Sunday, December 30, 2007

The choices for the new year

Well, here we are, 2008 is upon us. I am heartsick that I am not pregnant. 2008 is the year I turn 40 and I always imagined that I would have my family by now. OK, truthfully I imagined that I would immediately become pregnant when I started TTC'ing at 36, have my second baby at 38 and then miraculously meet a man at age 40 and have my third baby (with my new husband) at 41 or 42. This, you understand, being plan B, as of course I was going to get married at 32 and have babies the old fashioned way before I moved on to thinking about doing it on my own.

Ha ha ha. The joke's on me. Instead of life being anything like I planned and hoped for, I have plumbed the depths of misery that I didn't even know existed. The last few years have been truly awful. I never imagined just how bad it would feel to try and try for something you desperately want and to fail and fail and fail again.

I feel all kinds of left behind-edness and bitterness. People I started trying to conceive with have their second child, or are pregnant with their second child, or are trying for their second. Or have completed their families all at once with twins or more. Others have been through the mill and now are finally pregnant with their first. And then there's those of us who are left behind. Kind of like the non-believers after the rapture, I suppose. Oh wait, I'm going to be one of those too, so maybe there's a trend here.

But anyway, 2008 has to be the last year for trying with my own eggs. I know I said that about 2007. I know. But it is just too painful to completely stop now. Never fear, those of you that wish I would move to donor eggs already, it is coming closer. I am getting more and more mentally ready. I am getting to the impatient stage of seeing women have success with DE and wishing I could just get with the program already. I am, in a way, jealous of them which I never used to be. DE is almost close enough for me to see the whites of its eyes. However, there are choices to be made before then, and I would appreciate views on what to do.

Of course, I am doing the frozen embryo transfer first. And there's a chance it could work. And I would be absolutely overjoyed if it did. But let's be realistic here, I need to plan what to do next in the event that it doesn't work. So my choices are:

1. Move straight to donor egg. I could do a cycle in the Czech Republic or South Africa for half the price of doing a cycle locally. Pro with DE is that I have more control over whether my eventual child looks like me or not. I could also theoretically still maintain a genetic link by having my brother donate the other half of the equation for me - although that is weird and squicky so I may not do that. One of the cons though is that international travel is a tad difficult for me at the moment due to my immigration status. I can do it but I need time for government agencies to grind some paperwork out.

2. Move straight to a donor embryo program. Donor embryos are very hard to get a hold of, and the chances are that my child would look nothing like me. It could take a year or two to come up to the top of the waiting list, unless I arranged a private donation somehow. Pro is that it's way cheaper than DE, con is that it's less likely to work than DE (unless the embryos I get are already from DE) and everyone would probably ask questions if I ended up with a blonde haired, blue-eyed kid.

3. Do another cycle at Big Clinic with my own eggs. This is very appealing, partly because I feel that Big Clinic got me close with the chemical pregnancies, and it would put off the decision on moving to DE. I know the clinic and how things operate there. I would probably be able to cycle quickly, as there'd be no new patient intake malarkey. Apart from the money and time, it would be easy, but then again I should get my tax refund before cycling so that would help with the money aspect. But how big of an expectation should I really have that it could finally work? And then afterwards I am still faced with the choice of DE or ED or adoption or whatever if it doesn't work.

4. Do another cycle with my own eggs at a different clinic. There are various choices - Big Commercial Clinic in the snowy mountainous area of the country, Big Snake Oil Immune Issues Clinic in the desert area, and Mini Stim Clinic in the same city as Big Clinic, among others. Big Commercial Clinic may or may not take me on due to my prior failures. I have always poo-pooed Big Snake Oil Immune Clinic, but they have an interesting study underway that might allow me to do an IVF for cheap. Although I could very well not qualify - I have sent them an email asking if there's any hope of getting in. The study involves PGD-like testing, which would at least give me an idea if my eggs/embryos really are all abnormal or not. And I'm sure they would recommend some more esoteric immune testing, so that would always be a lark. However, if I don't qualify for the study, I'm not sure how keen I am to change RE's yet again. Mini Stim Clinic has a following, and uses Clomid to do IVF for oldies like me on the basis that the egg quality is better if you use fewer stim drugs. But you really need to plan on doing multiple cycles, which is offputting, and I've probably had too much Clomid in my lifetime to be able to do too many.

5. Adopt domestically. Uh, really not feeling this one at the moment, although it was previously top of the list. I don't really think I have the energy. At least, not this year. Maybe next year.

6. None of the above. Quit trying to conceive, quit my shite ass job, go to acupuncture school and maybe move back to England. Adopt a Vietnamese baby if allowed in a few years.

7. Uh, ideas from the floor?

It's fairly obvious to me where my heart is heading, given that one of the options above is written up all positively and the rest are not. But oh Blogosphere what do you really think?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Addictive personality

You know how I posted that after my Christmas break I would become saintly again? Yeah, not so much. I tried. I really did. And I managed to keep off the coffee for a whole morning and off the chocolate a few hours more than that. But it's been really stressful at work, I have had a bad few days for various reasons and I'm lame.

But the alcohol I have managed to stay off. Just. It has actually been a real struggle, and yesterday afternoon I was talking with a work buddy saying how the only thing getting me through the day was the thought that I could shortly have some red wine. I wanted it. I needed it. It was calling to me. Basically I'd gone 2 days without alcohol since Christmas day and I was in serious withdrawal pangs. He was a bit surprised because he didn't think I drank that much. Well, I don't - when cycling. When recovering from a negative result I have a big tendency to hit the bottle. So much that I worry myself. I haven't posted much about it here because after the "whole bottle in a single night" evening I managed to cut back enough to be able to function during the day. But I've had enough to get fairly sozzled every night and to need real, full blooded caffeinated coffee to make it all the way to lunchtime. I can't just have one glass if I'm on my own. I'm the same way with chocolate and sugar in general. Either I'm going at it, unable to stop myself, or I don't have any at all. It was the same way with, uh, mary jane. Not that I inhaled. Ahem. Haven't had any in well over a decade and don't want any, but when I was partaking, I had a lot. All signs of an addictive personality if you ask me. Am I an alcoholic or a chocoholic though? It's hard to say. I can literally go months without either. If I'm not having any, I don't want any. Well, perhaps I should rephrase that. I don't need any. And I can stop myself when I want, a lot of the time. If I go out to dinner with someone who I don't think will approve of me drinking much, I can limit myself to one glass of wine. Can't do that on my own though. I also limit myself if I'm out and have to drive home. Drunk driving is so not what I want to be doing. But both of those - limiting myself because of others or because of the need to get safely home without killing anyone or being arrested don't come without an internal struggle.

So, sadly, and with much mumbling and grumbling I decided yesterday that red wine really shouldn't be on the cards for the evening. Not when I had spent half the day desperately wanting some and counting down the hours. Not when I was worrying about sliding into alcoholism. So I didn't. I will allow myself a couple of glasses on New Year's Eve and that will be that. Done. No more until there's either another negative beta or a kid in my life. No more coffee or chocolate either. Sigh. Why oh why can't I be one of those people that can do things in moderation?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fertile infertiles

When you get to be such a spectacular failure as I am at all things IVF, you start to look back to that first IVF with rose colored glasses. Women who have success on their first IVF suddenly seem, well, fertile. Obviously, they aren't, otherwise they wouldn't have had to play that whole IVF game in the first place. But maybe we'll go with subfertile rather than INfertile. Fixable using this fab thing called IVF, instead of completely and totally UNfertile. Not quite as barren as you can possibly get.

Most of the time, I have no problem with fertile infertiles. In fact, I sincerely hope my dear friend Cali has become one now that she has a very promising looking EPT. I mean, good lord, I wouldn't wish repeated IVF attempts on anyone, let alone on people I actually like. Anyone (but especially Cali) deserves to have that IVF work, dagnammit.

But now I find myself in this strange world of frozen embryo transfers. I started lurking on the FET board on that there connections website. And good gravy, the women there are nice but I feel like a completely different species. It is completely, chock-a-block full of women who got pregnant with twins on their first IVF and are now going back to use up some of their gazillion frozen embryos for a sibling. I kid you not. And of course, they're all fretting about how many to transfer given that they don't want another set of twins. I feel like I don't even have the same language. I certainly don't have the same experiences as them, nor the confidence that my one lonely little frozen guy will do the right stuff for me. It is like being thrust suddenly back into one of those TTC sites full of blinkies and babydust and sticky vibes and success on the second try. It is quite quite scary and jarring and traumatizing all at the same time.

So I resolutely decided that I would NOT join any groups and I would not participate in any way.

Hahahaha. Me? Butt out? Never!

You are welcome, fertile infertiles. You may thank me later for barging into your group, and being the fall guy for the group stats when I post my inevitable negative and you all get good and knocked up. I am nothing if not public spirited.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Well, wonders will never cease.

The pharmacy just called, and my new health insurance that my company took because it was cheaper than the old insurance actually covers all my FET medications. All of them! Even PIO and Crinone (yes, I shall be on both). For the lupron I have to jump through some hoops and use a different specialty pharmacy, but hey if it saves me a couple hundred bucks I am all about hoop jumping. And OK, so for the Crinone the copay is $60 which may be what it costs without insurance but whatever.

Who'd have thought it, especially when my old insurance was very good at refusing coverage for anything that slightly whiffed of fertility medications. Maybe 2008 will be a good year after all.


Christmas was...OK. Dull, really, but OK. Every year is a reminder that there are no babies in the house, and every year I have said to myself "oh well, maybe next year..." Except that it is getting harder and hard to keep the hope alive that maybe next year I will be a mother. Every year I wonder more if I am doomed to have the quiet adult Christmasses with the sensible gifts of socks and soap for the rest of my life.

Well, enough of that moping, and back to reality. I have made an appointment to have my blood drawn for all those lovely infectious diseases, which is coming up this Friday. I'm a bit nervous about the hepatitis C test, as even though my previous positive turned out to be a false positive, there's always a small part of me that wonders if the follow-up negative was a false negative and if I don't really have hep C after all. And then there's the HSG coming up, and the start of lupron and all that. I'm sure this FET will go fairly quickly, thanks to the holidays. I mean, we'll just get into the New Year and then I'll start the lupron and off we go.

But in the meantime, there are New Year's resolutions to make, and I'm working on my list. Mostly they are the usual - lose weight, get back to eating healthily, get back to exercising, and meditate every day. Well, that's it, really. They are ALL the usual resolutions, so I guess I am nothing if not predictable. God, life is dull.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cafe con leche is my friend

I suppose the only good thing about a negative result from an IVF is that it gives you a window of opportunity to eat and drink all the things you were forbidding yourself.  I have now drunk approximately 12 gallons of wine, several liters of fully loaded coffee, eaten 5 crates of Dibs (my new food obsession), munched a few yards worth of pizza and have generally been appallingly behaved.  The upshot of this is that I've put back on all the weight that I lost in preparation for the last cycle, I have a face full of zits, bleary eyes, stinky coffee breath and could probably jog no more than 3 yards before expiring.

Thus I am perfectly set up for Christmas photo opportunities!  But damn, it has been enjoyable. In fact, this morning as I was standing in line at the Cuban coffee place with the thumping music blaring out of the speakers, I thought how nice it was to be a real member of society again.  A coffee-swilling, boozing, chocolate-inhaling lazy slob of a member of society.  Aaaah, it feels good to be human again.  And hot damn, Cuban coffee is goooood.

But!  No more.  Once I am home from my Christmas visit to the family I shall become sainted again.  Well, it shall actually start while I am with the family, because the US side of my family never quite falls into the depths of food-related depravity like I do, and besides my grandpa is visiting and I will have to drive him around.  There's nothing quite like a beady-eyed nonagenarian who wants to make sure he doesn't die due to a drunken driver to put you off your wine.  Well, no, actually it doesn't put me off, but does make for arguments about how much I've had to drink and THAT puts me off my wine.  

So, a few more days of heady indulgence before my body goes back to being a temple.  Sigh. Though given that I don't need my eggs for a frozen transfer I shall probably still be drinking wine on a regular basis.  Just maybe not a liter or two a night.  Besides, I've been on the birth control pills for a few days with nary a side effect, and I credit that to the high level of booze that has been wafting through my veins at all times.  So I may have to continue just to spare the world from the appearance of psycho bitch from hell.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Solstice, one and all!

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, un-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great.

Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting these greetings, you are accepting the aforementioned terms as stated. This greeting is not subject to clarification or withdrawal.

It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting.

It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself/himself/others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.

This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fraudulent whining

I feel like a fraud, I tell ya. There was I, whining and moaning about the last IVF being my last cycle with my own eggs. Evah. And then grieving and whining and moaning when it didn't work. And now? Poof! Gone! It's so not there and I feel so much better now that I just feel like you all will feel that all the crying was just crocodile tears. It really wasn't, I promise. But I just hit this big ole brick wall every time I tried to move forward with the "no more of Sarah's eggs" plan and I felt broken. And yet if I turned aside and said to myself "I think I could" in a Thomas The Tank Engine-style way, I think I could use my own eggs again, there was an immediate easing of pain.

It's as if this huge weight lifted off me when I allowed myself to start thinking of another cycle with my own eggs. As if every cell in my body let out a collective sigh of relief and said "yessssss!"

I mean, don't get me wrong. I am diligently researching donor eggs and donor embryos. I am lurking on and posting on donor chat boards. I am getting my head around the idea. Mentally, I feel like I am beginning to make the leap. The only snag is that the rest of my body, especially my heart, absolutely refuses to follow the lead. And as people who've made that move to donor eggs or embryos keep telling me that I'll just *know* when it's the right time, I have to say that I most categorically do not yet *know*.

So I shall go on researching and thinking, but perhaps in the background. In the foreground is the FET, so this is to report that I have only small cysts on my ovaries which shouldn't stop me from going ahead, and yesterday's estrogen was nice and low. So I think I should be cleared to start the birth control pills tonight.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An X-ray, an aspirin and a freezer

I had my consultation with Dr. M. at Local Clinic this morning. I set it all out before him - exactly what had happened since leaving him and going to Big Clinic as far as cycles, tests done, things that happened. All that shit. And all my thoughts on my difficulties with moving to donor eggs, the possibility of donor embryos, the possibility of doing one last cycle using my own eggs with Big Clinic. Basically, it all came down to the fact that I was stuck with my thinking but wanted to use the frozen embryo up before moving on with whatever I end up moving on with. If I do do another cycle at Big Clinic, I shall use a different sperm donor, so there's no point holding the frozen embryo in reserve as I'll never be able to get a full genetic "sibling" to match up with it to try to do a frozen transfer with two embryos.

To my surprise, he didn't laugh at the idea of another cycle with my own eggs. He said I'd worked very hard at this and the chemicals were a good sign that Big Clinic was almost there, although disappointing. So if I wanted to stop, that was up to me. But if I wanted to try again, and felt up to trying again, he didn't think it was a bad idea. Now that shocked me, as I always thought he'd be very gung-ho on donor eggs, but I guess when it's someone else's statistics that I'm fouling up, he is more open minded. Funny that, eh?

He brought up implantation issues, saying that implantation is really the last frontier as they have no clue how to fix implantation issues but he was glad we'd run all the immune and clotting tests (yes, I have done all those), and that they'd turned up negative. He still thinks on balance that I have an egg quality problem and not an implantation problem. However, given that I have had polyps in the past, he thought it was worth investigating whether they'd come back or not before doing anything else, and he thought I might as well start taking a baby aspirin once a day on the basis that it won't hurt and might help. We went over whether I should do another saline sonogram or another hysteroscopy or another HSG. Ha, funny (not) that I've already had all three. Anyhoo, that surprised me, because I thought HSG's were to check for open tubes, but no, he said he'd also use it to check the uterine cavity. On balance, he decided that he wanted to do an HSG. So I said fine, whatever, pump me full of X-rays. I don't care.

I asked about an FET/IUI combo. He said he could do it. He said technically he could do pretty much anything, but he didn't want to. He said that the IUI would make it less than ideal circumstances for the FET, and vice versa. And he said my frozen embryo could have a chance if it survives the thaw, as it is a B-grade embryo so it's not too bad (a grade 3BB blast for those who need to know such things) so we should do everything possible to give it the best chance we can. Which in his mind is a full medicated non-ovulating FET cycle. He said 95% of patients have something to transfer after thaw (although admitted that most have more than 1 to start with), and for women aged 35-37 (tee hee, I get to travel back in time because the embryo is from when I was 37) their success rate with FETs is 45% per transfer. So I said fine, whatever, pump me full of lupron and progesterone. I don't care.

So out he and his little med student went, and in came the nurse. She said to call when I get my next period and I'll go on birth control pills and we'll go from there. And I said, well, hey, I'm on cycle day 4. Can't we start now? [You know me, blogosphere, ever one to take the bull by the horns]. I don't see why not, she says. Let me go see if the ultrasound technician is still here, because we need to see if you've got any cysts. But sadly the ultrasound tecnician was not there so I did not get any wand action today. But, here's the plan:

Today: Blood draw for E2, FSH. Check. Get all the prescriptions for meds. Check. Start baby aspirin.
Tomorrow: Get an ultrasound to check for cysts. The nurse will call later in the day with the go ahead or not for BCP. Start BCP.
1/2/08: Have HSG.
1/5/08: Start 10 units of lupron.
1/9/08: Have WTF consultation with Dr. S. of Big Clinic. Surprise him with a little FET action going on in the meantime.
1/12/08: Stop BCP.
1/17/08: Blood draw for E2, u/s. If all OK, and have had period, start estrogen patches and doxycycline. If no period, hang on and wait.
1/31/08 or thereabouts (day 15 of patches): blood draw and u/s. If all OK, stop lupron and start progesterone, medrol and tetracycline
2/5/08 or thereabouts (day 5 of progesterone): embryo transfer if the little bugger survives the thaw.

If it doesn't work and I decide to cycle again with my own eggs, that means I would do the coculture in early March, and the IVF cycle in April. So that gives me a few months to really come up with a plan for donor eggs or embryos or what.

So, that's that. How I spent my morning. By Sarah Solitaire, aged 39 and a quarter. But hoping to pretend to be 37 and a half if all goes well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I amaze myself sometimes, I really do.

There I was, grieving having to stop trying for children from my own eggs, writing off the FET as a foregone conclusion and then I thought...wait! This crazy FET thing could actually work, especially if they let me do an IUI at the same time. I could actually have some hope here and have not yet actually reached the end of the road for my eggs. And that made me all excited and hopeful and like there was joy and a point to life again.

Which got me thinking. As usual. I was reading an old post by the fabulous Julie of a little pregnant fame which was in response to one of those "why don't you just adopt?" comments that infertility sufferers get from time to time. Well, often, really, let's not pretend it's a "from time to time" issue at all. It's a classic post, it really is. You should read it. I'll wait while you do. And, mind you, this was before she had Charlie but while pregnant.

And I was thinking, god, why can't I seem to move on to adoption or donor eggs easily. Why not me? Why do I keep trying and trying with my own eggs. Why, even though I so wanted to be done, even though I promised myself I would be done, even though I was happy to be done fer fuck's sake, why now after the negative and the crying and sobbing do I secretly want to do another cycle? Why do I not want to give up? Well, it's partly because it does happen sometimes. Some women do have success on IVF#9 or whatever. So there's this little bit of hope that drags me forward constantly, that doesn't allow me to give up. There's this little bit of joy that bubbles up when I think about trying again with my eggs that just isn't there when I think of donor eggs or adoption.

But it's probably mostly because I am crazy. Craaaazy. Clearly I must be somewhat unbalanced, or I would have stopped long ago, realizing that the odds are so not in my favor. And if we're being honest here, a big part of the reason why I wanted to stop trying with my own eggs was because of what the world out there (that is, you lot) would think of me. That you would think I was so desperate to conceive a genetically related child that I was refusing to see the whole point of this exercise, which is motherhood after all, which doesn't have to involve any genetic link at all.

However, as Julie puts it better than anyone:

It's not for you — for anyone
To scold, to hector, or to scoff
At how we build our families, hon.
We decide that. You fuck off.

So, um. There we are. I have decided that if I want to be crazy and do yet another IVF with my own eggs, I might just do that. It's too hard to grieve giving up the genetic link when I don't have to, you see. I am not at the age where the RE's say that it is a foregone conclusion. I am not at the financial limit where I need to stop and move on or there won't be any money left. Really the only choice is what is harder - another cycle with my eggs or donor eggs (or whatever). And while going through the cycle I thought another cycle with my own eggs would be way harder because I wouldn't have any hope left, at this point it seems to me that donor eggs would be harder. And because I always like to take the easy way out, that's what I'm thinking right now.

Of course, if both RE's tell me point blank that I need to stop kidding myself and I need to move to DE and just shut up, this could all be moot. I'll find out tomorrow what one of them thinks, at least.

Monday, December 17, 2007


Big Clinic just called, demanding that I go and get that repeat beta. Damn it, I was hoping I could get away without doing it.

So I had to promise to do it tomorrow. Anyone want to place any bets on what it's going to be? I'm going to go out on a limb here and I know, I know, they need to be sure, but ugh.

Full steam ahead

I did not go for my repeat beta this morning. I am bad, I am bad, I am bad. I am debating whether to go tomorrow, but I probably won't. I know they want to just make sure it's not an ectopic with a weird beta situation, but I really believe that it was a straightforward chemical. So I really don't think I am in any danger.

Anyway, I called this morning and made the appointment for my post-IVF WTF consultation with Dr. S. at Big Clinic, so that is set for Jan. 9th. And I called Local Clinic to see if I could move up that FET consultation with Dr. M., and if I go to the main office they can fit me in on Wednesday morning. That's in 2 days! So that means I can probably do the FET in January which is much better timing-wise for figuring other stuff out. It makes me happier to get it out of the way quickly.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Retail therapy is a wonderful thing

I am posting this from my brand new MacBook using my brand new DSL connection and I have to say, I am liking it!  Now, OK, I'm sure the real tech whizzes amongst you are laughing that I have DSL but I am pretty darn cheap when it comes to things you have to pay for over and over again. Besides, I don't have cable TV and it was confusing and expensive to get a plan with just cable internet and no TV.  I will wait for the next latest and greatest thing to come after cable and move to that.  Whatever it ends up being.

Anyway, I've been planning on getting a new computer for months.  Ever since the last one died and yet I have held out because of finances or some other screwy reason like doing an IVF.   And no, I really shouldn't be spending all this money, but I was really missing having internet access at home and if I'm going to take out X thousands of dollars from my savings to pay for the IVF I may as well bite the bullet and take out X+1 thousands.

As for me, I'm doing OK.  The sobbing has subsided and is now a much more restrained weeping.  Still doing it every day, but that's OK.  I am fine with taking time to grieve this failed cycle and the very possible loss of the genetic link to my child(ren) or maybe even the end of trying to conceive altogether.  It is something that needs time, that needs to be expressed, and I'm OK with that.  Just so long as I can booze at the same time, I am good.

I have decided that I will call Big Clinic tomorrow, and book my post-IVF consultation (more colloquially known as the WTF consultation).  I really wasn't going to do it, even though it is free, because I was afraid that I'd come away wanting to cycle again and not be able to resist.  But Dr. S. may have interesting things to say, and it would be foolish to pass up the chance to go over the cycle with him.  He may just say that it is time for donor eggs, and that would mesh with my own thinking.  But he may say that we could try another cycle, and you know what, it would not be the end of the world if I decided to do another one, even though I said I wouldn't.  I have been spending all this mental energy basically telling myself that I HAVE to end here, that everyone will think I'm crazy for keep trying to flog my poor old ovaries into submission.  But if that's what my heart wants to do, then it is worth considering.  

I'm also going to try to move up the consultation for the FET/IUI combo.  That's definitely going to come first, whatever I decide for the future, and I don't want to spend all of January just waiting for the chance to speak to Dr. M., my local RE.  So I'll see if they can fit me in earlier.

And then the future.  Well, I'm going to ask both RE's what they really think.  I know Dr. M. will suggest donor eggs.  I don't know if Dr. S. will suggest that or not, but it's fairly likely.  I guess I'll also ask if they do donor embryos at their clinics just to do a bit of research on that.  Adoption is lagging further and further behind in my thinking, so is now a fairly distant fifth place.  I'm not sure why this is, as it was previously one of the top contenders but I suppose that was before I really tried opening my heart to donor eggs or embryos.  We'll see how things shake out over the next few months I guess.  Hey, you never know, that FET might just work and then I won't have to worry about it all.  OK, fine, don't all laugh quite so loudly please.  There's always a miniscule chance that it could work.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Feeling the grief

I am allowing the grief over this cycle to wash over me in fits and starts. It seems to come in waves - sometimes it seems more than I can bear, and sometimes it is just a dull ache. Most of the time I have to squash it back down as I need to be at work and can't turn into a blubbering mess at any moment of the day. But when I am alone I am letting it come. I am letting myself heave and sob and gasp for breath with the very effort of it all. I am going to try not to completely numb myself with alcohol (at least, not every night) so that I can work through this grief properly.

Sometimes it just crushes me when I think of my family. About my parents' genes not going forward into future generations. About my maternal grandparents' genes not going forward. Hell, even my maternal grandmother's parents may stop here. Some of that is due to war, to early accidental deaths, and in the present day it is due to mental illness, to the failure to find a partner and to choosing not to have children. But I was trying for them. I was trying to make sure my sweet Granny and my dear Father and Mother carried on into the future. And I failed. I turned out to be infertile because I left it too late.

And I sob and weep and it feels like people are dying all over again.

And then I think about things, and realize that some of this is pure chance and none of us have any clue as to whether we are going to contribute to the future of humanity after all. And I look at my cousins who look nothing at all like my lovely Granny so I think how silly it is of me to grieve her genetics when really it is her sweet nature and loving kindness and history that needs to be carried forward. Who can say what my cousins have of Granny, except that they remember her ways and loved her for it. And that doesn't need a genetic connection at all. And on that I think I am slowly making progress. But it has taken a stopping, a getting off of the train that was propelling me forward to be able to really feel that. I knew it intellectually but I didn't know if I could make the leap to know it in my heart. It is still a feeling that is deeply painful right now but I know that the pain will dull over time and I will be able to move forward at some point. I don't yet know what I will be moving forward into but I know that life, and our family, can go on if I choose.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Liver talk

Hello world!

This is Liver posting. I have taken over control of Fingers from Brain so I can work this computer thing. I am not very happy with Brain today, because last night she poisoned me mercilessly with that red wine stuff. I am all clogged up and having to work overtime to clear all the toxins, and it's just not fair, I tell you. Nor am I very happy with Ovaries, because they are the reason that Brain felt the need to poison me in order to protect Heart from feeling all the hurt. I suspect that Brain wanted to check out too because she was having to do too much thinking. Who was thinking of me though? Always having to clean up after everyone else's messes? Nobody, that's who.

Most of the time we all coexist fairly peacably - in recent years Brain has curbed the excesses she used to put me through, what with the late night partying and the coffee drinking. I know Heart wasn't too happy with all that, as she used to enjoy going out and having fun but we all agreed that having a baby was more important than all that. But it means that I am just not used to handling so much alcohol all at once any more, so it freakin' annoys me that they can't get their act together and have just one glass and call it a day. I know Skull is also pretty unhappy today as I feel this dull pounding from all her whining and complaining. Eyes tell me that they feel pretty gritty too, and Kidneys are starting to complain as well. I mean, sure, Eyes had a lot of work to do yesterday, what with the crying and all, but I think all those other organs are just prima donnas when it's always me having to do the lion's share of the work.

I will get my revenge though. I know that Brain has been assigned a lot of extra work trying to figure out what we're all going to do next. Ha ha, I know, I'll send up a bout of biliousness every time she thinks about Ovaries' failure to produce any good eggs lately. That'll teach her.

Humph. Wish I could control Fingers more often. It'd be nice to bypass everyone else's complaints about having a shot of wheatgrass every now and then to keep myself ticking along. Mind you, Gag reflex would probably still get in my way though, and it might be too much for me to control all those systems at once. A Liver can only do so much, after all.

OK, better go. Gotta make some more cholesterol from that fatty cheese that got eaten along with the wine. There's never any rest for me around here.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Today's beta was 6. Annoyingly, because it was not completely negative, I am supposed to repeat the bloodwork one more time so they can track it down to zero. I asked if it was absolutely necessary, and they said yes because they have to make sure it's not ectopic or something weird, but the nurse did say I could just do the beta without the progesterone and estrogen so that will at least make it cheaper.

But there you are. Another chemical.

The end

I tried to remain hopeful, I really did. I went to acupuncture, he did anti-miscarriage points, I spoke to the embryo and tried to get it to be a healthy, strong embryo. I tried, people, I tried.

I bought some tests on the way home from work last night, and got a positive digital and a nice line on the Fact Plus. After it dried, I decided it was darker than Monday's test. I was cautiously optimistic.

Until, that is, I tested this morning. The digital said "not pregnant" and the dye test had the merest faintest smudge, kind of like my 13DPO test. How it went from nicely positive to crap in 12 hours, I don't know, but it did it. And then I looked again at yesterday's test - which then looked slightly fainter than Monday's. So clearly I was either fooling myself or even the dye gave up the effort, just like my eggs have done. I know, it's not official until the beta, which will come out this afternoon, but I would put a lot of money down that I know what the result is going to be.

So that's that. The end of hope. The end of the road for IVF's with my own eggs. Done. Finished. Kaput.

I am going to make an appointment straight away to do the FET with the one frozen embryo left from IVF #2. I do have one vial of donor sperm left, although it's an IVF-only vial with a reduced number of motile sperm. Still, I'm thinking of asking the RE if I can combine a low dose follistim cycle to use up my leftovers, an IUI with the crappy sperm, and an FET with the solo embryo that might not survive the thaw, all in one cycle. Kind of like the fertility version of bubble and squeak. Not that most of you yanks know about bubble and squeak, but there you go. The RE probably won't go for it, but then again, he might if he takes pity on me.

And then I will be finished with fertility treatments, I think. I want to do the FET quickly so I can close the door on this chapter of my life and walk away. At least, that's the plan. Donor eggs are amazing and wonderful but I do not feel drawn to using them. Adoption is a tricky one as well, because I'm not eligible to do an international adoption as a non-US citizen and domestic adoption just seems fraught with difficulties. However, I am debating going back to England, mostly because I'm sick of waiting around for the immigration people to let me change jobs but also partly because that would open up international adoption to me - so that's an option I can consider.

For now, though, I am pretty miserable. I was never supposed to be one of those infertile women, damn it. And even then, the miracle of IVF was supposed to work. But I have to face facts, and it is just not worth putting myself through more cycles when my eggs clearly aren't up to it. And even though I've been slowly facing this end for quite some time, it still hurts terribly to be here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another chemical, looks like.


Beta was 16.6.

Mini post

I just reduced the number of posts that show on the main page, to get the formatting back to normal, so that's where the older posts went. I just couldn't stand looking at it all messed up any more.

OK, back to wondering how I am going to last out until the beta result comes through.

Beta day

Well, this morning's test was darker, but still faint.

Here's a shot of yesterday's test vs. today's.

Fact plus 14DPO

You can juuuuust make out the line on today's test, which is the bottom one. They are better in person, but not spectacular. Sigh. I just hope the beta gives me a good number. The blood is drawn, and now the wait. I am pretty damn anxious.

ETA - photoshopped to within an inch of its life by Cali, who is much more advanced on these things than me:

14DPO test photoshopped

Sunday, December 09, 2007


Posting from my Blackberry really does a number on the blog formatting. Ugh. And it'll take a week before it gets back to normal. I know, I know, I should have bought myself a new laptop for home before now so I could post properly, but I didn't, so shoot me. Please bear with me while I have an ugly blog. Oh, OK, for all you fancy types that have got nice banners and things, uglier than normal.

I took some photos of my tests, but you can't see a second line in any of them. So there's no point posting really. You'll just have to trust me. God, I hope tomorrow brings a nicer second line and a fabulous beta.

I spent much of the day today spending an obscene amount of money on new clothes. Now, you may think that having had a potentially good HPT I would not immediately rush out and buy things that I hope won't fit me in a couple of months. But you'd be wrong. It's kind of like the theory I have that if you go out with your umbrella, it won't rain. If I hold off from buying new clothes, I won't be pregnant, but if I do buy them, well, hopefully I'll get the result I am praying for. But do I go out and buy one new pair of pants or maybe one top? Nooo, I ended up buying two pairs of knickers, two camisoles, a pair of pants, a sweater, a silk top, a jacket, a necklace and a pair of shoes. Yup, I really did spend an obscene amount of money. The silk top was a steal at $29.95, marked down from $128 but apart from the pants being on sale everything else was, uh, not a steal. Oh well. It was good retail therapy.

Anyway, in lieu of pictures of pregnancy tests, here are my lovely new shoes! They are a deep red color and oh-so-shiny!


Better shoe views here without my feet in the way.

13 days post egg retrieval

13 days post egg retrieval

Never one to let a sleeping test lie, I of course took apart yesterday's test to investigate further under the brightest light I have in the house. At certain angles, if you de-focused your eyes and held it just so, there was the merest whisper of a vanishingly faint suggestion of an accumulation of dye where the second line might want to hang out. And after 3 hours further drying/development time I thought a fellow eagle-eyed TTCer might also be able to see it. Not a normal person, though. You'd really have to want to see it, and need to have had lots of practice with tests to pick it up.

Having been chastised earlier in the day for buying crap tests (a first response and a CVS digital) I did buy another brand (fact plus) yesterday so this morning I attacked my pee with three sticks in hand.

The digital of course said "Not Pregnant" in that nasty way we all hate in the bleary eyed morning. Of course.

But you know, I do declare that the other two have faint second lines. And I mean FAINT. Super faint. I'm not sure how successful a photo would be at picking them up, they're that feeble, but I might try later after further drying (assuming the lines don't evaporate, that is).

Let's just say that I'm keeping the drowning-my-sorrows vodka on ice for one more day.

Saturday, December 08, 2007



'Nuff said.

Friday, December 07, 2007

T minus one

I am in full despondency mode. I hate people, I hate the world, I hate everything about it and I hate that I can't get pregnant. Oh sure, I know that I could very well BE pregnant, but I just don't feel it, and that has me despairing. Of course, I'm basing the whole "feeling pregnant" thing on previous failed cycles, not actual cycles that resulted in a real, ongoing pregnancy, so I do know logically that it's all bogus really. I can't stop myself, though, especially as I felt pregnant earlier in the week and now don't. I can't help thinking that yet again a plucky little embryo tried to implant and then failed.

I was reading some literature this morning that said that the average percentage of chromosomal abnormality of eggs in women in the 40-45 year age group is about 30%. As a 39 year old, one would hope that my rate of chromosomal abnormality is a little shy of this, but as an infertile I accept that my rate must be higher than normal. Let's even say it's 50%. So why then can't I get at least one or two normal embryos? I've had 16 embryos transferred back to me, so why isn't at least one of them chromosomally normal? You would think even with shitty odds that you're bound to hit a good one eventually. But maybe not, eh?

The back pain turned out to be regular common-or-garden back pain. I had some inflamed muscles on my back, so it definitely wasn't referred pain from uterine cramps or anything. I called for an emergency acupuncture appointment and went home early yesterday because I just couldn't function any more. And dear sweet cutie acu worked a miracle on me. It still hurts a little bit, but not much, and I can walk! And stand up straight! Both of which I was not able to do for most of yesterday. Cutie acu was quite funny though, he was all "so, you go to New York, come back with a limp and end up KNOW what people are going to think!". And I say "let 'em". If I could actually be pregnant it would make me chortle immensely if people think it's because I had so much wild sex that I put my back out.

But I have spent most of the morning wondering what I am going to do if this cycle fails. I will definitely do the frozen embryo transfer with that lonely little embryo that is in the freezer from my 2nd cycle. And then. Well, this is where it gets tough. Because of seeing the new agey lady who read my akashic records, I now believe that I am supposed to have a child. But I am more and more turned off by this whole process, and the thought of donor eggs or adoption just scares me and doesn't feel like something I want to do. I kind of feel like that is my line in the sand, and that I just don't want to continue trying at that point. So I would stop it all there and live child free if there wasn't this "supposed to" karmic life plan thing going on that the akashic records implied. Sure, I could do another cycle at Big Clinic, but the logistics of taking time off work and devoting mental energy to it is too much to think about. I even thought this morning of just quitting work, selling the house and going back to England with my tail between my legs. After doing one more cycle in between the time I quit and the time I get kicked out the country for overstaying my welcome. Or I guess I could take a leave of absence from work, but then everybody has to be involved and frankly everything has sucked the life out of me so much that I have no desire to ever do this line of work again. So why cling on just to stay in the country when there's no frickin' point anyway?

Oh well, all of this is, we know, moot if the cycle has in fact worked. So I will be peeing on a stick in the morning. It'll be 12DPO, so any result should be accurate. And then it's the beta on Monday. And then presumably utter amazement and joy, or hitting the booze. Life seems very binary all of a sudden.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Creaky bones

Thank you for sitting and waiting with me, and keeping the hope alive. Me? It's all I can do not to go straight back to bed, but that's because my lower back is hurting. A lot.

It was hurting a bit on Monday, which I put down to the flight and various delays on Sunday. No biggie, I figured it would go away. I am clearly just getting old. Tuesday was excruciating. I had to take some extra strength Tylenol, which didn't help all that much, as I find Tylenol is not all that great for muscular pain, but whatever, it's all that we're allowed to take so I sucked it up. I figured I should have done some yoga stretches on Monday, and shouldn't have been wearing heels. I thought it would go away. Yesterday it was a lot better. Yay for yoga stretches. Except I foolishly wore heels again. And you've guessed it, today it is back to excruciating.

Anyhoo, I am hobbling around like an octogenarian. So that's pleasant.

I went to my local clinic this morning for a progesterone draw, and they mis-read my prescription from Big Clinic and were going to do a beta. Oh, I so hesitated when they presented me with the label for the tube of blood to check and sign. You KNOW I had visions of not saying anything and scoring an early beta with early results. But I am honest to a fault, not to mention cheap. And let's face it, they do betas at 14DPO and later for a reason, as that's the most reliable time for results. So I told them they'd mis-read and no HCG was needed for today. Pathetically honest I am, I am, patheticaly honest I am.

So, no testing for me. No peeing on sticks either. I may test on Saturday but there's a part of me that would rather not know. You know, this was the cycle that was supposed, nay destined, to work. This was the last shot with my own eggs. I was confident(ish) that the universe would finally come through for me. And now? Not so much. I am firmly in doom and gloom mode. So there's a part of me that would rather extend the potential, the possibility, that it could have worked for a teensy bit longer.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Abandon hope, all ye who enter here

Yup, practically as soon as I posted yesterday the hope started evaporating and the despair started creeping in.

It was worsened by a complete absence of crazy dreams, after 5 or so straight nights of them. And deflated boobs. And an absence of "feeling" it.

None of which makes a bit of difference, of course. I know this. I know that I am in prime despair time when it's really too early to test and yet you're sick of not knowing. I know all this, and it doesn't stop me from despairing. Hopefully I'll have another wild swing back to optimistic very shortly but for now despair is settling in.

Off the topic somewhat, I went to the dentist this morning for a cleaning and found out that one of my fillings has fallen out. I'd noticed in NY that that tooth looked weird and wondered if it could possibly have fallen out, but decided that there was no way that could happen without me knowing it or feeling it or being in pain. But it had and I didn't feel a darn thing. In my defense, it was a white filling so it wasn't as obviously gone as a mercury one would be, but I guess I swallowed it at some point. Nice. So there I was, checking out and making the appointment to have the filling put back in, and the receptionist asked me if I wanted an appointment this year or next year. Que? Next year? So I pointed out that I had a filling that had fallen out and maybe we should act fairly quickly to put a new one in before it caused me lots of pain? Just maybe? Weird. She said that some people get so crazy in December with the holidays that they can't seem to handle any appointments at all. Well, maybe I'm just odd but much as I dislike going to the dentist I kind of would rather have the filling back in than sit through Christmas dinner in pain.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm not even going to share last night's dream

It was quite bizarre. Except I still didn't get to a happy ending before the alarm went off! Nearly, though. Nearly.

I went to see cutie acu last night, who said I felt pregnant to him. Not sure what that means, exactly, and he couldn't really explain it but I liked hearing it even though of course I said "well, it's probably too early to tell, really" in order to throw a protective layer around my heart. But here's the thing, I'm going to admit it, I feel pregnant too. I know, I know, it's only 8DPO, it's too early to tell, and a lot of the time I am very unsure about my feelings and am denying to myself that I feel anything at all. And, it really doesn't mean anything at this stage anyway, but this time I decided to throw it out there to the universe and own up. I would say that out of three years of trying, I have felt pregnant on maybe 4 or 5 cycles, not that I've dared say that out loud to many people before. And have even flat out denied it sometimes when asked. And when other people say they just "know" that they are not pregnant, I have often said they can't possibly "know" because you always read of women who "knew" their cycle didn't work when it did. But, well, OK, there was some lying going on there.

On only one of those 4 or 5 cycles did I get any official confirmation with a low positive beta which turned into a chemical, so any rational scientific person would say that me feeling pregnant (or rather, different) means nothing. However, on three of those cycles I had faint positive home pregnancy tests that turned negative later on before the beta. On a couple of cycles I had acupuncturists tell me I had slippery pulses which are usually indicative of pregnancy. So I would say that to me having a feeling of maybe something being up means that something tried to happen, even if it didn't manage to implant properly or progress very far. Which at the end of the day, as we all know, means nothing. Trying and failing to implant does not get me a baby.

But at least it's a hopeful sign that I am not convinced (yet) that this cycle totally didn't work. I shall try to remind myself of that as I slip into despair mode in the next few days, as usually happens.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Oh the dreams

There's one side effect from all the crazy hormones that I actually don't mind during IVF cycles, and that's the weird dreams. OK, so I may be odd, but it's quite entertaining not knowing what bizarro dreams I'm going to have when I get to bed at night. I quite enjoy them, really. Not that I could tell you exactly what I have been dreaming each night, as I don't remember. Just that they have been weird.

Except last night, I do remember some things. Now, the crazy dreaming may also have had something to do with the fact that I didn't arrive back home until 9.30pm and then immediately got a Chinese takeout. And I tried to stay up a little bit so that I would have some time to digest my food, but I was tired. So I probably was digesting food way too late. But having said that, it's probably the hormones that are driving things.

So, where was I? Oh yes, there I was, enjoying some weird episode or other, and I dreamt that there was a man standing over my bed. Which caused me to immediately scissor upwards - sticking my head up to see the man properly and to be able to turn the light on and realize there was no man there after all, and obviously, sticking my legs up to kick the fucker square on the chin. Hey, watch out intruders if you ever do get in for reals. But the act of such sudden scissoring caused me a nasty cramp in my lower belly which I then bitterly regretted for a few minutes before calming myself down that acrobatic maneuvers probably didn't dislodge the embryos after all.

But then once I fell asleep again I had a nice dream, involving that guy who played Denny on Gr*y's Anatomy. Not that I found him attractive while the show was on, and in fact, kept wondering what Izzy saw in the guy, but I saw him in a trailer for something or other the other day and suddenly realized what the fuss was all about. And unfortunately, we were just getting it on when my damn alarm went off. Maybe tomorrow my timing will be better.