Lilypie - Pregnancy

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Time flies when you're having fun

I guess it has been a while. Sorry about that. Things got rather busy here, what with Christmas and all.

My mom and sister had a bit of a tough time getting here, because the weather right before Christmas was terrible. The visit went ok - my mother was a pain in the ass, but I expected that. It didn't really feel like Christmas, seeing as it was the first time that I've ever celebrated it with someone else's family, and things are more low-key here among my in-laws. My mother also chose the moment when my husband was trying to get them out of the house and to the train station on time to start lecturing me on home births and how nothing about this pregnancy is about me, it is all about the babies and therefore she should tell me exactly how to do everything because I apparently can't manage on my own. I wasn't very nice to her in return, and I don't feel in the least bit bad about it. Probably one of the hardest parts of becoming a parent is going to be reducing any bad effects my mother has on my children.

Right after Christmas, we left for Provence with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend, and my husband's uncle, aunt, and 7-year-old cousin. We had a great time investigating small villages, eating some huge meals, and checking out the sites in Arles, including the old Roman theatre and amphitheatre. Luckily, my nausea was mostly in remission during the trip - not sure why. The lower altitude? The weather? Better sleep? Certainly not the food - dinners were huge, saucy, and heavy. And oh! the soupe de poissons with toasted baguette slices, rouille, and gruyere - I don't think I've eaten this since my honeymoon, besides when I've tried to make it myself, and let me tell you, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It is hard to believe I am already 11 weeks pregnant. Almost done with the first trimester, and it's going pretty quickly. My symptoms have not been fun at all - plenty of nausea, some occasional vomiting, constipation and other random forms of indigestion, and this weird feeling in my gut that I can't really describe. I'm finding that some physical activity seems to help, so I'm trying to get motivated to get outside and do stuff, but trust me ... I don't feel like it. And the kinda crappy weather doesn't help.

So that's where we're at. We have yet ANOTHER big dinner tonight in the fort here in town (there are better websites, but they are all in Italian), and probably a big lunch tomorrow with the family, and then a lunch the next day with more family, and omg I really hope that is the end of the huge meals even though I'm sure it won't be.

I will be back in the good ol' U.S. of A. in approximately 10 days, and shortly thereafter I have my NT scan at 13 weeks. Here is an interesting question - after being in Italy for three weeks, my husband will undoubtedly have tons of work to catch up on, and leaving the office in the first couple weeks is something he'd rather avoid. The NT scan is at an office that is a good 30-minute drive from work for him, plus extra time to pick me up from work and drop me off again, PLUS I guess the scan itself normally takes a while (lets say an hour to an hour and a half for two babies? I don't really know). I also have an OB appointment that week, very close to his office, but I'm guessing it will be routine, no ultrasounds or anything. So the options are:

1. Go to the NT scan, which would be 2-3 hours out of the office for him (not cool), but he'd not only get to see the babies but be there in case something is wrong.

2. Go to the OB appointment, which I'm guessing would be a waste of time for him? Anyone know?

3. Not go to either - I just don't want him to miss out on anything important, either good or bad.

What do you think?

P.S. Thanks for the comment(s) so far, but let me clarify - DH owns and manages his own company and usually works 9-12 hours a day (or more) plus 1-2 days per weekend. He can come and go as he pleases, but things suffer when he is not there, so after three weeks of telecommuting, any extra time away from the office during normal business hours is tough. Therefore, I usually only ask him to leave work when I think it's really worthwhile. So that's the real question - is it worthwhile?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Italia

I'm in Italy. It's 5:30 am local time, and I'm awake. I also have no idea if I took my progesterone last night, although signs point to no. This seems like a good time to drop my dosage down to every other day, since I pretty much skipped a day on the flight here, too.

I'm quite sick here. I remember reading that major changes in altitude and temperature can aggravate morning sickness, and I can attest that it is true. It's FREEZING here, well below freezing actually, all the locals keep commenting on it. And we are definitely above my usual almost-sea-level altitude in California, up in the mountains here.

It is always strange to come here, where my husband has a whole other life that I'm only slowly becoming a part of. Every visit becomes easier, but sometimes it is still so surreal. Even more surreal is the fact that my mother is coming here for Christmas - something I could have never imagined would ever happen. I'm really worried about how she'll handle the snow, the freezing temperatures, the language barrier, the unfamiliar food, and probably some homesickness. I'm trying to have faith that it will all work out.

The flight over here was really not fun, as usual, but I expected that. What I didn't expect was snow in London! The airport was a bit of a disaster, with almost every flight delayed including ours. After arriving two hours late in Nice, it snowed for most of our drive up into the Alps and across the border, leaving a nice white coat on the roads that we had to navigate very slowly.

So now I just have to get over this stupid jetlag. Time to go back to bed and try to sleep.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

9 weeks, packing, and weird pain

I'm starting to think I'm a hypochondriac, but after two years of infertility, I am so nervous about every little thing. I'm 9 weeks today. Which, yay! But ...

I am having this weird pain in my lower abdomen on the left side. It's very low, and not very far left, i.e. nowhere near my hip. It is like a pulse of pain, that goes away in less than a second, and recurs at completely random intervals. The only thing I can think of is that it could be related to the big cyst on my left ovary. I've had for over 24 hours now. Any ideas what it could be?

I called the doctor's office and the nurse called me back, and said the doctor would call, but that was hours ago. The pain is not very strong, I don't need a painkiller or anything, and I wouldn't be terribly worried except that I'm leaving for Italy tomorrow night and I will be traveling for 20 hours and it would be nice to know that everything's ok.

In the meantime, I am having sleep problems, I'm not drinking enough water, I'm not feeling well, and it's my poor husband's birthday. I haven't done anything special for him - but hey, I'm gestating his children. I think that's a pretty good gift.

I'm almost done packing, and hopefully we'll have dinner soon and maybe I can get to bed early. I'm hoping that whatever this pain is, it stops soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

8w5d and H1N1

I had my first OB appointment this morning. It went really well!

We met with a nurse practitioner who was a little over-the-top, but very darling. She did my annual exam, since it’s been a year and a half since I had one, and then gave us tons of information. It’s a little overwhelming. Luckily, my hospital has one of the best birthing centers in Northern California, with water births, midwives and doulas, and very relaxed rules about everything. I’m looking forward to taking childbirth classes and touring the birthing center! Not sure my husband is looking forward to all of it, though – it’s going to take up a lot of time.

We did get to see the babies on ultrasound! They looked so cute, quite a bit bigger than a week ago, and we could see their heads, their heartbeats, and even their tiny little arms and legs. I’m so excited for the ultrasounds when we get back from Italy!

We’re going to have a lot of prenatal testing, but I still don’t understand whether I’m supposed to call and make those appointments myself, or if someone will make them for me. Why don’t they tell you this stuff?

Our appointment was at 9:45, and since we’re traveling to Italy in a few days, I called last week and tried to schedule my H1N1 vaccination this morning, too. The Women’s Health center didn’t have any preservative-free vaccine, so they told me to make an appointment with my regular doctor. I don’t really have a regular doctor, but I called the last doctor I’ve seen, who has now moved to the next town, and told them I wanted an H1N1 shot. They asked my age, and because I had a feeling they were trying to tell if I was in one of the priority categories, I said “I’m 31 and I’m pregnant.” They said, “OK, you can come in at 8am on Monday morning”.

So this morning I had to get up early, miss work, and drive 10 miles to the next town for my vaccine, only to be told when I got there that they didn’t have any preservative-free vaccines and they couldn’t give me a shot. I was SO pissed.

At my OB appointment, I told them what had happened, and they said that since I was traveling, I was at risk for H1N1, and that while the preservative was controversial, there was no scientific evidence that it caused any harm, and the risks of actually getting the flu were much worse. So I got the shot with the preservative. Oh well – I guess you win some and you lose some.

We’ve also been telling people about the pregnancy. It’s still early, and I’m a little nervous, but it’s hard to pass up big events like holiday parties where we can tell a lot of people at once and everyone is in a celebratory mood. And we’ve now seen the heartbeats 4 times, so I feel more comfortable about it.

So far, so good. And I think today is technically 2 months. Almost 9 weeks! And then – Italy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pregnancy (8w1d)

I'm going to sound like a jerk in this post, and so I apologize in advance. Seriously - I'm sorry. Because I'm about to complain. If you will be annoyed by complaining, just click away now.

I've read a lot of things about women who loved being pregnant and wish they could always be pregnant. I hoped that would be me. In fact, I STILL hope that will be me. Maybe second trimester?

Because the truth is, up until now, I hate being pregnant. I feel so sick, almost all the time. The week of repreive I had was wonderful, but the morning sickness is back. And on top of it, I'm completely exhausted. I sleep 9-10 hours a night and could easily stay in bed for a few more hours if I didn't have to get up to go to work.

I don't have a life anymore - I spend all day at work feeling queasy and trying to get something done while wishing the clock would move faster. I get home and try to get a few things done around the house before dinner, and then I try to relax a bit before crawling into bed and passing out. Doing even basic, easy chores has become a monumental task that I can barely do, and my apartment looks terrible. Luckily we're leaving for Italy for Christmas soon, so I don't really need to do any grocery shopping.

I miss my energy and wish it would come back. I haven't done any of my physical therapy for my knee in weeks. I barely remember what my bike looks like. I've been given permission to start jogging again, but ha! I don't think that's going to happen any time soon.

Of course, none of this matters. All that matters is that my babies stay healthy and inside for another 30 weeks at least. I know this is true. But sometimes I wish I could have it a little easier along the way.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Where do I start? (7w5d)

It has been a crazy roller coaster of a week, and I'm exhausted and worn out after everything.

On Friday, the day after my first ultrasound, I started having brown discharge. Kinda worrisome, but everything I looked at said brown discharge was ok, plus I had just had the ultrasound the day before and thought it could have irritated something.

We told my husband's family in Italy about the babies on Thursday night, my sister on Friday evening, and my mom and brother during the day on Saturday. I was so nervous that I might have jinxed everything.

Saturday night we decided to go out to a nice dinner, and right before we left I went to the bathroom - and saw some red spotting. Not very much, but enough to scare me. We called our local OBGYN office at the hospital and left a message for the doctor on call, after being assured she'd call back in 20 minutes. 20 minutes later, we called again, and they tried to page her again. 20 minutes after that, we said "screw it" and went to the emergency room. They admitted me, put in an IV, got a urine sample, did a pelvic exam, and finally did an ultrasound after the ultrasound tech had been called in (I felt a little bad about that - I'm sure she had better things to do on a Saturday night).

But look what we got to see!


What an awesome picture. She showed us each baby, did thorough scans of their sizes, and let us listen to the heartbeats. The ER's ultrasound machine was amazing, and seeing the babies on it was awesome. They found nothing to indicate that anything was wrong, diagnosed me with "threatened miscarriage", and let us go around 12:30am, when we finally had dinner at In N Out, the only place open. I was STARVING, since it had been about 12 hours since lunch.

Yesterday I took it easy all day, but after dinner, at 10pm, I went to the bathroom to discover a small bit of blood on my underwear, a few drops in the toilet, and a bit on the TP. CRAP! The ER nurse had called to make me promise I'd see the OBGYN today, so I waited until this morning and made an appointment for this afternoon.

After an hour wait I got to see the babies and hear the heartbeats AGAIN! They looked great, and she said there was nothing to worry about. They suspect a possible minor UTI, or something similar, but otherwise said to just take it easy and not worry about it.

I feel spoiled by all the ultrasounds, but they also told me that I won't be getting one at my intake appointment next week, and then I leave for Italy, so the next chance for an ultrasound won't be until mid-January at the earliest, when I am 12-13 weeks. So I am really happy that I got these two snuck in there.

And I'm especially happy and grateful that the babies seem to be fine. Hang in there please!!!!!

In the meantime, I'm trying to think of nicknames for the little guys - the husband suggested Ann and Bob, but I wanted something a bit more gender-neutral. I'm thinking Bean for Baby B (not very inventive, I know), but I have no idea for Baby A. Ideas?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Guess what!!!!!



Yup, twins!!!!!!!! (it's hard to see the little note in the top left-hand corner)

We were worried she might keep going for a second, but luckily she didn't find a third. Here are the stats:

Baby A - measuring 6w6d (so two days behind), hb 120
Baby B - measuring 7w1d (perfect!), hb 122

Other good news - nausea is still around but majorly better, plus the RE prescribed Unisom and Vitamin B12 to help with that. She also prescribed extra folic acid because of the twins, so I am on a bunch of drugs right now (considering I'm also taking a prenatal and progesterone).

But really, everything's ok! I'm so amazingly happy I can't believe it, and I can't wait to start telling family about the news in the next few days!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

7 weeks (tomorrow)

Time is going so slowly!

It probably doesn't help that I'm so, so sick. I HATE morning sickness. But really, let's call it all-day-sickness. Or all-day-and-night sickness. I haven't vomited, but the nausea, it is killing me. I've been eating sal.tine crackers, but I just switched over to Chee.rios, which is probably good because with the amount I've been eating, I was getting a LOT of extra salt.

I don't think my diet is very balanced at all, because carbs seem to make me feel the best. I'm squeezing in some veggies here and there, too. I'm also kind of realizing that it's going to be hard to avoid the foods I'm supposed to avoid, harder than I thought. They're EVERYWHERE!

So that's life right now - constantly feeling sick and just trying to get through each day. Hopefully we'll have more news on Thursday, at our ultrasound. Less than 48 hours to go!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

6 weeks

This is a post that I hesitate to write, because I've read something similar on so many blogs before and it made me green with envy. I couldn't understand how anyone who was infertile could complain about morning sickness when they finally had what they wanted.

But this blog is both to share my experience with others and to record my experience for myself, and morning sickness is definitely part of my experience.

Today I am 6 weeks. Last week, I had been waking up in the wee hours of the morning feeling sick, but managing to go back to sleep and feeling mostly fine upon actually getting out of bed a few hours later. That all changed this past weekend, when suddenly I was horribly nauseous all morning. And then, the next day, nauseous again after lunch. And it progressed until now I am sick almost all of the time. Eating something helps - certainly being hungry exacerbates the problems immensely.

My cramps are all but gone, with just some twinges that feel more like gas pains than anything. I'm no longer freaking out that I will see blood every time I go to the bathroom. Instead, I spend my whole day wondering if and when I will puke, and feeling relieved during the short amounts of time when it subsides.

I am thrilled to be sick. But it is still way, way worse than I expected.

And I'm not getting my hopes up or getting a ticker or anything until the ultrasound next week. I AM still an infertile after all.

In the meantime, I put up a poll on the side, for fun. How many embryos do you think they'll see at the ultrasound next Thursday? I don't have a clue - sometimes I'm sure it's just one, other times I wonder. What do you think?

(The infertile in me wants to include "zero", but that is too pessimistic and macabre even for me. I'm trying to enjoy this pregnancy as much as I can, and I don't think I'll jinx myself by being cautiously optimistic.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I thought I was done with this thumb twiddling

I'm not avoiding posting for lack of anything to say, exactly, more like lack of anything interesting to say.

I can't believe how slow this time is going by - it's still two weeks until the ultrasound. Luckily, tomorrow is Friday (sweet, blessed Friday!), and Saturday is very busy, and Sunday is Sunday, and next week is only a 2.75-day week (woohoo!), and then there's Thanksgiving and shopping and lazing around in pajamas and then suddenly it will be ultrasound week. And my ultrasound is on a Thursday, so Monday-Wednesday will be rather tough, I'm sure. But still! I guess it's not too far away after all.

I know what I want to see at the ultrasound, and I'm really hoping it's not too much to ask for. One or two little beans, of appropriate size and with appropriate heartbeats. That's it. Please!

In the meantime, just like last post, I am cramping. I get cramps for 20-30 minutes randomly throughout the day, and then they go away and I feel more or less fine. I'm starting to think that I am feeling some nausea here and there, but if it is, it's so mild that I am not even sure.

How boring, I know. Ultrasound blah blah blah cramps blah blah blah mild nausea blah. Maybe I won't update again until there's actual news.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Life Goes On

I'm not sure what to write about these days.

I feel a bit like a kid in a candy store, not really believing that my parents let me go in. I've googled a few things about pregnancy, like what kinds of medications I can take and how much do maternity clothes cost anyway? I feel clueless, timid, anxious.

I also feel crampy. Which I've been told is normal. It was really alarming for a few days, but now that it's been going on for over a week, I'm ok with it (not that I LIKE it). So far it is my only symptom, though. Who knew that being pregnant would feel exactly like having my period? The only difference is that the cramps are much more sporadic and feel a bit like indigetstion, too. I think I'd rather have some mild nausea.

So the big question - the ultrasound! The clinic originally told me that they'd schedule an ultrasound for 7 weeks, and when I called to schedule it, my coordinator suggested a date that was 7 weeks 6 days - which is 8 weeks as far as I was concerned, and there was NO WAY I was going to wait that long. I actually had to argue with her about getting it earlier, and she gradually moved up the date until it was 7 weeks 1 day, complaining that that was too early.

Whatever. I am not putting up with this clinic anymore, I am telling them what I want and they are going to do it. I paid a LOT of money for that privilege.

The ultrasound is December 3. Two weeks and three days from now.

Another freaking two week wait, but so worth it this time. Of course I'm terrified of something being wrong, or of having crazy multiples (which seems unlikely since my betas were not crazy high), but I'm so hopeful to see one or two little beans.

And in the meantime, I have to try to get used to saying the "p" word.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Beta #2

Beta #2 = 321!

Almost double in about 22 hours, so perfect! I'm so relieved and thrilled and still in shock. Here is the chart I've seen some people use - based on this, there's a chance of twins, but I kind of doubt it.



Unfortunately my lunch did not agree with me today and I've spent the last few hours in bed while everyone at work is worried I've given them the flu. It could be a pregnancy symptom, but most likely it's the greasy quesadilla I had for lunch - well, I'll try to use it as a learning experience.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

RE

I'm going to take a moment, in the midst of my amazement and disbelief and happiness, to complain about my infertility clinic. Don't get me wrong - it is now a minor part of what I'm hoping continues to be a big change of luck for me - but it is really annoying nonetheless.

Here was my day yesterday:

8 am-8:40 am - call clinic repeatedly but no one ever answers (to be fair, they have no posted hours, so I don't know what time anyone arrives anyway)

8:42 am - someone answers (not the usual receptionist) and tells me my coordinator is in a meeting, which will be over around 9, but she wouldn't necessarily be able to call back right then. I told her that I was calling because I had a positive hpt, and needed a blood test, which I thought would indicate it was important that I get a return call.

8:43 am - 10:43 am - I wait and no one calls me back.

10:44 am - I call and wait on hold for my coordinator, who never comes to the phone; someone else comes and says she'll check with the doctor about doing a beta and call me back right away

11:14 - the first (and only!) call I actually receive from the clinic all day; my coordinator asking me if I can come in RIGHT AWAY for a beta

11:15 - I race around getting my purse and shoes and things together

11:30 - I arrive at the clinic and get my blood drawn. My coordinator tells me that it should take a couple of hours for the result and promises to call me immediately as soon as she has it

11:45-1 pm - lunch with my sweetie

1-4:30 pm - waiting, waiting, waiting - it's been FIVE HOURS since I was told it would only take two hours and someone would call me right away - now I'm starting to worry that they will close or that my coordinator has gone home for the day

4:35 pm - I finally call the clinic to ask WTF; my coordinator has been waiting to ask the doctor if he wants me to even have a second beta, and so has not yelled called with the result. Yeah, like I would have minded if she had to call me twice, instead of sitting around half the day wondering what the result was. Finally get result!

Today as of noon - This morning at 6:30am I sent an email with a few basic questions, and asking if I can schedule my second beta - I've had good luck with email in the past, and not so great luck with calling them; but no response so far. Frustrating!

I'm obviously thrilled that I'm pregnant, but the cherry on top is that in a few more weeks, if all goes well, I no longer have to work with these people!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Beta #1

Did NOT think I'd be writing this post anytime soon, but here it is:

14dpiui
Beta #1 = 164

At least for today, I'm pregnant!

Um ... not what I was expecting


I must confess that I broke down and tested yesterday after work. And then again yesterday night. And again this morning.

I was in total shock. I still am in total shock. I know it could still be bad - there are numerous things that can go wrong, from chemical pg, ectopic, miscarriage, and so on.

Still, for now, for once, I FINALLY get to be cautiously optimistic.

Still waiting on the clinic to let me know if I can go for my beta today - please let them call me back soon!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One more day

I had a good weekend, and I've kept myself really busy. Cleaning and organizing the house is going well, and I'm really happy with how things look. If only I could get rid of our filthy carpet, I would be so much happier, but unfortunately that isn't something a renter can do. If there was one thing I should do more often around the house, it's probably vacuuming.

But anyway, talking about cleaning houses is boring. I spent the weekend up in the foothills of the Sierra, hanging out with old friends, spending some quality time with my husband and family, and going for a pretty tough bike ride.

Work is getting worse and worse. Management here consists of a lot of fairly stupid people, which in itself might not be so bad, except they are also vindictive, finger-pointing, ass-kissing, insincere idiots. I am tired of working for people who blame me when they are wrong and take the credit when I am right. I am reaching the end of my rope, and I don't know if I can work here much longer. I have five and a half weeks until I leave for Italy, and I wonder if I can find something else by then.

And of course only one more day until I POAS. And even though I know there is not a good chance it will be positive, I will still be very sad if it's negative. I hope my husband understands that I can't help it, that this isn't easy for me, that I've been through a lot, that the last two months have been especially emotionally difficult, and being sad and crying can be cathartic and healing for me. Thank goodness that tomorrow's a holiday - I need a day off.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ebb and Flow

I saw this on a blog or website somewhere recently, I don't even remember the context, but I thought - that's it! That is something I need to hang on to, this idea that things ebb and flow.

First, it is good to remember that sometimes things will be good and sometimes things will be bad, and they will never stay that way forever. That life is always full of ups and downs, and I need to remember to treasure the ups while they last and bear with the downs because I know that things will be looking up again soon.

But also I like the idea of remembering that time passes, sometimes it passes more quickly than other times, but nonetheless I will get through whatever it is that is bringing me down or making me irritable. Time will ebb and flow and so will my life, right along with it.

I am feeling more at peace. Thanks to all who sent me good wishes. Today is 9dpiui, but it doesn't really matter. Today is Friday, which is what matters. A day to see my friends at work and forget about the crappy stuff that is going on here. A day to think about my future - my evening with my husband, my weekend with friends and family, going to a new crochet/knit group in my town on Monday, a dinner with Italian friends on Tuesday. I'm thankful to be busy and have so many people in my life, family and friends, old and new.

I think it helps that I am working hard on organizing my house - I feel in some ways that it is a metaphor for me. It has been cluttered and disorganized, with half-done forgotten projects, papers that have needed to be filed for a year, things always being put aside because I would get to them later. Just like me and my life - a half-finished project at which I am faltering because I've lost sight of my goals, even my short-term ones.

And maybe I still don't know what the goals are, but at least I'm working on figuring them out, which is a huge step in the right direction. And along with determining my goals, I'm examining my soul, and my prejudices and my preconceived notions. I know it's a work in progress and always will be, but as the days ebb and flow, I hope that I gradually become the person that I want someday to be.

Maybe it's the season, it's paradoxically a time of being social and going to parties, but also of introspection and thinking and stirring up thoughts and feelings as the weather turns cold and we spend more time indoors, curled up in our houses like they are coccoons. Enjoying the beauty of autumn and the quiet of winter while dreaming of new life in spring. We're all really butterflies, getting ready to stretch our wings.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Struggling

I am hating my job right now. I'm bored out of my MIND. I hate paperwork and bureaucracy, and that's all I do. Worse, I am enforcing regulations that I think are not good policy. I don't like being part of the system.

I've stuck with this job for two years because 1) I kept thinking I'd be a SAHM by now; 2) my boss has been pretty cool with all the time I take off for If appointments, surgery, and trips to Italy; 3) the pay is pretty good; 4) I like the people I work with - most of the time, anyway; 5) I've never worked at a job longer than a year and a half and I wanted something longer-term on my resume.

But this job has no future growth for me. The promotion I have been eligible for since May is being held up due to paperwork issues, and there is no end in sight, while most of my peers have been promoted ahead of me. I've been ttc for almost TWO YEARS with no success. If IUI #4 doesn't work, we don't move onto our next IVF cycle until January/February. I will be stuck here another year at the very least.

I'm feeling down and depressed and unmotivated and hopeless.

On the other hand, I'm looking into maybe teaching English as a second language. Right now I'm looking at sitting in a cube until I retire, and I think I need something more exciting to work for. Some sort of goal that will help me figure out what I want to do with my life. Something that helps me get up each morning looking forward to the day, rather than dreading it.

I'm also giving more serious thought to adoption. I don't know if I can keep going through this shitty emotional roller coaster.

My POAS dreams have already started. I wish they'd stop. I only have eight days to go, and I need a little peace of mind.

Monday, November 2, 2009

November

I hate the 2ww.

Hate it hate it hate it.

I am only 5 days into it, and have 9 days to go (I love my little ticker at the top of my page - love it love it love it).

I had a busy, busy weekend, but no plans for this week at all. I'm worried it will go by slowly. I tend to break up long waits into manageable chunks of time. The first chunk was getting through the weekend, which was easy.

Now I have to get through to Friday, which is hard enough under normal circumstances (maybe I'll just try to be extra-productive this week, hahahaha). Then I have to get through next weekend, which should be a bit easier (but getting closer to D-Day, which makes it hard). And then I have two weekdays which will probably be REALLY hard. November 9 and 10, I've got to figure out a way to make them go quickly.

Only 9 days. 5 days, then 2 days, then 2 days. No problem. Ha. Maybe I'll try to break the 5 days down into some sort of milestone.

Regarding IUI #4 - insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. At least I'm not really expecting a different result, so I guess I'm not technically insane. Right?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy blogaversary!

I missed it! I have been blogging for one year this past Saturday. It hasn't been the happiest year in terms of infertility, but otherwise it's been great. Quick review:

- Finally left my OBGYN and found an RE, right after reaching the one-year ttc mark
- Did 4 clomid cycles, with 3 IUIs
- Went to Italy and spent a nice couple weeks in the snow with my in-laws
- Participated in a great sock exchange
- Got third place in a triathlon (!)
- Went to Alaska for a summer vacation
- Turned 31 years old
- Had ACL surgery on my knee
- Attempted IVF and failed
- Avoided PIO for all of 2009
- Planned another trip to Italy for Christmas!

Wow, it's been a long year. Here's to a good winter, and a new year that brings better luck to all of us, and babies, too.

Monday, October 26, 2009

IUI #4, here we come

I'm sorry, I'm so far behind on commenting. I appreciate all the comments recently and will be catching up with all of your blogs this week. Things have been stressful.

Also, something (either the Lu.pron, the Fol.lis.tim, or something else that I haven't figured out) has been giving me major headaches, which isn't fun.

I think my heart is already not in this cycle anymore. I forgot my Lu.pron injection this morning, the last one of this cycle. I took it an hour late, and called the clinic in a panic. They said that since I don't have that many follicles, there's not much danger that I will ovulate. Gee, thanks!

We went in yesterday morning for our ultrasound, and everyone was annoyingly cheerful and telling us that this is great that we learned so much about how I stimulate and people actually try to have an IUI cycle just like this and they just had a patient last month who got pregnant in exactly this situation.

I just wanted to say "STOP SMILING!" And stop acting like this is no big deal. To you, it's not a big deal. You are still getting your $1000 and the pharmacy got their $2500, and now I'm going to have to do it all over again. And in the meantime, we lost 2-3 months for this cycle, and I can't cycle again until January because I will be gone for Christmas, so that's not only at least 6 months wasted for a badly managed IVF cycle, but thousands of dollars, and days of headaches and something like 35-40 injections. But no big deal, right?!

Anyway. Still had 5 big follicles, plus a few smaller ones. IUI is on Wednesday. No progesterone this time, so after tonight, no medication at all for the rest of the cycle. HPT on Veteran's Day, November 11. At least I have the day off to cry in bed if I get a BFN.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Follow-up

I was so shell-shocked yesterday that I just spewed what I was thinking onto the computer screen and hit post. Today I'm still shell-shocked so it's probably not going to get much better, but I want to at least answer some of the questions and try to organize my thoughts.

1. My clinic does not do any monitoring until the 9th day of stims, and then they do one ultrasound to check on follicles, and one follow-up ultrasound if things need more time. And that's the total monitoring for an IVF cycle for everyone. No bloodwork at all. This is their standard operating procedure and they do not personalize it, at least for IVF #1. Since it is a package deal, extra monitoring would cost them money.

2. We have to decide what to do on Sunday, when we go in for the next ultrasound. Maybe our choice will be clear - we'll have a few more follicles (the dr. didn't think so), or a few less. Having five is sort of crappy, because it's borderline.

3. Everyone in blogland seems worried about multiples, while my husband and I are actually pretty convinced that the only realistic result of an IUI is a BFN. Given our two years of trying with four prior medicated cycles and never a hint of a BFP, I sincerely doubt that our chances of high-order multiples are anything other than 0.000000001%. I don't think our chances of even a singleton pregnancy are much higher than that.

4. The doctor has pretty much offered us our money back if we switch to an IUI. If we do the IVF, I don't know if we can switch our payment option from the 2-cycle option to the 1-cycle option. Even if we can, and we do IVF and then leave this clinic after this fiasco, we'll be spending about $11,000 for an IVF cycle that could have possibly been saved if the RE had just monitored me a few days earlier.

5. We're going to Italy for Christmas, which means we won't be able to start a new IVF cycle until at least January. Given that we already put this cycle off for several months until after knee surgery, that really sucks. I am 31, which isn't THAT old, but I'm not getting any younger.

6. One thing I don't like about my clinic is that for IVF, they get everyone on the same calendar and run the whole thing like an assembly line. They like to talk about how everything is personalized, but the further I go, the more I realize that it's actually very standardized, and it's standardized to make it easy for them, not to benefit the patients. I'm not ok with that.

7. ICSI - apparently, the doctor had decided that since we don't know what's wrong and why we can't "achieve pregnancy", it would be a good idea to ICSI half of my eggs and let the other half fertilize naturally to see if the problem lies with fertilization. It would have been nice for her to tell us about it before we were instructed about paying for it, yes. Now that we only have 5 eggs, if we do go ahead with IVF, I'm not sure if it would be a good idea to throw more money at this situation and do ICSI anyway. Would it be throwing good money after bad? Or would it be paying a fee to raise our chances enough to make the whole thing worthwhile? It would make our total cost for this cycle, including ICSI and meds, about $12,500.

8. There are other clinics in the area, especially in Sacramento where I work, but not in the town where we live. Which means my husband will have to take a lot of time off work for appointments instead of me, and it's a lot easier for me to take time off. Also, I'm no longer sure about how to choose a good clinic. And at this point, I want to feel confident in my clinic.

9. I've been dreading PIO, but I always thought it was worth it to have a good chance at getting pregnant. I'm not so sure it's worth it just for a shot-in-the-dark hail Mary. If we do IUI, I skip the PIO completely and if we get pregnant, that's a lot of injections I don't have to do. On the other hand, if we do IVF and we don't make it to transfer, I at least don't have to keep taking the shots, and if we do make it to transfer, then it might be worth it in the long run.

10. We paid for a package deal - one IVF, up to six FETs until frozen embies are gone, and then another IVF (in that order). If we continue with this, we probably won't have any frozen embies, and we'll have to move straight into IVF #2. If THAT doesn't work, we'll be paying for future FETs, which seems stupid. The package deal seems great if you have a good response during the first cycle and you just fall on the wrong side of statistics with a BFN, because then you have plenty of back-up options. If you have a poor response during the first cycle, the back-ups aren't really back-ups anymore - you've just wasted a lot of money.

11. Since we have so few follicles/eggs, does that mean that our eggs are probably of higher quality? I don't know. Should I ask the RE? Should I trust her answer?


Here are my thoughts now:

IUI - In my opinion, the most likely outcome is a BFN, but we'll get our $14,400 (minus the IUI fees). We'll have had a learning experience, and we have time to look for another clinic. I'm really not worried about high-order multiples. I'll also spare myself the PIO completely, including if a mircale happens and I do get PG. It would be nice to spend a first trimester without a daily shot in the ass.

IVF - We'll spend a lot of money and our chances are still pretty low. I'll have to do PIO, but see #9 above - if we get to transfer, it'll be worth it, if we don't I can stop. We might learn something about our infertility - then again, we might not. We might end up with nothing at all (no eggs, or no fertilized eggs, or no embryos) and wonder if an IUI might have worked out after all.

Clinics - I think we'll switch clinics after this, no matter what. It's just a matter of how to salvage this cycle at this point.


This is torture. I can't believe I'm in this situation. I can't believe it's been almost two years since we started ttc and we are in the same damn place, except now we're older and we've been through a lot of shit and we have nothing to show for it. I can't believe this is happening. I hope I wake up tomorrow morning and it was all a big joke.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I can't begin to tell you about what a disappointment today has been. I'm sad and angry and frustrated and pissed off. And I need advice.

I have five follicles. The RE said it was borderline on whether we should continue with IVF or convert to IUI. She doesn't know why, at my age and with no known issues, I only have five follicles.

So here are my questions:

1. I have been taking L.upro.n for 16 days and f.olli.st.im for 8 (today will be 9). Until today there has been no monitoring, no bloodwork, no ultrasounds. Now it is too late to affect the number of eggs by adjusting the dose of my medication. Is this normal? Shouldn't there have been some sort of monitoring before now? This is an awful lot of money to throw at a problem without checking to see if the proposed solution is working until it's too late.

2. What do you think I should do? I've done 4 cl.omid cycles and always had 1-2 follices, and always got a BFN. Will having 5 follices really make an IUI that much more likely to succeed for me? On the other hand, continuing with IVF will realistically get me at most 1-2 embryos to transfer and nothing to freeze, and will involve a surgical procedure and weeks more of injections. And it will use up one of the IVF attempts we paid for.

3. Should I switch clinics? This clinic is no longer really inspiring much confidence in us. Today, when I checked in, the receptionist told me that our ICSI fee would be due at retrieval - this is the first time anyone has mentioned that we should even do ICSI. Neither the doctor nor our IVF coordinator nor the embryologist had mentioned this to us at all. Shouldn't someone talk about whether it is appropriate with us earlier than now?

I have to run to a work meeting. But I would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

IVF #1 - CD 7

Good news! My husband is not really sick anymore. He had a pretty bad weekend of fever and sore throat and headache and general achiness, but now he only has a cough as far as I can tell. And I don't seem to have caught anything from him (knock on wood).

I've had a horrific headache, but I'm chalking that up to my IVF meds, because I think that's one of the side effects. And also the headache has been coming and going since last week sometime and I don't have any other symptoms other than a very mild cough which also doesn't seem to be developing into anything else.

ANYWAY. Husband will hopefully move back to the bed tonight and I will hopefully get a hug and kiss for the first time in a week. I can't say I'm not excited.

But bad news too! The house we're trying to buy - goodness what a mess. The owner is an elderly woman who has already moved out of state and may be incompetent to enter into a contract. We don't know what's going on with the other offer. We gave our realtor numbers to write up an offer, and then never heard back, so we called him last night ... it turns out he was beaten up by the parent of one of his daughter's field hockey teammates at a game. I can't believe people actually do shit like that - what the hell is wrong with people?! Our realtor is such a nice guy, in a genuine nice guy kind of way, not a schmoozy realtor kind of way.

A little house-hunting background, skip this if you don't care: We've been looking for a house for about three years. We live in Davis, a university town near Sacramento, with a small-town feel, a very active involved population, great restaurants, and growth limits. Meaning, almost no new houses get built ever. And everyone wants to live there. So houses are expensive. You know how house prices in some parts of the country dropped by 50% recently? Not in Davis - we've seen pretty much no decline in prices at all, and prices were pretty expensive here to begin with. On top of that, even the "cheap" houses aren't worth it because they are typically student rentals and are mostly destroyed - old, filthy, falling apart, garages converted into extra bedrooms, etc. Sellers expect that buyers will rent out the houses again, not live in them. Also, yards are very small, so it's not like you can even buy a house for the land and remodel or rebuild and have a nice yard. The house we've found has a nice big yard which is mostly grass, so we could landscape how we like. It is small enough for us to manage, but big enough for a family. It doesn't need any remodeling before moving in, except maybe replacing the carpet in the bedrooms with wood, because we hate carpet. It's expensive, and it's not in the best location, but there aren't any good houses in the "best" locations in Davis. It might be a long time before we find another place like this in Davis. It's not our dream house, but it's close enough that I'll be sorry if this doesn't work out. And I don't expect to find another house we'll like anytime soon - rather than selling in this market, people are generally just renting their houses out - even if you don't want undergrads, there are plenty of grad students, researchers, and professors here. So there isn't much on the market at this point either. It's a dismal situation.

OK, back to IVF! Today is CD 7; my CD 9 ultrasound is Thursday! Only 5 more injections until then, one of which I'm about to take care of. Fingers are crossed for an appropriate number of well-behaved, nice-sized follies! Egg retrieval is probably within a week!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Non-IF-related crappiness

Have to find my zen, have to find my zen, have to find my zen.

Dammit, where did it go?

My husband is sick. The guy who NEVER gets sick and NEVER misses work and even works every weekend is at home in bed. I'm really worried. I'm worried about him. I'm worried about our IVF cycle. I'm worried about me getting sick, too. It's just so unfortunate not only to be sick, but to be sick RIGHT NOW.

And then.

My realtor called. The house we've been thinking about, the house we've been going to look at, the house for which we just got pre-approved for a loan YESTERDAY ... someone put in an offer. I called my husband to tell him, unfortunately waking him up (I feel SO bad about that), and he said there's no way he wants to pay full price OR think about making an offer today while he feels so crappy.

So we will probably not be getting the house. I've been through this enough times to know how it goes.

And I can tell that our realtor has just about had it with us. Not that I blame him. I'm mad at my husband for taking up so much of our realtor's time and getting my hopes up and letting me go ahead with getting our financial stuff together and going to see a broker and getting pre-approved and then not being serious about actually buying a house. I know I'm pushing for it a lot more than he is, but if he really doesn't want to buy a house, why doesn't he just freaking say so?

It's hard to be so mad at him when he's sick. Sigh.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Biding time

I am feeling a little amazed by how easy the IVF process is so far. Admittedly, I haven't done any of the hard stuff yet.

Egg retreival makes me nervous, but doesn't exactly scare me because I won't be aware of anything that's going on. Maybe a little nervous that we won't get that far or won't get many eggs (or any at all).

Embryo transfer makes me excited, not nervous at all (well, slightly nervous about not being able to hold my pee).

PIO makes me so nervous I want to puke, but I'm just not thinking about it. Since all the injectibles so far have been way easier than I expected, I'm hoping that the trend will keep holding true for PIO.

The 2ww, eh, ok I'm nervous about that. That has always been the worst part of ttc and IF, and I don't expect that to change. I'm planning to keep myself incredibly busy (but not super active!) during that time.

I don't know if this feels easier than expected because my expectations were just wildly unrealistic, or that I'm so much stronger than I thought, or that my husband is so supportive and calm and helpful. Or maybe I'm just not far enough into it yet, and things start getting crazy from here.

I don't know, but I'm incredibly grateful that I am holding up so well and I pray that I and all those who are cycling with me this month find strength and peace for the next four weeks and for whatever comes after.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Moving forward slowly

I'm starting to worry about my IF clinic a little bit. They don't seem to have things 100% together, and it's really starting to piss me off.

Granted ... my IVF coordinator left the week before I started, and apparently didn't arrange the hand-off of her patients perfectly. But still! I'm paying thousands of dollars ($17,000!) for a service, and what's more I'm spending my time and putting all kinds of crappy medications into my body and I would NOT be a happy camper if the clinic to which I am entrusting myself and my money made my cycle FUBAR through their own incompetence.

Now that I have that out of the way ...

I showed up yesterday at 3pm for my IVF egg class. First I paid off the balance I still owed. Then they gave me my Fol.lis.tim pen because the pharmacy for whatever reason didn't send me one. Then I told the receptionist that I was there for the class.

Receiptionist, in a cheery voice: "Uh ... what class? There's no class scheduled for today."

Me: "The egg class. It's on my schedule. Look, right here." (Pulling out my doctor-reviewed-and-signed IVF schedule.

Receptionist: "Oh, well that must be a mistake. Look, here in the computer it has you down on the 21st." (Cheerfuly smile)

Me: "But, um, I took like 3 hours off work to be here and I dont' really want to do that again (considering how much time off I'm taking already for IVF!). And I'm not driving back to work in the hurricaine force winds and rain now that I'm already in the town where I live."

Receptionist: "I'm sorry, but it's scheduled for next week."

Me, loudly to husband across waiting room: "Well, they made a mistake and scheduled our class wrong, so I guess we should go." (I'm not normally like that, I swear)

Other couple in waiting room: "What? We're here for the egg class too! It's on our schedule too!"

Receptionist: "Um ..."

My new IVF coordinator passing by: "I'll see if the embryologist is available to do a special class just for you! Sorry, but the coordinator who just left must have screwed up everyone's schedules ..." (LIE! My old coordinator scheduled me for the 21st. The new one rescheduled everything when she moved me up a week - guess she wasn't supposed to reschedule the class. Nice try blaming it on the person who doesn't work there anymore).


So we did the class. It was irritating. It was interesting. It was partly a big waste of time and partly useful. They presented all their data on their success rates and explained away any year or category that was low (there was a poor egg donor; and btw, our PGD outcomes are 100% when you only look at those who are choosing the gender versus those with actual infertility). They explained the entire embryology process in excruciating detail (far more than we needed to know), I suspect to make us feel like the thousands of dollars we spent was paying for something. And to make us feel totally safe that they will not mix up our eggs, sperm, or embryos.

All of this after asking us to change our IVF schedule with less than 24 hours warning, AND the coordinator ordering me a brand of HCG that I specifically requested she NOT order.

It all worked out in the end (except I guess I'm taking some HCG that I didn't want (this brand gives me a welt, none of the others did)). It just makes me a little nervous for the upcoming two or three weeks.

Fol.list.im starts today! CD 1 is here!!!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Anticlimax?

Here I am, chugging along, taking my lu.p.ron daily. I stopped taking BCPs last Friday, and now all I have to remind me that I'm even doing IVF is my 2-minute morning injection session. It somehow seems ... anticlimactic.

This is actually going to be a busy week for IVF, though - tomorrow, I have another class from 3pm to 5pm, and Wednesday I start fol.lis.tim in the evenings. Then another week until next Thursday's ultrasound, the very first time when I have any clue what's happening in there, and the day I'll get at least a rough estimate of when retreival will be (I hope).

Right now I think we're looking at a retreival of October 24, 25, or 26, with a 5-day transfer (fingers crossed) on October 29, 30, or 31. I guess that would put beta around ... November 6-9? I'm not really sure. Less than a month, though - amazing!

***

Non-IVF things going on in my life:

1. Knee - my knee is doing great after the surgery. I have been cleared to walk with one crutch and it's going well. Unfortunately, I lost some of the flexibility I had regained after the surgery, which is making walking more difficult, but I hope to get that back pretty quick. I can try biking in the next week or two.

2. House - we're working on getting pre-authorized for a loan, but I've been through this before and I have my doubts it will work out (we live in a really tough housing market and we have various complications with my husband being a legal resident non-citizen and self-employed); but, if all goes well, we'll be putting in an offer soon. Good thing, too, if IVF works (whether the first time or subsequent times) and we are lucky enough to eventually have a baby, we'll probably need more space than our apartment provides.


That's all I can think of - but life sure FEELS crazier than that.

Hope all's well in blogland.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

One-word trivia and a few thoughts

Just did my second Lu.pr.on injection. I brought it to work with me (hoping that was ok), and in trying to check if there was air in the needle, I lost one unit of medicine (so I only got 9 instead of 10). Frantically emailed my nurse to see if that was ok. Yikes, this is stressful. I CANNOT believe that I am only two weeks away from an ultrasound telling me how many follicles I have growing. OMG.

I'm sorry if I am annoying any of you IVF veterans with my starry-eyed innocence. I feel like that sometimes towards bloggers who are going through their first IUIs. But then I think back 10 months and remember when I was going through my first IUI, and I regain my sense of compassion. I think that while infertility has made me, in the short run, cranky, irritable, and intolerant of certain things, I can tell that in the long run it has given me compassion, thoughtfulness, and empathy that I am so grateful for.


And now - ONE-WORD TRIVIA

I've seen this meme going around and I was just tagged for it by Mrs. Gamgee over at Hobbit-ish Thoughts and Ramblings (a name which I LOVE, being an avid fan of J.R.R. Tolkien and his works - I wish I was a hobbit; or an elf).

Anyway, here are the rules, and below is the meme:

USE ONLY ONE WORD! It’s not as easy as you might think. Copy and change the answers to suit yourself and pass it on. It’s really hard to use only one-word answers so try your best. (I say parenthetical thoughts don't count!)

Tag 6 other bloggers and let them know that you think they are 'Over the Top'! (I never do this - please, if you want to do the meme, consider yourself tagged.)

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Your hair? Crazy
3. Your mother? Manipulative
4. Your father? Dead
5. Your favorite food? Cheese
6. Your dream last night? None
7. Your favorite drink? Wine
8. Your dream/goal? Motherhood
9. What room are you in? Cubicle
10. Your hobby? Gardening
11. Your fear? Flying
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Happy
13. Where were you last night? Picnic
14. Something that you aren’t? Pregnant!
15. Muffins? Chocolate
16. Wish list item? Snowshoes
17. Where did you grow up? California
18. Last thing you did? Injection
19. What are you wearing? Dress
20. Your TV? Old
21. Your pets? Whiny
22. Friends? Few
23. Your life? Unsettled
24. Your mood? Anxious
25. Missing someone? Dad
26. Vehicle? Matrix
27. Something you’re not wearing? Socks
28. Your favorite store? REI
29. Your favorite color? Yellow
30. When was the last time you laughed? Yesterday
31. Last time you cried? Unsure
32. Your best friend? Husband
33. One place that I go to over and over? Garden
34. One person who emails me regularly? Sister
35. Favorite place to eat? Italy

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

OMG OMG OMG

First, thanks for all the good thoughts yesterday about PIO! I do feel a lot better now.

Want to know another reason I feel better?

The clinic called me at 4:55 (nice timing) yesterday afternoon and told me that their October cycle group was rather large and the embryologist was requesting that not everyone cycle at once. They selected a group of people to move up a week, and they were hoping I wouldn't mind that they had picked me. Me!!!!! To start one week early!

So that means I am starting IVF TODAY!!!!!!!!!! We go in to our instruction class to get our meds and learn how to do all of it today at 1:30. And I get my first Lu.p.ron shot tonight.

I was so freaking happy. My husband, on the other hand, was pissed off. He has an important meeting at 1pm, and while his business partner can handle it without him, he is furious with the clinic for springing this on us at the last possible moment.

I was really upset with him for not being thrilled to drop everything to have an earlier chance to get started, but we both calmed down and got over it. I'm so excited!

So today is turning out to be rather busy. I won't have a chance to read everyone's recent posts and comment until another day or two.

Another note - we've found a house we're thinking about making an offer on. Another thing keeping me really busy. I guess when I finally catch my breath and catch up with things, I have a lot to chat about - IVF, the house, and my knee. Yay for good moods and good things happening!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

PIO anxiety

I can't BELIEVE that IVF starts next week. Holy crap! Where has the time gone? Only 9 days until I start Lu.pr.on! Which reminds me, I still need to get that stuff ordered. And only 7 days until my injection class.

Speaking of which ... I'm having terrible anxiety about the PIO. I'm not thrilled about the dozens of sub-q shots I'll be getting, many of which I'll probably have to do myself. But I'm so freaking scared of the PIO. I know that everyone says it's not as bad as they expected, and it's better than the suppositories, but OMG. A huge needle. In my ass. Every day for weeks. And possibly months.

It's not even the needle that seems like the worst part. It's the idea of getting these shots every day and getting more and more sore and having to keep doing it. If it was just one, fine. No problem. I mean, I'd hate it and I'd probably cry, but then it would be over and I could go on with my life. The idea of getting it over with only to start dreading having to do it again in 24 hours - that's horrifying. I'm already anxious now, I'm not sure how I'm going to live with the anxiety then.

Even worse, to me, is the possibility that I could get these freaking shots for two weeks for NO REASON. IVF #1 could easily fail. Hell, it's possible we might not make it to retreival or transfer, of course I know that. But somehow the build-up to that point seems better - sub-q injections, hope, monitoring, ultrasounds. It all sounds very optimistic and positive and pro-active.

And then - two weeks of IM shots in my ass and having no idea what the hell is going on and what will happen. And I thought the 2ww was bad with the IUIs! I'm not even there yet with this IVF and I'm already stressing about it.

Trying to take my husband's point of view and look at the bright side - at least the 2ww is slightly shorter due to the 3 or 5 days the potential embies spend on the outside before transfer. It's the tiny ray of sunshine I'm hanging onto.

That, and the idea that maybe they'll finally figure out what's wrong with us.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fuck

I am having the worst morning. Well, I'm being a bit of a baby, but here goes:

1. My doctor is letting me sleep without my knee brace. The biggest problem with this, though, is my husband. We're both tall, and we have a queen size bed. At 6:15 this morning, my husband moves or rolls and gives me a bony hard knee to the shin. OUCH! I'm wide awake, 30 minutes before my alarm. The bright side? At least I get to work on time.

2. After I get up, I feed the annoying, whiny cat (who spent a good part of the night sleeping in a spot on the bed where I didn't have room for both legs on one side of her, but couldn't seem to get one leg on the other side of her). While I'm leaning down to feed her, balanced precariously on one foot, I fall. Luckly onto my left side, not my injured knee. Thank goodness for that! I feel like a crotchety old lady.

3. I get to work and realize that in my haste to put this shitty morning behind me, I have forgotten my yogurt at home. I'm starving, and it's a long way to buy any breakfast for a person on crutches. I will have to see if a coworker will go get me something.

4. My sister called (just as I was going through my bag looking for my yogurt and realizing I didn't have it). She asked if I had looked on Fac.ebo..ok this morning (I hadn't). The wife of my lame, idiotic brother apparently announced that they are having their THIRD child (the second unplanned one). They haven't even told anyone in my family yet, but they told F.ac.eboo.k. Guess they better put off their plans to declare bankruptcy another year, so they can get the delivery costs wiped out. ARGH!

Sometimes I love how supportive my husband is, but sometimes I can't STAND his pollyanna, zen attitude. Everything is a learning experience and there is always a silver lining and getting upset never helps anything. ARGH! He doesn't understand why I should be upset that my idiot of a brother keeps having kids without even trying and we've spent two years and thousands of dollars and gone through hell and have absolutely nothing to show for it.

He says we're just at the start and there's no reason to be depressed. Just at the start! Because we're now starting IVF! He is so happy and hopeful that we're moving onto IVF, because apparently it's such a wonderful thing! Sometimes I could kick him. I guess it's good that one of us has a good attitude, but OMG seriously. It drives me crazy.

OK, off to bribe a coworker to go get me breakfast.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The right decision

I got home from work yesterday, hopped upstairs on my crutches, and picked up the mail. There was a fat envelope from B.l.ue C.ro.ss. I held my breath, stuffed the mail into the side pocket of my backpack, and let myself into the house while my cat gratefully charged out into the great wide yonger (don't worry, she and the birds are all safe - she never goes more than about 20 feet away and meows at the birds so she'll never catch them).

Anyway, I anxiously opened it and ... my insurance is PAYING FOR MY KNEE SURGERY! I mean, they're supposed to pay for my knee surgery, but I was expecting some document in legalese to explain why they weren't obligated or something like that. That put a huge smile on my face.

Today I had physical therapy and saw the orthopedist. Both of them said I was doing amazingly well for three weeks post-op, and gave me the go-ahead to start riding an exercise bike, and to start trying to walk next Friday. I could be off the crutches completely in 2-3 weeks. That made my DAY. Actually, that made my WEEK. Seriously guys, if you have never been on crutches before, it SUCKS. At least, once you're over the age of 12.

Anyway, the point of this post is that I am incredibly grateful that things with my knee are going so well and that I only have to pay the balance on my deductible for the knee surgery, rehab, doctor's visits, and everything else. I wish I could bottle up the feeling, or somehow preserve it or remember it for those days when I really get down, like when IF kicks my ass or things at work suck. I want to come back and remember this happiness I'm feeling right now.

Wait until I get to ride my REAL bike again - my smile will be blinding.

AND - I'm about to go get chocolate frozen yogurt as an afternoon treat. What a great way to end the week!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Show and Tell - ravioli!

It's Show and Tell time again! I don't have any recent pictures (see previous posts on knee surgery and spending lots of time on the couch), so I pulled up a semi-recent picture.

I LOVE to cook. And bake. And it's something I've barely done since I had knee surgery. We borrowed a barstool/tall chair from a friend and put it in the kitchen and while it gets in the way and it's not ideal, it allows me to sit at the stove and cook or sit at the sink and wash dishes.

Anyway, here is a picture of something I made back in May - homemade ravioli.


As many of you know, my husband is from Italy and I have spent many a vacation there learning how to cook traditional Italian food from his mother and grandmother. One of my goals is to occasionally recreate one of my husband's favorite dishes at least half as well as my mother-in-law or grandmother-in-law. And sometimes I am successful.

Ravioli are a LOT of work, and I can testify that I have not made any more since May. And might not make any more until next May. But we'll be in Italy for Christmas, so don't feel too sorry for my husband!

See what everyone else is showing by checking out Mel's Show and Tell post!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Baseline u/s for IVF #1

IVF #1 is right around the corner.

I had my baseline today. Everything looked good, thin uterine lining (from the BCPs) and no cysts. The doctor didn't say a word about resting follicles (antral follices?) but I can more or less recognize them now and it looked like there were a lot. Yay!

The gave us a huge pile of forms to take home, read, and sign. I'm not 100% thrilled with all of it. The part that gets me the most is that if you do the shared risk package (1 fresh IVF, up to 6 FETs until all preserved embryos are gone, and then another fresh IVF), if any pregnancy, through IVF OR spontaneous, makes it past 10 weeks, you forfeit any further treatment. So if IVF #1 or any FET works, or I somehow magically spontaneously get pregnant (that's like spontaneous combustion, right?), and I miscarry at 11 weeks, that's it. Start from scratch.

I'm not really ok with that. Why not 12 weeks? Isn't that when the risk of miscarriage really goes down? I mean, maybe they're not counting the two weeks pre-transfer, but I thought 10 weeks gestation was universally understood to mean 10 weeks since the beginning of the cycle when you get pregnant.

Well, we will bring this up with them before signing the forms. Otherwise, I'm so excited to get started.

Except I just realized that I didn't ask the doctor about PIO v. suppositories. Crap. I guess I'm getting PIO. I'll write my next post about progesterone and the various feelings I have toward it (mostly dread) and why I objectively think suppositories might be better (international travel).

BTW - I hope it's obvious that I wrote my last post under the influence of Vi.cod.in. I think it was the last one I took. My leg is doing much better, although my lack of mobility is still frustrating the heck out of me.

Oh, and I lost weight! At least 6 pounds! Nar.c.otic painkillers, loss of appetite, vomiting, and MAJOR loss of leg muscle will probably do that, though. Seriously, I don't have a right quad muscle anymore, it's very sad. At least my right leg could be a supermodel (not the rest of me, though).

Long rambling post, but the moral of the story is - it's good to be back in the game.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Quick thought

I propose a new form of government or religion or whatever, really, in which everyone gets a shot at one baby first, and then when everyone who wants one baby has one, THEN those who want a second baby get their turn. This whole system of some people having two or three or ten or eighteen babies while some people don't get any - well, who came up with that?! That's certainly not fair. Maybe my system is too socialist, but at least it's fair!

Maybe I will run for President on this platform of fairness and equality. Babies for everyone who wants them! Vote for me!


** Just a little silliness since I am, once again, stuck at home in bed due to painful muscle cramps/spasms after knee surgery. And the doctor is taking away my vic.od.in. Woe is me.

*** On the up side - ultrasound next week!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

IVF thoughts

I just got my schedule to start IVF. I'm excited about it. So far, it goes like this - I'd love any IVF vets to tell me if this is similar to what you went through:

Sept. 22 - baseline u/s
Oct 15 - start Lupron, 10 units per day (stop BCPs after a couple days of this)
Oct 22 - decrease Lupron to 5 units per day, start FSH at 225 units per day
Oct. 30 - monitoring u/s

That's it - no other appointments as far as I can tell, except my injection classes. It seems like when I read about other people's IVF schedules, they have regular blood and u/s monitoring. This sounds to me like I won't know until pretty much trigger day how many eggs I have, much less if I have any at all.

The other thing we have to decide, and soon, is whether or not to do the "shared risk" plan. The way it works at our clinic is, you either pay $8500 for one cycle, plus meds, OR you pay $14,500 plus meds for one fresh cycle, up to six FETs (depending on how many frozen embryos you have), and then one more fresh cycle, all of which must be used up within one year of start the original IVF cycle. Considering how much the meds cost, it's probably more like $11,500 for one cycle plus $17,500-$25,000 or more for the package deal.

I feel like in some ways, we have a lot on our side. We're young and healthy, and they can't find anything wrong with us. There's absolutely no reason why it wouldn't work the first time. On the other hand, we're unexplained - there's no real known reason why we can't get pregnant and therefore it could be something that IVF can't fix.

One of the things I keep thinking about is the jinx factor. If we only spend $8,500, we're pretty much ensuring we'll need to try again, since we didn't pay for the back-up. If we spend $14,500 as a safety net, surely it will work the first time. Sort of like how you should always wear your seatbelt, because surely the first time you don't you will have an accident - maybe because you weren't wearing your seatbelt. I don't want to have to do IVF more than once because I was so cocky and sure of myself that I wouldn't wear my seatbelt.

I mean, ouch, it's a lot of money. But better to pay the money, have the opportunities, and not need them, than to NOT pay the money, not have the opportunities and be right back at square one, trying to decide which option to do the second time around.

Well, I guess we'll see, and time will tell.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Still here

It has been another busy, long week. I've been working from home, although it's been in fits and starts while I take naps, do my exercises, and take 10 times as long to do anything I did before.

I went to the dr. on Wednesday and also to physical therapy. The therapist said I was doing great and had done a great job with my post-surgery exercises. I have already been through this type of therapy when I originally injured my knee, so I knew what I was doing, which helped. The doctor was also happy with my progress. He showed me pictures of the arthroscopy, and aspirated fluid from my knee with a needle and HUGE syringe. I am still quite the wuss. I could watch either that or when the nurse took out my stitches. My husband laughed at me the whole time.

Last night I had friends from work over and my husband made dinner and cleaned up while we played games. I owe him BIG TIME. I want to cook him one of his favorite meals, but I can't because first I can't really stand for that long (I cooked something last night and my foot got so swollen I looked like a pincushion) and second I can't really clean up after myself so he'd have a big mess to clean up. I can't figure out what I can do for him to thank him for all of his work unless I wait for weeks to be able to walk again. It's very frustrating.

I'm starting to realize the countdown AFTER surgery is just as big of a deal as the countdown TO surgery - bigger, even. Just like with a baby, every milestone is a big deal, and they come really fast.

I keep looking at my blog just to look at the tickers at the top. I can't believe IVF #1 is only a month away. I actually have a baseline ultrasound in less than two weeks, so I guess we're really getting started quite soon. Between my physical therapy and my IVF appointments, my boss is going to be super-annoyed with me. Oh well. That's life, right?

Have a good weekend everyone.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Labor Day weekend

Well. I survived the surgery. I have been through an awful lot in the last few days, including complete incoherence, vomiting, the inability to stay awake and/or lucid, intense pain, crazy muscle spasms that made me cry or woke me up in the middle of the night, and more. My leg is wrapped up in a bandage and I have no idea what things look like under there. I haven't been able to shower yet, but my husband and I realized last night that he could wash my hair in the sink, and it was pure heaven.

I don't have anything exciting talk about unless anyone wants to hear about leg stretching or what to do for fun when you are stuck in bed or on the couch all day.

I'm really looking forward to IVF now - I feel like if I can handle knee surgery, I can handle anything. And my husband has been awesome, making sure I am comfortable, preparing amazing meals that I can only force myself to eat a bite of, cleaning up after me, getting me barf bags, washing my hair(!), getting up in the middle of the night to get me water and help me to the bathroom. He is SO AWESOME. I'm so lucky. Even if I never get pregnant, I know I'm so incredibly lucky to have this wonderful guy who obviously loves me so much.

Have a good rest of the holiday weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

One step backwards to move forwards

I finally remembered to call the IF clinic yesterday to ask if they should know that AF arrived, and they immediately called in my BCP prescription. I started taking them last night and will be on them for the next six weeks. I also scheduled my baseline u/s!

Every blogger who does IVF writes about the insanity of taking BCPs after years of ttc. I'm no different - it feels ridiculous. It feels even MORE ridiculous to be swallowing the BCP along with a prenatal vitamin.

On the other hand - it feels great to finally be doing SOMETHING again. Even if it's the opposite of what I want to be doing. It just beats sitting around twiddling my thumbs and reading about everyone else's BFPs.

I can tell my attitude is finally picking up because I'm actually taking prenatals again. I took them religiously for a year and a half. And then I said to myself, what the hell are you thinking? You're not going to get pregnant on your own, that much is clear. And you're not doing any treatment right now. So why are you taking prenatals? All you're doing is giving yourself false hope.

So I stopped. And now I've started again. Because in six weeks, IVF #1 starts.

************

Tomorrow is my knee surgery. I don't know when I'll update again, I might take a small break. Congrats to those of you with BFPs, and good luck to those who are still waiting for them.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday blues

It's Monday. It's only three days until knee surgery. I had a decent weekend, although I felt very moody. The husband is sure it's because AF arrived - not because we're not pregnant, but because of hormones or something.

My cramps have been pretty awful recently and getting worse every month. I'm starting to wonder about endo. I didn't have a lap - I'm hoping that IVF isn't a waste of time. My RE thought that a lap is a waste of time and money if we're going to move on to IVF anyway, and that there was no need to worry about endo if we're doing IVF.

The rest of the weekend was nice - rock climbing on Saturday, swimming on a relay team for a triathlon on Sunday, getting the house cleaned up a bit, a nice dinner out. Quiet, peaceful. I was sad for a while, but I feel better today. Going to see Harry Potter in IMAX tonight!

The one good thing that is coming out of all of the crap going on in my life is that my husband finally wants to buy a house. We've been living in our apartment for 4.5 years. It's in a college town, and we're surrounded by dorms with loud, obnoxious undergrads. There's no street parking for our friends when they visit during the school year. I'm regularly woken up in the middle of the night by college kids shouting, blasting music, or revving their car engines. Our carpet is dirty and ugly. The kitchen is 1970's at best, with a white countertop that gets stained by everything. We have a carport with a storage closet, luckily, but no garage. We have no south-facing windows, so it tends to be very dark - nice in summer, when the apartment stays cool, but not so great in the winter when it is gloomy inside. Our extra room is our office, and also stores our bookshelves, the armoire that we can't fit in the bedroom, our freezer, and most of our sports gear (swimming, rock climbing, camping, skiing). I'd LOVE to have a garage to put that stuff in, so the office could double as a guest room. And hopefully ... eventually ... maybe ... we'd need a room for a baby.

In the meantime - I'm just biding my time until knee surgery, and the until IVF. Almost there.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Invisible Wall

When I was younger, I was never very popular, although I always had friends. I was one of those quiet, shy kids who was uncomfortable in large groups. I would look at the popular kids and wonder why I couldn’t be one of them, what made me different. I felt like there was an invisible wall between me and them, and that everyone knew it was there.

My family moved when I was in junior high school, and I thought that it was finally my chance to start over and have a lot of friends, but still the invisible wall followed me, and again, it was like everyone knew it was there. It didn’t help that it followed me to my classes, onto the field during P.E., into the quad at lunchtime, onto the bus to go home.

The only place it didn’t follow me was into the band room, where I hung out with friends who were just like me – genuine, slightly nerdy kids who just wanted to be themselves and have a close group of friends. They were my refuge in a world where I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere else.

And then I grew up, and went to college, and a whole new world opened up to me. I learned that in the real world, people aren’t categorized so strictly as in high school. I had friends from all walks of life, and it was a great thing to know such a diversity of people. The invisible wall seemed like it was still there, lurking in the background, but almost no one could feel it, only a few people knew it was there. And I was perfectly happy to have a wall between me and those particular people.

Now the wall has been replaced with a different invisible wall, which has crept in so slowly during the past twenty months that I only started noticing it recently. It’s the wall that divides me from the fertile people. I know that I’m partly responsible for constructing this wall. I’ve built it with my anger and my frustration, my resentment and bitterness. Some of it has risen on its own, created by the unfortunate circumstances of my situation – my unexplained diagnosis, the ease with which my brother and brother-in-law have had several kids each despite their broken relationships, the money and time I’ve had to spend on fertility treatments, the secret sharps container that I have to hide in my apartment.

And some of it is erected by fertiles, who flaunt their fertility in my face everywhere I turn. At the grocery store, where I have to turn the other direction or feel tears welling in my eyes when I see a young couple with their babies. My friends and acquaintances who post pictures of their kids daily on Fac.ebo.ok. The people on the train who discuss their pregnant wives or their toddlers at home. Every day there is someone new to avoid, someone new to make excuses to, someone else whose eyes I just can't meet.

And every day the wall gets higher and thicker and I am stuck on the other side. It’s also, finally, becoming visible. The unexplained, unnoticeable gulf that divides me from everyone else is slowly becoming more obvious to others. Friends with kids are slowly drifting away, leaving me more isolated.

I despair because the wall is getting harder and harder to break down. I’m terrified that one day it will become permanent.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Trivia

This post is going to be random and disorganized and a mess, a bit like me these days.

1. Infertility - it's really getting me down these days. I can't believe that our 2-year anniversary is looming. OK, I admit, it's still 4 months away, so I'm being a little melodramatic. Also, I'm hoping that IVF #1 works before then, and the anniversary will never actually happen. Still, I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would still be here 20 months after starting ttc. I added a new ticker, hoping that it will make the IVF seem a little more real. It seems so far in the future right now that it doesn't seem like it will ever happen.

2. Speaking of melodrama, my family is driving me nuts. Whenever I think things can't get worse, of course they do. I have about lost my patience with the paranoia, guilt trips, whining, complaining, squabbling, and the constant "call me back TONIGHT because I think my son's wife's friend's boyfriend is crank calling me and therefore something terrible will happen to me and it will be all your fault" phone calls and messages. Suffice to say that my mother really needs to be committed to a psycho ward, but is clever enough to act normal any time she is evaluated by a professional - to the point that she gets the professional to agree with her that all of her problems are someone else's fault and she is the ultimate victim. In the meantime, I feel like I am living in a Je.r.ry Sp.r.in.ger nightmare.

3. Knee surgery plans are coming along. I donated a little bit of blood and pee today for pre-op tests, and I should probably start taking a look again at the "medications and foods to avoid" list. I'm happy to be getting it over with.

Those are the three big things going on in my life right now. I don't have any IF-related news, quite honestly. AF should be arriving sometime around the end of the week or during the weekend. At least I'll have some contact with the IF clinic then. And at some point, we have to actually PAY for the IVF. Sigh.

Friday, August 21, 2009

ICLW intro

Welcome!

For first-time visitors, or those who don't know my story, here it is:

My husband, who is from Italy, and I have been together for five years, married for over two (I just turned 31, he's 34). We've been ttc since December 2007, started IF testing in September 2008, and were diagnosed with unexplained infertility in January 2009, when we started treatment. We did three IUIs (plus one medicated cycle with timed intercourse) on clomid, sometimes throwing in estrogen and/or progesterone just for fun.

Now we're facing our first IVF. We decided to postpone it until October so I could have knee surgery to fix a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which is happening in less than two weeks (OMG!). I'm afraid of needles, although the sub-Q shots we've done during the IUIs have been pretty easy. I'm terrified of PIO.

In my "spare time" (ha!), I train for and compete in triathlons, raise vegetables, do arts and crafts (mostly mosaic and crochet), cook, and bake (mostly bread). My husband and I also do a lot of outdoor activities together, like rock climbing, skiing, and backpacking. I have WAY too many hobbies, but I really hope to share them with my children someday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

miscellaneous

Dentist appointment yesterday. Funny how EVERYTHING reminds me of infertility somehow. I remember going to the dentist in July 2008 (I had to look that up) and deciding to get my x-rays done then because in 6 months I'd be pregnant. I even TOLD the hygeinist that. Sheesh, what an idiot I was.

The somewhat close friends I have, who are pregnant, are at the hospital right now, becoming parents. I have such mixed feelings about it. I'm happy that at least some of my friends are having kids (most of my closer friends aren't even considering yet, and I want to shake them and tell them how foolish it is to wait when they don't know if they're even fertile). I'm happy for them, especially because they seem so excited. I'm curious to find out whether they're having a boy or a girl (they didn't find out), and what names they've picked out (they won't share).

I'm also so sad for me. They started trying almost a YEAR after we did, and their baby will probably be born today. We're still months away from even getting started. Their journey from ttc to baby was less than a year. Ours will be, at the very least, almost three years. If we're lucky. Their journey was practically free. Ours will cost tens of thousands of dollars.

I'm so sad about all of that.

On the other hand - I'm also realizing that time is sort of flying. I'm supposed to call the IF clinic in September when AF arrives so I can start birth control, but I'm expecting it around August 30 (and then again around September 27 - does anyone know if I should wait until then?). I'm supposed to start Lupron around October 14, stims around October 21. So only two months to go until I'm in the thick of it.

And only two weeks to go until knee surgery. Which will probably take my mind off things for a while anyway.

And only forty minutes until I get to leave work for the day. Thank goodness for small miracles.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Knees and birthdays

I am in a weird place right now. Besides being terribly behind on commenting (I just got back from vacation - I'm behind on EVERYTHING!), I am feeling a bit at a loss.

This month, I desperately DON'T want to get pregnant. At least, I don't think so. Because my knee surgery is Thursday, Sept. 3, and I expect AF around August 30th, and I can't help but wonder if just the fact that it would be terribly inconvenient, something could actually happen this month.

After all, I am unexplained. Which means that who-the-hell knows why it's not working? And therefore, who knows if and when it will ever work? Which means - why not now?

And secretly, I wonder if this is what the universe has been waiting for - a supremely inconvenient time to finally let us experience pregnancy. It would sure save us a LOT of money (like $15,000). But I would have to cancel surgery at the last minute, and I can tell you the hospital really wouldn't like that at all. Not to mention, I really want to get this knee surgery over with.

Sort of.

Last night I read the information packet the hospital sent me. Turns out, I will be on crutches for 1-2 months, and should not even consider running for 4 months. I can't ride my bike until I'm off the crutches. I am an active person. This is going to be torture for me.

I KNOW it's better to get it over with ASAP so I can start getting back in shape. But I am feeling a little down about it. And I don't like knowing I'll have to really watch what I eat since I won't be able to exercise. Sigh.

If I sound confused and anxious and cranky, it's because I am. Worse still (maybe) - it's my birthday on Sunday! I'm turning 31! I mean, yay, birthday! But, booo, one year closer to that magical cut off date of Advanced Maternal Age. Sigh again.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Show and Tell - Alaska


Will update more in a bit, but my Show and Tell this week is a picture of my trip to Alaska - kayaking on a glacial lake surrounded by icebergs. Awesomeness.

Check out what everyone else is showing here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm back!

Alaska was awesome! I will put up a few pics tomorrow for Show and Tell, but can I say that this vacation was fantastic. I haven't had a fun vacation like that since my 5-day honeymoon two years ago, and before that it was probably my summer in Europe eight years ago. I sorely needed it, and I had a great time! (Aside from being completely terrified during our flight-seeing trip in a little 7-seater airplane, but I'm just going to try to block that out of my mind).

All is well in my life right now, except for work. I'm really excited to see my garden after work today. My knee surgery is in 3 weeks, although I still haven't heard if insurance is going to cover it. It was great to see my little kitty again after 10 days, and nice to come home to a clean house (which isn't clean anymore, but oh well). I'm even sort of looking forward to all the chores that await me - mountains of laundry, weeding the garden, preserving the harvest, finishing unpacking. It's wonderful to be on vacation, and it's also great to get back to a normal routine.

Work is majorly sucking, but I don't want to get into that now. Better to stay in my relatively good mood.

At the moment, blogger seems to have lost the list of blogs I'm following, so I'll be a little slow on getting back into things until I get that back. But I hope all is well with each of you, and I'm excited to show off a few of my pictures tomorrow.

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dear Abby

Did anyone read Dear Abby today? I am speechless.

I'm sure she will get a lot of letters, and I'm not sure I feel eloquent enough to write one of them, but if you do - please do it! This is a chance for us to have our voice heard.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Musings and thoughts about donated embryos

Life is trundling on here. I'm working on getting my insurance deductible transferred from my old insurance to my new one, and finalizing plans for my trip to Alaska, which is one week away (yay!). I'm occasionally wondering if there's any tiny chance we could be pregnant this month (not bloody likely with our timing and lack of trying), but I'm not obssessing or stressing about it, and for purposes of not driving myself crazy, I'm assuming I'm not pregnant.

I am gradually thinking more about my upcoming IVF attempt. I am, surprisingly, not going nuts googling, researching, buying books, etc. I think it's because I have this big, exciting trip coming up (I'll post about our plans next week), and then I have knee surgery, and I've had to do a lot of thinking about both of those and it's just using up all my brain power.

* NOTE - READ THIS FIRST * The views below are politically and emotionally charged, and I'm mostly just thinking things through. I respect everyone's views and opinions on these matters, and I'm giving voice to mostly thoughts that are not yet completely formed. I welcome thoughtful discussion, polite disagreement and respectful debate, but not rudeness, disrespect, or meanness. I am always interested in hearing other points of view, but please be nice to me and to any other commenters.

SO. That brings me to a (rather long) article I read recently about what to do with any potential leftover frozen embryos. My husband and I have not discussed this at all, although I suspect his views will be similar to mine. Also, I haven't ever actually had a frozen embryo (or, to my knowledge, any embryo at all), so these thoughts are purely theoretical and I recognize they may completely change when I am actually faced with the situation.

The article I read discussed how, during an IVF cycle, she and most couples would of course choose to freeze embryos because at that point you have no idea if you'll get pregnant. You want to preserve every chance you have. This makes complete sense to me. But at some point, if you end up not using those embryos right away or soon after, you have to make a decision about what to do with them. The choices are to use them, donate them to science, donate them to a recipient, or discard them. There may be others I don't know of, but that's what I'm seeing.

I am pro choice, in theory. I actually do believe that life begins at conception, but I do agree with the legal view of "viability", having to do with the possibilities of survival outside the womb. I went to law school, and I don't want to get into a deep discussion about this now, but it makes sense to me that after viability, no one has a right to end a life that could continue without their help, and before viability, when the person in question has to work to keep that life going (i.e. by being pregnant), it is legally ok to abort.

I actually have a different moral view - I believe there are times when it may be morally appropriate to abort (rape, incest, etc.) as long as it is done as soon as possible. I believe it may be morally appropriate to abort at any stage during a pregnancy for certain reasons (i.e. certain death of the fetus before birth or the child shortly after birth, and not terminating the pregnancy would cause harm or pain to the child or the mother). There are other reasons, too, of course. I could sum it up by saying that I do not believe in abortion as a form of birth control, of correcting an "accident", or as something to be taken lightly by anyone.

While I have thought about this a lot (recommended reading - The Cider House Rules), particularly after taking the "morning after pill" as a teenager and realizing that life isn't black and white, I've found that infertility has changed my views in some ways and majorly strengthened them in others. The point of all this is that I never thought I'd have to think about abortion, or dealing with embryos, or worrying about when life begins, and now I do.

So. Here are my thoughts about my potential future embryos. The last thing I would want to do is discard them. My choice, after I was sure I would not be using them in the future, would be to donate them to another person or couple who wanted a child. I'm not 100% sure about this, but it's where I keep finding myself leaning when I think about it.

I do have a weird thing that I can't explain about biological connections. I would ideally like to be biologically connected to my children, and I would also like my husband to be biologically connected to our children. I've talked about it before, and I don't think that it rules out adoption for me at all, nor does it mean adoption is a second choice for me. But this makes the idea of children that are biologically mine, out there in the world with or without my knowledge, kind of weird.

Still - when I think of other couples wanting a child and not being able to have one for 100% sure (which could still be me, for all I know), and knowing that I could give them what they wanted at virtually no cost to myself, I can't see myself not doing it.

Even more importantly, I can't imagine having my own embryos, potential children, and not allowing them the possibility of growing into a human being simply because I felt weird about someone else raising them. Someone else who wanted a child so badly that they would be willing to take a stranger's extra embryo and raise the hopefully resulting child, my biological child, as their own. I could not choose to discard them over giving them to a hopeful person or couple to make a dream come true AND allowing the embryo a chance at life.

I don't have any specific thoughts on donating the embryos to science. I'm not against it, and I favor scientific research. I know I've benefitted from it myself. I would choose it over discarding the embryos. But the thought of being able to help someone who in the future is in the same place I am now trumps science for me, at least for now. And it gives my future embryos something as well, which is a chance.

If, in some bizarre world, there were no people waiting for embyros, and science decided it did not need anymore, and my only choices were to have more kids or discard the embryos, I would base my decision on what felt right for me at the time I had to make the decision. I don't have a hard and fast rule against discarding them when it's the only reasonable option. It is simply my last choice.

So. Those are my thoughts. Again, please be polite and respectful when you comment, and I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts. If you managed to finish reading this!