Tuesday, July 31, 2007

7 is my lucky number, I hope

7 is my lucky number, I hope

I am back from retrieval and about to nap. But they got 7 eggs!  More tomorrow...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Words gone awry

What is UP with this format? At least posting from the blackberry this time I didn't include my work details, but I guess it messed with the formatting. Or maybe it's just my view that is off and it looks perfectly normal to everyone else. I don't know how to fix it though, so you're just going to have to hope it goes away on its own at some point.

Anyway, no call today from Big Clinic. Which must mean that my estrogen didn't drop. So that must mean that retrieval is ON. Thank God.

Oh, and I meant to post about my bruising. Unfortunately I didn't bring the camera with me because my carry on bag was chock full of medications and I had to jettison the camera at the last minute so that my bag had a hope of actually closing, but I have such an interesting bruise. All the bruises have merged into one gory purple/red/yellow/blue/green mess on my lower abdomen. And then there's a thin green vertical line going up into my belly button. Straight. Thin. Almost as if it were drawn on with a green pen. Right to the dead center of my belly button. Like the blood ran that way while I was standing on my head. While I was staying really still so it didn't meander. Or, like the blood emanated from my belly button and ran down my abdomen, pooling over the flab to cover the puncture marks with a lacy number like a doily. Quite artistic, really.

And there was something else I meant to post about, but the lack of sleep has affected my brain power, so you're just going to have to imagine that it was an interesting post. Maybe it was my estrogen levels? Here they are anyway: CD2 = 79.2, CD6 = 97.1, CD8 = 176, CD10 = 483, CD11 = 750. Yes, that's right, 750. On trigger day. It doesn't bode terribly well, does it? Especially when most people are up in the thousands.

Hey! A happy post!

Thank you, thank you, for your kind comments. It's so nice to know there are people out there rooting for me.

Well, today is a different day, a different story. I set my alarm for 1am so I could do the trigger shot at 1.10am. Did it, it all went fine, got back into bed at 1.15am. Except I couldn't get back to sleep for a long time. And then I woke up in the middle of the night having a nightmare about my poor kitty being badly badly injured and me trying to call an emergency vet service in the middle of the night to have her put to sleep to ease her suffering, but my hands were shaking so much and my mind was stressing that I kept dialling the numbers wrong. And then when I finally got back to sleep a crying baby in the next room woke me up. And then the alarm was going off again at the ungodly hour of 5.20am.

So I was pretty groggy this morning for the post-HCG retrieval instructions meeting at which they tell us what to do tomorrow. There are 12 or 13 retrievals tomorrow. I think I am number 11. Or maybe number 10, who knows. Anyway, they are estimating that my retrieval will be at 10.30am. Ish.

But! Here's the good news - Big Clinic does an ultrasound after trigger for another follicle measurement. My old clinic never did that, so it's new to me. And there was a 20mm follicle on my right ovary! The doctor said "Whoa! Was this really 11.5 yesterday? Maybe this says 18.5 and I just can't read it right. " To which I told her that it was indeed 11.5 yesterday. She exclaimed several more times at how surprised she was that it grew so fast. I asked if fast growth was a problem, and she said no. Not sure I entirely believe her, but man I'm VERY pleased that it did that. It gives me hope that maybe just maybe I'll get more than 4 mature.

The ones on the left looked more evenly sized. The big ones hadn't grown much, if anything. In fact, I wondered if the RE yesterday only did one measurement and not a combination of two. But the smaller ones had caught up some. So would it be very greedy to hope for 6 mature eggs? That'd be nice, huh?

Sunday, July 29, 2007



Well, I just got the call. Trigger is tonight. At 1.10am to be precise. And then I have to be at Big Clinic at 6.30am for something or other. Nice. And then egg retrieval will be on Tuesday.

I feel so deflated. Why?  Why did this happen?  How on earth do my follicles grow so quickly?  Did the RE today measure them correctly?  What is going on?  Was I on too high of a dose? 

And why can't people shut the fuck up in their hotel rooms?  I am surrounded by noise today after quietness during the week.  Just when I'd like to stare at the wall and not think about anything. 

Anyway, what will be will be, but it doesn't stop me from crying. It wasn't supposed to be this way. I try so hard to be healthy. I try so hard to do everything I'm supposed to do. And it doesn't work the way it is supposed to.  And I don't know why. 

OK, sorry, I'm whining.  It could be worse, I know. I will square my shoulders and see what happens. It really does only take one good egg after all, eh?  So I hope this is it. It better be, because you guys might have to put up with a whole lot more whining if it doesn't work. Again.

Effing hell

Effing hell

I've gone from a tad bit disappointed to downright annoyed.

Yesterday, contrary to what I predicted, they had me drop the dose of stims and come back this morning. The news this morning was not good. Yesterday's largest follicle was 14.2. Today it was 20. I had an 18 and a 17.5 as well. So it looks like I am triggering tonight. There are 2 more follicles that may also make it (15.5 and 14.5) and an also ran (11.5).

I am pissed that this happened. To go from nice and slow and steady to ridiculously fast just makes me very mad at the world. I'm so tired of getting crazy fast development. Surely it isn't good for egg quality?  Twenty grand for 3 good sized follicles is not a great return on my investment, especially when those follicles have developed unevenly.  I had 11 antral follicles - why couldn't I have had 10 or 11 develop?  Is that too much to ask?

I know, I shouldn't be ungrateful. I'm not cancelled. I could have 4 or 5 mature eggs. I've seen it work for women with fewer. It could all still work out. And yet it's just very frustrating. Very frustrating indeed.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday blahs

Saturday blahs

I have to admit, I'm a tad bit disappointed this morning. I had my ultrasound and there were 5 worth measuring, with the largest being 14mm. It seems like it would be hard for others to catch up, especially as Big Clinic likes to trigger early.

But, no matter. At least I'm not dealing with the spectre of cancellation. There are 5 with a hope of some more. You just never know, some of the smaller ones could easily put on a growth spurt.   And there's that old "quality vs quantity" thing. It will be what it will be. I'm not going to waste energy fretting.

Saw the estrogen levels again, and I'm kinda confused. See, Big Clinic uses two estrogen scales and I don't know which one is the normal one. I think it wasn't the values I gave before. Not that it changes anything but my estrogen has either been 79.2, 97.1, 176 or 79.2, 153,  214. Either way, at least it's going up.  The EWCM has started, so I know it's higher today too. 

If I'm in a predicting mood, my guess is that my instructions will be to stay on the same dose and go back on Monday.

So that's me. I had plans for a trip to The Cloisters today but it looks like it's going to rain so I'll have to see how it goes.  It's part of the Met and you get free admission if you go on the same day. I'll see what's happening when I'm done with the first part of the plan. 

AND what I thought was going to be a pain au chocolat at the cafe I'm currently sitting at turned out to be filled with some cheesy stuff. So that's another blah for the morning.

Blah humbug.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bunking off

I am bunking off work today to go do some sightseeing. It is, after all, my vacation for the year as well as an IVF trip. So, as I didn't bring a laptop with me, I'll have limited internet access for the weekend. I'm currently in the patient resource center for Large Hospital of which Big Clinic is a part. It's pretty swank, with blazing fast internet and full access to medical articles, so I'll be doing a bit of sleuthing later. There's a couple of articles that I've wanted to read in full but have been too cheap to pay for. But now I don't have to pay! Yay for cheapness.

So I'll be blogging from the Blackberry if there's anything to report. Yesterday's instructions were to stay on the same stims dosage for 2 nights, and to report back for another u/s and b/w on Saturday morning. So I'll hopefully get a better count then, and see how the follicles are going. Probably there won't be much action, but we'll see. If there's no news, it just means that nothing extraordinary is going on.

Oh, and on the CD2 E2 result - that was on estrogen priming, so it is expected to be elevated as I was wearing an estrogen patch on my butt when they took the blood. Don't know what my FSH was as I couldn't see that on screen, but it is likely to be lower than normal due to the estrogen priming, so wouldn't be accurate anyway.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The magic wand

Hey! I got wanded!

My own very lovely RE did my wanding this morning. Which I totally didn't expect, because I was told that the fellows do the ultrasounds early in the cycle, unless you specifically ask for an RE. And then usually it's whichever RE is doing retrievals that day does the ultrasounds before heading off to do some needling. And I know my RE's retrieval day is Monday. So, what a nice surprise! I heart that man.

AND he knew exactly who I was. I said "hey, I finally made it to NY, after all the delays and cancellation", expecting him to nod politely and not know who the fuck I was, and he said "well, yeah, with hepatitis C we have to be sure because if it had been a real positive you wouldn't have wanted to cycle. But false positives happen every now and then, and in fact my last patient with a false positive hepatitis C result is now 9 weeks pregnant so hopefully you'll follow in her footsteps." You could have scraped my jaw off the floor. I honestly would not be able to remember so many patients myself, let alone details of their history. He didn't even have my file in front of him which makes it doubly impressive in my book.

Anyway, the big results. All the follicles are small. He did warn me before shoving the wand where the sun don't shine that this protocol "pushes people out" meaning it was a slow stim protocol. But after all my uncomfortableness lately I was not expecting titchy follicles. And there they were. Titchy. But that's OK. Que sera sera. He said there were 3 or 4 on the right, with the largest at 6mm, though I thought I saw 5 or so in the nanosecond I could see the ovary on the screen. Then he said there were 6 or 7 on the left, with the largest at 10mm. I thought I saw 8 or so. Again, couldn't see the screen for very long, so I asked how he could count so quickly and he said they didn't really count at this stage so it was just a guess.

Hmm, wonder where the uncomfortableness is coming from, then? You wouldn't think that 3 or 4 follicles of less than 6mm would affect me, but my right side is as uncomfortable as the left. Oh well, maybe I really am a delicate flower after all.

I'm pretty happy all in all. All the follicles looked fairly evenly sized, and there were enough of them not to make me depressed. So it's all good. And NO DOMINANT MONSTER FOLLICLES! Yay!!! Dr. S. reckons that ER will be the middle of next week so I'm guessing they won't have me back for another ultrasound until Saturday. It really will be my slowest stim protocol evah, but of course that means a lot of drugs. Slow and steady wins the race, though, right?

I saw my estrogen levels on the screen from the previous blood draws, but I was strangely calm about them. Maybe because they are a few days old and maybe because I know whatever they are it doesn't really matter? But if you want to know, CD2 was 79.2 and CD6 was 153.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I'm feeling quite miserable today - physically, that is. I've started with the IVF walking. Which is not so much as a waddle but more of an extreme slow motion walk. Because my back is hurting, and my ovaries are hurting, and moving those hips which are after all near to my ovaries causes them to hurt more. OK, it may in fact be a waddle. I mean, it's not a bad hurt, just uncomfortable. And then there's the general exhaustion and ickiness. I feel icky. That kind of icky that comes from being out too late partying. Or too much estrogen. And my belly is bloating up already, although that could be from too much pasta. And then there's the swelling downthere that nobody ever talks about, but it's started.

So there you have it.

I have no effing clue what's going on in my nether regions because I still haven't had an ultrasound and don't know what my estrogen level is. I'm actually pretty proud of myself for continuing to resist asking for an actual number. Lovely nurse Vickie* called me with my instructions and I just meekly accepted what I was told. I rock.

However, the instructions did leave me a tad alarmed. I went for bloodwork yesterday after 4 days of stim meds. At 600 units a day. Which may be enough to fry my ovaries for good. Or enough to nudge a menopausal hippo's ovaries into action. Whatever visual gets you going, that's what I think of the dosages. Now, I do hear from everybody and his uncle that EPP is a slooooow protocol, especially to begin with, so I expected not to have too much action to start with. So while I was surprised that yesterday's appointment did not include an ultrasound I was mostly fine with it. But then they told me to stay on the same units for another 2 nights of stims, and go in for my first ultrasound on Thursday. After 6 days of stims, people! At a higher dosage than I've ever done before. That just seems a tad risky not to know what is happening for that length of time. Especially as I'm not usually this uncomfortable this early, and on previous cycles I did 6, 7, 8 and 9 days of stims before trigger. I hope that it is LOTS of smaller follicles causing the discomfort, though, and not one or two monster dominant follicles. Well, we'll all know tomorrow.

I tell myself that Big Clinic knows what they are doing, and don't get me wrong, most of the time I am WAY WAY less stressed than on previous cycles. I'm pretty freakin' zen, really. And I'm actually kind of happy not knowing what's happening, because so many times I have been imagining good things and then have been brought crashing down to earth with a low estrogen level or a bad ultrasound. So I'm going with the flow and trusting Big Clinic. Most of the time. It doesn't stop me having an eensy weensy little freak out now and again though.

But the good news is that I'm starting Ganirelix today, so that will hold off premature ovulation. I always thought they started it when the follicles reached a certain size, but I have read studies where it is started on a particular cycle day, so that's all good.

And the even better news is that I have flowers in my room courtesy of the divine Miss Calliope, and it's feeling a bit more homey now. Thank you Cali! Mwha!

*I know lots of people have problems with nurses at Big Clinic, but so far I am doing good with my head IVF nurse. Maybe it is because we are fellow countrywomen, and she is being nice for the sistahood. Or something. Or maybe because I am syrupy sweet to her on the phone because I know she controls everything.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm here! I'm here!

Greetings from a very rainy NY!

Traveling went smoothly, most of the time. I was a bit worried about getting through security with all my injectable medications but they barely looked at them. I told them going through the scanner that they were injectable meds, and then they took my bag, pulled one bag with 4 follistim boxes out of my bag, took a brief look at it, and didn't look at any more. Not exactly what I expected. They seemed more interested in my Sigg water bottle to be honest.

Shooting up in the bathroom was a bit of a nightmare. I decided to shoot up just before boarding, as that would be easier than doing on the plane. What I didn't plan for was that the women's bathroom would only have 4 stalls, and two planeloads of people trying to pee after they came off their flights. The stall was cramped, people were complaining that I wasn't coming out of my stall, I didn't have anywhere to lay out my stuff so mixing was hard, but I got it all accomplished.

We arrived in NY early, and then came the chaos of trying to get on the S-uper Sh-uttle. It's supposed to have a nicely plotted route, organized by destination so people traveling to the same places go in the same bus and get to their destination quickly. Except the drivers earn more by having more fares, so if you're there at the airport, the next driver that comes along is going to squish you into his bus no matter where you're going. Luckily I was dropped off first. Thank the lawd for that.

My room is very blah and unwelcoming. I booked a bigger room at the same place I stayed at for the coculture biopsy. It's a special hotel that accommodates hospital patients and visitors and is pretty basic. But it's cheaper than other hotels, and all rooms are big with full kitchens. Bigger room does not equal more welcoming, however, it just means more blank walls that are crying out for pictures. Any pictures. Even bland hotel style pictures that you normally turn your nose up at would be better than blank walls. At least the bigger room does have a sofa, which is nice, but I long for some personal touches. Oh well, it's only for 2 weeks. I'll survive. I shall buy a vase and some flowers on the way home today, and will keep fresh flowers in the room while I'm here - that should brighten the place up.

The office is very quiet here and business like. Although that could be because they have more space than they need and I'm in a not-so-good part of the office that isn't as full with full-time staff. But I'm here, I'm in, the computer and phone are set up. I have some work, but not too much so it'll keep my mind off things while not stressing me out. I hope. I am looking very NY (I think) in a black and white print wrap dress. It wasn't actually a new purchase for NY but I think it goes well. Didn't look quite so hot coming in - I had socks on with my ballet flats as it was raining cats and dogs, and had my one black cardigan that I brought with me buttoned up against the cold. I just couldn't bring myself to wear sneakers on the way in, but I saw lots of women in wellie boots (sorry, English term, I don't know what you call them - rubber rain boots, maybe?) so that has emboldened me a bit on the sneaker front. I mean, I'd never normally have worn socks but I decided I needed something to soak up the rain. And I'd normally have worn higher heels with this dress, but didn't want to soak them or walk too far in them. I think I need more shoe options so I can see myself buying more footwear while I'm here!

First monitoring is tomorrow morning, but surprisingly it doesn't include an ultrasound. It's bloodwork only. I guess they really do expect this to be a slow stim protocol. I am a tad worried about no ultrasound, but I'm putting it to the back of my mind and trusting them. They know what they're doing, and a bad ultrasound would only stress me out and not change anything. I mean, even if I have dominant follicles, we'd still want to stim a few more days to see if others catch up so it doesn't actually gain me anything by insisting on an u/s now. So I won't.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mishmash traveling day

Something's not quite right with Blogger. My posts aren't always showing up. They used to at least show the next day, but today that didn't even happen - I didn't see yesterday's when I logged in. They are, however, showing if you put /index.html at the end of the blog name but it's pretty annoying. Anyway, if on an important day coming up (like egg retrieval day) you don't see a post from me, it's probably there but hiding on the index page. Don't know why.

Well, flippin' Harry Potter didn't arrive until 5.55 pm yesterday. I was in agony waiting. Agony. I thought I'd been forgotten. I actually think I was forgotten as the guy who finally delivered it wasn't in the usual delivery truck so I have a sneaking suspicion that my book was found lurking in the corner of the truck on its return to the warehouse.

Still managed to finish it before bed, though. Yes, I am a fast reader. I was actually going slow the first half of the book, but sped up towards the end as it got into more action. It took me 7 hours, which happily leaves me the whole day to get ready for my flight. I would have slept in, but the cat had other thoughts for me, so I may have to nap on the plane. And never fear, I will be taking it with me so I can reread it slowly while I'm in NY.

I don't think I've ever had a whole day to get ready for a flight. It's quite weird. Normally I'm rushing around trying to get everything packed at 5am or midnight or something. I have a few errands to do, a spot more last minute cleaning and some more ironing. Oh, and packing. But it'll be nice to take my time.

I am feeling my ovaries already, which on the one hand pleases me and on the other hand worries me. Just so long as all the follicles are developing together, that's all I want. No dominant follicles, please. Please?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Holy needles, Batman

I started shooting up yesterday, and man, that's a lot of drugs. It didn't help that I was using up old vials of follistim from my last cycle, and switching to the pen. And using menopur. So it took three injections to get everything in my belly. Having said that, I think it'll take three injections most nights, as I got the 300 unit follistim cartridges, hoping to take full advantage of the overfill in order to get some free drugs, and my daily dose right now is 450 units. So I'll always have to change the cartridge half way through and re-stick myself. And then add the menopur for another 150 units. The cartridges involve much less liquid than the vials though, and using the pen is a breeze so it shouldn't take long. Also, once I am in NY, the dosage should go down, and I'm getting some donated meds (which is totally and utterly awesome and huge thanks are due to my IVFC buddies). So I think I'll be on bigger cartridges with a lower dose, hence I won't have to switch half way through, and will therefore be down to 2 sticks a night. But of course will be adding ganirelix at some point, so will be back up to 3 again. Oh well. Just so long as it's not 4 shots a night, eh?

It seems weird to do the entire dose all at once. Old Clinic had me split the dose up 12 hours apart, which actually made for more shots every day but each one involved less liquid so seemed less daunting somehow.

Anyway, Big Clinic doesn't want me back again until Tuesday morning, when they only want me to do bloodwork. I am a bit freaked that I won't be doing an ultrasound, but I have been talking to myself and telling myself that even if I had a dominant follicle at that stage we'd still try to stim for a few more days. So actually seeing a dominant follicle would freak me out without any treatment benefit. So I am trying to trust that they know what they're doing and not go in there screaming like a banshee on Tuesday morning, demanding an ultrasound. It sounded like my estrogen level was high from the patches, and they said it takes a few days for the follicles' production of estrogen to overcome the amount left over from the patches, so it is a slow start to stims. I hope so.

Did you notice that I said "it sounded like my estrogen level was high"? I am damn proud of myself that I did not ask for numbers. Damn proud. This will be the cycle of blissful ignorance, I am determined. This will be the cycle of trying to trust the doctors.

OK, now where's that UPS guy with my copy of Harry P. and his Hallows?? He's ruining my plans for the weekend by not being here yet. *Pout*

Friday, July 20, 2007

Lies, damn lies, and statistics

I told a big old whopper of a lie this morning. Several times, in fact. I said my period started yesterday. Except it didn't really. Well, it kinda mighta started yesterday. I had heavy spotting. I had a couple of small brown gushes. In my old life of rule-following, and with nurses from Old Clinic saying it has to be real flow to be a real start I would have said it started this morning. But in my new life where I am taking control, I lied through my teeth and said that yesterday was IT. Because I feel that I develop dominant follicles early so I feel that I need to get the cycle under medical control as early as possible. So why wait an extra day? And it is still possible that I am kinda sorta telling the truth, as it could possibly really have started yesterday. It was just a bit of a slow start.

Anyway, the upshot of this lying is that I went and had my cycle day 2 ultrasound and bloodwork done this morning. And I'm a pretty happy chappy. No cysts! AND all the antral follicles were nice and evenly sized. Not the usual crop of mixed sizes with things starting to grow already. So I felt vindicated about lying. AND I had 11 antral follicles, which I'm pretty pleased about. 5 were on the right ovary, and 6 on the left. I can certainly work with 11 follicles. I'll be very happy if they actually manage to retrieve over 8 or so eggs out of these follicles.

So, all in all, it's been a good morning so far. It looks like I am actually going to New York on Sunday. It looks like I'm actually going to do this cycle.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I got my ruler out for this post

If you had to FedEx someone a box of estrogen patches measuring approximately 3.5" x 4.25" x 0.5" and which weighs approximately the same as a feather, how do you think you'd send it? Maybe a small Tyvek envelope folded in half? Maybe a padded envelope if you were worried about squashing?

Or would you stick in the 12" x 14" x 2.5" medium-sized box just so you could piss off your customer by charging her the flat rate shipping for said medium-sized box?

Just wondering.

In other news, I am bitchy as anything today, cramping and wolfing down sugar as fast as I can get my hands on it. I hope this means that the crimson tide will be arriving momentarily. Either that, or I really need a personality transplant.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Comedy of errors, or, my day so far

9am this morning I called the pharmacy, and told them of their error. The customer service representative said she'd speak to the pharmacist and call me right back about shipping replacement patches.

10 am rolls around and I then spoke to the nurse at Big Clinic, who had kindly called me back, and she confirmed that I did the right thing by putting all four teeny patches on at once. She was going to fax me a new prescription but given that it sounded like the pharmacy were going to send me a replacement, I said not to bother.

11am and I was still waiting for my right back phone call. Nothing. So I went to the dentist to get some dental work done. And the pharmacy called at 11.30 while I was sitting around waiting for the novocaine to fully work, so I answered it, and had a slurred conversation with the customer service rep, who told me that I'd have to pay full price for the repeat prescription, because I'd used the patches they sent me. Uh, well, see I had to use them, I said, because I needed the medication. And I had to use them all because YOU sent me the wrong dose. "No, no" she says "I mean, if you'd checked the prescription when it was sent to you, instead of waiting until you were about to use it, you would have noticed it was wrong, and could have sent the box back unopened". Umm, so, it was YOUR error, and you want me to pay? Is that what you're saying? We went back and forwards for a while, until I convinced her that I did check the prescription when I received it, but the prescription label and the patient information sheet being correct kind of threw me, and that I didn't realize I was expected to be a CSI-style investigator to spot an error that their double checking didn't pick up. She said she'd wait until the pharmacists changed shifts and ask the next guy.

Noon. Lunchtime. Spotting. Start freaking out that my period is going to show today, and everything is going to go to pieces after all.

We get to 3pm, and I realize my knickers have stuck to one of the patches, which I later discovered has rolled itself up into a little ball and is not giving me any estrogen at all. My knickers are presumably nicely estrogened up, but that's not exactly helpful. Obviously my butt is not as big as I thought it was, because who'd have thought there wasn't enough real estate for four patches to coexist happily? I unrolled the patch, which took forever, as that thing did not want to unravel, and taped it back onto my arse with bandaids. And who knows if it is now in fact providing any estrogen at all. But the good news is, no more spotting.

So, cut to 4pm. Next guy pharmacist has obviously shown up for work. The customer service rep calls me and says that next guy pharmacist agrees with me that I shouldn't have to pay for the estrogen patches. Finally, someone with some common sense! However, overnight shipping is going to be $15. What??? I pointed out that if they hadn't made the mistake, I wouldn't need overnight shipping, and that they normally don't charge for overnight shipping. But I guess they don't charge for overnight shipping when you're spending several hundred or thousand dollars, and ain't going to cut you any slack at all when it's their own dime. Gee, thanks guys. Thanks for the fabulous customer service and making me want to use you forever more. I sighed and agreed, as I just wanted the damn things to show up, and it was after all going to be cheaper than going to my local CVS for the patches. I am clearly lame and not good at arguing my case.

I wonder what else can go wrong? Oh, and my cheek has swollen up from the dental work, so now I look like half a chipmunk. Nice.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Surrounded by feckin' eejots

I swear, you gotta be on your game with IVF, otherwise things could go badly wrong.

So, I had a lovely therapy session. She really calmed me down and got me thinking positively. We discussed everything I'd done to get ready for this cycle, how I was going to be in the best place possible to get pregnant. Lovely, lovely. The best ever, in fact. We hugged, she wished me luck and I asked if she was sticking around for a bit so I could use the restroom (I'm often the last patient of the day and didn't want her to walk off while I had her restroom key). Off I went to the restroom, to shoot up.

Except there was someone in there, taking a dump. Groaning and taking a dump, actually. Making weird little grunting noises, in fact. I decided that there was no way on this earth that I was going to shoot up in a stall next to someone grunting and defecating. Just think of all the poop vapor that could infect my needle stick! So I peed, washed my hands and went back to the therapist's reception area.

Where I promptly opened my pants and shot up with Ganirelix, just as the therapist walked out to collect old magazines from the magazine rack. "Oh" she said "I didn't realize that's what you were doing, you could have stayed in the office, or used an empty room". I explained how I didn't really care where I shot up, just so long as people didn't think I was using heroin, and just so long as there was no-one doing their business in the next stall. But she stayed to watch, because I guess it's mildly fascinating watching someone stick a needle in their belly.

So then I needed to change the estrogen patch. I put the first one on on Sunday. It was leftover from the aborted "monster cyst" cycle. I undid the new packet which was from my new prescription and a teeny tiny eensy weensy little estrogen patch fell out onto my hand. Not the monster patch I'd just removed from my arse but an eensy weensy dainty patch. The petite lady-sized menopause patch and not the plus-sized super shrivelled ovaries menopause patch. I looked at the wrapper. It gave the dose as 0.025mg per day. I'm supposed to be using 0.1mg per day. It was a quarter the dose it should be.

I started panicking a bit. How on earth could I not have noticed? But then I thanked my lucky stars that I knew it was the wrong damn size and didn't just blindly assume that it was right. I stuck it on my arse anyway. I left the therapist's office and called the nurse on call number at Big Clinic. Except being after hours you have to speak to the answering service, who'll call the fellow on call. I got through after many many rings. Someone said "hello?", promptly dropped the phone at their end, and then didn't respond when I was saying "hello? hello? Is this the answering service for [Big Clinic]?" I hung up, thinking "eff this, I have a brain in my head, I can figure out what to do".

So while I drove home I figured out that I got patches which were one fourth of the normal dose (I'm good at math, clearly). Therefore, all I needed to do was put four patches on at once and I'd be golden. Except then I'd be out of patches. So that's what I did, and put a call in to the IVF nurse asking for a new prescription that I can take to a local pharmacy, being as menopause patches are covered by my insurance.

And then I looked at the box of patches, thinking "how on earth did I miss this?" And there, plain as day on the box was the prescription label saying "0.1mg", which is what I'd looked at. And there, right underneath was the box saying "0.025mg". Which I'd somehow overlooked. But the idiots at the pharmacy, who do this for a living, and who should effing know better and check these things had put the wrong label on the wrong box. Feckin' eejots. They shall be getting a piece of my mind over the phone in the morning.

I mean, can you imagine? If I hadn't used the damn patches before I'd be on a quarter of the dose, thinking everything was peachy, and ruining my cycle. Damn feckin' eejots. You gotta be on your game, people. Check everything twice!


I forgot how much ganirelix stings when you inject it. Huh. Funny how we wipe such memories from our minds. I shot up at work, intending to finish a project before going home, but ended up just sitting there rubbing my belly and moping because I couldn't concentrate. So I gave it up as a bad job, and went off to rub my belly at home.

I had some potential spotting this morning, so now I'm a bit worried about things happening too early, but hopefully the old witch will hold off for another couple of days. We'll see. Hey, at least it'll give me another thing to worry about, because obviously I didn't have enough things to stress over. I find I spend most of my time at the moment writing out lists of things I must do before I leave for NY. Or mentally making other lists. The lists are depressingly long on the work front, but hopefully I can pull some work concentration from somewhere and get through it all, rather than listlessly surfing for yet more IVF information that won't help me anyway. At least the house is slowly getting organized, and the laundry is slowly getting done so that's an improvement.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Mixed emotions

Well, here I am. Patch day 1. The start of it all.

And my healthy eating has gone completely to pieces. It's like I start too early and run out of steam. Or the stress of getting close to the cycle causes me to not be able to maintain focus. Sigh. I will try again next week. No more pastries or apple pies!! Or cheese. Oh, lovely cheese. At least I have kept off the alcohol and caffeine, so that's something.

I feel very unprepared. A lot of that is because my house is still in chaos. Let's face it, I am a slob. I am not good at picking up after myself so inbetween visits by the house cleaner, it degenerates. And I have to have it clean because I'm going away and will have friends coming by to feed the cat. And one of them is I think somewhat likely to snoop. So not only does it have to be tidy, all the fertility books and paraphenalia has to be hidden. I spent much of yesterday trimming hedges in the yard. Which gave me a sunburn and sore shoulders. Yes, being a good hippy I used manual shears, and the hedges had not been trimmed in, oh, forever, since I cut the yard guy down to once every 2 weeks. He is taking it out on me by basically doing nothing, and I would have fired him completely by now if I hadn't been stressed about being out of town and the grass potentially growing to a foot high or something if I didn't have him coming by at some point. As soon as I get back, his ass is gone, though. Anyhoo, the hedges took a LONG time to trim, and I was trying to tell myself that when I get back I'll be pregnant and won't want to stand in the heat doing yardwork so it better be in good shape now. Today I am tackling the chaos that is my desk, as it has piles of papers strewn about that should be gone, gone, gone.

I had my last acupuncture appointment yesterday. Not that I told them it would be my last, but I am done with acupuncture. I have given it 2 years and 3 months. A whole year with the current acu. And I don't feel that we really fixed everything. I mean, some things have got better. I have more energy than I used to. I get EWCM. I am ovulating later. All good. But I cannot afford to keep throwing money away like I have been doing over this fertility stuff. $75 a visit on acupuncture, and $175 on therapy add up VERY quickly. And it used to be $100 a visit for acupuncture when I was taking herbs, and when I saw my second acu. If this cycle doesn't work, and if I do another cycle, I will find some other way to destress. Well, I might go back to therapy for a bit, as if this cycle doesn't work, I'm sure I'll have issues. But, I am tired of handing over authority for my treatment to other people. To acupuncturists who don't even tell me what they think is stagnated or deficient. To therapists who ask me if I'm open to a relationship all the freakin' time. Hello? I said yes, what is this, the CIA where you ask me the same question repeatedly to see if you can catch me out? But of course, it seems very much to be end-of-an-era ish to be stopping acupuncture, as it has been so intimately connected with trying to conceive. I basically started it after 3 failed IUI's so I've pretty much been doing it all along. Just think of what I could have bought with all that money!! I need to stop hemorraging cash over this baby dream, so it is done. I may try to go back to yoga, as at least that will help with my general fitness level as well as destressing me.

So. Then. Here we are. Patch day 1. Although I feel unprepared and have been putting bad things down my gullet, my eggs had better be prepared. I hope that they respond well to the meds, and I hope that they develop nicely and in unison. I hope that I have a good egg retrieval, a fantastic fertilization report, and a nice, easy transfer of great quality embryos. It is kind of out of my hands now, I feel. It's too late to change anything. Yes, I should have lost weight. Yes, I should have been more rigid with the healthy eating. Yes, I shoulda woulda coulda done many things. But it's not as if any of us really know if those things have an effect on cycle outcomes. So I will try not to stress too much. I will try to relax into the cycle, just breathe, and let the docs and magic lab of Big Clinic do their work. I wil try to believe that I have a good chance this cycle. I will try to hold on to that thought. Even when the knot of panic in my throat rises up and threatens to stop me from functioning at all. One day at a time, one hour at a time. I can and will get through this again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fashion challenged

I have a confession to make. I find going to NY highly intimidating. Fashion-wise, that is. I imagine the streets to be full of Carrie Bradshaws wearing their Jimmy Choos and their Manolos, and being all immaculate and wonderful.

I am not immaculate and wonderful. I especially won't be in hot and humid July/August, during an IVF cycle where I can be expected to bloat up horribly. And that's after I already feel fat because of the weight I've gained so far in TTC. And I have to go to work in my employer's NY office. And I'll have a bruised arm/back of hand from the blood draws and probably from the IV for egg retrieval but it'll be hot so I'll want to wear short sleeves and will be self-concious. Of course I also imagine the office to be populated with swank NY professional types, who will be dressed to the nines every day in sharp suits.

So I already bought a new tote bag, following on from the trend (which I hope is still going on) for women to have giant handbags. I figured a giant bag would be perfect for schlepping drugs, water bottles, needles and other paraphenalia around. And maybe a paperback or two for the waiting room at Big Clinic. And then yesterday I went shopping for some new t-shirts and possibly a work top or two that I can wear to pretend that I am somewhat fashionable. I'm just going to say that I thank God for the current blousy styles that are practically maternity-like in shape. Not that I want to be reminded that I'm not in maternity clothing for real, but it's nice to have plenty of give room for the swollen belly. I tried on a few tight T's as well, and they looked just awful so I am giving those a miss.

I guess the suitcase is slowly getting packed, mentally at least. I am figuring out what I want to take with me and slowly figuring out some of the logistics. I'm still fucking scared, though, but what was that supposed new motto? Oh yeah, que sera sera...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Return of da fear, part 6

Last night, I realized the fear had returned. I've been blaming my jitteriness of the past few days on work stress and the consumption of caffeine. Yes, I was bad, I fell off the caffeine abstinence wagon. But yesterday I was good, I crawled back on the wagon and really tried to de-stress when I got home.

But the jitteriness didn't go away. And I kept thinking "holy crap! I'm going to be travelling to NY in less than 2 weeks!". And then looking around the house, which has deteriorated into its usual chaotic state, and thinking "I'm not ready". I am calmer this time, somewhat, about the actual IVF. I am now determined not to ask for E2 levels so that I don't stress while stimming. "Que sera sera" is my new motto. Though I think Doris Day would turn in her grave at my bad singing every time I try to drown out the other thoughts with a spirited rendition. But being away from home is stressing me out. Being away from my kitty is stressing me out. And I'm nervous. What if Big Clinic isn't the answer to my prayers? What if it still doesn't work? And what if it does? I'm so used to failure that I'm not sure how I'll deal with success.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Feeling green

I'm feeling green. But not sick any longer - I'm all better now. The green I'm feeling is not nausea but environmentally friendly.

In honor of that little concert that went on yesterday, I decided to do some shopping and devote myself to being a little bit more green. I already do quite a few things (drive a Prius, have already switched all the bulbs in my house to CFLs, put the TV etc on a power strip so I can power it down overnight, run the a/c at 78, etc), but not enough. There's always more that can be done.

And besides, I've been lusting over a few products featured on Tree Hugger in the last few weeks. And I love me some shopping, so I thought, why not? Anyway, soon to be winging their way to me are: nylon shopping bags, a SIGG water bottle, and reusable silverware.

So, I resolve to say no to plastic forks, shopping bags and water bottles in future.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Got my +OPK yesterday. Yay for LH surges. So I will be starting the estrogen patches on the 15th, and Ganirelix injections on the 16th.

In other news, I was as sick as a dog yesterday and had to leave work early to spend most of the afternoon lying on the sofa, moaning. The rest of the afternoon was spent in the bathroom. Oy. I'm pretty sure it was something I ate, but I have no idea what. I was going to post something funny that I thought up about how explosive diarrhea and OPK's don't go well together, just to get you all going "ewwwww" but really it was more about having to hold pee for a few hours but not being able to when everything else is coming out at once. And I'm too tired today to try to write in an inventive manner. So, that's all you get. The bare plot outline of the blog post that would have been the funniest ever. It was going to have you hooting and spitting out your coffee all over your monitor, I promise. But sadly for you, I'm too pooped to even try. Hah, pooped. Geddit?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th!

I have no plans today, deliberately. Y'see, I'm trying to do that whole healthy eating, no booze thing, and it's so freakin' hard if you actually do anything social to stick to that. So I've dropped vague hints and lies that I have plans so as not to sign myself up for any barbecues. Pathetic, I know, and an infertile should try not to retreat into her shell but I'd rather keep myself on an even keel before my cycle. And besides, all barbecues have other people's kids at them, which probably would be a painful reminder of what I don't have. I'm sure my therapist would have a field day over this, but whatever. Self preservation is needed at the moment.

Things are looking good so far for this cycle. I had major omelet yesterday evening and this morning, so am hoping for a nice on time +OPK, which will mean that my travel plans won't need rearranging (hopefully). I have to say, though, that it is really nice that in the last six months I've had EWCM regularly and in good amounts. I used to be so jealous of the women that got omelet, as I could never tell, and hardly ever had real positive OPKs either, making IUI timing very difficult. In fact, I missed having an IUI two cycles because I misread the signs and ovulated early. So at least the acupuncture or something I've been doing has had an effect on that.

I'm even managing to keep the positive thinking going so far, although somewhat surprisingly to me, I've had a major shift in thinking over the past two days. It's quite weird. If I were a flaky spiritual type, I might say it's a "sign" but I'm just going to go with "painful realization". See, I always wanted twins. Ever since I was a kid. I had best friends at one point who were identical twins, and it was so fun being in on the jokes, fooling people about who was who (I could tell easily), and seeing that whole constant friend and companion thing. I wanted that for my kids. And then when I moved to IVF, I was secretly happy on one level, because I thought this would mean definite twins. Not identical probably, but twins nevertheless. And then after failing an IVF, and then failing another IVF and then another I started thinking that if I succeeded, I was not going to do another fresh IVF because I just could not face (or afford) going through this again. So I kept thinking that it'd better be twins, otherwise I'd end up with an "only" unless I was lucky enough to get frozen embryos and have a successful FET. Ha, right. So, twins, twins, twins. That's what I wanted. That's what I focused on. Sure, I knew that twin pregnancies were much higher risk, that it was damn expensive having twins, that it would be harder on me and them in so many respects. But I didn't care. Of course, I would have been thrilled to just get and stay pregnant. I told everyone I'd be thrilled with one OR two but I knew that inside I'd be disappointed if it was only one. Because then I couldn't just be DONE with trying to add to my family.

And then suddenly a few days ago, I started desperately wanting a singleton pregnancy. I just don't think I have the energy to deal with a twin pregnancy or parenting twins. I just don't think I have the money. I want a normal pregnancy and birth. I don't want complications - I've had enough damn complications with actually getting pregnant that I just want to be normal again. I don't want people staring all the time, and saying "look, twins!" and worse. I want to be able to focus on one baby at a time. I want that baby to have the best chance in life, and not risk their health with a higher chance of prematurity and other things going wrong.

And I'm at peace with it. All of a sudden. All of a sudden, a singleton is my goal and twins would be welcome but not the aim. Not that this means I'd transfer any fewer embryos. After all, I've transferred 3, 4 and 3 (had to go back down to 3 because that's all I had) and not had any stick. If Big Clinic allows me to transfer 4, which I think they will, and if I have 4, I'm going for it. But mentally I will be focusing on thinking "stick, baby, stick" rather than "stick two babies, or one baby that's OK too, stick". It will hopefully be easier to chant to myself and easier to maintain focus. It just seems weird to me now that I know that, and I don't even know what caused me to start thinking this way.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Because I know you need an update

Got a tiny bit of EWCM this morning, so I'm hopeful for a +OPK by maybe Thursday. Please, universe? Please? It would be so nice not to have to have the usual mad panicked rearrangement of my plans because my body does not cooperate and is tardy with reproductive-related functions.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Already bored

I've taken one OPK, and I'm already bored with this cycle. Monitoring for ovulation is so...well...dull. Pee on a stick once a day, having tried to hold enough pee in the hours preceding the test. That's it. Nothing else to do. Boooooring. It seems such an age away before I can get started, although I know that it'll fly by in certain respects.

And just in case anyone was in any doubt, it was a negative OPK. As it should have been on cycle day 10. Yawn.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

My trip to buy OPKs

I've probably mentioned before that Big Clinic doesn't seem to use birth control pills with their IVF cycles much. Not quite sure why that is, but then Big Clinic marches to the beat of its own drum, and they are Big Clinic after all, so they must be doing something right. So, this is the cycle where I start the estrogen patches and ganirelix, and I have to monitor for ovulation so I know when to start everything. Which means I have to use ovulation predictor tests. And I've been putting off buying them, because I have started to hate the OPK/HPT aisle at my local CVS. I have bought so many things there over the years, initially with so much hope and then only sporadic hope, and then a sense of doom and futility. And I always feel like the idiot staff there are judging me, particularly one woman who I'm sure looks for the (lack of a) wedding ring each time.

Anyhoo, as further background, my next door neighbors are big partyers. They're not loud and raucous, you understand, it's more family parties and barbecues. Except they have a lot of family, who all seem to have a lot of SUVs. So every weekend, about 3 SUVs are parked in front of my house. And this is their big party week where they've got people staying from all over, and hired a dude with a special enormous barbecue for roasting slabs of meat, which was parked in front of their house. It's an annual event. I never say anything about this, or the regular weekend parking, as after all, it's a public road, but it bugs me. Why don't their guests park in front of the other neighbors? Why just my house? They do also park down a side street but usually not in front of other houses in our street. Am I so obviously lame that I am the easy target? Plus, earlier in the week the neighbors had pissed me off by putting garbage in front of my property (they do this all the time too) on the wrong day. I came home to a violation notice from the city that the garbage was out on the wrong day. I left a voicemail for the city worker that it was my neighbors' garbage, and left the violation notice on their front door with a polite note (they were out for dinner when I got home from work). They did move the garbage when they got home, so I was all prepared to forgive them when the city worker called me back early the next morning. Oh, she said, I was going to issue a violation notice to both houses, because it wasn't clear whose garbage it was, but your neighbors were in, and specifically told me it was YOUR garbage. Grrrrrr.

Cut to Friday night. I get in from work, make dinner, close the front blinds, read a bit, slump in front of the TV, and for some reason decide to peek outside at about 8.30. Not only were there cars and SUVs everywhere, one was actually parked right across my driveway. Blocking me in. I wondered if they were actively trying to piss me off, or whether they were just idiots. But at that moment decided that they had to know that this was unacceptable, coming on the heels of the garbage incident, as it did, and that I need to have access to my driveway. For which I needed an excuse to get out of the house, and decided that it was the perfect moment to go and buy those OPKs. So off I toodled, and rang the doorbell. After an age, the man of the house opened the door. I was quite rude, I admit, and said that I was blocked in. He said they'd cleared the garbage away. I said "I saw that, thank you, but I need to get out of my driveway". Various people spilled out of the house. Some woman who I've seen before (the wife's sister I think) tried to engage me in conversation, gushing about my lovely accent. It was probably a ploy to stop me from being a bitch. Eventually they figured out whose car it was - "oh honey, it can't be family, we'd never do that, it must be a friend", the guy emerged, and moved his car. I drove off, huffing.

Well, the local CVS is literally a 1 minute drive away. If that. So I thought I'd go to a further one just to pretend that I really had somewhere to go, and wasn't being petty and making them move the car for no good reason. As if they'd actually be checking on when I got back to my own house, but still, I was in a huff and not thinking straight. I don't like the next nearest CVS to me, as it's pretty skanky, but I remembered this big shiny one at the north end of downtown, right by the hospital. That'll do, I thought, and it's bound to be a 24hr one, so no worries about it being closed. Off I drove. I got there, and was a tad surprised to see a uniformed guard at the door, but OK, the north end of town is a bit ghetto, so not too surprised. But when I got to the "family planning" aisle, I was really pissed off to see all the condoms, pregnancy tests and OPKs behind locked doors. You have to ask for a staff member to get them for you. Eff that, I thought, I'll go back to my local CVS. But as I left, I just got angrier and angrier.

I mean, I used to work in a big store when I was at school/college. We knew that condoms were prime theft targets. After all, teenagers and young adults don't have much money and are embarrassed buying them. But they need them. So most places suck it up as the cost of doing business. I've also noticed when I go to Walmart to buy Equates that lots of young males use the self-service checkout buying condoms (makes me laugh, when I'm also in line buying pregnancy tests and they probably think I'm also embarrassed, but I'm really just impatient). Anyway, I thought, that's good for the guys, they can get their condoms without hassle. Cool. Things are moving on. But this CVS, in the part of town that has most need for access to condoms, locks them away. For fuck's sake. In this day and age, when we should be working to prevent the spread of HIV, and teen pregnancies, a rich company like CVS can't just deal with some condom thievery? Or can't put a vending machine there or something? I was put off my OPK purchase because of the hassle. How many young men and women walk out of there without buying condoms or pregnancy tests? How much heartache is caused by this? It made me want to scream.

Of course, if I had the courage of my convictions, I'd immediately boycott CVS and write them a letter explaining why. But I am pathetic, I don't like Walgreens and Target is a long way from my house. So I went to the local store, made my purchase and came home seething. At least I had full access to my driveway when I got back, but the lack of consideration for other people this world shows amazes me sometimes.