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!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Break time

I am really loving my break from ttc and IF. I didn't expect to feel this way, and in fact I was quite depressed right at the beginning, but omg, it's great.

Just knowing that I don't have to deal with IVF or anything else IF related for the next 3 months is freaking awesome. I'm not worrying about drinking alcohol, I'm having lots of fun exercising and doing sports, and I feel like my old self again.

I feel happy, and happy to be alive, for the first time in a while.

I'm excited about my trip to Alaska. So far we've planned an overnight trip, hiking along a ridge between two fjords, camping near the water, and the kayaking back (with a guide). We'll probably do another day kayaking elsewhere (near a glacier?!), maybe a day of rock climbing and/or hiking, and then 3-4 days in Denali National Park, sightseeing, hiking, relaxing, rafting ... no definite plans yet. I will definitely post some pictures somewhere when I get back!

Until then, I'm totally focused on my knee as far as my health and medical issues go. It's been feeling really "loose" lately, which makes me even happier that I've decided to do the surgery.

I feel like I'm just repeating myself, since I don't have much to tell about ttc, so posting will be slowing down here. I'll still be following along, though - all the BFPs out there are making me feel like it's GOT to happen for me sometime soon.


Monday, July 13, 2009


I got third place in my division at the triathlon on Saturday! What a great experience. Working so hard to achieve something tangible, and getting great results - exactly the opposite of infertility. It was great to have my husband there, so proud of me, too.

Of course, at the baby shower, my mom made a comment about how her friend had asked her, when she found out I was doing a triathlon, "isn't she trying to get pregnant?" Her friend who she was never supposed to tell about us ttc, but she can't keep a secret (the reason why she doesn't know yet about IVF, and hopefully won't know until after the fact).

The baby shower after the tri wasn't too painful, except finding out that my friend's friend, who I've met a few times, is also pregnant. We also played a few stupid games, but I sat out of the one that would have been the hardest for me to deal with.

And that was my weekend. An amazing high, followed by a crappy low (that was better than expected), followed by tons of chores and hanging out and getting housework done. Time to start counting down the next big events in my life - Alaska, knee surgery, and IVF.

Friday, July 10, 2009


It's Friday!

My boss responded to my email requesting time off for surgery, vacation, and IVF (after I already told her about it) by saying that she wanted to talk in person about my time off plans. I was so nervous - luckily she only just wanted to impress upon me the importance of getting caught up on my work before I go.

I am also nervous about my triathlon tomorrow - I feel like the time really snuck up on me and I can't believe it's already Friday and in 24 hours I'll be done.

I'm nervous about my knee surgery, and hope I'm making the right choice. I'm nervous about getting insurance to cover it.

I'm nervous about a baby shower I have to go to tomorrow, along with my sister and my mother who has no compassion for my infertility (and seems to actually blame me for not producing a grandchild yet). These are the friends who are completely obsessed with being pregnant. I'm just so stressed about how it's going to go - I can already predict that there are good chances of some insensitive, if not downright nasty, comments being sent my direction (insensitive from the friends, nasty from my mom).

I'm THRILLED about Sunday, when the tri and baby shower are over and I have no plans. Chores, garden, lazing around, reading - that's going to be a fun day.

To everyone reading - hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Beginnings of a plan

I'm still waiting to hear from the orthopedic surgeon to see what he thinks about scheduling an IVF cycle soon after knee surgery, but my RE said she thought it was fine. So I'm beginning to get a schedule in mind. I don't think my husband is even willing to discuss it until I hear from both doctors though.

*** To clear up some confusion about my insurance - we have a high-deductible HSA (health savings account) plan. Once we meet our deductible (which is, as the name suggests, quite high), insurance pays for just about everything for the rest of the year (except, of course, infertility treatment). We have already met our deductible this year, so it just makes sense to try to do any expensive covered procedures before the end of the year. The insurance is through my husband, who owns his own company, so that will not be changing anytime soon. I declined my rather nice insurance through the state in September, conveniently right before we started seeing the OBGYN about infertility (argh, hindsight). I could theoretically get my own insurance for next year, but it sounds like none of the options my work offers cover infertility. It's complicated. ***

Here's the plan that's in my head:

July 11 - triathlon!
July 31-August 10 - Alaska (woohoo!)
August 16 - turn 31 (yay for birthday! boo for getting old)
August 30 - possible relay triathlon with coworkers (last hurrah)
September 3 - knee surgery
September 4-11 - off work for recovery
October 13 - approximate start date of Lupron (6 weeks after surgery)
October 21 - approximate start date of stims (7 weeks after surgery)
November 1-7 - projected possible dates of ER and ET (9 weeks after surgery)

This sounds reasonable to me. What do you think?

Monday, July 6, 2009

What to do next?

I had a pretty good weekend in Tahoe, but I can promise you, I will never go to Tahoe on the 4th of July every again! Traffic was terrible - I spent over 7 hours in my car for an overnight camping trip. It was fun hanging out with my friends and meeting new friends, but I really missed my husband and wished I was with him. I also spent a good 20 minutes in the car on the way up, bawling. I was hoping I wouldn't get pulled over and the cop would think I was crying to get out of a ticket.

I haven't had time to catch up on blogs and comments yet, but I will within a day or two.

In the meantime, reality is setting in rather slowly. It's been a good, solid year and a half of ttc, with tons of testing, a diagnosis of "unexplained", 3 IUIs, and one medicated DIY cycle. It's time to admit that we just can't do this on our own, and we need a nice friendly doctor to introduce our sperm and eggs to each other, and perhaps force them to get along.

As with all things in life, though, it's just never that simple. I have a job I don't like, and which I now know I will be at for another year at least. I have a knee that is going to need surgery sooner or later. I'm about to turn 31, which is not terribly old in terms of ttc, but it's older than I hoped to start having children in my vague life plan. I have a vacation to Alaska coming up, a triathlon to do, and a husband to send off to Germany for a conference in September. Most of all, I have a yearning in my heart to have a baby, just get on with this and get to where I want to go, to stop all this delaying and messing around and really get serious about it.

So here I am.

Plan A - go to Alaska in August, send the husband to Germany in September, have my knee surgery in October, and start IVF ASAP after that, probably end of October or first half of November. Earliest possible date of 9 months after IVF would be approximately July 2010 - one year from now. Possibly look for another job, but with surgery, IVF, and a two-week Christmas vacation in the works, who would hire me?

Plan B - still working on it. Go to Alaska in August. Send husband to Germany in September. Try to squeeze in a round of IVF between August 10 and late September (is this possible?). Forget about triathlons after July (no problem), postpone knee surgery until another year, but still plan to go to Italy for Christmas.

There are so many variables that it's impossible to figure out.

Insurance - does not cover anything IF-related, but will cover knee surgery 100% because we've met our deductable this year. If we put it off another year, we might have to pay thousands of dollars for knee surgery.

Timing - I don't know enough about IVF to know if the timing will work out this summer, between our vacation and my husband leaving for the conference. If we have to wait until after his trip, I feel like I might as well wait another month and have knee surgery. If we don't have to wait until after his trip, then I might want to just get started right away.

PIO - I'm terrified of it. Not so much that I won't do IVF, but enough to make me dread it.

My job - I hate it, but I don't think I'm going to have an option to change with all this going on in my life.

I will be reading about IVF in Navigating the Land of IF, but if anyone has any advice, as always, it will be gratefully accepted.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I'm actually feeling mostly ok. Thinking of the knee surgery I can do now. And my triathlon. Wondering about my plans for the future, both immediate and long term. Guessing my husband, who is still sleeping, has figured it out by now, too. I'm sure he noticed me get up and then come back to bed for a bit.

I don't feel the devastation I've felt after the last few BFNs, probably because this seems completely normal now. I have plenty more to write about, but I have to pack and run errands before heading up to Tahoe. There's a lot to think about regarding adoption, IVF, and why they can't figure out what's wrong with us, but there will be time for that later.

Thanks for all the support and cheers. It's really meant a lot to me. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, July 3, 2009

I did it! (13 dpo, 1 day to go)

I resisted peeing on a stick this morning! I just had to distract myself until after I peed, and then it was too late. Mostly because I had to leave for work and wanted to be with my husband when I do it, and I didn't want to wake him. I'm so thoughtful. (OK, maybe I don't want to be with him while I'm peeing, but right afterwards ... well, you know what I mean ... ).

Now I'm having a ridiculously shitty morning at work, and wishing I was still at home in bed. Meanwhile, everyone else I know has the day off and Sacramento seems to be deserted. Kind of ironic that I'm a government worker and I am at work while everyone else is on vacation. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?

I actually feel nauseated this morning, but I think it's because of stress at work and nothing (in)fertility related. I wish I could press the fast-forward button, at least so it was 4:30 and I could get out of this office, go home, relax, and spend the evening with the best guy in the world who is at home waiting for me.

I hope you all have a fun, happy, relaxing holiday weekend. Cheers.

(P.S. I was a little surprised by the comments to my last post about how few of you are skiers - I had no idea the percentage of skiers was so small. The interesting things you learn from blogging, huh?)

(P.P.S. I learned to do ski mountaineering because my husband grew up doing it in the Alps. It's much more common in Europe than it is here, which is why even most regular downhill skiers have no idea what it is. It's also called "backcountry skiing" and "randonee", and probably has other names, too.)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Show and Tell - ski mountaineering

This is my show and tell. This is me ski mountaineering in the Sierra Buttes. Don't know what ski mountaineering is? Five years ago, I didn't either.

To be brief - essentially you have a more or less normal downhill ski and boots, but the binding detatches at the heel to allow you to lift your heel and slide the ski forward, much like a cross-country ski binding. You put synthetic "skins" on the bottom of the ski with a special adhesive, and this allows you to walk uphill without sliding backwards. Pick a mountains, go for the summit, then peel off the skins, lock down the bindings and ski down.

Just a note - these aren't telemark skis! You ski down in a normal downhill fashion.

I'm not a great skier. I was enthralled with the idea of this sport for a few years, because it would allow me to go out in the backcountry during winter, and I also thought that skiing all that ungroomed powder would be really cool. Then I fell and tore a ligament in my knee two years ago, and I haven't been all that crazy about skiing since.

One of these years I will ignore my husband's disdain and try snowshoeing instead.

Go check out what other people are showing!

Briefly, in other news - it's 12 dpo, 2 days to go. I woke up early this morning (my cat and I are going to have to have a serious talk soon) and I seriously thought about testing. I didn't do it, though. I can wait it out until Saturday morning, when I wake up at 5 am unable to sleep. Less than 24 hours to go!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

11 dpo, 3 days to go

Time is flying during this 2ww, I can't believe it. I'm just so crazily busy.

Yesterday my sister drove me home from work and dropped in on my master's swim practice. I think she really liked it. I have to say, after being a high school swimmer (and summer rec team swimmer), I felt really adrift after graduating. I have plenty of friends who played soccer or other sports and can join work teams or recreational teams. I'm so grateful that master's swimming exists, because otherwise it's impossible for adult swimmers to have the same thing.

My garden is doing great and keeping me really busy. I have two red cherry tomatoes, and tons of green beans. I pick them every other day and bring home a big bag. My husband is starting to get nervous about how many green beans we're going to be eating this summer.

Work is busy, too, which is the best thing possible. I have so many hobbies and interests outside of work, in addition to chores, that I never have time to be bored, but when you don't like your job and you sit at a desk in a cubicle all day, the 2ww can seem really, really long. I'm really happy when I'm busy enough to make the time pass a little more quickly.

I'm only three days away from finding out if we have to do IVF. It's a huge thing, especially because it will determine a lot of other things, such as my potential knee surgery and maybe even our Christmas plans.

One of the things I HATE about the night of the 13th day past IUI is not being able to sleep and having pregnancy dreams all night.

I'm really nervous.