Monday, March 31, 2008

Still seven

Dammit, seven WILL be my lucky number even if I have to force it to be.

I have seven viable follicles. Interestingly (or not), they are not the same as the seven antral follicles, which were 3 on the right and 4 on the left. Now I have 4 on the right and 3 on the left. And a couple of also-rans on each ovary.

The good news is that they are very evenly sized, all 16 or 17 mm, with the also-rans being 10's and 11's. So I'm pleased about the even-sizedness, which is one of my major issues. Not so pleased that a gazillion follicles didn't miraculously pop up between the baseline ultrasound and today, but hey, I didn't really expect that anyway. I can work with seven.

I am to go back tomorrow for another u/s and an E2 check. He is thinking ER will be Thursday or Friday.

The clinic was interestingly shabby. Well, this is their last cycle in their current location, and they are moving to swank digs shortly so I shan't judge on the shabbiness. But the exam room was almost entirely pink. Pink walls, pink doors, pink cabinetry, pink floor, pink counter tops. Even pink paper to cover yourself with. It was a powdery profusion of pink. I'm not sure what it is about some gyn-related places that they think we need to have pink everything. Just because we're women doesn't mean we don't appreciate a bit of clinical gray or blue every now and then, you know!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Vegas, baby!

I am here in Vegas. Woo-hoo!

And hey, I'm impressed with YOUR ditties. At least they rhymed, which is way more than mine did.

I have perked up remarkably. I am currently running on fumes and too wired to sleep but I expect I will crash momentarily. Especially as it's after 5am Eastern Time.

I have no idea what I have with me. Literally. You know how you set aside a pile of stuff to take with you on a trip, and then when you actually pack you sort through it, jettison stuff you don't need, make sure you have enough knickers to last you, all that stuff. Yeah, none of that happened. I went into work to do the absolutely dire stuff that could not be put off for a week, then came home and ran about the house like a mad woman to make it presentable enough for my friend who is feeding kitteh not to think I am an absolute slob. Then at 3.45 I called a taxi. And THEN started packing. And my flight was leaving at 5.37 and since 9/11 I try to be a 2 hours ahead type of girl, so obviously that went out the window today. So basically the entire contents of the "maybe I'll take this" pile got chucked into the suitcase. I don't know if I have enough underwear, socks or t-shirts. I definitely don't have enough long sleeved things. I don't know if I have warm enough clothing. I didn't bring razors, and could only scrounge up a mini travel facial cleanser as I couldn't find the travel bottle I was going to decant my usual cleanser into. I'm sure there's other shit missing. Everything is wrinkled to shit. And I was going to pack oh-so-cleverly so as to leave room for the inevitable shopping that will ensue while I'm in a strange city with a week to while away on vacation on my own.

There was quite a lot of deep breathing on my first flight to Atlanta. Every time we hit a minor bit of turbulence or a pigeon in a 5-mile radius flapped its wings, my stomach lurched and the nausea returned. I was dismayed to find out that Delta does not provide barf bags in the seat backs, but luckily did not need to use one after all. Got to Atlanta and of course they changed the gate twice and every time I had to walk through the food court smelling all the greasy food, my stomach lurched all over again. I did manage to have a cup of frozen yogurt, which is almost the most substantial meal I've had in 2 days (I've been on the AT diet - or in other words the BRAT diet when you don't have bananas in the house, and are too miserable to cook rice so you live on applesauce and the occasional slice of toast). I went to the bathroom to shoot up before boarding, and whereas on previous airport sojourns I have carefully gone into a stall and balanced everything on my knee, this time I just shot up right at the sink area. Fuck everyone else if they want to look. I was too tired to balance shit. And I just don't care any more. But hey! Did you know that in the Atlanta airport they have a handy-dandy little sharps container mounted to the wall right by the sink! For passenger use! Suh-weet! So I felt less like a junkie than I think I would have done otherwise, because I was able to stand there and just drop the needles in as I went and kind of felt quasi-official.

And then went to wait at my gate, and after a huge bunch of bratty middle schoolers had to leave because their gate was changed, I slunk into a seat recently vacated by one of them and settled down to read my book. And was sitting quite quietly for a few minutes when suddenly the seat ejected me. Forcefully. To the right. I don't know if I shifted my weight or went to cross my legs but the next thing I knew, there was a loud crack, I'd fallen sideways, hurling my book several feet away while the crowd all gasped simultaneously and various people sent up cries of "did you see that?". Yup, I broke the chair. Or should I say, the chair broke under me. I restrained the (very strong) urge to mutter about having gained weight recently while my face started to grow beet red but several people all rushed to my aid muttering loudly about those kids that were playing on the seats and must have broken it. I'd like to say that I joined in with some witty banter but I was rather too stunned to speak. So this woman marched up and said "we must prevent someone else from sitting on this seat" and then yanked it off it's one remaining strut or weld point or whatever. While I was still standing there, mouth agape. Eventually I said "who knew?' - yah, witty, right? And thanked everyone and gingerly sat down on a different seat. Which thankfully did not break. And thankfully logic did return to my brain reminding me that airport seats are designed to take repeated batterings from people much heavier than I so I couldn't have just snapped it with the turn of a hefty thigh.

Anyhoo. After creaming the rest of the plane repeatedly on the trivia challenge game (they were all woefully inadequate in their geography and cricket knowledge - luckily for me it looked like the trivia game was set up by a bunch of Brits), I started to feel better somewhere over Texas. Or maybe I felt better in Atlanta and just didn't notice because of the shock of the ejector seat. But here I am. The car rental guy was an ass who I hated, the room could be better and I really should be asleep but I at least feel human.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Just a little ditty
To say I'm still sicky
Trying to clean
And pack
And not throw up
Is HARD, people
I think it was a bug
That did me in
Not my dinner
Heading to the airport
In an hour (maybe 2)
Not packed yet

Friday, March 28, 2008


Well, here's a new IVF experience for me. I am sick. I have been up all night being a veritable fountain of puke and diarrhea. I wonder how this will help or hinder my eggs!

I think my dinner did not agree with me. Well, that's putting it mildly. It's something I've eaten plenty of times before - a frozen fake chicken thing [Quorn] with goat cheese and cranberries in the middle. It's rather tasty. I've never had an issue with it previously so either it was stored incorrectly somewhere along the distribution chain and melted and was refrozen, or I've just eaten too many of them and my body has now decided that I was a foolish bint for doing so. But I started feeling weird right after eating it and then the puking started at bedtime.

It kind of reminds me of the time I discovered that I can no longer tolerate peanuts. All thanks to prometrium, which I used in most of my IUI cycles, and I think because of the repeated use my body started to rebel. I'd feel crap every 2ww with a ton of nausea but I just thought it was a progesterone side effect. And then we had a hurricane, and I, being a good girl, had stocked my cabinets with granola bars and other hurricane standbys. So in the days when I had no power I would have 4-6 granola bars a day. All peanut containing. And then the puking and the diarrhea started. I assumed that, because we'd lost the water supply for a day as well as the power, I'd somehow picked up a bug from that. I went to the doctor who diagnosed generic gastroenteritis, and told me to build myself back up by having peanut butter on toast. Yes, literally. Who ever heard of a doctor prescribing peanut butter on toast? So I went home, had some, and more fountains of vomit and diarrhea ensued. Finally it started clicking, but I have to admit, it took having peanuts a few more times and several more incidents before I was able to admit to myself that my days of eating peanuts were over. Anyway, now all the RE's have me marked down as the girl with the peanut allergy and I have to have a conversation with every single nurse and doctor (or so it seems) about whether I'm about to go into anaphylactic shock.

Anyhoo. I've never quite puked as violently or as projectile-ly as tonight, apart from actual food poisoning incidents. And I don't think this is food poisoning because I've had that a couple of times and had really awful stomach pains along with it. This just seems to be my body emptying everything out. And I mean everything. I keep trying to sip water because I'm getting thirsty and I want my eggs to stay hydrated, but nope, that comes back up too. And every time I have diarrhea, that makes me puke. Or dry heave, depending on if I've had some water recently.

Ahh, fun times, fun times. And the kicker is that I have been trying to clear my desk at work ready for a week away in Vegas, and I don't think there's any way to miss work today. At least I've perked up enough to think about sitting up and whiling away the time on the computer so I do seem to be improving somewhat.

But, really. Can't a girl catch a break around here sometimes?


ETA 7.45pm: still sick. I never made it into work, and I still feel like crap. So I don't think it was just me being intolerant of the food because when that happens I usually feel fine when it's been cleared out of my system. And I found that other people have had exactly the same thing happen, so it may be a bug. Fun, fun, fun. Now I have a shitload of stuff to do tomorrow before catching my flight. I hope I'm up to it! Ugh. HATE being sick!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


You know, when I first switched to NY Clinic, I was rather surprised that my RE kept droning on about how they monitored patients really closely and it was one of the things that differentiated them from other places. Because I couldn't really see what the eff they were doing differently. Local Clinic monitors patients pretty darn closely too. I mean, perhaps I had one more ultrasound at NY Clinic. Maybe. Perhaps not. But that was it. I couldn't see what the fuss was all about. There really was no discernable difference and arguably Local Clinic monitored me more closely, because at least they took their time to measure every follicle, whereas NY Clinic would often only look at the biggest two on each side and call it a day.

And here I am now, realizing that there can be a big difference in monitoring. I have done 3 days of stims, when I would normally have gone in for the first ultraound today at either NY Clinic or Local Clinic and yet I have no freakin' clue what is going on in the old ovaries and I still won't have an ultrasound for 4 more days. Yup, my first ultrasound is after 7 days of stims. Aaand I didn't have one right before I started stims either. I mean, I had one before starting estrogen priming but then hung around for a week doing that so I didn't start stims until a week after my ultrasound. It's already odd that NY Clinic did estrogen priming before AF, and LV Clinic does it after AF. But then not to even take a quick peek? Just seems odd, that's all. Especially as on my "dominant follicle" cycles I triggered after 6 and 7 days of stims, respectively. Oh well, I'm sure it'll work out OK. It's not as if anyone ever said "oh my god! We need to drastically reduce your dosage!" after any of my ultrasounds. Normally it's "well, we think we'll keep you on the same dosage for another day or two to see if any more develop." And it's in the plan to drop the dosage on the 7th night of stims anyway. I should be fine. I shall repeat this as my mantra. I should be fine.

I can feel some ovary action going on. I feel twingeing and growing and all of that. Of course, I hope this means that more follicles are popping up, given that I often don't feel my ovaries until closer to trigger, but I know that really it means nothing. After all, I still vividly remember my 3rd cycle where I was convinced, convinced I tell you, that I felt a gazillion follicles growing and that my abdomen was practically about to explode, only to go in for the ultrasound and have them discussing cancellation because of a poor response. I felt so disoriented having such a disconnect between how I was feeling and what was actually going on that it has stayed with me.

How does your clinic monitor during IVF? Are they standoffish or do they want you in every day after the first few days? I'm wondering if I have gone through the two extremes and if there's a happy medium somewhere, or if there is no happy medium and it's either one or the other depending on the RE's favorite school of thought.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Calliope tagged me. Here are the rules:

Rules, rules, rules: post what you’ve got on the table (chair, nightstand, whatever) beside your bed. Leave nothing out. Nothing. Heh. Link back to the kind person who tagged you and then tag 3 other folks. Really tag them - none of this “whoever hasn’t done this meme yet” tagging.

OK, so I was going to take a photo and then I got all lazy and didn't. So, nightstand. Well, I have two, because being single there's noone else using the other one, and I'm only going to tell you what's ON them as opposed to what's IN them. Because they have drawers. Which are mostly full of junk and it would take far too long to list everything and we all know I have that laziness streak a mile wide. OK, OK, so there are embryo photos, and a journal started back when I was optimistic and first TTC'ing and which makes me cringe now every time I open it, and maybe a battery-operated toy, and some leftover BCPs from this cycle and other miscellaneous items. There, that's enough information for you.

On the left-hand nightstand I have three photos and a coaster. It's all fairly minimal because for some reason kitteh loves to get up on the bed via this particular nightstand, and she is VERY good at knocking things over. So most of the nightstand is taken up by blank space for kitteh leaping purposes.

On the right-hand nightstand I have a phone, a reading lamp, a tea-light lamp (hardly ever used), a coaster (love me some coasters), a glass with a slurp of water still in it that has probably been there for several weeks and needs to go to the kitchen, a moisturizer, an anti-wrinkle serum, the remote control for my clock/radio/CD thing, two books (currently "Start Where You Are" by Pema Chodron and "Living Buddha, Living Christ" by Thich Nhat Hanh - yes, I was trying to improve myself), a broken pair of eyeglasses, a crystal pendulum (used during 2ww's to ask "am I pregnant?" over and over again and which never gives me a reliable answer), and a large-ish purple box/basket thing containing: face tissues, my watch that I never wear but which is set so the alarm goes off every day as a back-up in case the power fails and the other alarm doesn't work, a tube of handcream, a herbal muscle freeze-relaxant thing that is great for those days when my neck and shoulders are painful from hunching over the computer too much, and a jar of moisturizer that I really didn't like but I haven't yet gotten around to throwing away.

As for following the rules on tagging three people, sorry, I am breaking that one. Unless Bleu would like to do it, because I know how much she loves being tagged! [Just kidding, Bleu - I know you would rather kill me by stabbing me repeatedly with a blunt pencil than do a meme.]


In cycle news, I am bruisey and lumpy. I got tired of injecting the cetrotide suuuuper sloooowly so went a bit too fast this morning. Yup, lump. I've picked up two big bruises, one from cetrotide, one from stims, so I'm sure by the time I get to Vegas I'll be black and blue all over. I am also feeling "congested" down there. It is too early for the follicles to have perked up enough to cause bloating, so maybe the feeling is just them having to get on with some work. God, I hope there are more than 7, but of course I will deal with whatever I get. You'd think that with 600 iU's a day something would perk up in there, but we'll see.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Oh follistim needle, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

You are teeny tiny, and more importantly, sharp because you do not have to puncture a rubber stopper on a vial. You slide oh so gently into my fatty belly like a hot knife through butter. And did I mention that you're teeny tiny? So much better than all those other nasty wide blunt needles, it is almost a joy to use you.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Mope and stim

Thank you all for your comments. It means a lot to know that I am not alone. Sometimes it seems that only one view is acceptable in the IF blogosphere (that motherhood, no matter how you get there is the only ultimate goal) but then you remind me that we all have our own paths to walk and that I am not alone in my thinking.

And just for the record, in case anyone has any doubt (which most of you don't, but I am often unsure of whether I really get my feelings down in writing properly), I have no doubts that I would love any child - whether from DE, adoption, donor embryos or my own genetics. I have NO doubt about that. Anybody who has ever loved a pet can know that they have it in them to love another little being that is placed in their care so so much. And of course with a child the feeling would be magnified many many times. I can only imagine how amazing that love must be. The only thing that holds me back is that I feel that I owe a child nothing less than absolute 100% unconditional love. And I wonder if, because I will always grieve the loss of a genetic connection and will always know that it was my second choice, whether it is fair to only love a child with 99.99999% unconditional, joyful love. Would I always have that little 0.00001% of regret in my heart? And, knowing that, is that a fair burden to place on a child? That's what concerns me. That it would not be fair to them.

Anyway, something happening recently on a board I am on has made me realize how self-selecting all our little groups are. A former poster came back to say hi, and perhaps posted a bit too much and expected a bit too much support, but as her life circumstances are no longer the same as the rest of the group she was asked to only post about things that the group has in common, because otherwise some of the other posters feelings may be hurt. So that has made me realize more than ever that at the time I take that decision to be child-free, I will no longer be part of the IF community. I will have to move on. I will no longer be welcome at my old haunts. It is yet another hard blow to realize that I will have to stop posting at places that I have been a member of for nearly 4 years and will have to cut myself off. I mean, not that I necessarily imagined constantly torturing myself following other people's kids lives and only being able to post "cute pic!" or whatever. But I didn't think I would be unwelcome. I did think that the women I thought of as my internet friends would like to see the occasional update from me. So of course, that makes me think about all the other women who came before me and took the childfree option instead of continuing treatment. And they are not visible because they moved on, so that makes those of us struggling with these decisions feel like everybody else in the world thinks differently. When that is not the case at all. The ones that think like I do just got booted out of the community or felt it was too painful to remain.

I am therefore trying to cut back on one group I am still in. I already stopped going to good ole FF a while ago and am slowly weaning myself off another. I'll get there eventually. Maybe I'll just join new groups based on my fabulous new interests that I'm bound to pick up when I no longer waste my time moping over my ovaries. We'll see.

But, enough moping and worrying over things that may not come to pass. Today is stim day 1. I wonder if my follicles stayed nice and small and if half a dose of cetrotide really is enough to keep them subdued. But I won't find out until next Monday as I don't have another u/s until then. It's a bit scary waiting that long, but hopefully LV Clinic knows what they are doing. Either I'll have a giant 40mm follicle or something, or I'll have a few nice evenly sized little guys. One more week and I'll have an inkling how this cycle is going. Eek!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The harvest and the odds and the dirty secret

I was lying on the acu table last night, willing my ovaries to produce at least one good egg this cycle, and I started running down the numbers. Which, I've got to say, didn't exactly help me relax.

I have had 49 eggs retrieved.
28 eggs were either immature or didn't fertilize properly.
21 eggs fertilized normally and became embryos.
Of those 21 embryos, 17 were transferred back to me. 4 were either discarded or arrested (actually I think only 1 was discarded because it stayed alive long enough to become a blast but was not good enough quality to freeze).
Of those 21 embryos, 8 were 8-celled or greater on day 3.

And presumably none of them were normal, because none of them stuck around. Or some were normal and I've got an implantation issue. All three RE's don't think it's an implantation issue, although I've had plenty of immune and thrombophilia testing done just in case.

So here I am, cycle 7, with 7 antral follicles. What gives me the audacity to think that any of these will be normal? I suppose just blind, fervent hope. Just hope that maybe with a new protocol I can produce a normal embryo. Or maybe just perseverance and luck of the draw that 1 out of 50+ finally comes up good. I mean, that's worse odds than is usually bandied about for 43 year old women as far as having chromosomal abnormalities goes. And I'm 39, so you'd think I should still be able to produce a good one somewhere.

The odds seem miserably slim, though.

But anyway, it has cemented my decision to go forward with CGH even if I only have a couple of embryos. There's a part of me that wants to know now if all those embryos really were abnormal or if it really is perhaps an implantation issue. And that of course means that I may well have already had my last embryo transfer. I may be done with that completely, because I am determined to do these last two cycles and then stop TTC'ing. I am determined not to say "oh just one more cycle" after that. More and more I stare down the end of this TTC road, trying to face up to it bravely, with squared shoulders. It is hard. It will be one of the hardest things I have ever done - walking away from this dream. I've decided that donor eggs or donor embryos or adoption are not for me at this point in my life. Maybe I'll come back in a few years, once I'm done with school and have switched careers, but there's a large part of me that doubts that that will happen. You see, we all have stopping points. Lines we will not cross. For most people, that line is somewhere around 3 IVFs with their own eggs - they move on to more of a sure thing after that. But for me, I think it is the loss of that genetic connection. My dream of motherhood has always been to have my own child. Yes, I know that is hopelessly politically uncorrect to say. An adoptive child IS your own child, because it was fated and all that jazz. But I hope you know what I am trying, clumsily, to say.

Perhaps those of you that have gone the DE or adoption route just shrug your shoulders in despair here, and think I am cutting off my nose to spite my face. That I will be missing out on all the joys of parenthood, which when you come down to it are all about raising a child and not the genetics. However, it seems to be a dirty secret in the IF community that some of us have come to realize that we want our own genetic children or nothing. Because, if I am being honest, this is where my head and heart are right now. I know a few others like me - perhaps we seek each other out on the message boards or in our clinic waiting rooms, because we do seem to be rare and it's such a wonderful connection to make. It's so emotionally satisfying to have your thoughts validated by someone else who thinks the same way. To know that you're not crazy (well, not completely batshit crazy, at least). It's almost electrifying, in fact, to sit in a cafe somewhere with someone who has also travelled across many many miles to go to a top clinic in a desperate bid to try again and to go "oh!" with that realization of a kindred spirit. OK, if I'm being honest I know three or four women who I class as being like me in this, all of whom read my blog (you know who you are), and I hope I am not putting words into anyone else's mouth or letting out anything that should not be shared. But you see how small a group? Three or four out of how many women I have come across in this journey? One (hopefully, god willing, hoping that nothing goes wrong) has had success on her 7th IVF, and one has stopped treatment (maybe temporarily, maybe not). The rest of us are still plodding along. There are others that I see out there in blog land that I make assumptions about, due to the numbers of cycles they have done, but I've never emailed them or spoken in person so I don't know for certain what they are thinking. I do take comfort in knowing that they are out there, though.

I don't know why I have drawn the line where I have, but it somehow feels right. At least, more right than any other choice. When I think about having a child using donor eggs I get a searing pain through my heart as if I've been stabbed. It is less painful to think about never having a child than using DE, which almost feels like a betrayal to my family in some bizarre way. Truly, I have thought long and hard about this. I did try to pick a donor, to really try the idea on for size. is not for me. At least not now. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind later if circumstances and my thinking change.

But why does it feel like a dirty secret to make this choice to stop completely? Why do those of us that don't want to do DE or adoption feel marginalized and somehow less like real women or true mothers than those who would do it? It's not like we don't move heaven and earth to try to become pregnant. We are the ones doing the super-multiple numbers of IVFs. Interestingly, everyone that I have spoken to that takes this track seems to have some difficulty with adoption - maybe their DH is deemed too old, or in my case my single status and immigration status make it difficult, or maybe it's something else. So the choice comes down to DE or donor embryos or another cycle with our own eggs, and with doctors who say that it's worth trying again if we have the strength and are aware of our pathetically miserable chances of success, we forge on. I mean, until it becomes completely impossible and if you've got the means to keep going, why not? Other women move heaven and earth by grieving the loss of the genetic connection, squaring their shoulders and accepting DE or going through that home study and the endless reams of adoption paperwork. And they are, rightly, celebrated for coming to terms with the whole "parenting=child rearing not genetics" equation. Why then, when we are all busily also going to enormous lengths to fulfill our dreams, are we not celebrated for saying "enough is enough" when the time comes? I guess it's because nobody wants to admit that IF doesn't always have a happy ending. There's a big part of us all I think that wants to say that there can be a happy ending if we try hard enough, even if that means moving on to other methods of conception or parenting. But for me, I don't know if DE or adoption would truly make me happy. Wouldn't I always have a pang of grief that this was not my genetic child? Does that make me selfish? Or, is it less selfish of me to realize that I probably can't get past this and not inflict my less-than-overjoyed heart on a child who could be loved completely with a different parent who is less hung up on genetics than me? Isn't it better to say that I can attain a level of contentment with a child-free life, even if not truly happy, than to bring a child into the world without 100% joy?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The house next door

I think cetrotide is making me just as grouchy and ranty as lupron ever did.  Because here follows a rant.

My street of houses started off as little single-storey 50's ranch houses.  Since then, some of them have grown to two storeys, some have added on big side wings and some have stayed little.  Except for the house next door to mine.  Which not only had a big side wing added, but a three storey extension, just to be different.  But the addition wasn't designed terribly well - I mean, it looks very pretty from the outside but when I went for a look around I could tell that three of the rooms were pretty much unusable for anybody normal.  It was for sale when I bought my house, back when the market was hot.  It languished on the market for a year that I know of, and I don't know how long it was on the market before that.  And this was when people were falling over themselves to snap up houses as fast as possible.  All due to bad design.  

Eventually, the house sold, for much less than its exorbitant asking price.  But then we found out that the couple that bought it run a business letting out vacation homes.  They had at the time I think 5 vacation houses around the city, and this was going to be their biggest one.  So they spent a fortune putting in a swimming pool and adding fancy landscaping and furnishing the place.  My friends and neighbors and I would get together and exclaim in amazement about how anybody would want to come and vacation on a perfectly ordinary street, or pay the price this couple were asking for the house.  OK, so we're in Florida, but there's nothing nearby that would draw you in - it's not like it's on the beach or near a theme park or anything.  Just an ordinary street.

And mostly, our predictions have come true.  The house is empty 90% of the time which is lovely and quiet for me.  But surprisingly, some people obviously do pay the crazy prices to live in this house for a weekend, or a week, or two.  And when they do, like this week, it drives me nucking futs.  I mean, it's not that the people who rent the house are crazy loud.  They are just doing normal vacation things, like letting their kids play in the pool at all hours of the day.  Or sitting out on the patio grilling and talking and having fun.  The house is big enough that it attracts a group of people, so it's usually more than just one family unit at a time and they have lots of catching up to do.  The trouble being that if it was their own home a) they wouldn't be out there all the effing time, and b) they would modulate how noisy they are because they'd care about disturbing the neighbors.  I guess nobody cares about disturbing the neighbors when they're on vacation because they won't have to see them again.  But fer fuck's sake, it cuts right through me to have somebody else's kids screaming and cannonballing in the pool at 7am while I'm trying to face another day and another IVF cycle.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Why do we say we're feeling blue when we're sad or depressed? I've never quite understood it, because to me blue is a happy color. Even that deepest of midnight blue is happy, because to see it normally the sky has to be clear which usually means nice weather and twinkling stars. What's so bad about that? And nobody could call sky blue a sad color. Or Caribbean sea blue (or turquoise, I suppose). That's a pretty sweet sight too. Forget-me-knots or irises or plumbago are all some of my favorite flowers to look at. All blue. All pretty and happy.

So why blue? The only bad blue seems to be the blue of a bruise, but then bruises go through so many purples and yellows and even greens and grays that it seems a shame to pick blue out of the bunch for special treatment.

Now, brown, maybe. Gray, yes. Black, yes too. All colors that inspire less than happy emotions. But yet blue has stuck for some reason. And I don't particularly feel like it is the right color for the emotion.

Therefore, I am going to break from tradition. I'm feeling gray today. Just kind of blah. I know that I just need one good egg to form one good embryo and I will be good. It only takes one. But it seems that IVF is just filled with one disappointment after another for me. If it's not the antral count, it's the way the follicles are responding, or the fertilization report, or the development of the embryos. Or, and here's the biggie, the end result. I should know, going into these last cycles, that it's going to be more of the same. Even if the end result miraculously ends up being different, I shouldn't compare myself to previous cycles or everyone else who seems to get 20+ eggs each time. I know I shouldn't do that. And yet I do. I can't help myself. I can't help but look around and see how long and how hard my struggle has been and how easy some other women had it. And sometimes I can't help but wondering why life is so fucking unfair. And wishing it were different.

So there we are. The nurse confirmed that I was OK with yesterday's cetrotide shot being a bit late. I made sure not to forget this morning. And I will start my estrogen tonight for the estrogen priming part of the cycle. I will motor on. I will get through this sorry ass cycle somehow. And yes, I'm sure I'll get through the second cycle too. And then there'll be an end, one way or another. By the time I'm 40 later this year, there'll be an end to this madness. I hope, of course, that it ends well. But today I can't help but think that it won't.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Good news/bad news

The good news is that I have no cysts.

The bad news is that the tech only counted 7 antral follicles - 3 on the right and 4 on the left.

And of course, had to mention how gassy I was. I don't know what it is with this tech - if she's not telling me I'm gassy, she's telling me that my bowels are full. Enough already, I get it. Next time maybe I should just trump in her face and tell her that that should make the picture clearer.

Oh well, I guess I'll fall back to the old "quality not quantity" mantra. I won't pretend I'm not disappointed. In fact, I'm downright depressed about it, but maybe just maybe the week of estrogen priming that I'm about to do will allow a couple more to pop up (please?).

ETA: Crap, crap, crap. It's 10.53am and I just realized I didn't do my cetrotide shot this morning. My routine was all messed up because of going to the RE's, and I just forgot. Damn. OK, off home now.

ETA again: Managed to do the shot about 3.5 hours late. I've emailed the nurse just in case there's an issue (with being on only half the normal dose, I don't know if the timing is more critical than normal). But seriously, ugh. The day is not starting out well.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

No cysts plskthx

There seems to be reduced lumpage since Friday.  I am injecting super sloooowly in the hopes that the med has a bit more time to dissipate and not form a lump.  It seems to be working.  My skin is still red and irritated for a while after the shot, but whatevs.

Tomorrow morning is the big "no cysts" check.  I am feeling fairly confident because I haven't actually ovulated since the end of November but after the shock of my 5th IVF getting postponed partly because of a big ole cyst, I am not counting my chickens.  My period is supposed to have arrived by then, and uh, well, it hasn't quite yet.  And yes, I did just have one.  Like, two weeks ago.  That's what comes of scheduling everybody together in a batch.  But again, whatevs.  I have had some spotting so hopefully everything will get its act in gear today.

It's so weird to think I haven't ovulated since November, by the way.  Since the last fresh IVF in fact.  There was the 2ww with attendant PIO shots, then straight on the BCP for the FET, and then that interminable period on lupron and estrogen patches, then the PIO shots.  And then straight on BCP for this cycle.  If there's any truth in LV Clinic's theory that suppressing the production of LH and male hormones helps with egg quality in oldies like me, then hopefully the fact that things have been suppressed for the entire 3 months that these have been developing will help things even more.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  We'll find out sometime in May, I guess, when the CGH results come through.

I'm very proud to say that I went out for a bike ride today.  Yay me!  I have been terrible about exercise since the last fresh IVF.  I just couldn't motivate myself to get out of bed in the mornings to go walking on a consistent basis.  But a group of us at work started walking up the stairs in our building, first once a day and lately it's been twice a day.  15 floors!  Twice a day!  Yes, it did take a while to actually be able to get to the top floor, but I can do it now.  And OK, so I'm not exactly sprinting up there nor am I able to hold a conversation for very long on the way up, but I'm proud of myself.  As with anything exercise-related, the more you do, the more you want to do, so it's been motivating me to add more exercise again.  So I am determined to do a bike ride once a week, and will get back to walking/jogging at some point soon(ish).

Oh, and I went to see Spamalot yesterday.  Lots of fun!  I know, I should be planning on going to shows when I'm in Vegas, not before.  But still.

Friday, March 14, 2008


I have a lump of cetrotide in my belly. Still. And it's now 4 hours since I did the shot. Earlier it was actually sticking out and red so I had a lopsided belly, but now I only feel it when I squidge the fat.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

IVF mishmash

I am definitely feeling more upbeat today than I was yesterday. And I was more upbeat yesterday than the day before. So that is all good, and no doubt due to halving (halfing?) the lupron dose and ending the BCP. I threw my lupron bottle into the trash today with a vengeance. I think if I had had a baseball bat handy, I'd have happily taken it out to the backyard and given it a good thrashing. How satisfying would that have been, to smash the cursed thing into smithereens. I am so glad to be done with it. I think the evil lupron is the source of most of my IVF angst, I really do.

Tomorrow it is on to a whole new drug (new for me, that is), cetrotide. Never taken it before, so hopefully it'll treat me better than 10 units of lupron does. I hope it'll be kind and gentle and understanding of my lady bits. Just enough suppression to prevent LH and FSH release, thanks, but not so much that I turn into a raging homicidal menopause cliché or a weeping hysteric. If you could just get that right, oh lovely cetrotide, I will be happy.

I spent a grand on two vials of sperm yesterday. A fucking grand! Two vials! Dayum, that's a good business to be in. I think I should change career track immediately and open a sperm bank.

I also checked out the new IVF stats (for 2006) on SART. My local clinic did 174 cycles on women my age in 2006. Four of which were me. Me! Little old me appearing in the IVF stats. How fucking depressing is that? I remember when I was checking the stats for the first time, back as a fresh-faced newbie, and thinking, wow these stats are old, man. These are from, like, years ago. Of course, this was back when you could only get the stats from the CDC which are a year behind SART, so the stats have jumped forward a year. But still. I never ever thought I'd still be trying while also contributing to the statistics. It's quite sobering really.

And finally, in this rather jumbled and disjointed post, I have come to realize that one of the perils of blogging through several IVFs is that when you feel that you just must have some information about something vitally important to do with IVF, you end up googling yourself half the time. I mean, surely I don't need to read what I wrote about something? Or do I? Do I just need to remind myself that, yes, I covered that topic a year ago so I shouldn't revisit it yet again. But then, there's that drive to be doing everything possible, to see if that one little tweak will make the difference for egg quality.

So here's the question of the day which I was googling and which I'd be grateful for your opinion on, internets - should one increase protein intake or not? There's a study that says a high protein diet is bad for egg quality. But then again, there's also other people that say you should take a protein shake, like whey protein, every day. And then again, that Harvard study on diet says that you should try to increase your percentage of plant-based proteins over animal-based proteins. As a vegetarian who doesn't always include a protein source at every meal, adding a protein shake would hardly take me into the high protein territory, or make me have too much animal-based protein compared to meat eaters. Then again, I didn't do protein shakes for my NY cycles and had good embryo quality. But I didn't do it for a couple of local cycles either and had crap embryo quality. On the third (fourth? fifth?) hand, isn't it all down to age and stim protocol anyway? Bleh.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My little calendar

A friend at work gave me one of those little tear-off calendars for Christmas. You know the type, where there's a sheet for each day, and a little cartoon or pithy saying on each sheet. Well, the one she gave me was called "Zen" and here's today's saying:

"When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways - either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength."

- Dalai Lama

Now, whether infertility really qualifies as a "real tragedy" or not is I suppose debatable. At times it certainly feels like it. But today I am quite grateful for my little Zen calendar keeping me on track. And thankful for my internet friends who let me know I'm not alone and that it's OK to be blue. In fact, I think I would be weird if I was really hopeful and excited after so many failures, so I have to remember that too. It is normal to go into IVF cycle #7 with more dread than anticipation.

In news of that other calendar, I took my last BCP yesterday (only 13 days!) and dropped my lupron dose down to 5 units this morning. So I hope that will help me feel more rosy in my outlook.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I'm feeling kinda blue at the moment.  I guess this is the effect that lupron is having this cycle.  Or maybe I'm just blue anyway.

I feel ridiculous for spending so much money on a long shot.  For spending the money that I could use to go to college for my second career and that I will now have to borrow.  For anxiously wanting to change jobs as soon as my g.reen card comes but worrying about whether I should stay just to get maternity benefits in case one of these final IVFs actually work.  And worrying about whether I'll get fired because my performance is so bad at work these days. And worrying about money in general.  I have been gaining weight again and am probably the biggest I've ever been.  I feel like this will impact the IVF and wish I could have got the situation under control.  I tried a swimsuit on yesterday thinking I might take one to Vegas, but oh Lord the sight of me in a swimsuit was just a rude awakening at how much weight I've gained so I'm scratching that idea. 

Mostly I just feel a fool for even doing more IVF cycles and I wish I could stop.  I feel stupid for signing up for the two cycle plan at LV clinic because it's just extra money to throw away.  I feel stupid for ever having any hope.  And then I look at other peoples babies and something inside me dies a little further.

So, there it is.  I'm feeling blue.  I will do the IVFs because I've paid for them.  There's no point backing out, but I am really hating the whole process at the moment.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Biss-feeney what?

Does anyone listen to The People's Pharmacy on NPR?  I had to set my alarm this morning to get up for my lupron shot (ugh) and they had a whole program on bisphenol-A so I ended up listening to it.  It scared the crap out of me.  And I thought I was doing great on the bisphenol-A score because I got my Sigg water bottle and wasn't using polycarbonate any more.  And I bought a bunch of pyrex containers for taking lunches to work or storing leftovers.  Except I use a lot of canned foods - beans and tomatoes mainly.  I eat quite a lot of beans and have always been too lazy to cook them from scratch.  AND I decided that in order to lose a bit of weight and save a bit of money I'd try to have soup for lunch a couple of times a week so just yesterday I bought 6 or 8 cans of soup (they were on special offer).  Of course, it turns out all the cans are lined with BPA and canned food is a big contributor to BPA intake.  Jesus effing hell.

I've been poisoning myself with BPA all this time!

Good god, people, no wonder infertility (and other diseases) are rampant.  The world is poisoning us.

So, that's that.  No more buying canned goods.  Except I have a shelf full of them in my kitchen cabinet which have to be used up.  Or I guess donated so some other unfortunate can poison themselves.  Maybe if I limit myself to 2 cans a week or something, and then stop if I ever get pregnant.  And no more heating plastics in the microwave, which I was sporadically being good on but I get lazy sometimes about moving my lunch from a plastic container to a ceramic bowl.  But I promise I will be vigilant from now on!


Update on the 5 things I have to do this week: laundry is done, the blood draw is done, the lupron is started.  The dining table is still a disaster and the taxes are nowhere near done.  So guess what today's tasks are?  

But, actually, this was a pretty good meme because it is making think I have to get the shit actually done, rather than leaving the mail pile to grow until it covers the entire table!


Update on the sudoku-mania: I have managed to solve the "medium" puzzles without guessing, so I've figured that out.  It always makes me feel good to get the hang of something.

Friday, March 07, 2008

I love lupron

No, I don't really. I just felt like writing it. As we all know, my enmity towards lupron runs deep.

I started lupron today. I used my old bottle left over from the FET, which I first started using on February 4th, if I remember rightly. Or maybe it was the 2nd. Whatever. So it's a tad past 28 days or 30 days or whatever it is that you're supposed to throw away vials that have been opened. But I just don't care. Given that I only used a few doses last time, and given that I'll only be on it for a week this time, I just didn't feel it was worth getting a whole new bottle. Perhaps I am bad, but really, I just don't see that it could have gone off too much. And it's been in the fridge the whole time, I promise. However, if I die from some godawful raging infection, it was my own fault, people.

But gawd, did I get a dull needle this morning. The damn thing just didn't want to go into my skin at all. And I realized that I have in fact come to dread sub-q shots and that IM shots have taken over as my preferred injection option. IM shots in the hip/butt using a nice fresh needle that didn't have to pierce the vial of juice just seem to hurt less than trying to force a blunt lupron needle into my gut. At least the follistim/gonal f injections have better needles, but the actual juice can sting and burn, so those are no fun either. It doesn't help that I can't seem to pinch an inch of spare skin as a big old lump of fat comes with it, so I'm probably not doing myself any favors on that score.


In other joyful news, I just wasted an entire morning in mandatory marketing training. I love my job.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Blood draw #963

I finally went and did my blood draw for whatever test it is that LV Clinic wants as part of the CGH study that I'm doing. I think it's HLA something-something. I didn't pay much attention to be honest, as they're not actually testing it now but storing it for some future test. It has to be FedExed to some lab out in California, and the lab told me I'd have to get the blood drawn, and then take the vials myself to FedEx to ship it to them overnight. Which was kind of annoying, but oh well, what about this process isn't annoying?

So instead of going to the nice, luxury downtown blood draw place that has remarkably few people waiting in line and therefore generally gets me in and out within 20 minutes or so, I decided to go to the crappy, permanently crowded, guaranteed to have a pregnant woman doing a GTT, blood draw place that is nearer my house. Because the place nearer my house is also nearer to the FedEx office, and I didn't want to just leave my precious blood samples lying around in a drop box in the Florida heat so I figured a special trip was necessary. And may I just say that I also think it is crappy that I am now knowledgeable about every freakin' blood draw place in a 20-mile radius and have gone often enough that I have a favorite.

Anyway, off I went, and sat and waited, and waited, and waited some more. And did a bit more waiting, cursing myself for not having made an appointment. Eventually I got called and the clerk said "oh no, we don't give the blood back to patients, we'll get FedEx to pick it up from here." Which should have made me happy, as it was removal of an extra time-wasting step for me, but instead just made me curse my decision to go to that particular blood draw place, and not the luxury, no-waiting-around place. Without the pregnant women. Ah well, we live and learn.

So that's one item crossed off my "5 things I must do this week" list. Only 4 more to go.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Meme and mindless question

I've been tagged! Calliope tagged me on this one.

Step 1. Reference back to the blog that sent you.
Step 2. Make a list of 5 things that you have to get done this week, no matter how small.
Step 3. Get 2 other people off their asses to get their shit in order.

1. I must organize this weird blood draw for LV Clinic and ship it off by FedEx. I basically only have tomorrow left to get this done because I kept putting it off.
2. I should clean up the big pile of mail that is sprawling all over the dining table.
3. I have to start lupron on Friday.
4. I need to do laundry as I'm running out of clean clothes. Maybe I'll manage it tonight.
5. I really really must do my taxes this weekend as I need the refund. No more procrastinating!

But now I've listed them, does this mean I really have to do them? Even the taxes? Ugh.

I am tagging Bleu and Almamay.


OK, changing the subject. Any Sudoku fans out there? I resisted Sudoku for a long, long time, because I tried playing a few times when it first came out and couldn't do it. But given that so many crossword fiends that I know are into it, I felt that I should try again. I can never resist a good crossword, so why not eh? And I'm getting better, but I'm playing it online with a nice little hint feature that tells you if you've got a full line right or wrong (so far I'm only at the "medium" level - I can do the "easy" level without hints and haven't tackled the "difficult" ones yet). And it seems that there comes a point in every game that I end up guessing, and make use of the hint feature to see which one is right. Usually it's not a huge guess - I know, for example, that the 4 and the 9 occupy two spots, but I don't know which one goes in which location. But it seems like I'm cheating, and if I was doing it in a newspaper I wouldn't have a hint available to me. Does there come a point where you don't have to guess any of the placements? Or are you supposed to guess, and then miraculously hold your guesses in your mind so you can work the rest of the puzzle around them? And if so, how do you do that? I can't remember a damn thing.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Surrounded by dorks

Got an email from a former colleague yesterday.  We haven't communicated in maybe 2 years.

The email said: "46XY.  That is all."

Yup, another pregnancy announcement.  Another bouncing baby boy.  Urgh.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Unwanted assvice

What does one do, internets, on receiving unwanted assvice? Usually I politely reply, thank them for their concern and point out that, why yes, I have heard of doing acupuncture with IVF, thankyouverymuch. And usually that stops that particular piece of assvice. 99.9% of assvice is usually driven by someone trying to help, after all.

But then, if they continue? And keep unintentionally rubbing your failures squarely in your face with every sentence? [At least, I hope they are doing it unintentionally.] Then what? Ignore them and hope they go away? Or post the entire conversation on your blog to prove to them and the world what an ass they are being? Trust me, I have thought about the latter option a lot over the last few days as a certain person has been sending me messages that are just plain annoying. But I have restrained myself (barely).

Anyway, I'd like to make an announcement - I KNOW about LV Clinic. I know about their reputation, their marketing tactics, all of that. I know. But I have already paid the cycle fee and I am going forward. I am well aware that I am taking a gamble, but it is my gamble to take. Trying to talk me out of it now is a tad late. I know that NY Clinic is stellar, but you know what, they didn't get me pregnant, and I have no real desire to just do the same old same old again. If it didn't work last time, why think it will work this time? So please don't try to change my mind. Don't send me horror stories or tell me what a mistake I'm making. Don't tell me of your NY successes and expect me to think that that'll happen to me. Please. Just. Don't.

So, moving right along. I am now working from the lovely cycle calendar that LV Clinic sent me. Eek! So soon! I have to say, I do like the little multi-colored calendar with each medication set out in its own little box, with its own color. And with a square next to each box for me to check off when I have taken the meds. I checked off my first little square last night. The two other clinic's calendars were not nearly so much fun or pretty. Can you believe I start lupron this week? It all seems a bit surreal to me, but I've always had one or two cycles break between cycles and that hasn't got me anywhere, so why not try going straight into one for a change?

Oh, and I got a baby shower invitation this morning for the gal I told you about in the last post. Nice.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Knocked up

I found out about an accidental pregnancy at work this week.  It's a woman I don't have much contact with, so I hadn't seen her other than sitting at her desk behind her computer screen for a few weeks but I saw her earlier this week walking around looking obviously pregnant and was actually just wistful rather than feeling like I'd been punched in the gut.  But then I heard the full tale when I went out to lunch with a few of the girls yesterday.

She's single and 37.  She was dating this guy, taking the Sea.sonale BCP and then they broke up.  She started thinking she was gaining weight, so she started dieting.  And it wasn't working, so she was restricting her food more and more.  Then of course the end of the year was approaching, and she was trying to find a new guy so she was out partying.  A lot.  She drank like a fish at our office holiday party.  She was smoking pot (not at the office party, you understand!), taking her BCP religiously and of course didn't have periods because it prevents them for months at a time, and she was taking one or two other prescription meds.  And drinking.  And the new year rolls around so she redoubles her diet efforts, but by this time various people were saying to her "are you sure you aren't pregnant?" because she was starting to really look it by this point.  Apparently she was persuaded to take a test and of course it was positive so she went off to the doctor in a panic.  And found out she was nearly 5 months pregnant.  She's now about 6 months.

Her age makes it a little hard to bear, of course, because I started trying to conceive earlier than that.  And to be reminded that it just happens for some people is an annoyance, but I'm surprised at my reaction because if this had happened a year ago it probably would have sent me into a tailspin of depression for a while.  But maybe partly I am OK because I wouldn't want to be her.  She is now left worrying about whether the baby has been damaged by what she was doing before she found out.  I would be too.  I would also be feeling a tremendous amount of guilt which is something I don't want to have during pregnancy or child rearing.  I can't imagine watching my child like a hawk for any sign of mental damage due to my partying, and of course you'd blame yourself for any slight thing too - even if they'd have got ADHD or whatever anyway, you'd always think "was it the drinking?"  The guilt would eat you up.  So I do feel bad for her too, especially as the guy doesn't want to know, and this was unplanned and a complete shock.  She must be reeling, poor thing.

So the girls at work were all talking and saying how it's a shame she found out too late to do the amnio or the other blood test they do, so she would know if the baby was harmed, and I refrained from pointing out that testing if all the chromosomes are there in the right amounts doesn't actually pick up on whether the baby is going to have fetal alcohol syndrome or other environmentally caused damage.  I am not supposed to be the expert on baby-related things so I try to keep my mouth shut, but of course having been trying to have one for over 3 years and having sat through my internet buddies' pregnancies I know more about the subject than most of them. 

Sigh.  When will it be my turn, oh universe?  How strange the world is that these things go on.  You and I, dear readers, struggle and struggle, eat the right things, do our best to be good girls and still have to get medical help.  Others, not so much, eh?  Not so much, indeed.