Monday, April 30, 2007

Fog bound

I feel like today I might be emerging from the fog.

All of a sudden I feel like I might be able to cycle again, and it might be OK, even if I do end up having antibodies to Hepatitis C. The cyst might go down, and I might stim just fine. Of course, July/August is still an awfully long time away but whatever. It is what it is, and no amount of whining and carrying on is going to change that.

I feel like I'm able to think a bit more clearly today, and I feel like I'm no longer going around in circles in the fog, concentrating on the fact that I may have a chronic disease. If I have it, I have to accept that fact and figure out what to do about treatment, if any, I have to do, or what lifestyle changes I have to make. If I don't have it, I will thank my lucky stars.

I do still feel like this postponement has pushed me closer to doing just one last cycle at Big New Clinic, rather than possibly doing two last cycles, so I guess I've ratcheted up the pressure on myself. But I'm going to try to cross each bridge as I come to it, and not make premature decisions. If the cycle fails, that will be the time to decide about another one, not now.

I sent an email to Dr. S. asking him about the Hep C and exactly what this means as far as cycling at Big New Clinic. I also asked for a list of exactly which tests they want me to have run in order to cycle again, and what the plan for the cyst is. I hope he responds and gives me some useful information. If not, at least I tried. I think that's going to be the motto of my life - at least I tried.

ETA: Well, bless his heart, he already responded. Not that I understand exactly what the email says. It talks about "getting cleared" for the Hep C. What's "getting cleared"? Proving that I don't have it, or proving that it's not affecting me?

you need to get cleared for the hepatitis c by the internist they can determine what testing you need to clear you for treatment and pregnancy
After that then we can proceed with IVF
the cyst is not a big deal; we will determine what to do with it once you are cleared
call me after your internist has cleared you and we can determine what to do

good luck

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thinking out loud

Thank you for the thought-provoking comments. I tend not to delve too deeply into some of these issues, so it is good to be prompted to think about certain things. Heh, you never know, maybe the blog will become my therapy because you guys will prompt me to think more about stuff!

First, about the therapist. Yes, she was recommended by the not-so-nice acu, but she was also recommended by the lovely acu. The reason I keep going to the same acu office is that I love one of them to pieces, and I rarely have to deal with the not-so-nice acu. Unfortunately, the lovely one is the junior acu and hasn't been out of school too many years so has to defer to the senior acu on treatment plans, etc, and is I guess not as experienced in dealing with bawling patients. On the whole, however, I think if the lovely acu says that patients have a great experience with this therapist, it is worth giving her a few sessions. Irrespective that she may also be recommended by the senior acu.

And she is experienced in infertility. She wrote her PhD thesis on infertility, and went through infertility herself. Now, she never actually did any treatments as her and her husband made the decision not to, so her perspective of IVF is not that of someone who has been through it, but she tried to conceive naturally for many years. In fact, she said right up to menopause last year at the age of 54 she would mourn each cycle. And she got married and started TTC at 39, so that's quite a long period of time, although I think by 42 she had given up really trying. She says she has many many infertility patients, some of whom travel to Big New Clinic like me, some of whom travel to other out-of-state places, and she has done seminars on mind/body aspects to infertility with docs from my old RE's office.

She has promised that we will do a lot of mind/body stuff, and will be working through a lot of the exercises from Alice Domar's book, so I am hopeful that that will involve lots of coping strategies. So I hope once we get down to work next week, that it will be less fact finding, and more helpful. If not, I don't have to go back again.

She may very well have an agenda on the relationship thing. I will be more alert to that. But I think (I hope) that the focus on being open to a relationship is only temporary. It's the first thing to suggest if someone takes a look at my life as a whole and sees that I'm not happy, and once I start saying (and believing) that I AM open to a relationship, hopefully the focus will move on. I figure that I can be "open" without actually needing to go off in a frantic search for someone. Being open is not the same as actively doing. OK, I may need to put myself out in the world a bit more, but that doesn't necessarily have to involve meeting future romantic interests - maybe I'll end up meeting more female friends. Besides, nothing is going to stop me from cycling at Big New Clinic, unless Big New Clinic themselves refuse to treat me. So, nothing will deter me from that course. However, the next cycle may very well be my last IVF, and my last attempt at conceiving with my own eggs, so there ARE a lot of big picture, whole life things that are affecting me right now. Facing that last cycle, and knowing when to stop is all very scary to me. There is going to be an "after" the next IVF, which may involve a baby (or preferably two), or may involve a bleak future filled with problems. The need to deal with the latter of those two scenarios weighs heavily on my mind, so I do need big picture help as well as immediate coping strategies.

But, of course, everybody has a bias, and I have reporter's bias. I often zoom in on the portion of what a person is saying that makes me most uncomfortable. So I came away thinking all about the "open to relationships" thing because that hit a nerve with me. I have not been open to a relationship. Therefore, when I perceive someone as criticizing me for that (she was not criticizing - just putting my emotional reaction on it here), it hits me more than her saying that she also thought of trying on her own before meeting her husband, or anything else that I may have perceived as agreeing with me. So I could have skewed the importance that she placed on the relationship issue.

Oh, and on the question of whether I want a baby because I really want to have an intimate relationship. No, I want a child or children. I want to procreate. I want to spawn! It is unrelated, in my mind. Sure, I may or may not be closed minded about wanting a relationship with a guy, but I do not see a child as any sort of substitute for an intimite adult relationship. So I don't think I'm trying to fill a void, I really don't. Well, the void of not having children, but to my mind the relationships you form with children and a loving partner are so totally different that I don't equate the two. I do have loving relationships with other family members, and I do have relatively close friends, so it's not that I don't have love in my life. What I don't have right now is a supporting, loving person that really understands the pain of infertility and who can say something useful in support.

In related news, I finally checked just how much insurance coverage I get for counselling. And it is crap. I hate my insurance! I get 50% of what I pay for sessions, but only after a $750 deductible has been paid, so the first 4-5 sessions are only going to be building up the deductible. Insurance companies are evil. How could you ever afford therapy if you didn't have a good job? I mean, sure, this is an out-of-network benefit, but the in-network benefit for therapy was only 60%, so it wasn't much better.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

On the therapist's couch

So, I did it, I went to my very first therapy session ever. Which is an odd thing to me as I've always prided myself on being able to work through my issues myself. But, I went.

Veni, vidi, vici. As they say. Maybe. If I have my latin quotations correct.

Except I didn't conquer. I'm not sure what I really thought of the therapy. Of course, it was only the first session. It was more of a fact-finding session really, for me to explain what I'd done and where I thought I was at. She asked a few questions but I don't even remember what most of them were.

The big thing I came away with was that she wants me to be open to having a relationship in my life. That I need to be focussing on things other than infertility, so that if I never get pregnant, I have some sort of a life to pick up and can see some future in. But mostly I need to be open to a relationship. Because, after all, maybe I can try to conceive with a partner. Except I don't really see how you can meet a guy and be trying to conceive the next week - don't you usually wait a couple of years? I don't feel like I have a couple of years to see where the relationship goes. My eggs need to get fertilized NOW, before they shrivel up.

Here's the big secret, though. I'm not really open to a relationship. I'm safe in my little solo bubble. OK, it's boring a lot of the time, but it's safe. I'm really not interested enough in the positives of a relationship for the want of those things to outweigh the desire to remain safe. Or at least for me to want to go out and actively try to find a relationship. Opening myself up to someone has only caused hurt in the past, so it's something I tend not to want to do. So, it is something I need to work on, I guess. I am trying to repeat to myself that I am open to a relationship. I am open to a relationship. See, I said it.

You know, I could be open to a relationship with the right guy. Do you think it's OK to start off with being open to a relationship with a skinny dorky pacifist vegetarian who doesn't mind women with some cellulite and chunky thighs, who's into being green and can hold a decent conversation. And who likes red wine and dark chocolate. I'm not sure if guys like that exist, and if I'm just looking for a reflection of me (well, except the skinny part - maybe that's just a reflection of who I'd like to be) but maybe if I start off thinking I'm open to that, maybe I can expand my horizons to more realistic types of guys as I get a bit more comfortable with the theory.

But as far as coping strategies, I didn't come away with any. Except homework to read Alice Domar's book, and a promise that we will work on some of the mind/body stuff together. Oh, and I'm supposed to journal. I said I blogged, and asked if that counted, but the therapist thought that blogging was too public, and I need to do some free writing and just let things pop into my head.

I don't know. I don't know if this is going to work. I don't think I'd be going if I hadn't already tried pretty much everything else. I don't think I'd be going if I hadn't reached the point of crying far too easily over set backs. But what have I got to lose? Except yet more money, but hopefully insurance will reimburse me for some of it. So I'll see what she can do for me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Adventures in Therapyland

Well, I have my very first therapy appointment tomorrow at 6pm. I'd made an appointment already for May 2nd, as that was the first "evening" appointment the therapist had. Mind you, the May 2nd appointment is for 5pm which is practically mid-afternoon to me and doesn't qualify in my book as "evening" especially as she's not in my city so I'd have to leave work at 4pm. But a cancellation opened up for tomorrow at 6, so she's fitting me in early. I'm not quite sure what to expect. I mean, I think it will be helpful to work through everything but I'm not sure whether to expect that this is going to be a lengthy process, or whether I'll end up going for 4 sessions or something and have enough tools to help me deal with the disappointments. We shall see. We shall see if I even like her. I must admit, she's kind of annoyed me on the phone already but hey, you can't have everything in life. She was highly recommended by both acus, and at least I'm trying.

In hep C news, I was trying to tell my aunt that I really may have this. They've already done the back-up test that is supposed to be the definitive this-is-not-a-false-positive test. And she's having none of it, saying that if I've caught it from doing nothing, then everybody would have it. So it MUST be a false positive. Which is true, I try to think that too, but most doctors are going to look at the test and stop there. She wants me to demand that the new doctor rerun the diagnostic test at not one, but two labs. Which I think I will, even though he'll think I'm crazy and I'll have to pay cash for at least some of the testing I'm sure, as only one lab is covered by my insurance. But if I have it I would still want her and the rest of the family to get tested. I think she's in denial because I basically insinuated that if I really have it, my cousin is suspect #1 as he's who I've shared towels and bathrooms with most. She also wanted me to call the RE to see if he could tell me if we can test the vial of frozen sperm I have in storage to see if I got it from the sperm. Um, yeah, they test the guy's blood for the antibody and the actual virus before they let him donate, and then they retest his blood every 3 months for the antibody. I think we'd know by now if he had it. And I don't think they can test sperm for it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I went to the acupuncturists yesterday morning and told them about the cancellation. I dissolved into tears. I seem to do that a lot at the acupuncturists. I said I was unhappy that we didn't seem to be getting anywhere, that I read in The Infertility Cure of women who seemed to be "fixed" within 6 weeks and I have now been doing acupuncture for 2 years. 2 looong years. I wailed about my unhappiness about potentially having hepatitis C. I wailed about having a cyst when I haven't taken meds for months and months and I was getting frustrated with the constant reply I get from them that my body is still recovering from the last IVF. Which was at the beginning of December, so I feel like I damn well should be recovered from it.

I am worrying more and more about the hep C result, in case it is a real positive and not a false positive. I did some googling, and hep C is remarkably easy to catch. In 10-15% of cases they have no clue how the person got hep C. No clue at all. You don't have to be doing any risky behavior to catch it. Now, I have been living a fairly monk-like existence ever since I started trying to conceive. Sure, I may have shared a towel with my cousin when washing my hands. I may have hugged someone with the disease who didn't know they had it. And that's it. No needle sharing, no razor sharing, no toothbrush sharing. Definitely no sex or full on kissing. But I keep thinking, what if? What if I really have it? It could be a real positive. And then I'm going to have to tell all my friends and family to get tested because I couldn't bear the thought of them having caught it from me. Or vice versa, if I'm being honest. It's just so depressing. AND it would mean no more alcohol, ever. Ever. Ever. Can you bear the thought of never having another glass of wine again, for no reason? For some random reason that one day you had a little cut on your hand that you didn't notice and shared a towel with someone who didn't know they had a disease? That's it, no more vino. It's a cruel and unusual punishment.

And I don't know if anyone would prevent me from cycling or adopting with hep C. I haven't been told that or read it anywhere. But why test for it then? If medical people are supposed to assume that everyone has HIV and be careful of their blood, and if the real main difference with hep C is to require a C-section or something, why test if you are a fertility clinic? Unless you want to refuse treatment? And of course, now I'm worrying about getting deported too. Before I get my green card I have to prove that I have no communicable diseases. Haha, I bet hep C is on the list. I bet I'll have caught it in the States, and the States will throw me out back to England for having it so that the National Health Service will have to foot the bill.

Anyway, back to the acupuncturist. I ended up in a meeting with both the assistant acu (who I heart) and the main acu (who I don't heart). As usual, the main acu made me feel bad because she implied that I'm looking for a child to fill a void in my life, that my life is devoid of joy and that I have to change that first before a child will choose to come into my life. I said she was judging me unfairly, that the fact that I was miserable as sin was no reflection on me as a person. That I'd been pretty damn upbeat and positive most of last week. But it always cuts like a knife, because in a way she's right. I don't have the most joyous life. I don't have a wide circle of friends. I don't know how to have fun really without drinking or going out late at night, and I've cut all that out, partly because of TTC'ing and partly because of moving to the States where you have to drive everywhere. And I'm not into drinking and driving. I mean, don't get me wrong, I have friends. I go out occasionally. I do stuff. I try to find joy in walking along the beach, or looking at the flowers. I really do. But I feel trapped in my job, so there's a lot of angst too. But, I feel that she judges me because I'm single. I don't think she'd do this to me if I was partnered. Which pisses me off mightily. She said her intention wasn't to judge, but really it all just leaves me more depressed.

Anyway, I could go on. But they recommended a therapist who works a lot with infertility patients and who went through infertility herself. So I'm going to go and see her if I can, because after all, therapy is about the one thing I haven't tried yet. We'll see if it will help.

And finally, to wrap up the litany of woe, I checked the schedule of Big New Clinic, and of course if I wait two months the lab will be closed. So it will definitely be 3 months. Which means I won't be cycling until July/August. Which makes me want to scream in frustration. And hit things. But mostly makes me leak tears. I am doing a lot of that. Leaking. Oozing. With an occasional sob thrown in for good measure. Even Rescue Remedy isn't helping much this weekend.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What's the bloody point, eh?

I don't know if someone can enlighten me, but I've spent the night wondering what the bloody point of life is if you can't have kids. I just don't see it.

I'm very down. This is hitting me, in some ways, harder than the previous IVF failures. Even though it's not a failure - it's a postponement, I hope. But it could be a permanent postponement. And even if it is just a short hiatus, is it in fact a sign that I shouldn't be trying this at all. Why do I have roadblock after roadblock put up in front of me? Is the universe trying to get a message through my thick skull?

I just don't see the point any more. If I'm not meant to have kids, what on earth am I supposed to do with my life? Oh sure, Mother Theresa led a great, giving life. But I am not Mother Theresa. Far from it. I'm not sure what I could contribute to the world without providing children. I have always had a desire to have children. To reproduce, if we're going to get basic. I don't have that much of a desire to nurture. Especially not other people who are not related to me. I'm not an earth mother that wants to take in children to love them. I want my own children. Yes, I know it's terribly politically uncorrect to say that. Adopted children are the adopted parents own, because they were meant to be together. I get that intellectually. I don't get it viscerally. I want my own, biologically, genetically related children. To me, adoption IS a second best option. I am not one of the wonderful people that naturally turn to adoption. And I don't know if I ever could. Would I always be wondering that I'm giving a child, who deserves to be someone's first option, a second class chance at life, if I try to adopt as a consolation prize? People tell me I'd be a great mother, that I'd love any child, that I wouldn't have a problem loving an adopted child. But in order to get to that point, I have years worth of grieving to get through. Grieving the lost opportunity to have a child from my eggs. It's not something I can turn to easily.

But anyway, that is all academic musing. Because if I really have Hep C I doubt whether any adoption agency in the land would allow me to adopt. And I doubt any IVF clinic in the country would allow me to do IVF, or to do DE. So I'd be done. Forever. Childless. Barren. Pointless.

See, I'm back to pointless. I don't see the point of life without having children. I really don't. Any life without children in my future is a shadow life. A hanging on until death. Biding time. What's the fucking point?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wait, it gets worse...

So, a nurse from Big New Clinic called me this morning, to say they'd got the ultrasound report and were waiting for the bloodwork before making a decision on the cyst. And incidentally they said they hadn't received my repeat HIV and nasty disease testing. I said I'd had all that stuff drawn in early March and gave them the name of the testing company. The nurse said she'd get the testing company to fax the results over.

I just got a call from a doctor at Big New Clinic. An actual doctor. You know it's bad when a doctor calls. Not only do I have a cyst, which they want to do nothing about and delay me for two months. Yes, two. One month before I repeat the ultrasound to see if the cyst is gone, and then I can start on the estrogen and ganirelix the following month. If it's gone. And of course, Big New Clinic closes its lab down periodically for cleaning, and I've got a sneaking suspicion that waiting two cycles will put me right into the period of time that the lab is closed. So I may even be benched for 3 cycles.

But here's the icing on the cake - my hepatitis C test came back positive. So I can't proceed with IVF at all until I can get that sorted out. They said that often these tests give a false positive, and that my prior tests showed that I was negative. So it's more likely than not a false positive, but I have to go to a doctor and get more tests, including liver function tests, so I can prove to Big New Clinic that I don't have hepatitis C.

Benched, benched, benched. Fuck.

I'm not actually worried about the hep C, as I have not taken part in any dangerous behaviors since the last negative test, nor have I had any blood transfusions. But still, it's a pain in the proverbial to have to retest everything. And of course I suppose there is always a small posibility that it is a real positive but slim. And if they'd followed up on these tests when they first asked for them, I'd have known this in March and got it sorted out by now. So it's pretty darn annoying.

And I don't even have a regular doctor, so now I have to find one.

A cyst, a cyst, my kingdom for a cyst

I went for my routine u/s screening this morning, to rule out cysts.

And the first words out of the u/s tech's mouth? "Are you having any pain or discomfort?" No, says I. "Oh," says she, "you have a 5cm cyst. Are you sure you're not in pain?"

A cyst! Damn and blast. I have been having these damn ultrasounds for, what, 2 and a half years. Not one cyst. And just when I am trying to arrange this complicated out-of-state cycling thing, just when I have told my boss I will be away for medical reasons, just when I got cocky and booked the effing flight, I get a cyst.

I am waiting for a call back. I can't believe that this means anything other than being benched for at least a month. Either they will just want me back in a month to see if it has gone away on its own, or they will want me on birth control pills, or they will want to aspirate it. Whatever happens, I do not think I am doing an IVF cycle this month.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Well, here we go.

Cycle day 1 today.

So I have an ultrasound booked for tomorrow morning, they'll take blood and fax the results off to Big New Clinic. Who'll then let me know if I'm cleared to start stims. Then it's back to my old RE for more bloodwork on Sunday. Then I might be hopping a plane to NY on Sunday night or Monday night. It all depends on what Sunday's bloodwork shows. Nothing like making it easy to plan, huh? If I have to get on a plane on Sunday night that'll be a tad stressful (not to mention expensive). Oh well, I'll just see how it goes.

I'm trying to cover up the sheer unadulterated terror that is rumbling along with some excitement. I think I'll be better once I actually get to NY. All I can think about for now are the stacks of work on my desk, the stacks of laundry at home and all the other things I need to take care of before I leave. Eeek. I can't quite believe that I'm actually traveling to do this. It's really quite surreal.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stress monkey

I'm stressed.

Really stressed.

Ridiculously stressed.

And I know I shouldn't be. I know I should be calm and serene going into an IVF cycle because otherwise my chance of success might be lower. And that's stressing me out more.


Work is not going terribly well at the moment. I won't bore you with the details, but let's just say I was seriously considering dusting off my resume yesterday. But to change jobs at the moment means changing continents due to my work visa situation so it requires some pretty major consideration. Not to mention the little matter of the IVF and potential baby. And the whole "I tried to move to the states and failed" connotations in going back.

And because work isn't going well, going away for the cycle is stressing me out more than usual. Even though I'm going to be working while I'm gone, the mere fact of being away from the office, trying to tell people that I'm leaving on an undetermined day and returning on an undetermined day, is all stressing me out.

It's all I could do yesterday to repeat to myself that it'll all turn out OK in the long run. And to breathe deeply every now and then. I didn't accomplish much actual stress reduction per se, but maybe did some damage control. I hope. I buried myself in a book in the evening, hoping for some serious escapism, which I mostly accomplished, so I at least had a few hours of not ruminating on my fate.

Maybe today will be a better day. I hope so. I need all my ducks in a row going into this potentially final cycle.

In pharmaceutical news, I am 2 estrogen patches down, with 2 to go, and 2 ganirelix shots down, 1 to go. Then the big wait for the red tide. It's all going fairly well, except the current estrogen patch is sticking to my knickers so going to the bathroom has to be done gently so I don't rip it off. The ganirelix has been burning a bit, and leaving red patches, but I've been taking care of that with my new miracle friend, Traumeel gel. It's a homeopathic remedy for bruises and the like and so far so good. No bruises!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


You'd think, as I was counting down to it, that I would have blogged about putting my first estrogen patch on. But, well, it was only a patch. Took all of...oooh...several seconds to apply. I was loving my patch last night - you really couldn't see it, I couldn't feel it, everything was lovely jubbly.

By this morning, the adhesive around the edge the patch had acquired a nice collection of fluff and other dirt particles so it has a lovely outline now, and I managed to give myself a nice red welt trying to remove a particularly large blob of adhesive that was oozing out of the side. And I can feel the patch irritating my skin. You see, I'm a sensitive flower. No, really. You can put all sorts of chemicals onto my skin and it doesn't give a fig. But put rough texture next to it or gasp! adhesive or stick something on there for any length of time, and it doesn't like it. So I am fairly confident that when it comes time to pull the patch off, I will have a nice red patch for several days. Lovely!

Tonight is the first ganirelix shot. Should be another easy one, as it's a preloaded syringe. Gotta love those - no thinking or mixing!

I've been sleeping badly again. I keep churning this whole IVF business in my head again. I can't help myself. It takes up all of my thoughts. All of them. Everything is consumed in some way or another with the IVF. I'm sick of it already, and it's barely started. I think once I get to NY and get that first scan out of the way I will be better. I just worry about what my ovaries are going to do - whether we can finally do it this time and produce a good enough quality egg (or two). God, I hope so.

Friday, April 13, 2007

It's the herb, dude

One. More. Day.

I've been temping a lot this cycle - well, I have continued temping all along, just because I like to know when ovulation happened, but there've been chunks of time when I didn't bother. Like during my period or most of the luteal phase. But this cycle I kept it going after ovulation. Not sure why really but I suppose I needed to feel like I was doing something. And I have been surprised, nay stunned, at how beautifully even my temperatures are. If only I'd had one of those classic dips on the day of ovulation, you could almost put my chart in a book as one of those "this is how your temperature chart should look" examples. Needless to say, most of the rest of the time you'd have put it in the "this shows temperatures varying a bit too much" section.

Anyway, I think it is all to do with the herbs I am taking. Because I'm certainly not being any healthier at the moment than previously, and in fact have been very stressed about work and going to bed far too late. So the herbs must be it. You see, I have been self dosing. Bad me. I'll slap my own hand for it - there's no need for you to do it. But, see, I felt that the acu just really wasn't doing enough for me and I felt that there were a lot of areas that we just weren't addressing. Therefore, I've been taking Chinese herbs on my own for the last three months without telling the acu. On top of the Chinese herbs that she has me take. Ha ha. My body is a science experiment. But right now I am on some herbs that the book "The Infertility Cure" says would be the best for preparing the average woman for IVF. They include a kidney yin formula, and a blood tonifying formula which I know I need and have been taking for a while. I've never really done any kidney yin tonification before because I didn't think I need it, and none of the acus have ever thought I needed it. [Yes, I've had consultations with more than one acu - four to be precise.] But ever since I've been taking it - boom, nice even temperatures. Just like that. Immediately, like. Instantaneous, and all that. Do you think this maybe really was the missing link? That I had an underlying kidney yin issue that no-one has really noticed before? No, don't answer that. I'm going to believe that this has fixed something that was never fixed before and try to add it to the fragile little tower of things I am clinging on to to give me hope.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Butt slapping

2 more days to go before the estrogen patches!

I got the patches and the ganirelix out of the big box o'drugs this morning, and carefully put them on my bedroom dresser, ready to go. Together with an appropriate quantity of alcohol pads, of course.

And then I read all the little patient information leaflets that came with the patches, just because I'm a dork like that. Not that I've read the ganirelix leaflets, but then that's a preloaded shot so it's so easy peasy there doesn't seem to be any need to bone up on the instructions. But I might do that tomorrow morning, because after all I'm always looking for a way to delay actually getting a shower and getting ready for work.

But I did discover something marginally useful from the patch instructions, which is that in tests women who put the patches on their butts had a slightly increased blood level of estrogen than women who put the patches on their bellies. That was enough for me! So we are butt slapping from Saturday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Methaphor schmetaphor

So, what does it mean that when I post that the drought was making me think of my own ovaries drying up, lack of fertility, etc, the heavens open up and deluge us? Within a few hours of my post yesterday, it started raining, and boy did it rain. We got about 3" in one afternoon, and it kept raining all through the night.

This morning is bright and sunny, with perky plants who are reviving from the long drink that they managed to get. The grass has greened up overnight and while we are still in drought conditions, things are looking very much better.

Yes indeedy.

I promise I will stop whining about shrivelled up dried ovaries. At least until after the cycle is over.

3 more days to estrogen patchness!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The dread chronicles

I've been very uninspired about posting lately. I think it's the impending dread. I don't really want to do another IVF cycle, you see. Oh, don't get me wrong, I want the outcome, assuming the outcome is positive. Not so keen on the outcome if it is another negative. I just don't want to be doing this. Period. I just wish it had worked already. I wish I didn't have to keep pushing myself forward for one more attempt. Just one more. Which then turns into yet another one more because I can't quite give up yet. So I have cycle-dread. Dread that it won't work. Dread that I'll put myself through all those shots and other indignities for nothing again. Dread that I'll somehow have to find the money, time and energy for another cycle. Just plain dread.

I've also been having anxiety dreams. Not bad, wrenching anxiety dreams, but just little weird things. Like Saturday night, I dreamt that my friend and her boyfriend had taken me for a day long workup by the doctor in advance of the IVF, and it was my new RE, Dr. S. Except he was doing an endoscopy on me, and was sticking that big old tube down my throat without having given me any sedation first. I was panicking a bit and trying not to choke, but managed to hold it together. And when that was done, he wanted to stick some big old tube up the other end. At which I decided I needed a bathroom break, so my friend took me outside, flappy hospital gown and all, to look for a bathroom and there we were wandering around my high school with my butt hanging out, looking for a bathroom. And then we saw this weird dude from my work hanging out with a weird internet gal. And I was saying "huh, I never imagined those two ending up together". But they were putting on a show of being together and were actually planning some sort of sabotage of the school. Eventually we wandered back to the doctor's office, but I decided I didn't want the boyfriend to see all my girly bits, despite them having been on display for hours anyway, so I was getting all shy about that.

And then I got woken up so I never found out if I ever did get all the tests done.

I told you it was weird. I guess it's all just symptomatic of all the little anxieties that I've been building up. And yes, usually my anxiety dreams land me back in high school in some way or another. I'm sure it's all very deep and meaningful. But it's rare that I remember dreams so vividly - usually I'll have maybe one a year that I remember in so much detail.

I also have this sense of dread that is connected to the weather. We're in the middle of a severe drought, and have got water restrictions going on. It makes me uneasy, I think partly because it's evidence that the usually fertile mother earth is drying up, making me think of my ovaries, naturally, and partly because I worry about global warming and whether I'll even have a house to raise children in if the sea level rises. It's just an uneasiness, but you know, another little dread in the back of my mind.

I suppose it'll all get better once I start on the meds, which is in a mere 4 days, but we'll see.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Ugly donor thoughts

I got the positive ovulation test yesterday, and have called Big New Clinic to let them know I'll be starting estrogen patches on the 14th. And I finally got through to someone who knew about the necessary forms to enable me to get some vials of sperm shipped to them, so that's done. We're getting there! I can't quite believe sometimes that this is really going to happen. I'm really travelling out-of-state in a last(?) desperate attempt to get knocked up.

But anyhoo, I called the bank to double check on availability while waiting for the clinic to fax the form over, and my donor still has 15 vials left. The last time I called, a month or so ago, he had 18 vials left. So, he's a bit of a slow seller I guess. My previous two donors both sold out very quickly, which is one reason why I then switched, although at the time I was concerned that I wasn't getting pregnant due to something to do with the sperm, so I was thinking about that too. Of course, since then, Dr. M. point blank told me that the sperm was NOT what my issue was! Gee thanks. So I have now stuck with the same guy through all of my IVFs. Which is over a year.

Clearly a slow seller.

So I started to worry. I mean, the other guys sold out in 3 months or so, and he's still around? Wouldn't you worry? I dug up the baby photo, and have done some staring at it this morning. I mean, is he ugly? If you have a choice to create a "designer baby" as the tabloids like to call anything to do with donor gametes or PGD, wouldn't you want to aim for the baby look to like baby Bran.gelina? Not that any of my kids ever would, of course, seeing as they will (hopefully) have half of their genetic code from my family. But hey, we aren't a bad looking family. Not models, maybe, but not terrible, so I'm not expecting hideousness in any offspring of mine. Although I know genetics is a fickle fiend and you just never know. And if I throw an ugly donor in the mix, hideousness is probably more likely. Maybe it isn't ugliness but other people are seeing something I'm not? Or is it just his hair color (listed as red-brown or in other words auburn) that is putting people off? I don't see anything in his history that would be a red flag, and he's "proven" with prior pregnancies too. Maybe it's just because he's been listed as "limited availability" for a while?

It's so hard to tell ugliness when all you've got is a baby photo, though. It's not ugly to me, but I guess I can see that he wasn't necessarily the cutest baby ever in the history of the world. And trust me, I have ruled out several donors because I thought they were ugly babies so I'm not completely blind. But the ugly donor thoughts have started to rear their ugly heads. Why isn't my guy flying off the shelves? Are my kids going to be left on the proverbial shelf too?

I can see these thoughts growing out of proportion if this does actually work and I end up pregnant. I'll probably end up dreaming that I'm going to give birth to Quazimodo or something. Let's hope not. Ugly donor thoughts, please go away.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Oh the relief!


On CD13!

No, I'm not explaining those terms. If you know, you know. If you don't, well, tough.

But man, am I relieved. Things must be getting back to normal. I can't tell you how many times I have wondered over the last few months if I'd given myself PCOS or something from gaining weight and taking that darn DHEA for so long. I kept arguing with my acupuncturist that something must be permanently wrong with me because I'd had three full cycles with late ovulation and wacky luteal phases. She kept saying it was just residual stuff from the IVFs, but three whole cycles? I mean, how long does this stuff mess you up for? And, if it really does mess you up that badly, what is the effect on pregnancies conceived from IVF?

The good news, though, is that this is now my third cycle with lots and lots of lovely EWCM. I never used to have much before, and always would either have to go digging to look for it, or would have to rely on the nurse telling me I had it when she was doing the IUI. So I think one herb or other that I am taking has been having a positive effect.

So, anyway, the upshot is that I should have my LH surge today or tomorrow, I hope, and then we are set for starting the estrogen and ganirelix. AND I'm in a good mood. Life can't be all bad, eh?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tax time is here again

I had a wonderful, peaceful weekend, in which I puttered in the garden and saw no-one. Well, apart from the acupuncturist. But it was so wonderful, it made me think how much of a solitary person I really am - I have the best time when it's just me and the cat, a sunny day and a good book. And when the weather is the right temperature to have the windows open and breezes wafting through the house. I did lots of weeding, and even mowed the lawn with my new push mower. Yup, a manual push mower. Those things are way easier than they used to be folks, and so much better for the environment.

At times I really felt like it was the calm before the storm of IVF#5 starts up. I have a really good attitude this time and am being very Zen, so far, so if it doesn't work, nobody can say I was too stressed.

I finally did all my tax forms, but can't file them yet due to a weird situation where I'm waiting on a bank to do something. Which was caused by me selling off mutual funds in order to pay for IVFs. Hopefully I can get that one final piece of information quickly, so I can file and get the cash. But I am getting a gargantuan refund. I'm very pleased - it's far larger than I anticipated, and will offset almost all of Big New Clinic's IVF fees. Yay! Of course, the reason I am getting this gargantuan refund is due entirely to the $47k in medical expenses that I claimed for the year. Which makes $60k in all that I have claimed on my taxes in this baby-making pursuit, because I claimed $13k in 2005. These are such staggeringly large sums (to me) that it almost seems impossible to fathom. I keep thinking the IRS are bound to pull my file and question all the medical expenses, but then there are plenty of people I am sure who have spent far more than me - I mean, just think how much long term cancer care costs, even if you have insurance. It's crazy that anybody has to pay for medical care - with all the faults of the National Health Service in the UK, I am definitely looking at the care I received from them through rose-colored glasses these days.