Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh, Pierre, come fluff my pillow.

I am in bed, computer on my lap (atop feather pillow of course), tea on the night stand, anxiously awaiting someone to feed me bon bons. Last night my darling personal slave, er husband, brought home dinner from my favorite restaurant. Life after transfer? Priceless.

The transfer went well. Both blasts survived the deep thaw, one an AA, one a BB. The pictures revealed that AA (clearly a girl) is a precocious little minx. She was busting out of her cell walls Mae West-like. BB is more reserved, a color-inside-the-lines type of blast. My hope now is that they decide to stick around for 3/4 of a year. I've done all I can do.

Now the hard part. The waiting. I didn't mind waiting from Friday, when we found out my lining cooperated, to the transfer yesterday. How joyful to know that we were going to be able to transfer. I didn't even worry about the blasts surviving; I knew one of them would. This waiting is the hard part. How do you temper thinking positively with protecting against disappointment? Attitude is so important in this process, but I'm not willing to lose myself again in the bitter, wrenching sadness of loss. (She writes with utter confidence that she somehow has that much control over her emotions!)

Enough about that. My question is: When is a reasonable time to test after a 5 day transfer? My beta is March 10, a whole 17 months away.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Maybe not a perfect 10..

But a damn fine 8.1! And lovely trilaminer folds! I'm just as happy as a clam to have beaten, threatened and cajoled my lining into submission. Hah, take that!

Transfer is next Tuesday at 2pm. I have determined that I will enjoy these next couple of days of hopeful, well, hope.

Like Scarlett O'Hara, I will think about the Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fingers crossed.

What a delightful surprise to get some encouraging news from the Doctor of Downers. My lining is almooost there. Trilaminer folds. 7.2. I go back on Friday to see if it's plumped up to 8. If it is, we transfer on Tuesday. DoD thinks my lining will get there. I'm allowing myself to feel optimistic. I feel certain that my threats to my ladyparts have been working. "See this needle? You can look forward to many more months of it and its cousins if you don't perform now. HaaaHaaaHaaa." Or "so raspberry leaf tea tastes like toilet water? More where that came from infidel."

I'm going to relish my good thoughts for now and for as long as possible (though infertility does not lend itself to positive thinking). My next post will involve obsessive thoughts about whether my two sole blasts survive the great thaw.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'll take Arbor Day any day

I hate Valentine's Day. There I've said it. I simply abhor Valentine's Day. That feels good.

My fear and loathing of Valentine's Day manifested itself later in life. In fact, Valentine's Day had very auspicious beginnings. As a child, I always got wonderful Valentine's Day cards from my parents. I remember one year, my father joined the hundreds (thousands?) of Courier Journal subscribers to purchase a few lines in the Valentine's Day insert to proclaim to the rest of the Louisville metropolitan area that his wife and two daughters were his valentines. We were wildly impressed, my sister and I, and demanded of our fellow classmates if their fathers had similarly professed their love for them. Many, it seems, but still. There's no better way to feel special than in print we thought.

Another good Valentine's Day experience was in the fourth grade when my "boyfriend," e.g., the boy I chased around the playground, presented me with a Valentine's Day card so large that he had to leave it on the desk behind me because it was too big to fit in my Valentine's Day box. He turned red. I turned red. He smiled shyly. I looked away. Alas, the relationship soon fizzled because neither of us could handle the attention that came from such a blatant display of affection. "He is not my boyfriend, in fact I can't stand him and his socks don't match."

College marked the end of any love I had for that most Hallmarky of faux holidays. For whatever reason, I never had a boyfriend or love interest on Valentine's Day. And woe to those who have no romantical of any kind on February 14th. The lobby of my dorm had vases upon vases upon arrangements upon clusters of red roses and pink balloons. A sea of blooms. Nary a petal for me. My sophomore year my best friend's boyfriend sent her a dozen red roses and me, a single miniature heart balloon on a stick. He didn't want me to feel left out on Valentine's Day. It was an incredibly sensitive, endearing thing for a 19 year old college boy to do. But I allowed myself to feel like a little balloon on a stick in sea of roses.

Valentine's Day lost its appeal for me soon after. There is no easier way to feel alone than on a day that caters only to couples. And even if you are part of a couple, the ubiquitousness of Valentine's Day can never be a fitting celebration of my love for my husband. It is precisely because he is nothing at all ordinary or universal or routine that I love him. To celebrate our couplehood on a day that every other couple celebrates theirs just doesn't seem fitting.

So we are a Valentine's Day free house. No hallmarks here on February 14th. Keep your helium heart balloons (and certainly the minature ones on a stick). Put the red roses back in the walk in (or just deliver them February 15th). You know what I mean.

I would rather have unplanned, unscripted Valentine's Days. Like the time E found a tiny, tiny bird's nest that had been abandoned. Perfect in it's shape, meticulous in its construction. He left it for me with a note. Or the time last year I spent an entire weekend sick with worry about something I had overlooked at work. I beat myself up, I couldn't eat, I successfully ruined my weekend and his. He sent me white roses that Monday. That's amore.

If I have a child someday, I will recognize Valentine's Day for her. We'll give her an iced sugar cookie (and I will test one from the same batch to ensure it's appropriately edible) or a cupcake. Or perhaps he'll get a new truck or ball for his collection. But I will tell her that my love for her cannot possibly be adequately summed up with a few trinkets on just one day. And I will tell him that he was, oh so very much wanted (then I will show him the 23g 1 1/2 needle and say, "look at the size of this thing, for crying out loud"). But she will have no doubt that she is my Valentine every day of the year.

If it's in the non-Valentines Day cards, that is.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Age of Aquarius

In the old days, birthdays were a big deal. Second only to Christmas. I always insisted on a bakery cake, cake optional, icing mandatory, roses preferred. "Floral" isn't really me and never really was, but how else can you justify huge globs of cream cheese icing disguised as legitimate birthday cake design? Keep your fondant, give me a bakery cake with a 4:1 ratio of icing/cake.

In the old days, gayly wrapped presents greeted you in the morning on the kitchen table. If it was a school day, you brought cupcakes to school. If you were lucky beyond your wildest expectations, it snowed the night before and school was, Oh Joy, cancelled. And birthday cards from grandparents. Open card, turn upside down, watch cash or check gently float to the ground. Birthdays also meant that you got to sit in the front seat of the car, while your sibling seethed in the back.

Today's my birthday. I'm 38. I feel like I'm 25, but any visit to the RE reinforces that I'm not. It's hard not to feel the wrinkles and less firm skin when you hear the words "at your age," or "I don't think you should wait any longer." My assurances that my lady parts are indeed youthful and glowing are, well, ignored. I'm not taking it personally. Good REs aren't known for their senses of humor, I hear.

Aside from this infertility hullaballoo, I've enjoyed being in my 30s. I like that I'm the boss of me (except for my real boss, of course, but he only thinks he's the boss). If I were in my 20s I wouldn't have had my E, so I have my 30s to thank. I also wouldn't have this job if I were in my 20s, so my 30s have been financially kind to me. My 30s have also brought me some wonderful friendships, so I thank my 30s for the emotional support. And it should be noted that I can have bakery cakes any time I want. Or shoes. I get to make those choices in my 30s, you see.

Hmmm. Or not. Pass the cake.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Various and Sundry

I have been tagged by the fabulous Mrs. X and I could not be more thrilled. I had anticipated completing my list yesterday. Friday afternoons are surely not meant for productivity, the work kind that is. Alas, it was not meant to be, but here goes.

The rules:

1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules.
3) Share six non-important things / habits / quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least three people.
5) Make sure the people you tagged KNOW you tagged them by commenting what you did.

1. I can't give away, sell, toss out or otherwise discard a book. Makes no difference if I loved it or hated it, I can't bear to part with a book. I have boxes of books in my basement, which, I'm sure, are condos for vermin and saturated with mold. No difference. I've kept every book I ever purchased for law school. Had I sold them at the end of each semester I could have retired my student loans. They now sit on my shelf, never to be consulted again. Weapons of malpractice, they are so out of date.

2. Along the same lines, I get squirmy if I don't have a stack of unread books on my bedside table. I read several at once. Makes no difference what they are, I'll read anything. Spy trash, biographies, cookbooks, novels, histories. Except sports. I don't read about sports.

3. I cannot abide chicken wings. I waited tables at a place called "Chiefs Wings & Firewater" in college. On Wednesdays, you could buy a dozen wings for 99 cents. (Budweiser longnecks were also 99 cents.) Drenched in buffalo sauce, served with blue cheese dressing and celery. I would come home from work smelling and looking like a chicken wing drenched in sauce. I haven't eaten a wing since 1991. I can't stand the look, smell, taste or mention of chicken wings to this day. Come to think of it, I haven't had a Bud since 1991 either.

4. I have gorgeous feet. Now, I know how that sounds, but I didn't say that I have legs a Rockette would envy or a face that would launch the Trojon War, part deux. (That would be a bit of a stretch.) But the truth is my feet are really pretty. And you can't gain weight in your feet. Or need Botox in your feet. Good, ol reliable feet. Probably why I have a thing for sandals.

5. Animated movies. I. Simply. Love. Them. Love them. Disney, Pixar. I own them all. Long ago I abandoned the charade of bringing a small child with me to see the newest animated movie. I think I enjoy them more than small children. Laugh out loud, tears streaming down your face enjoyment. Ratatouille, Shrek, the Incredibles, Cars. I'm smiling now.

6. The hair down my right part is almost all gray. Ok, white. It's difficult for the mere mortal to see because I get my natural blond highlights reapplied every six weeks. When my hair is wet and parted, I resemble a crested bird of some kind because all the gray (white) hairs I've plucked out previously have grown to about an inch and stand straight up.

That was fun.

I'm loving this chain letter thing, by the way. I'm going to tag Luna at; and Tabi at; and Heather at because I think we all need a little levity.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

This won't hurt a bit.

I was finally allowed to get my ears pierced when I was 12 years old. We went to the Mall, to the store with the seat in the front window. Piercing Pagoda, I think it was. No appointments necessary. Just come in, sit in the chair, get pierced. Ears, that is. We got to the store and a girl my age was already in the piercing chair. Wailing. The Piercer hadn't even come close to the girl's ears yet, but the girl was terrified. I looked at my Mother. I'm sure my worry was palpable. She said let's just take a walk. And walk we did. We walked until my courage returned. I remember clearly making a decision, taking a deep breath and getting it done. Silver hypoallergenic balls in my ears and birthstone earrings I could switch out in 6 weeks. Amethysts.

I have felt like the girl getting her ears pierced many times during this process. Both girls. The one terrified of the unknown. The own who made a decision, screwed up her courage, got it done. Which one depends on the day. I never thought that my decision to have a child would be anything other than easy. Do what comes naturally and the desired outcome naturally occurs. It didn't. I chose invitro. The shots, the pill, the raging hormones. (The combination of progesterone and estrogen last November drove me to eat four not-dainty iced-sugar cookies in thirty minutes. Four.) And for many of the steps (not the sugar cookies) I had to take a walk, screw up my courage and get it done.

The arrival of my spear fishing needles earlier this week nearly did me in. I'm not sure why (other than the size, obviously). But I took one look at them and could feel the tears welling. I have to do this? I have to do this? It's just too damn much. Your kind, helpful comments did indeed help me off the ledge, back through the window, and down the stairs. Thank you.

And, as often happens, what we conjure up in our minds is far worse than the reality. I made it to the chair. The shot wasn't bad. Probably less painful than getting my ears pierced.

No amethysts, thank you. Diamonds should work.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Talk me off the ledge.

My weekly package from Schraft's, a Walgreens SpecialityPharmacy, arrived this morning. Everything appeared to be in order. Two vials of Delestrogen. Yep. Syringes. Check. Needles. Wow. This can't be right. This isn't like the 30g 1/2" needle I used for my trigger shot. This says 23g 1 1/2" needle. An inch and one half, circumference the size of pencil lead. Dear God, I can see the pointy end at the end of the needle designed to pierce flesh. This is no needle, this is a lance. You could go spear fishing with this thing. Depress plunger, catch shark. This has to be a mistake.

We all make mistakes. I'm a little surprised that my reliable RE would make such a big one, had to be Schraft's, a Walgreens SpecialityPharmacy.

My voicemail to my RE: "Hi, it's Melanie. I received my package from Schraft's. Thanks so much for calling it in. It looks like they sent me the wrong needles. Heh, Heh. These are really big. Heh, Heh. So if you would just call in the correct size, that would be great. No need to call me back. Thanks."

They called back. No mistake. I pleaded, cajoled, complained. No mistake. Ensure shot is in upper outside quadrant of rear end. Avoid sciatic nerve. Oh, okay. They taught me all about it in law school.

Dr. Google reveals no instructional videos for Delestrogen shots. I've found no testimonials from successful givers/receivers of Delestrogen shots. I fear they're all in comas. Or worse.

Help. Me.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Pull up a Chair.

What I appreciate about you, cyber friends, is that I get to share the details of my newly-begun cycle without worrying that your eyes will glaze over or that you'll quickly change the subject to talk about, say, grass growing. No, if it's too lethargic a conversation, you can just move on to something more exciting, like Nieman Marcus' Spring shoes. My own husband, God love him, tries hard to pay attention. Ask him today what Lupron is, though, and he'll tell you I spend too much on makeup.

But a new cycle has begun and I need to share. The Lupron has continued, which really is no big deal. I'm stuck though with a 1pm shot time because my shots started during vacation. In the glare of the Caribbean sun, I figured that was a good time to take a break from the beach. Come back, dust the sand off my belly, administer shot. I didn't think at the time I would be continuing to shoot up through the rest of my 30's, which unfortunately requires a closed office door. Sometimes I close the blinds.

Now I'm on five days of Provera pills to bring on a period. So far, it's been three days of headaches. I blamed my boss for the headache my first day. Decided it was E's fault my second day. I accepted responsibility on the third day. Two more days to go. More blame to spread around.

Next we go on to nightly shots of Delestrogen. Intra-muscle. This concerns me from a process standpoint. My only experience with an intra-muscle shot is the trigger shot in November. I put a lot of thought into how this would go down. The nurse drew a circle on my left hip; I reasoned I was right handed so giving myself the shot should be easy. I just needed a well-defined target and a steady hand. Later that night, I learned I couldn't wrap my right arm around my body to reach the circle. (Next career: logistician.) So, I had to enlist my rock, E. I knew by the unnatural greenish hue in his face that he would not be sticking a needle in my hip. So, I used my left hand, got the needle in the target, and asked my rock to simply depress the plunger, which he did. His exact words, "I need to go throw up."

Naturally, I have a few concerns about how I'm going to get this done for the next 30 days. The right hip I can handle, I think. I guess for the left hip, I'm going to have to back up against a wall or McGyver-like use some duct tape and paper clips to fashion something. Or make nightly visits to the immediate care center. "Cough, cough, I'm sure I have bronchitis. Do you mind administering this shot for me while you take the throat culture?"

To complete the journey, or as I like to call this next attempt, "Is there a silver lining?", I'll double up on the oral estrogen and, thankfully, dump the climara patch. I'll continue the acupuncture. I'm cutting down on caffeine, and generally trying to eat healthier and exercise more.

So that's the schedule. Thanks for listening. I really mean that. If I've learned anything during this journey through infertility, I've learned the value of listening. No, the gift of listening. Just listening. Coupled with a sympathetic smile. A hankie. Words of encouragement.

It means more than I can say.