Saturday, June 23, 2007

Look Ma, no cysts!

White pants. They work every time.

By yesterday evening, I had what I'll call "heavy spotting". Which kind of gushed a bit when I got home. Except it wasn't a red gush, it was a brown gush. Now, I have two types of period starts. The first is the early in the morning red gush. You know, aided by gravity when you first get out of bed. That sort of thing. And then there's the evening start, which is heavy brown spotting. That turns in to a red gush in the morning. I have always decided that the evening start is really spotting, because it's not red, because you read on these fertility sites that day 1 = first day of red flow. But often my brown spotting is also flow. And I have very light periods over all, so I often have one day of flow with only half a day of red. The rest is just brown light flow/spotting. So I often end up agonizing over what day is really day one of my cycle. And I have always figured it doesn't really matter, as long as I'm consistent.

So last night, I couldn't decide. I thought I'd set my alarm anyway, and see what happened overnight. There was not much action overnight, so after I got up to pee, I decided to say that it hadn't started, go back to bed and sleep until 9. And do the ultrasound tomorrow. And then I lay there, agonizing again. Not getting back to sleep. You see, I have this theory that I start recruiting follicles early in the cycle. So then what if what I've been calling day 2 is really day 3, AND I recruit follicles early? This could have a big difference in my response to the stim meds because I could be starting them too late. And then of course there's the self-ridicule that comes along with being 38 years old and not being able to figure out when my period starts. Pre-fertility meds I was always sure. The first sign of anything was the start. This was before I learned about spotting and flow. Red and brown being different. And started agonizing over what was really what. Did I gain anything by this agonizing, I wondered? Was it really serving anything by waiting until I had red flow when my cycles have been so effed up by years of birth control pills that there's very little of that anyway. And as for consistency? Well, what I have been consistent about is NOT getting pregnant. So why continue to follow the same old rules, when all they've got me is fatter, poorer and more bitter.

And then I decided, what the hell. Let's go back to what I used to do. Call the first day of real spotting day 1. Let's see if starting early helps any. So I hauled my ass out of bed and into the shower, and schlepped off to the local RE's.

So I checked in, and sat in the waiting room. And sat. And waited. And waited some more. And I looked around, and didn't recognize any of the patients, and only two of the staff. And I felt old, and from another era. I looked around at this new batch of patients who did not start going there in 04 or 05 or earlier but instead in 06 or 07. And I wondered if any of my 04 contemporaries are still around, still trying for #1. Of course, just at this very point, two women near me struck up a conversation.

"Blah blah blah. Have you just started treatment?"
"Yes, well sort of."
"Are you doing IVF?"
"Oh no, we've done one IUI cycle and this is our second. We have a son already, and we'd never do IVF. It's just not worth going through all that when our insurance doesn't cover it. How about you?"
"Oh, I'm doing IVF. It's my first. But my insurance covers it, luckily, otherwise we wouldn't do it either."
"Oh, well, if your insurance covers it, then of course do IVF. Ours doesn't, as I said. Well, it covers diagnostic testing, but we've had to pay for the IUI out of pocket. It's sooo expensive."

It was at this point that my eye started watering. Must be the allergies, I guess. I sat there looking into space thinking about what a freak I would be to these people if they only knew what I'd done and was about to do. 5th IVF cycle, entirely out of pocket. Still trudging on. Moved on to an out-of-state cycle at Big Clinic. The drastic, big guns that only the desperate women do. I must be such a fucking alien freak to them. And I felt so sad and so alone. And so so freakish. So a tear rolled down my cheek. I wiped it away. And then another one came, and another one. And I did my best to pretend that it was just one eye that was watering, and tried to pull myself together.

But then it was my turn. And the ultrasound tech, who was one of the old hands, was so nice to me and so lovely, and so excited about Big Clinic and so hopeful that my cyst was gone, that I just wanted to hug her. But I didn't, because I'm far too British for that. So we stuck the dildocam where the sun don't shine to check up on monster cyst and she said in a very excited voice "IT'S GONE!!!" And we both said "hooray!" And I wanted to love the world. She counted 6 antral follicles on the right, and 2 on the left, which isn't all that many, but it's a respectable number. They were all lovely and evenly sized, and although not as many as I would like, they looked better than plenty of other "CD2" ultrasounds because of their evenness and suddenly I realized that my decision to go in a day earlier was vindicated.

So I left there feeling happy. But it's funny, that damn allergy kept coming back on the drive home. Every time I thought about those women in the waiting room, my eyes would water and a tear would roll down my cheek and I would feel like crap.

And then I started thinking of my internets. My wonderful also-barren friends that I would never have met if it wasn't for blogs and chat boards. The ones I have met in real life and the ones I haven't. The ones that are also multiple IVF failures who, yes, keep going, even when insurance doesn't pay and we have to scrimp and save and borrow and appear desperate to the rest of the world. Because we are desperate. And with good reason. The prize at the end of all this is worth the pain now. We all hope we will be the ones to finally succeed, but if we don't, we'll know we gave it our all. And I'm so thankful to have these women in my life. OK, they're scattered all over the world, and not able to sit in the waiting room with me telling me not to listen to the naive barbies, but they are there for me through my computer screen. And by the time I got home, I remembered that I wasn't alone.

So thank you, internets, for coming to my appointment with me. You may not have realized it, but you were there for me today. And I needed that.

Damn allergies. My eyes are watering again.


Michelle said...

You are so not a freak. Or if you are, you've got good company (me!). I had the incredible good fortune that IVF #1 did the trick, but if not (and if it doesn't happen again), I'd be right there with you, cleaning out my life savings and researching the best clinics in the country.

I also have a hard time figuring out when my period "officially" starts. And the more important it was to get it right, the more confusing it seemed to be.

June Bug Momma said...

Woo Hoo No cyst!! I am so happy you do not have yet another road block! I hope from here on out everything goes your way! I remember when I decided to go the IVF route you answered a lot of my questions and I thank you for that. I have a feeling that the BIG CLINIC will answer your prayers. Stay positive & keep the faith! :o)

calliope said...

DUDE!! no cyst!!! woooooo hooooooo!!
So effing thrilled for you.

I know being in the waiting room must have sucked- I mean you are clearly allergic- but just think about you in the waiting room of Big Clinic. You will be the NEWBIE.

I am so excited that #5 is here. At last! This is IT. I insist that you get hugely knocked up.


The Town Criers said...

Congratulations on the cyst :-)

And you are so so so not a freak. They are the freaks. I wasn't even in the waiting room, but I'm very good at diagnosing freakage from the description.

Good luck with this cycle! Sending lots of good thoughts your way and lots of hope.

Stephanie said...

Always there for you, babes!

I *would* have gone with you if I had known what freakage was laying in wait for you!