Friday, September 26, 2008

Swing, batter, batter, batter

My three day FSH is....normal. 6. Not high, as I expected. No flashing lights on the test results "Turn back now oh ye of diminishing ovarian reserve." My RE wants to change the protocol to microdose lupron, which he explained was for "poor responders" though he assured me I'm not technically a "poor responder." (Like I'm a tender flower at this point.) He is suggesting that we do another fresh cycle, go to blast and thaw my frozen blast for transfer as well. (Throw 'em all in, each and every one.) Nothing points to the need for donor eggs, according to the RE. In sum, I'm on the shit side of statistics. If I'm up for it, let's try again.

And this is why I love my husband. My husband has a child and a grandchild, both of whom he adores. He has me. And, if I do say so myself, which I will, I'm fun to be with, cute as a button, though a tad on the chubby side lately (IVF drugs and consolatory food and beverage) and financially self sufficient. What's not to love? We have a great life. Why should he complicate his life by adding a bawling, life sucking infant? Because I want one.

We had decided that IVF #2 was the final frontier. That is, until after 11 days of icepicks to my chest and barnacles on my heart, I knew that it couldn't be over yet for me. That I could not live with the "what if I had tried again?" If my FSH had come back high, if my RE had introduced the donor egg discussion or the "I'm just not optimistic that this will work" talk, I could walk away with assurances that I had done everything, but it just wasn't in the cards. So I planned my discussion, readied my arsenal and before I got the words out, my husband said "we'll try again." (And later, "please speak clearly into the microphone that the third time is it.")

So, we live to fight again. It is lovely to have a plan. To have made a decision. I mean, stranger things have happened, right?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Waterfalls my ass.

This just in: "Kidman credits fertile water with pregnancy" Yes, according to Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman "swimming in Australian Outback waterfalls may promote fertility and might have contributed to her unexpected pregnancy over the past year." Sigh.

I don't subscribe to the notion that everyone, including public figures, must share every aspect of their lives to everyone they come in contact with. In fact, I think we, as a society, are too forthcoming about too many things (reality shows) and too quick to put it all out there (reality shows). I get particularly irritated with the arrogance of "it's my opinion and I'm entitling everyone else to hear about it." As if couching hurtful words in the form of an opinion makes it any less hurtful. But that's another post.

My point is that when you choose to share, you should be honest. Responsible too. Even if you're famous. Especially if you're famous. I don't personally know Jennifer Lopez. I've never met Nicole Kidman. I do know, however, that women of a certain age are exponentially more likely to have issues with fertility. I also feel certain that famous, driven women of a certain age who have also publicly expressed their desire to have children are very likely going to take steps to achieve that desire. Greater steps than, say, water ballet in waterfalls or simply thinking positive thoughts.

When I learned that we had fertility issues, my first thought was "ok, we just do in vitro." Solved that. It never entered my mind that it might not work. It certainly never entered my mind how emotionally wrenching it would become. And if I, a fairly educated and not naive type person, discounted the difficulties I would face as an over-the-age-of-35, trying-to-have-a-child woman, I feel sure many others out there do as well. Exacerbating this are those famous people who "unexpectedly" bear children in their late thirties and early forties, while denying any involvement at all with assisted reproductive technology. Hooey, I say.

I have told very few people in real life that I've had IVF. Not because I'm ashamed but because I'm private, the issue is hugely painful and emotional, and I also don't share info about bikini waxes or how much I've spent on shoes (unless I got a great deal and want to appear thrifty). When I do share my sordid reproductive history with someone in real life, I take care to share it as honestly as possible because the issue deserves so much respect. And maybe it will prevent that sharee from being insensitive to a fellow infertile.

I recognize that not every woman in her late thirties and forties must use ART to get pregnant. The overwhelming majority do though, and it's insulting to us, said majority, when famous people suggest that they were just blessed, God answered their prayers (not the rest of us heathens), fate shined on them, they were patient and it happened, twins just run in their families, and heavens no we didn't do in vitro.

Oh, and Nicole Kidman's never had plastic surgery either.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Thank you Anne. You have no idea how much this touched me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Time to Mourn

Yep, I'm feeling it. The gray, olive green clouds. The quick temper. The raw, exposed nerve endings. Difficulty concentrating. Sprinklings of tears, always out of the blue, unpredictable but reliably so. A jellybean of loss, lodged like a splinter. Comforting words bounce off like raindrops, leaving me, well, feeling all soggy. Vacillating between wanted to be coddled and wishing for an impenetrable layer of People B' Gone.

E asked me if I needed to talk to someone. Of course, it set me off. "About what?" I asked? "I need to pay someone to offer me sympathy and tell me that I can have a rich, full life even without a child?" I know that. Of course I know that. I just need to mourn what could have been for a little of while. And if I'm snappy and short, well, get over it. (I thought I trained him better... just yes me and send me flowers.)

I really feel, with the assistance of Dr. Google, that physically it is over for me, even if I was willing to commit even more money and time. I've had two failed fresh cycles and one miscarriage from a frozen cycle. I'm 6 months from 39. Try as I might with the assistance of very creative Google searches, the odds are far from being in my favor. My RE, the doll, made it clear that ovarian reserve can diminish greatly in a short period of time. My response to this last cycle bears that out. But still.

In the vein of if wishes were horses, I just wish I knew. The humble comfort of certainty. Oyster, meet my world. Pack up the bags, hon, I'm taking that international job and we're moving to Spain. Or culinary school just for kicks. Why the hell not. I was walking from my car this morning and I thought, "you're just not going to be able to have this child," almost like some doctor somewhere had proclaimed it physically impossible. And it gave me peace. Permission to plan, I guess. For just a moment.

But I'm just not there yet. Maybe I will be after we meet with the doctor. Maybe after I try another frozen cycle with my one, freezing little blast. Maybe my issue is not so much having a child as it is dealing with the palpably bitter disappointment of failure. Failure and sympathy, frick and frack. Oh, yea, and just feeling so darn vulnerable and exposed. You know, the things that percoset can't touch.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Cat Ate My Peestick

I have no idea what I mean by that title, but sadly, even if a cat did eat, or pee even, on my peestick, the result would be the same. Negative. To add insult to injury, my box of peesticks contained two kinds of sticks: (1) the glaring middle finger type of peestick and (2) the subtle "you are so not pregnant, beeyatch" type. I did have my beta today but I told them only to call me if my blood work reveals tomorrow's winning lottery numbers. Funny, the phone has been strangely silent.

I feel ok, though. Sad, of course. Confused, well always. Contemplative, definitely. I have given thought to what this means for me, at least in the near term. I will definitely lose some weight and start exercising again. I'm going to buy some shoes. Probably some really expensive ones. I'm going to revisit my "10 things to do before I die" list, maybe expand it to 12.

Thank you for your well wishes and for the glorious lack of "I'm sorry's" and "It's still early's." I love that I read nary a one. And I very much appreciate you offering up your housepets for blame. The little shits.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Uterus of the Damned

I'm about 99% sure this cycle is over. I bought pregnancy tests on the way to work this morning, snuck to the bathroom, orchestrated the test....and a bigger, more obnoxiously speedy negative you have never seen (ok, many of you have). It's 10dp3dt, so I'm sure it's over.

Please, no "I'm sorry's" or "it's still early's."

Shitty luck.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Denial Ain't Just a River in Egypt.

I can feel the lightening bolts and pelting rain positioning above my head as I type this. Here goes: I don't want this two week wait to end. I don't. Really. I want to reschedule my Beta for sometime in October. Or January. I want to continue to live in the glorious netherworld of the unknown; of the maybes; of the "is that a tad bit of nausea brought upon by my powerful sensory aversion to the pregnancy hormone, or should I just not have had that 3rd taco? I'm living in denial and I like it here.

I haven't bought any pregnancy tests either. And now that I think about it, I don't think I've even scheduled a time to go in for my beta. Who is this interloper who has taken over my type A, "give me control or give me death" person? No idea, but if she's a good cook and can get me out of the office on time, she's hired.

Seriously, I had "the" conversation with myself last night. It went something like this: "Self, you have no control over the outcome, just how you handle the outcome. Your period of blissful ignorance is coming to an end so it's time to deal. It was a shit cycle, but you ended up with four fairly decent blobs of potential human life (did I mention that my last embryo made it to freeze?). This was a seriously good effort, but now it's time to deal in the here and now. And you can handle the outcome. You have before, you can do it again. So, put down the faux daiquiri and smell the noncaffeinated coffee. And lose some weight while you're at it." Bitch.

So that's where I am. I wouldn't say that I'm treading water, just that I'm floating on a very comfortable raft on a river in Egypt with no natural predators and a good book. And, self be damned, I get to stay here for just a little while longer.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes

My herculean efforts to occupy my time whilst "resting" for 72 hours following transfer led me back a year to some journal entries (pre blog) I wrote during my first IVF. In them, I analyzed each and every "symptom", waned on about how "perfect" my cycle went and concluded, wistfully and between the lines of course, that I just knew it would work. I love the smell of naivete in the morning. I say this not with bitterness or irony, but, wow, what a difference a year makes.

This cycle ended up pretty well for being such a shitty touch and go cycle. But still, it's out of my hands. No "Dr. Google" for me on this one. I know, for example, that there are no symptoms during the 2ww, regardless of what anyone says or thinks or hopes. Any symptoms you have are a direct result of the HCG, progesterone and estrogen shots (not to mention the other substances you've been pumping in your body for weeks). Your breasts are sore not because you are a world class incubator of embryos or blasts but because of the aforementioned. Though I admit to drinking raspberry leaf tea, submitting myself to acutorture and eating copious amounts of pineapple (No hardship...I love the stuff), I'm not convinced it makes a hill of beans difference. (Couple that for this 72 hour resting nonsense I'm too paranoid not to follow...well as much as I can follow any kind of advice.) Nope, regardless of whether you do or do not believe in a higher power, make no doubt about it, this one's out of your hands.

I've also found that my support needs have changed dramatically since my relationship with the dildo cam blossomed into a long term affair. Three friends total know. I told these women because, well obviously, they're good friends but really because they asked. In a supportive, but refreshingly noncloying, genuinely interested way. Though the discussions have been brief, the support has been felt. I didn't tell my mother until after my first week of stims, not because I didn't want her to know, but because I knew her support was there, gentle and nurturing, and I didn't even have to say a word to get it. No tears this cycle, despite the ups and downs, and the very real possibility that it may not be in the cards for me. (Seriously, 38 doesn't seem old, but it's ancient in egg years.)

The last time, too too many people knew. Certainly, those who knew were interested and supportive, but when it came time for the fat lady to sing, the song was too much. For me, at least. I've absorbed a lifetime of I'm sorries. I find the sympathy clings to me like a wool coat in summer, the tag on the collar reads "you are to be pitied."

Not to say that the tears won't come if this cycle goes belly up. If so, I will surely exhibit a good bit of private wound licking, why me's, life's unfairs. I will probably lose my temper at someone who asks me if I know on which aisle the radishes are sold. But I've also found that with life's greatest disappointments, acceptance comes in time and hopefully grace enters the picture too. In time. Oh, in time and if you let it.

Friday, September 5, 2008

How about them apples?

I know better than to get excited or even mildly optimistic, but my four little eggs really kicked some ass. I ended up with two eight cells and two seven cells for my three day transfer. Last time, I had 14 eggs, 9 mature, 7 fertilized, transferred an eight cell and a five cell and froze two blasts. We transferred three this morning and my darling husband was sweating bullets. It didn't help when I mentioned that I've always wanted quads so let's put the fourth in. Kidding, oh so kidding. So who knows? All I can say is that this is pretty good turn out for four little eggs that twice almost didn't get the chance to do the labamba in the petri dish.

For what it's worth, if this is my last cycle, I feel a certain amount of confidence that we put heart, soul, belly, thigh and both butt cheeks into it. And ears and feet if you count acutorture.

So we'll see. And absolutely yes I will be peeing on a stick long before the beta.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What a difference a cycle makes

There's no comparing this fresh cycle to the last one. The last cycle couldn't have gone more perfectly. I responded immediately and quickly to the stims, my lining cooperated, the retrieval and transfer went swimmingly. Alas, it ended with a BFN despite the ease.

This cycle could not have had more ups and downs. I was on the maximum dosage of stims for 17 days. Intramuscular estrogen shots were also part of the regimen (still are), as are PIO shots. I came within a froghair of getting cancelled twice. And I don't remember feeling so crappy after retrieval. In fact, I called E at work after the retrieval to ask him if someone put an ice pick in my thigh or if I offended the RE and was kicked off the gurney. Not so. Apparently, I was complaining about how my hip hurt from the trigger shot, so they--at my request --gave me the hcg shot in MY THIGH. I remember squat about this, but feel sure I wouldn't have made the same request sober. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.

The good news is that they retrieved five eggs, one a midget. The midget didn't fertilize, but the other four did. So, we'll see. I'll do a three day transfer assuming the fab four don't hatch a suicide pack in the next couple of days. I was pushing for a five day transfer, but that was before the world's most irritatingly long and expensive stim cycle. And, we're heading to Charleston, SC next week for some golf, sun and relaxation. A five day transfer would mean ta-ta sunny South. So we'll see.

Emotionally, I'm doing much better. I had some close calls with the threatened cancellations, but feel like I'm back to myself. I've been very selective about who I've told in real life, so many thanks to you for your unfailing support (and particularly for helping me with the rage and anger directive a few posts back. Boy, was that refreshing).

I leave you with this....never, ever, under any circumstances allow an HCG shot to the thigh. Trust me. Never.