh, I'm getting positively giddy now. I was reading a post on a message board about someone worrying about flying after IVF transfer. Pshawww, I thought, who needs to worry about that?

And then I did worry.

Not in any grand sense, but flying is tedious at the best of times, and I don't think it'll be exactly fun to fly back after my out-of-state cycle, worrying about embryos. And stressing about getting back to work. So I was mulling, and suddenly the idea of taking the train back came to me. And I thought, bah, I bet with the crappy public transport in this country it will be impossible to take the train.

So I checked.

And there's a train! In fact, there are two a day. Direct from Big City in which Big New Clinic is located, all the way to little old My Home City, wot is where I live and all. One of the trains takes 25.5 hours, and the other takes 29 hours. But they have cute little sleeper compartments, with their own toilets and sinks. And beds! And dining service and all meals included. And all of a sudden I could see myself with a mess of books and magazines lolling in my seat while the countryside rolls by. Relaxing on the train.

Now, we're not talking cheap, exactly, although it's less money for a private sleeper compartment than I thought - about $450 in total for the one-way trip. But, you know, once you consider blowing $20k on one cycle, little trifles like the cost of the train which would normally give me apoplexy suddenly seem so minor. And we're not talking speedy here. But I like trains. I have done several of the world's classic long train journeys. Ahh, the Nullabor. Ahhh, Siberia. Ahh, Rocky Mountain high. Like, several days worth of train travel in one go type journeys. And I'm a nerd, OK, but I like trains.

So, if I can swing it, I might just take the train home from my next IVF cycle, and then, all of a sudden, just like that, it'll be a little adventure for me. Giddy, here I come.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

It's a protein thing

Last Sunday and Monday, cycle days 1 and 2, I noticed that I had quite blurred vision. I may or may not have had blurred vision on previous cycles, and put it down to needing new glasses, but this seemed different. A weird blurred. Not everything was blurred, but only when I tried to concentrate on it. And then it stopped. And I thought: "huh, I wonder if that was connected to the start of my period and not to needing new glasses?"

And then I remembered from reading in The Infertility Cure that one of the case studies talked about a woman whose vision dimmed and had floaters around the time of her period. Yes, I have read or browsed The Infertility Cure so many times that I remember shit like that. So I dug the book out, and started thumbing through all the case studies. I couldn't find it at first, but I kept looking. And there it was. And it meant Liver Blood deficiency. Because the Liver directs blood to both the eyes and the uterus, according to Chinese medicine, and if there isn't enough Liver blood at the start of the period, because all the blood has gone to the uterus, the eyesight can be affected.

So I started googling Liver Blood deficiency, and it seemed to fit with some of my other symptoms, and was related to just plain old general Blood deficiency, which has always been one of my Chinese medicine diagnoses. I figured I may as well google Blood deficiency too, while I was at it. I started trawling through websites. And then I found it. An article that talked about how many vegetarians have Blood deficiency because they don't eat enough protein. It was like a light went on in my head. I mean, it's one thing to read about these Chinese diagnoses, but then you think, well, how did I end up with that? Why did that happen? I don't eat a bad diet, I've always been fairly healthy, why am I such a mess? Because you see, I have had so many diagnoses that it just didn't seem fair - Kidney yang deficiency, Spleen qi deficiency, Blood deficiency, Blood stasis, Liver qi stagnation and possibly Heart deficiency. But then it clicked. Decades of inadequate protein intake could easily cause problems. And the first time I went to a naturopath, she told me that I wasn't metabolizing protein properly, so what little I was eating wasn't even all getting absorbed.

And so, because I need a "thing" for every cycle, this time I resolve to try to eat 60g of protein a day. And if I have to live on Quorn cutlets and whey protein shakes, so be it. I had a feeling that the whey protein I took last time was doing some good, but I think it was too little too late. This time I'm going to give the protein intake a real college try.

I told the acu about my blurred vision, and she immediately said, in a somewhat excited voice "that's Liver Blood deficiency!" and then asked if I was ready to go back on herbs. I said I was, so she made me up a tea formula. I hope there's lots of blood tonifying herbs in there that'll help, along with the protein. I hope this'll perhaps finally be the piece of the puzzle that will enable things to work properly.

I feel a bit of optimism creeping back in. I hope it hangs around.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Showers of babies

God, life is really funny sometimes. It fucking cracks me up.

We had a baby shower in our office yesterday. Whoopee-doo. Unfortunately, because I'm a complete and utter idiot, a couple of months ago I'd made a vague offer to help out in some way. You know, I figured I'd help put up a streamer or two and that would be it. I've helped out on most of these things in the past, so thought it would be a bit odd if I didn't step up to the plate. Not that other people's baby showers are my favorite things, but they don't drive me nuts. Anyway, so about a month ago, I got an email from the lady who was organizing the shower, along with another Sarah in the office saying that as we'd both volunteered to help, the two Sarahs could help with the decorations. Ha ha. Very witty. After a while, it became apparent that we were expected to do ALL of the decorations, not just put up a couple of streamers. OK, fine. Me and the other Sarah got together, we checked out the registry, found out the nursery theme, all of that. We decided to make the decorations green, with jungle animals. Just like the nursery. All very cool. Just before we were going to head out on the shopping trip, the organizer lady said that a friend of hers had a bunch of decorations that were "gently used" and that we could use, which would save buying any. I explained the whole theme thing and that I wasn't sure that it was a good idea, but the organizer lady said this stuff would fit in perfectly. She insisted that we use the recycled stuff. So the other Sarah decided to plan party favors, and I basically did nothing, expecting that all I'd have to do was put up a few streamers and that would be it. It was all going according to plan, finally.

On Wednesday I got handed the bag of decorations. It was full of a very small amount of tatty crap, much of which was falling apart, and which was blue with duckies. Fucking eh. Hardly what I'd call green with jungle animals, and I'm not quite sure how this stuff would be perfect with our theme. There weren't enough plates or napkins, no table coverings, and there was one banner. It's a big room. It needs more than one fucking banner. So I spent much of Wednesday racing around to different stores buying shit. I must have spent $40 on decorations. On my own. Because it was all last minute and there was no-one else around to help. Managed to get a green/blue Noah's Ark theme going. Got some animal shaped cookies. Cut some wrapping paper up to cover various surfaces. It was all coming together. I was a veritable Martha Stewart.

So, yesterday. I headed up to the conference room first. This is a large conference room in our building that any tenant can use for a few hours for big meetings, parties, etc. There was a maintenance guy there, messing around with a ladder.

"Oh, you had party?" he said.
"Well, we're about to have a party, I'm just starting the decorating. Other people will be helping in a minute."
"Party for you?"
"Uh, no, I'm decorating, it's not a party for me."
He looks in the bag of decorations. "Baby shower?"
"For you?"
"No, not for me, I'm just putting the decorations out."
"But you pregnant, yes?"
"No." Sigh. "Just fat."
"Oh, who it for?"
"Susan. Well, wait, there are four Susans in the office, but, you know, the one that's 8 months pregnant." The one that's hugely fucking pregnant, I'm thinking, unlike me. The one that is obviously due for a fucking baby shower. Unlike me.

The other Sarah was nowhere to be seen. The organizer lady was arsing around with chicken wings, and making some weird punch concoction, so I basically did the decorating on my own. I was helped after a while by the husband of the very pregnant Susan, who'd shown up to help drive the haul of gifts home. But we got it done. It looked fine, if a bit understated because of the lack of tat, as I'd already chucked some of the more garish items on the grounds of bad taste.

The shower was fine. Except I ate far too much chocolate and cake because I was depressed about being called pregnant. And then I ended up staying late to clean up, even though I just wanted to run away from everyone and all the cutesy baby stuff. I am a schmuck. A fat schmuck. A fat schmuck who apparently looks pregnant enough to have a baby shower thrown in her honor.

I got home, and called the family to see how their various health complaints are coming along. I try to be a good relative, see, even if I'm not exactly chirpy at the moment. My aunt asked me if I was still depressed, as I'd been a bit down at the weekend after the acupuncture bawling-my-eyes-out fiasco. Well, um, let me see, I've failed three IVFs (four if we're counting that cancelled one) and my RE has just basically fired me so now I have to travel out-of-state in a last ditch attempt at conceiving. So, I'm sorry if I'm not bouncing back instantly. And now some arsehole just asked if I was pregnant.

I ate more chocolate. I felt sick. And then I got annoyed with myself that I blew my diet. And felt sick some more.

This morning, as I arrived, I found a big bag of decorations sitting in my office. I suppose I am now the official keeper of the baby-themed tat? Like I want a bag full of cutesy baby decorations lingering around my desk? I foresee that it may end up being accidentally misplaced prior to the next office baby shower. In the shredder.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The infertility special ed. bus

I am in a strangely optimistic mood today. I suspect that it is because of the passing of whatever premenstrual and menstrual hormones have held sway for the last few days, and the introduction of new hormones. Estrogen! FSH! Welcome back, my lovelies! In fact, I am going to blame Saturday's crying fest on PMS, and not on me being a sad loser of a repeat IVF failure. Nuh uh. Not me.

Anyway, it has got me thinking about other people's sadness and depression in this crappy infertility nightmare. The very wonderful Calliope is posting more again, which perks me up no end. Of course, it may all be due to the little pink pills and bravado, but I hope that she is coming back to us for good. I feel so bad for her that she's been going through some much huge shit, with GM's illness on top of infertility. That is a rough road, my friend. Then I have two other internet buddies who are feeling very sad at the moment, one facing IVF #2 and one facing IVF #3.

I wish I could do more to cheer my friends up, although I know that no cheering is possible. Because when we get down, we have to travel through the abyss on our own, and somehow emerge at the other side. We may not be as hale and hearty as when we started our journeys, but I hope that eventually all of us will be well. We may not be aiming for a destination that we ever considered when we first set out, all happy and excited, but I hope that we can all find peace with our new paths. And dare I hope for happy? Happy would be wonderful, but seems so out of reach for so many of us at the moment. I wish I could wave a magic wand and have this infertility nightmare over for all of us. Why were we the ones that were chosen to be "special", to have to go through this heartache? Why weren't we the ones that got pregnant easily, and got to be smug fertiles? I just don't understand it all, I really don't. I don't understand why we get the tears, and they get to be short tempered with their children. I know I'll be a better mommy and a better person because of this journey, but can I stop the bus now, please? Can I get off and start getting on with my life again? Can we just pretend that I have learned whatever lesson it is that I needed to learn, and allow me to graduate? Can we all get off the bus, and be happy together with our babies? Pretty please?

Anyway, as I know that no cheering is possible, I want to give a shout out to anyone out there that is feeling down or depressed or hopeless or otherwise sad. You are not alone.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Back to what I said in the beginning. As usual.

I think I'm finally getting somewhere with my thinking. It's been a messy, disordered process, but I think things are becoming clear to me.

I have decided that I don't want to do a consult at Fancy-Schmancy Clinic. The cherry picking, the insistence on certain tests that I don't think are necessary (like a clomid challenge test after I've done 4 stimulated cycles - I mean, what's the use?), the brash commercialism, all of that, isn't sitting well with me. Sure, if I could get in, it looks like I'd have a good chance. But I don't want to be constantly worried about cancellation or getting dropped. And then there is the logistics of getting there and doing the cycle. So that one is out. For good. I understand that if you fail at Big New Clinic, Fancy-Schmancy Clinic won't take you as you're too difficult of a case. Oh well, so be it.

Then there is Immune-Specializing Clinic #1 and Clinic #2. While they are all very nice and lovely, I don't want to be stuck in this decision making vacuum for too long. I just know if I do phone consultations I will be exactly where I am today - stuck at making a decision between two (or three) competing protocols. I won't know which one is better for me any more than I do today. And I do believe that my problem is egg quality, not immune factors, so that is a big part of everything. So I have decided to put my faith in Big New Clinic and just go for it. If it fails, then Immune-Specializing Clinic will still be there. But I'll copy all my medical records just in case I have to send them off quickly for a last-minute consult, as a girl reserves the right to change her mind.

So there it is. I am all about Big New Clinic. I will see what they have to say without the thought of a third opinion. If I absolutely hate them, I will think about an opinion at Immune-Specializing Clinic. If I don't absolutely hate them, if they think they can help me, if they are offering anything different from the local clinic, then I will do the cycle at Big New Clinic.

And just so you know, I do this every freakin' time. With everything. I'm really quite bored of myself, but can't seem to change my behavior. I make a decision fairly quickly, often based on my gut instinct. And then I question it for a while, swinging backwards and forwards and generally acting like a decapitated chicken wondering if it is the right decision, and finally plump for whatever it was I decided in the first place. It could be which pair of shoes to buy, what item to pick from the menu at dinner, or it could be which place to do IVF#5, go to college, which job to take, etc, etc. Doesn't matter what the scale of the decision it is, I seem to do the same thing. I wish I could just cut out all the useless second-guessing and go for it with my first thought.

In semi-related vagina news, my period arrived totally unexpectedly on Sunday. Either I had a 10-day luteal phase (not good), or I ovulated earlier than picked up by the software at that site but it was such a pathetically weak ovulation that my temperature didn't rise appropriately (not good but not entirely unexpected after a failed IVF), or a combination of a shortish-LP and a weakish ovulation. And I didn't get my usual premenstrual pain, which may be down to the Chinese herbs that I am self dosing with, or may just be coincidence. So, I was rather surprised when it put in an appearance shortly after breakfast, and I had to run to the store while the rest of the family were in church (yes, you may call me a heathen) in order to buy some sanitary protection. No, I didn't miss church just to buy sanitary items, I was already missing church to start with, in order to spend some quality time with the crossword. But sadly, I am being a good girl and following the acu's requirement to use pads rather than those allegedly bad for you but oh-so-much-pleasanter-to-use and easier-to-carry-around-for-emergencies tampons, and therefore only had a liner in my handbag. Unfortunately, as I don't know the neighborhood all that well I ended up at a 7-11 and they only had these giant monster pads, or mattresses as I like to call them. And they weren't even overnight pads, these were marked as "regular" size so I shudder to think what the "maxi" size are like. It's like being 13 again.

Anyhoo, the reason that news was semi-related to IVF is that Big New Clinic closes its lab down periodically, so in order to get into a particular series of cycles, your periods have to put in an appearance before or after certain dates. As this last cycle was shorter than I'd have liked, this of course puts me squarely into a "closed" time period for when I expect dear Aunt Flo, and may mean that I have to have an extra month's break in order to be able to cycle in the following series. Not so bad for the weight loss attempts, but bad for the sanity saving attempts. Meh.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Out of sorts

I went back to acu this morning - I hadn't been in a month. It was very emotional for me explaining to the acu that my local RE doesn't want to treat me any more and that I'll be going out of state now. I don't really know why it was so hard. It's all bound up in my sorrow at not being able to continue to try naturally inbetween IVF cycles, because I don't have a husband, and that I feel they don't really approve of IVF, and because I feel I'm letting them down. And because she didn't have any new ideas, and even said my body responds really well to acupuncture. Well, clearly something isn't responding! So I spent most of my time bawling my eyes out and not being really able to answer questions properly. Especially after she asked "so what about after Big New Clinic? Have you considered adoption?" Well, duh, nobody does IVF without considering adoption. But I'd like a bit more support while I'm still trying with my own eggs, thanks very much, and I don't want to be asked questions in a manner that presumes it's going to fail.


We're going to have a review meeting after my telephone consultation with Big New Clinic, when presumably we'll know the plan for moving forward. But if they don't have any new ideas, I don't know what to do. There aren't any more acupuncturists locally who specialize in infertility. They are already my third acupuncture clinic. I don't feel I can go somewhere else. I keep trying to think of acu as just for relaxation purposes, because after all, it does relax me. But after reading The Infertility Cure so many times, I suppose I'm still looking for that magical moment when everything comes into balance and I can get pregnant. I guess I'll set up a couple of appointments with an acu in the Big City, for when I go to visit Big New Clinic, but that won't exactly have long to have an effect.

Just why is this so fucking hard all the time?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Dither, dither, dither

I am still struggling mightily with the decision of which clinic to go to. Do I just trust that Big New Clinic is the one? Or do I do as has been suggested, and set up consultations with others too? But then how to I make the decision at the end of the day? I'm not going to be basing it on who cracked the best jokes, and how do I really know if one clinic's EPP is going to be better for me than another's coculture or another's Lovenox. Or whatever. It's all just guesswork. My horoscope for the day says:

A difficult decision isn't going to get easier, no matter how long you wait.
Find a quiet spot and search your heart and mind for clues as to how to proceed.
Looking for a definite lead will provide you with direction.

Pretty apt, huh? But where, pray, does one find this definite lead that will provide me with direction? If I had a definite lead, I wouldn't be still struggling on this, now would I?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I can drive!! And other ramblings

My appointment at the DMV went well today, and I am cleared to drive. Woo-hoo! I know it's only been 11 days, but man, the bus/cycle deal was starting to drag. Especially this morning when two people (including me) wanted to get off at the stop nearest my work, and I of course was at the back bus door which the driver for some reason didn't open as she didn't see me. Presumably she thought the lady getting off at the front door was the only one who wanted out. Various patrons shouted "back door!" to alert her, so I guess it happens every now and then, but that didn't stop her from just driving on to the next freakin' stop. So I had to walk back. Cursing all the way.

And of course, I don't have an actual license yet, but just a temporary permit. Which is a regular piece of paper that they print some crap out on, and then sign. In black pen. I wondered about the black pen thing last time too, because it'd be so easy to photocopy the thing and alter it if you wanted to. And it says right on there that photocopies aren't allowed, you must carry the original document, but who the eff would know? They are mailing the new license to me. Oh please let it have an expiry date that is more than 6 months from now. Oh please, oh please. I don't want to have to go back to the DMV for a looong time.

In other IVF ramblings, I started the paperchasing to set up the next round of fun. Got my new patient form sent off to Big New Clinic, and got the records release form sent off to the current RE to have my medical records sent to me. I'll be interested in what's in my file when it comes. There are so many tests that I've done which I've just been told are normal, but hey, I think it'd be nice to see exactly what my TSH level is, or my prolactin level, or whatever else they tested for. I also can't even remember half the tests I've done, so can't even answer anyone if they ask if I'd had X test. Uh, maybe?

I am also trying to decide if I should set up other phone consultations or not. I mean, perhaps it would be sensible to see what three of these top clinics say I should do next, and maybe even get some testing done, before I cycle again. It'd probably mean delaying the cycle a bit, but what if one of the clinics found something that is fixable? Isn't it worth a few hundred extra dollars to speak to some of these gurus? But then again, it's a whole heap of stress to have to run around and set all that up. So, as usual, I am stuck.

I also realized that, as my employer has an office in the city in which Big New Clinic is located (and at least one other top place), I might be able to work part-time while I am cycling there. Which would mean less time off, which would mean potentially being able to do this twice this year if I have to. I don't think it'd be too stressful to take a couple of long projects with me, and sit in another office for 4 hours a day. It wouldn't be as bad as having people bug me all day, and having all the small day-to-day deadlines to meet.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The post I didn't write yesterday

I had my IVF follow up meeting with my RE yesterday. I should have updated here, but I didn't have the energy.

It did not go entirely according to plan. At least not to my plan. It seems that my doctor is basically giving up on me. He has recommended that if I want to cycle again with my own eggs, I should go to another clinic. He recommended both Cornell in NY and CCRM in Denver, but ultimately, he said if he was telling his sister where to go, it would be to Cornell.

I asked if I did cycle again where I am, if he'd have any thoughts on changes to the protocol. He had none. So, it's totally out for cycling again where I am, as I'd only want to do it if there was something different going on.

I asked what I should do about my one lonely frozen embryo. We have held off trying an FET because of there being only one embryo, as ideally we'd like to start with two or three. But I haven't managed to produce any extras. My gut feeling is that I should leave it where it is, and do another fresh cycle. If my problem really is egg quality, it's not going to improve with age, and maybe a few extra months really will make a difference. Also, the frozen embryo is my last chance for a sibling, probably. If the IVF works, I can come back in 2 years and try the FET, and at least I'll have tried. If the FET works, there's no way a fresh IVF will work in 2 years. And to be honest, I don't know if I have the strength to do more fresh cycles. The RE agreed that trying another fresh cycle now and saving the frozen embryo might be a good option.

So, anyway, I feel kind of set adrift. I mean, I know I planned to go to another clinic at some point. I'd just talked myself into doing one last cycle here first. Partly because of the expense and logistical difficulties of doing a cycle out-of-state, and partly because of the time off requirement. I don't think I can take two 10-day vacations in a year, and by next year, my eggs may have shrivelled up and died. So if I do an out-of-state cycle now, it may truly be my last one.

The good thing about the RE booting me out rather than me choosing to go elsewhere is that he offered to do all the necessary tests and monitoring that will be required here before I go. He even offered to call the head guy at whichever clinic I choose (because he knows them both), and talk to them if I feel I'm not getting good enough service. It does seem like he genuinely wants this to work for me, and isn't just trying to think of his own bottom line. Well, he's probably also thinking of his statistics, which, let's face it, I've been crapping all over.

And clearly, the universe is also giving me a nudge to get moving on things, and not just wallow around doing cycle after cycle where it is not working for me. I don't know yet if it is pushing me to somewhere that will get me pregnant, or pushing me towards adoption or giving up, but it is certainly pushing me along some path or other.

I have given the matter some thought, and have made an appointment for a telephone consultation at one of the clinics. You know me, always in to striking while the iron is hot. It is set for January 30th. It's costing $550, which almost caused me to drop the phone with the scheduling lady. Holy effing crap! This is going to be an expensive undertaking. I may or may not try a telephone consultation somewhere else as well. I'm not going to mention the name of the clinic that I have chosen, because I want to be able to rant about frustrations, etc, and I don't think it's fair to publicize which place it is that I'm ranting about. I'm sure you'll figure it out. I'm sure I'll be talking about booking flights to ... and trying to find a hotel in... and it'll be blindingly obvious. Let's just say I'll be flying on Jet Blue rather than America West. But down the line, I don't want to be easily google-able. Just like I haven't mentioned the name of the current RE. Might have to come up with some nicknames though, otherwise it'll be tough to figure out who or what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A comedy of errors

I set off for home on my bicycle last night at about 5.50pm. I'm bowling along nicely, not very far from work when I hear "POP! slap, slap, slap, slap." Groaning, I stopped the bike, checked both wheels, and nothing. I couldn't find anything on the tires, and they didn't seem to be deflated. I continued on, slowly. I could still hear "slap, slap, slap" and I could feel that something was stuck in one of the tires. I stopped again. That time I found a screw sticking in the back tire. But the tire still didn't seem to be deflated. I went to pull it out, and then thought better of it, as I thought that maybe the screw was stopping up the hole that it had made. I set off again, somewhat gingerly, hoping that maybe I could get most of the way home before having to walk. This time I can hear "slap, slop, kthock, kthock, kthuuungk." I get off the bike again. The tire was completely flat. I guess I had managed to dislodge the screw enough to let the air escape. Great.

So, did I turn around and go back to work? Well, I thought about it, but then I'd have to find a way to get the bike back home at some point and that seemed to be a lot of effort. Did I call someone to come and pick me up? Um, no, because the batteries on my cell phone had died because I usually use the car charger to keep it running. Bad me hadn't bothered to hunt for the regular charger when I knew I should have. So I decided to walk home. After a very short distance, I thought about how pointless it was to walk home, when there was a perfectly good bus route not very far away, and off I went.

I got to the nearest bus stop at 6.12pm. I looked down the street. Nothing. I'd looked up the bus timetable last week, just in case, and I remembered that the buses were about every 15 minutes or so. So I thought, well, instead of wasting time just sitting here, I'll just walk to the next bus stop, and check down the street every time. Because of course I couldn't possibly just sit there in case a whole ten minutes went by! And what do you know, as I was just about precisely mid-way between that stop and the next one, a bus went past. Cursing my brilliant decision making skills, and obviously excellent timing, I figured that seeing as the next one would be probably another 10-15 minutes, I may as well keep walking. By the third bus stop there was actually a timetable posted. The buses were scheduled to arrive at 6.05, 6.10, 6.15, 6.35 and 6.55. Great, I thought, that must have been the 6.15 and now I have twenty minutes to wait! So I continued on. And lo and behold, again as I was midway between stops, another bus went past. It was 6.25pm.


OK, I thought, that must have been the 6.15 that was running late. So I have at least 10 minutes to the next bus, and I'll keep walking a little bit further, thinking that at the rate I was going, I may as well end up walking all the way home after all. I walked to one more bus stop, and the road was starting to turn a little seedier. I was just thinking that this was getting ridiculous, and that my feet were starting to hurt when a black guy went past me on his bike, and shouted out "I'll trade ya!". Harrumph. Kick a girl when she's down, why don't you? I said, "yeah I've got a flat", probably more pathetically than I'd intended. He circled around in a parking lot, and said "are you going to get the bus?". I'd reached the bus stop by this point, so I said, "yup". "Oh," he said, "do you want a bus pass?" "What?" says I, "do you have one that isn't completely used up?". It turned out that he did, an all day pass that hadn't even been started yet, that he gave me. I asked if he wanted anything for it, and he said he'd take a dollar, so he could get a nice beer later. I happily parted with a dollar, as I knew that the fare was $1.25.

Then I said "well, I would have traded you the bike, but mine's probably a bit too girly for you!". It has pretty cherries painted on it, and a basket in the front. "Nah," he says, "that's a CADILLAC of a bike, that is, I'd fix it right up". Um, I wasn't aware that it was that obvious! So I said I'd fix it up myself when I got home. He said he'd better be off, and I sat waiting for the bus. I was not going to make the mistake of walking off again.

The bus came at 6.41pm. I had to get the bus driver to show me how to work the bike rack at the front, and how to swipe the buss pass. I felt pretty pathetic and obvious to everyone as a bus novice! My stop arrived, I got off, manhandled the bike off the bike rack, and who should come to a screeching halt as he pedalled down the sidewalk but the same guy that had given me the bus pass! "Man, that's amazing" he said. I was like "wow, we got here at the same time!" We kind of looked at each other, both amazed at the bizarre timing, with goofy grins on our faces. But I was then secretly thinking, damn, now he knows where my stop is, is this a bad thing?, until he said goodbye and pedalled off. And I felt like a heel that just because he was a black man on a bike, I'd deemed him as potentially dangerous. When he was actually just a nice guy.

I got home at 7.04pm. 1 hour and 15 minutes. When if I'd walked all the way without detouring and stopping at bus stops, it'd probably have taken me an hour and a half. Maybe a tad longer. But at least I didn't have blisters. This morning, I learned my lesson, and sat and waited at the first bus stop. It took me 35 minutes, door to door, 10 minutes of which was sitting at the bus stop, waiting. I could probably time it better next time.

I have an appointment to try to get my driver's license back on Thursday, so we'll see how that goes. But, given that riding the bus really wasn't bad, I may end up taking it occasionally, just because I can.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The IVF book

I have this IVF book, where I have been writing down questions about my cycles. I take it to my follow up and planning meetings, so I don't forget to ask something important. It used to be full of long, wordy questions. I have pages of them for every cycle (it's a small notebook, so it doesn't take much to cover a page). This time, the entry for cycle #5 is:

Estrogen priming protocol
2nd opinion - where?

There, that's it. That's everything I've come up with to ask the RE at my appointment on Tuesday.

It's all a bit pathetic, really. Hey, maybe I should use the IVF book to figure out when I'm ready to stop? When I can't think of anything at all to ask about, maybe that should be the hint that it's time to just give up. But, if anyone out there does have any good suggestions of things to ask, feel free to chime in (bearing in mind that I've probably asked most things already!).

In WW news, I lost 3 pounds! Staying away from sodium yesterday really helped after all.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The bureaucracy grinds on

Hey, my visa has been approved! Whoop! But still no driving license. You see, it was processed at the California Service Center (for some reason - hey, let's send this stuff to the other side of the country, even though there are service centers all over the place), and it is winging its way to my attorney by snail mail. Who reckons it'll be another 7-10 days before it gets here. Yup, we paid the additional $1000 fee for premium processing, and it gets sent in the regular mail. No express mail. No priority mail. I'm not even sure why my attorney didn't put a freakin' prepaid FedEx envelope in with the form. I mean, wouldn't you? If you knew that someone was relying on this document for something as basic as their driving license in the good ole U.S. of A. where public transport is pretty much nonexistant outside of New York and maybe San Francisco? If you just coughed up a ton of extra cash for faster processing? Sometimes the sheer idiocy of this whole procedure is just mind-boggling.

Still, my friend A. was so stricken with horror at the thought that I may have to rely on the local Winn Dixie that she has concocted a lunchtime trip to Publix for me. So that's what I'll be spending my lunch doing - grocery shopping! Then we're going to drive to my house, put the groceries away, eat the subs we pick up at the supermarket, and drive back to work. Awww, ain't friends grand?

In diet news, I managed to gain back the 1.5lbs that I lost earlier in the week. How, I don't know. I did use some pretty salty stock cubes, so I hope it is just water retention. Today I will be avoiding salt in the hope that I don't post a weight gain in my first week at WW, when everyone else presumably loses about 5lbs!

C'est la vie.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Le chat!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It's all still very point- and click-y with the new camera, but here is my first effort. By the way, clearly dial-up internet access, even with the handy dandy surfing accelerator, is clearly not a good fit with photo uploading. I've been meaning to go to DSL, so maybe this'll encourage me to get off my arse and do it.

Oh, and in respect of the name change, no I haven't been outed. As far as I know. But once I started mentioning things beyond infertility (IS there anything beyond infertility??), I just thought it might be a bit easy to discover me. I guess I live in fear of big brother, er, Google, revealing everything about me to someone from my real life.

Move along, nothing to see here

I changed my name for signing my posts. You can still see my name in the blog title, but ya know, anonymity is good, and all that. Maybe I'll be a tad less discoverable this way.

There's not much going on chez moi. Day 3 with no driving, and I'm already going crazy as I'm totally bored with all the food choices I have at home, but alas only have a Winn Dixie in walking or biking distance. Well, and a pizza place which I'd really quite like to go to, but I must resist, and an Ihop and a nasty chicken and seafood joint, both of which are quite easy to resist. Yesterday I cycled to work but today got a ride from a friend as it was raining. And unfortunately said friend had to leave work early so I have to rely on a not-so-reliable other friend for the ride home. Hmmm, we'll see how that goes. Day 4 on the diet, and as of this morning I'm down 1.5lbs, which is great. I may be able to bid farewell to the "enormously fat pants" pretty soon. Well, I know, not that enormous, but I had my "fat pants" size, then had to go up to the "super fat pants", and when I had to go up yet another size I had to come up with some sort of name! This of course is in addition to the "average" size, the "where I'm happy" size, and the "where I really want to be" size, all of which I also have in my closet. Surely I can't be the only person with 6 different clothing sizes?

The big exciting news of the day though is that my new camera arrived! The batteries are charging as I type, and I expect the cat will be chased around the house tonight for practice shots. Prepare for an upgraded, now-including-pics type of blog really soon!

Monday, January 01, 2007

A merry New Year, one and all

I have calmed down about the DMV. It took a long time, and a very miserable sleepless night, punctuated with thoughts of murder, wishes that I had been better about making them see how unjust they were being, and wishes that they had just been a little bit more human.

But I figured that this whole immigration thing is just another endurance test. Like infertility. Somehow, I am "blessed" with two endurance tests at once. Either I give up and go back to England childless and jobless, and live the rest of my life feeling like I am a failure and a quitter, or I keep moving forward somehow. When it all boils down to it, it is a simple choice. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, or retreat and lick your wounds.

Hopefully I will be without a license for less than 2 weeks, so hopefully it will be bearable. I guess I will be doing a lot of cycling, so maybe it'll help kick start my diet. I have finally joined Weight Watchers, so hopefully this will enable me to lose some of the weight I have piled on during TTC. I figure if I can't be pregnant, at least I can be skinny. And if I am delayed in doing IVF again, at least I can go into it at a healthier weight.

I keep trying to look forward into 2007, but it is difficult so I am trying not to do it too often. When I do, it seems that 2007 could well be the last year for trying to get pregnant with my own eggs, and that is a scary thought.