Thursday, August 31, 2006

What's the Deal with Antral Follicles?

I’m back! Let’s face it, if I stayed away until I wasn’t whiny, I’d never write again. Thanks for all of your encouragement of my super ovaries.

But are they really super?

I just read a very interesting page on antral follicle counts and what they might tell you about your success chances for IVF. You have to read down to the middle to end of the page to get to the good stuff. Basically, there was a study done proposing that the number of antral follicles you have at the beginning of your cycle (when they do the baseline ultrasound) predicts how well you will respond to stimulation and how successful you might be overall with IVF. Forgive me if I’m summarizing this poorly—it’s better to read the article for complete details. This also already may be obvious to those of you pros out there. Still, I was interested to see what my count of 8 antral follicles on my first monitoring day meant. There is a handy chart (it reads better on the link):

Total number of antral follicles/ Expected response and chances for success
Less than 4 Extremely low count, very poor (or no) response to stimulation and a cancelled cycle expected. Should seriously consider not attempting IVF at all. Rare pregnancies if IVF attempted.

4-7 Low count, we are concerned about a possible/probable poor response to the stimulation drugs. Likely to need high doses of FSH product to stimulate ovaries adequately. Higher than average rate of IVF cycle cancellation.
Lower than average pregnancy rates for those cases that make it to egg retrieval. The reduction in success rates is more pronounced beyond age 35.

8-10 Somewhat reduced count. Higher than average rate of IVF cycle cancellation. Slightly reduced chances for pregnancy as a group.

11-14 Normal (but intermediate) count, the response to drug stimulation is sometimes low, but usually good. Slight increased risk for IVF cycle cancellation. Pregnancy rates as a group only slightly reduced compared to the "best" group.

15-26 Normal (good) antral count, should have an excellent response to ovarian stimulation. Likely to respond well to low doses of FSH product.
Very low risk for IVF cycle cancellation. Some risk for ovarian overstimulation.
Best pregnancy rates overall as a group.

Over 26 High count, watch for polycystic ovary type of ovarian response. Likely to have a high response to low doses of FSH product.
Higher than average risk for overstimulation. Very good pregnancy rate overall as a group, but some cases in the group have egg quality issues and lower chances for pregnancy.

So, I’m seeming to be a little blow average according to this. Are my ovaries are just C- students? And here I thought they would make the honor roll!

What do you all think? 15-26 antral follicles seems crazy high for “normal.” Did anyone out there have numbers like that?

I think this is like trying to read tea leaves to predict your pregnancy likelihood.

The Weather Today: Foggy

Not just outside, but in my left ovary. The tech doing my ultrasound this morning said she couldn't really see whether I had 6 or 7 follicles on my left side because it was "foggy." She couldn't find the cyst that had been spotted on Tuesday due to the fog. She said there was some fluid; maybe the cyst ruptured, hence the fogginess. Who knows. She wasn't real talkative, and she was really focused on digging around in there to see. Not fun. I wonder if my left side is going to be a bust since that's the side with the tube blockage. I still worry that the tube blockage might mess up my IVF success chances, since I've read several things about people having defective tubes removed before trying IVF. My RE said that my tube was not a hydrosalphinx and therefore surgery was unnecessary, but the tech who did the HSG called it one. Ugh.

Anyhow, the good news is that my right side checked in with 7 follies, one up from Tuesday. On Tuesday only one follie was big enough to be measured, but today four were. I don't recall their sizes, but it seems things are progessing nicely, minus the fog.

My next monitoring is 8:00 am Saturday. Between the shots and the appointments, there's just no sleeping in any more. At least the office is only 30 minutes away.
After Saturday, I’ll have daily monitoring on Sun, Mon, and Tues. It sucks that there is a $40 co-pay each time. Goodbye all hopes of a any new fall clothing. But the good news is, we're getting close!

I'll write more when I'm not feeling so whiny.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

New Report in the Morning

I've actually been more consumed with work than with my infertility the past two days (imagine that), which is why I've been so quiet.

The next follie check is in the morning. Stay tuned! I feel a lot of activity going on in there--it's not quite like cramps, but it is a little uncomfortable. Not painful, just weird. I guess it's the other internal organs making way as my ovaries transform from tiny, unassuming organs into the Incredible Hulk Super Ovaries.


I'm off to catch up on everyone else's blogs.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Counting My Follies

I had my monitoring this morning, and the report is that I have 6 follicles on each side. They’re still too small to measure, but there are three more total than there were two days ago. Go, ovaries, go! I also have a small cyst on my left side that was not there on Saturday. The RE said there was no need for me to worry about it. Yeah right. Whether there is a need or not, I will worry. But I really liked the RE. She was pretty and very friendly, very different from the REs at the older male-dominated office near my house. I went to a different branch of my center today since there is one close to my office in the city. The RE was accompanied by a young med student who is interning there. She looked about 20 and was beautiful, making me feel very old. I wonder if seeing all of us business women scurrying to have our blood drawn before our 8 a.m. meetings makes her think about starting her own family sooner than later. Not that age has everything to do with it, as we all know!

Anyhow, I’ve been pretty busy at work, which is a good thing. The day goes by much faster when I have a lot to do, and it keeps me from dwelling on things. The baby-picture-pusher friend of mine has been very contrite about unknowingly pushing me towards an emotional breakdown. We’ll see how long she remembers. There is a baby shower at work tomorrow for someone I don’t really talk to, so I hadn’t planned on attending. It seems I will have some meetings scheduled for that time. ;)

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Blogging Question

I'm still new to blogging, so I was wondering why people use * instead of vowels when they discuss drug names like L*pron. Is it so that search engines won't pick up these words as key terms? Are the drug companies going to track my progress and refuse to serve me with their meds if I diss their products? Please fill me in. I'm feeling paranoid. Maybe it's the meds.

Not much new today. I had to get a little snarky with a friend who keeps alerting me to baby pictures and such (she knows my situation.) Even though she really was pushing it (3 baby pictures pushed on me in one day), I still feel bad for finally spelling out why I might just not be interested right now. I think I hurt her feelings. But these were babies of people I don't even really know! It wasn't like they were her baby pictures or anything.

I go for monitoring tomorrow. Hope to see some good things, but will it be too early to tell? I've only been on the stims since Saturday. I'll also need to order more drugs ASAP after I get my results tomorrow, since I am paying my money in a slow, blood-letting process.

Hope all is well in your corner of the blogosphere!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

All Clear

I had my ultrasound and bloodwork done bright and early yesterday for my Lupron evaluation. I was totally expecting at least one cyst or more, but I'm happy to report that the coast is clear. Not a cyst in sight.

I should have been in a good mood about this, but I was very cranky all morning. I think waking up on a Saturday morning at 6 am to get my first shot of the day and then being poked and prodded an hour later by two nurses who were way too cheery was more than I could handle on 6 hours of sleep. So, with H still being in his perpetual funk, it wasn't a good start to an otherwise beautiful day. By the time my sister and brother-in-law arrived at our house, we had calmed down, and the rest of the day was overall good. My sister is definitely not pregnant yet, so there was no awkwardness. Thanks to everyone for your comments about that. I'm glad to know I'm not alone or a complete jerk!

Last night I had my first Gonal-F/Menopur shot. Ooooouch! We went for the back of my upper arm to keep my stomach area available for Lupron, and that was a bad idea. My upper arm is way more sensitive than my stomach, and the medicine burned a lot more than the Lupron. Who would have thought. So we did both shots in my stomach this morning and that was better. Other than some hot flashes and an occassional headache, I'm feeling okay.

I really appreciate all the comments people have been submitting. Thank you!! I enjoy and look forward to reading everyone's blogs each day, and the sense of community has definitely helped me handle this situation better. I'm really glad we have this network.

Okay, I'm off to get some very neglected work done. I think one of the worst side effects of IF overall for me is a total lack of motivation and poor concentration. I can't seem to get much of anything done that isn't treatment related.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Is it Too Much to Ask...

AF was her usual punctual self, so I called the clinic to set up my ultrasound/Lupron evaluations for bright and early Saturday morning. I’m happy that it’s on a Saturday so that if I find out I have cysts and have to delay, I don’t have to go into work afterwards and be chipper. I’m pretty concerned about cysts, especially since they already saw a little one at my mock transfer a few weeks ago. I just hope everything will be a go and I won’t waste a $50 injection of Gonal F that morning and all that Lupron if I find out we have to wait.

My sister and her husband will be coming over later that day to hang out with us. We planned this months ago, before the cycle, so I didn’t want to cancel. As I mentioned, she is ttc now, and I have been observing her closely for any signs of success, especially since I’ve asked her not to come out and tell me of any news until after my cycle is over. Well, last night my mom must have read my mind. She was telling me about how she and sis had gone bathing suit shopping, and how she got a lot of great ones on sale. I asked if sis had bought any, and she said, “No. She has her period really bad and didn’t want to try any on.” I have to admit, hearing her say that made me sigh in relief. I thought it was funny my mom said something like that, though, because I don’t think she would have normally.

So I tell H that I’m looking forward to sis and her husband coming over, since I won’t be sweating the “is she, isn’t she” question in my drug-riddled mind. H proceeds to tell me, “Maybe your mom just said that, and it’s not really true. Maybe she is pregnant and doesn’t want you to know.” I was aghast. Why would she do that? (And why was H saying this to me?) I yelled at H for putting the thought in my mind. What the hell?
He persisted, saying that she probably was pregnant and “maybe just lied to my mom about her period so she didn’t have to admit it yet.” Again, stop it! H was being really pissy, further making me believe that he was the one experiencing the hormonal effects of IVF by some sort of weird mind/body swap.

We stop talking, and he later tells me that he doesn’t like how I take joy in someone else not getting pregnant. He lectured me that I should be hopeful that my sister succeeds right away so that she doesn’t have to go through IVF.

So now I feel like a complete a**hole. Of course I want my sister to be able to conceive naturally and without too much distress. But my thing is—she’s significantly younger than me. Does she need to be doing this right now, when I’m at my limit and the news will hurt me? She didn’t want kids at all last year this time. I know, I know. Her family building plans are not about me, nor should they be. But we have always had a sibling rivalry thing, and it seems like she is always rushing to keep up with me with marriage, buying a house, and so on. I feel like she rushes her life away sometimes. Just because I do something, doesn’t mean she needs to also do it that very same year, you know?

I can’t be excited for someone to get pregnant off the first few tries right now, and I certainly will have a hard time if that person is one of my main support systems right now. I will be overjoyed if she and I become pregnant at the same time. That would be awesome. But I don’t need to feel this added pressure right now and feelings of inadequacy if she is the first to get pregnant and I don’t succeed at all. H doesn’t understand any of this and just thinks I’m being selfish. Sorry, I’m not as generous as he is to put others ahead of protecting myself right now. He’s always been a better person that me. Maybe this is why I’m going through all this. I have a lot to learn about patience and putting others ahead of myself. Sigh.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Is it Normal to Feel Normal?

I’m on day 5 of Lupron and both yesterday and today I’ve felt fine, really good even. Monday I had a persistent headache, but that isn’t really anything new for me because I get chronic headaches. Tuesday I had a headache also, but I think that was stress-related to my practice IM shot at my clinic. H hit a blood vessel. They say there’s like only a 1 percent chance of hitting a blood vessel. So of course, we got one on the first try. Luckily they didn’t make him try again. Once the headache went away yesterday, I think I could have actually described myself as giddy. Could insanity be a side effect of my shots? I have stopped bruising with each needle, though the original two bruises on my belly are still like two big purple eyeballs looking out at me when I change my clothes. Boy, I do wish I had given Bra-less a good look at those bruises. Make her shudder the way I did whenever I got a glimpse of her too-pointy breasts peaking out through the underarms of her Britney Spears-approved grunge wear. Ugh.

I’m waiting for AF to arrive so I can have my Lupron eval on Saturday. I feel the symptoms, so I’m hoping she won’t disappoint. I think I’ll immediately lose all my feelings of goodwill if things start getting delayed. Guess I better be ready for that, because we all know that delays are the name of the game here. Still, I feel better about my and H’s choice to go through with this and I’m—dare I say it—hopeful that it will eventually pay off with the thing we want most in the world. H is still a little depressed, but I think seeing me in a good mood has helped. He feels really guilty about jabbing me every day, and he was horrified when he hit the blood vessel in my hip. I bit my lip and wasn’t a baby about the pain for his sake. See, this Lupron is totally altering my behavior.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hmm..Need a Humor Column Topic

Gene Weingarten (Washington Post)replies: How about Infertility!

A week later, the Post publishes: Pregnant With Humor

Dear Mr. Weingarten,

So you think infertility could stand to have some humor, huh? Well, you're right, maybe it could. And seeing your idiotic column did make me laugh, but not with you. I was appalled at your comic little bit about calling an RE from GWU and wasting his time with your numbskull idea. This doctor has no time for your tomfoolery, and neither do his patients! For shame, Mr. Weingarten, for shame.

Your column does reinforce a fact I'm learning to be true--buffoons are more likely to be fertile than not. I'm proud of you for your self realization. Now give me something I can really laugh about, gosh darnit! Especially if that Israel study has even a 1% chance of truth to it. I'm so desperate right now for medical studies that might improve my chances that I salivated when I saw your opening paragraph about said study. Do not lead me on like that again!

An Infertile Hopped Up On Lupron

A Test of Strength

Well I just know you are all dying to hear about how my party went on Saturday, and whether I was able to play nice with the fertiles. Well, this story won’t disappoint, but I have to keep it quick. (So hard for me; you know I’m wordy.)

It all started beautifully. We arrived first at the party and were greeted by the hosts, a married couple that has declared they will remain childless. The husband of this pair is my husband’s best friend, the adoptee #3 mentioned in an earlier post:
Thoughts on Adoption

The next couple to show up were two people just starting to date, also childless, and very fun. A few singles rolled in, and we were having a good time talking and catching up, with no hint of baby talk anywhere.

Then the first couple with an infant showed up, and I was in a good mood and honestly happy to see them. They are nice people, and I met their baby before our diagnosis. (I find I’m much more at peace with babies I knew before the big kink IF put in my life.)

Then the second couple with an infant showed up, and my mood started to waiver. This couple had gotten pregnant again accidentally only 4 months after the birth of their first son. Mom, now 7 months pregnant and ready to pop, was wearing a halter top with no bra and had her huge belly sticking out of some grungy sweat-shorts (I shall refer to her as Bra-less). It was a nasty sight. We got to hear Bra-less loudly yack about the inconvenience of the unplanned pregnancy, and I was proud of myself for not throwing up, or even feeling nauseous. No matter how much IF sucks, I take comfort that I will never be as clueless as Bra-less. I felt strong that I could watch the babies without getting teary eyed, even though I had just had my first shot of Lupron earlier that morning.

No friends, it wasn’t until later, when H and I became isolated with the “with child” couples that I was truly tested. The host divided us into 2 groups to go sailing on his father’s sailboat, because there was not room for us all on the boat at once. I guess thinking we were next to hop on the baby train, H’s best friend grouped us with the two fertile couples. The childless and singles all went on the boat, and there we were, two fertile couples and one infertile couple. The guys all went outside, leaving me with the moms and the babies.

The moms proceed to tell me to be VERY careful after I have my first baby, because it’s so easy to get pregnant with your second. They went on and on about how Bra-less had practically padlocked her cooter and the dang sperm still found a way in to impregnate her, resourceful little buggers. To quote Motel Manager's blog, "Too Much I Say!"

I was so close to lifting up my shirt and showing my own belly with its big Lupron bruise, but I held back. You would have been so proud.

The worst part of it was that I couldn’t even have a drink.

H and I left shortly afterwards, never making it on to the sailboat ourselves. We stopped at a historic district along the Eastern Shore on our way home and had dinner in a cute, trendy restaurant where everybody was 40 and over and no babies were in sight. That was the best part of the day, just chilling with H and enjoying the restaurant’s atmosphere, even if we did keep eyeing the wine bar longingly.

See, told you I wouldn’t be able to keep this short.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

How Long Can You Put Off Meeting a Newborn?

Sunny asked this question perhaps jokingly in a recent response to a sibling's good news, and I'm hear to tell you all that avoiding a certain newborn has been easier than I thought.

Now it requires a certain unavailability on your part, but it is also helped along by the total obliviousness of the mother of said newborn.

In April 2005, H and I enthusiastically started trying. We decided not to announce this news to the world as a few of our friends had, just in case we had any problems. (Good thinking on our part, huh?) Well, my best friend calls me in June, in tears, that she is pregnant, accidentally. My thought, " Well, gee honey. Your husband has not been shy about how much he wants a baby and he has never liked to use protection, even before you were married. What did you think would happen?" Not that I said that.

Instead I said--"That's great! You know, H and I are ready ourselves. How great if we had little ones at the same time?"

This did not register with my best friend, who probably did not hear it through her self-pitying tears. Fast forward several months. Best friend, now fully pregnant and happy, never thinks to ask how my efforts might be going. I never say anything about it. Now I'm really convinced she never heard me in the first place.

BF has baby in January, the month I had optimistically thought might be "mine" when we first started trying. Turns out baby comes sooner than she expected, not because it was premature, but because she never knew when she had gotten pregnant for sure, and they couldn't exactly tell from the sonograms. The due date was always a major approximation. All she had known was that her period had gone missing for longer than usual and her breasts were sore before she finally took a pregnancy test. Can you believe that? She DIDN'T KNOW she was pregnant for two months.

Anyhow, with the new baby here, I am very excited to meet her. My BF is a mom! At this point, I know it's been taking H and me awhile, but I hadn't given up hope that everything was fine. BF turns down several attempts of ours to come visit because she feels and looks "gross." I tell her that I won't be looking at her, I'll be looking at the baby, but this doesn't seem to matter.

Months go by. I ask BF when the baptism will be, knowing that will be a solid opportunity to see the baby. "Oh, I'm not inviting friends," she says. "Too many family members will be there." I am now hurt. This is my best friend since grade school. I have known her for 25 years. I am responsible for her meeting her husband, and she mine. I once considered her a potential Godmother candidate for my babies. And I'm not even INVITED??

The month of the baptism is the one year mark for my ttc efforts. I now know I need to make a doctor's appointment. BF sends a mass e-mail the day before the baptism saying friends can now come since the family member turn out will not be as good as had been hoped. I decline as H and I already made other plans with a real friend.

BF starts asking when I'm going to see the baby. I give vague answers about my schedule being busy, and she never puts a solid invitation with a date and time out there. The next month I get another last minute e-mail from her saying a friend from out of town is coming to visit her (one I have a bad history with and no longer like, by the way) and would H and I like to come over then to see the baby and "kill two birds with one stone?" I say no--I already have plans. Because I did.

BF's 30th birthday was in June, and she lamented the fact that she could not go out drinking with her husband and friends to celebrate since there would be no sitter for the baby. I offer to have a party at my house for her birthday, and tell her the baby can sleep upstairs. Other friends have done this at our house with their babies. This is right after I received our bad news, but I figured I could handle seeing the baby. I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible, in a safe place like my house.

BF was very excited about the party, and about bringing the baby since so few of our friends have seen her. The night of the party comes, and BF shows up 2 hours late, with no baby. A relative was suddenly available to baby sit, and she felt she could drink more without worrying if she didn't bring the baby. B?@#$ !!!!

This avoidance continues up until today, 7 months after the baby was born. BF has invited me to a party being held by a grade school friend at which she is going to parade the baby in front of a bunch of former classmates. I never got the official invite from the person hosting the party, so I am declining. I am mad that BF cannot invite me, just me, directly over to visit her, and I am mad that she did not bring the baby to the party I held for her when I had specifically said how much I finally wanted to meet her.

Now, you might think BF is just being sensitive to my current situation, but she doesn't even know about the IVF or our diagnosis. And like I said, I'm sure she has not figured out for herself that I said we were ready, and hey, it's been a long time since I said that. Somebody who doesn't realize they are pregnant for two months probably doesn't even know that you are deemed infertile after the one year of trying mark.

The thing I need to come to terms with is that BF hasn't really been my best friend in a long time. Not since she got married. Her world revolves around her husband and her family, and she has little need for friends outside of that circle. I kinda knew this when she told me she was engaged and that she didn't know if friends, including me, would be in the wedding party. She wanted to have her sister and 3 cousins in it and that would leave too many friends to have to choose from since she only wanted 6 bridesmaids max. Hmm, if you have four family members that still leaves room for your best friend without exceeding six. I knew then that I had no special ranking as best friend, even though she still calls me hers. I did end up being in the wedding, only after one of the cousins had to drop out, allowing her to have 3 friends and 3 family members.

So, now when BF makes comments that she hopes I will see the baby before she starts walking, my response is, "eh." I really had wanted to see her in the beginning, but given all the slights and now the pain of IF, I just don't see the point of making the effort. I think I need to let this friendship fade away for once and for all, and focus on the real friends in my life. It's hard to walk away from 25 years, but she's given me no reason to hang around. So, how long can I go before seeing the not-so-new born?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

One Shot Down, ??? To Go!

I had my first Lupron injection today. The needle going in didn't hurt, but boy did the medicine burn. I also had an itchy reaction right away, and the spot has now turned into a lovely, dime-sized purple bruise. I ended up going for the belly afterall. All my BCP bloating has given me enough to pinch. Goodbye flat stomach. I was ready to say goodbye to it with a pregnancy, but giving it up to infertility meds is a little sad. Oh well--it's all for the same goal.

I bought the best injection underwear from Victoria Secret. They have no tag, no elastic, and are so super soft and smooth. I'm sure they'll come in handy with all the hip shots. Those are the ones I'm really dreading. I will have to do one PIO shot by myself when I have my next business trip, and I hope I can do it. Looking at that needle makes me want to pass out. I'm such a baby, I know.

How soon did you all start feeling the side effects of Lupron? I'm only fearful of the headaches...I have some major writing to do for work this week and hope I'll be able to concentrate.

Feeling Better than Last Week

My little happy list pep talk helped me cheer up yesterday, and when my big box of meds arrived at work, I didn't even freak out like I thought I would. Part of what made me start to snap out of it was that I met a former co-worker for lunch. She's a pretty upbeat person overall, but she is on medication for depression and has been for a long time. She's 36, single, has a job she hates, lives alone in a tiny one bedroom condo, and all of her family live 8 hours away. She would like to have a guy in her life, but it never seems to work out. She decided a long time ago that she probably wasn't cut out for kids, and she is not really bothered about it. I wonder though. If she had the right guy suddenly, would she change her mind?

Anyhow, after saying goodbye to her and walking back to my office, I felt guilty for feeling so bad for myself when I have so many great things in my life that others are still searching for. It seems like so many of us IF'ers are in the same boat. We have so much going for us, except this one big glaring exception. That contrast can be so startling that I often lose sight of everything else. So, I need to remember not to take the good things I have for granted.

While I'm feeling more positive, H is really, really depressed. He has been very teary eyed whenever we talk about treatment and has been moping around all week. I've been doing my best to cheer him up, but nothing is helping. He is having a hard time at work right now, so that makes it even worse. Any ideas about how I can help him? He is taking this so hard, which is natural, but I don't want him to drown in it.

Today we're going to a party with some of his friends, and I'm worried that will make things even worse. A lot of the people going to be there have infants we haven't seen yet, and I know we're going to get questioned about our lack of child. I'm afraid my current good mood will go downhill pretty fast, and then I'll have no chance of pulling H out of his funk. At least there is one couple there that has proudly proclaimed that they never intend to have kids. They should be safe to hang out with if the baby talk gets too tough.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I Will Be Happy…

Happy for the husband who loves me
Happy for supportive family members
Happy for a career that is fulfilling and fun
Happy for a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood
Happy for good neighbors
Happy for my general good health
Happy for my independence
Happy for my education
Happy there is science and medicine
Happy for my life

The Race Between Fertile and Infertile Begins

Did I tell you all that my little sister has announced that she and her husband are trying? I’m happy for her, but come on, we all know my real thought is—she better not get pregnant before me! I’d like to think I’d be strong about it if she does, but I think it would just induce another meltdown. (I’m doing a lot better after the last one, but I think seeing the box of needles might bring on another one. Taking deep breaths.) My sister has always been panicked big time about morning sickness and such, but I think my little IVF adventure has convinced her to start trying earlier than she would have normally. I just asked her to please not share any good news with me while I am going through this current cycle, especially since I will be going away with her to Orlando during my 2ww. Between the hormones and the babies riding Dumbo in the Magic Kingdom, I told her I can’t promise I wouldn’t kill her on the spot. It would be IVF-induced insanity of course. I’d probably get off with a little community service. But I don’t want to kill anyone. My sister is one of the few people I feel comfortable taking to about all this, because she gets it enough to be sympathetic and not say stupid things. I’m not sure how much I’ll want to talk to her once she’s pregnant though, even though I know she’ll be sensitive about it.

By the way, thanks for all the encouragement from those of you who responded after my meltdown. I really am doing better. Today. At this moment. Can't promise about later. I do agree that staying positive is important, and I greatly appreciate the reminders to do so.

Needles and Stuff

Tomorrow is the big day-- My first Lupron shot! I’m expecting my big box of meds (well, not too big since I didn’t do a complete order) to arrive any time now. I’m taking comfort in the fact that just about everybody out there has said the shots themselves aren’t so bad. I hate needles! If I can get through all the jabbing, I know I will emerge from this process a much more fearless person. Not too many things scare me, but needles have always been high on the list. I’m not good with the sight of blood either. Ah, perhaps this little journey is just what I need to toughen me up. I think I’d rather have stayed a softie and have had my baby by now. I remember that I used to be scared at the thought of delivering a baby. I think that will be a piece of cake now.

Quick question--do any of you do your shots in places other than the tummy? I have much more flab on my upper arms and thighs, while my stomach is pretty unpinchable (don't hate me--I swear I have flabby upper arms). Should I just suck it up and do the belly where it won't be seen, or should I go for a more pinchable arm?

For today, I’m just trying to stay positive. I’ve been eating right all week and haven’t had any wine or coffee. I think the BCPs made me put on a few pounds. Caution: too much information ahead-- I’ve been very bloated, and I’ve had an icky brown discharge the whole time I’ve been on the pill. I asked my doctor if this was normal when I went for my mock transfer last Friday. I kinda got an “eh” answer. Right after I told him about all the goo, and some unusual cramping, he said it was probably just breakthrough bleeding. I said it didn’t look like break-through bleeding. Again, the answer was “eh.” Then he begins the procedure and announces that I have a brown discharge. Well, duh, that’s what I was talking about. He said he saw a cyst on my ovary, but it wasn’t too big. I hope cysts won’t ruin my cycle. I keep reminding them that I have a history of painful, erupting cysts, but no one seems to think it’s a big deal. Maybe it’s not. Can anyone tell me how to go into “eh” mode myself?

I have to say that the mock transfer wasn’t nearly as horrible as it sounds. It was over before I knew it. The whole name “mock transfer” sounds like something out of an X-Files episode. I used to love that show. And now that I think about it, Agent Scully was one of us. She had her eggs stolen by aliens, and when she finally got them back in a vial she did in vitro with Mulder to have a baby. Who knew that infertility had been a subtle subplot of one of my favorite sci-fi shows. I may have to go back and watch old episodes.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


It finally happened. I had a complete and total meltdown in front of other people. I visited my parents over the weekend, and I just lost it. I sobbed uncontrollably about the whole infertility situation, the lack of med coverage, our desperation to start a family. All of it. And my parents had to endure it all. I think I cried for about 5 hours straight and my eyes continued to leak as I tossed and turned at their hourse overnight. We were visiting with them for a little getaway. What a nightmare. The next day my eyes were so swollen I could barely see. I tried to go swimming with them but I felt so awful.

My mom took the whole thing pretty well. She is 100 percent behind my decision to do the IVF cycle and she is very confident it will work. She says she would do the same thing if she were me. She was very good about diffusing my meltdown. My father, on the otherhand, is worried that my meltdown is a sign that the cycle is already affecting me more than it's worth (he was shocked to learn I wasn't taking hormone meds yet, unless you count the pill). He told me that he would be perfectly happy if I chose not to have any kids. In fact, if faced with the same situation, he said he would not do IVF and would live child-free.I know he was only trying to help, but this was not exactly a comforting thing to say to an infertile in meltdown mode, especially when she is your daughter. So, looks like Mom is my new confidante. As her reward for surviving my violently tearful rant, I told her the planned dates of my retrieval and transfer and thoroughly explained the cycle process to her. Let's hope I don't regret that. I told her that I might not want to talk about things with her while they are occurring, and that the more she doesn't ask, the more I'm likely to share. I'm messed up, I know.

Meds Ordered

So, being an IVF patient without prescription coverage is probably more expensive than being a drug addict, don't you think? I was just reading about someone with a drug problem that accidentally got pregnant. Oh, that type of stuff burns me. It always has, but of course now it really sears, which I know you all understand.

Thanks for all the med advice. I ended up ordering from Freedom Fertility, because they are recommended by my office and offer the third round of IVF drugs for free when you are paying out of pocket. Not that I'm hoping to need 3 rounds. They also are one of the cheapest places and offer free overnight shipping. So what we did was order just what we needed until right after my monitoring starts. That way we can reorder a little more based on what I need. Evidently I will be monitored very closely and my meds will be adjusted each day.

NikkiNix, thank you so much for the generous offer to help me get some meds from Canada. H's first suggestion actually was--road trip to Canada! I think our incremental ordering will make our payments manageable for now, though, and I'm grateful I have a lot of good suggestions from you ladies for if/when I need to order for a second cycle. I am open to buying unused meds from those who don't need them, but I need to make sure they are exactly the type I'm using. I got one generous offer to buy some leftover Gonal F, but it is for the Gonal F pen and H doesn't want to use the pen. He didn't like it at our training class. It probably doesn't make a difference, but why push the issue? I'm already making him do too many things he doesn't want to do. ;)

I think it's retarded that my insurance covers IVF but then doesn't offer a prescription program that covers the meds. If need be we will take out a home equity loan, plus a few family members have offered a little help so we can avoid finance charges until we have the money saved up. Infertility really hits you where it hurts, doesn't it? The heart and the wallet. Now I have to give up all my pity-me shopping after my uncomfortable doctor appointments.

Friday, August 11, 2006

No Prescription Coverage for Me

Any advice people can give me on ordering Gonal F, HCG, Menopur, and Lupron at a discount would be greatly appreciated. My insurance company has a new prescription med plan, and NONE of my fertility drugs are covered. We are looking at a bill of $5K for this cycle, and money is already tight. Not sure what we are going to do. I need to start Lupron in one week. Any recommendations for good discount pharmacies is greatly appreciated. We are willing to go into debt, but we want to minimize it as much as possible since this may be only the beginning for us. We recently had a bad car accident that wasn't covered by insurance that happened on vacation right before our IF diagnosis. If that hadn't happened, we would be able to afford this, but the car repairs depleted our savings. Nothing like getting kicked while you are down, huh?

I'll be out of town until Tuesday with no Internet access...the clock is is ticking for me to get my meds without breaking the bank.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Still on the Road

Thanks to those of you who chimed in with your personal adoption stories. I'm very interested in following some adoption blogs, so I hope my new friend in the UK will start his soon! NikkiNix, your best friend sounds like a very cool girl. I can tell everyone in her life is blessed to have her around thanks to adoption. It's nice to hear some positive stories. In answer to the question about whether I know any kids estranged from their biological parents--no, I don't. Not that I think it doesn't happen, I just don't personally know of any. I think everybody's parents drive them crazy on days, biological or not, and I agree that it's all in how you handle the situation with your child. I really liked the point that asking for the secret to a successful adoption is like asking for the secret to a sucessful marriage. I'm feeling a bit more positive about adoption today.

Still, I want to see through my journey to have a biological baby first before I move on. H and I agreed that if IVF doesn't work, we will allow ourselves as much time as we need to be alone and heal before considering adoption. I think I may need a few years before I am ready. I think it would be perfectly fine to start the process when I am in my mid-thirties. Afterall, I will be more financially stable then and more mature to handle putting the feelings of the adopted child before my own. Right now, honestly, I still think of myself as not quite a grown up, even though I make mature, rational decisions. I am mature when it comes to my marriage and my career, but I have not matured as a potential mother yet. I am whiny and irritable and tend to put my feelings first right now. I'm not ready for adoption.

In other news, my nurse gave me a mild heart attack today. I called to check in with her today just because I'm anal and wanted to touch base, and she tells me that she's still waiting on my insurance authorization before she can order my meds, which I need to start taking next week. What the ?#$%!! I have a signed letter from my insurance company saying I DO NOT NEED authorization from them to proceed, plus I had it confirmed by the center's TWO financial coordinators. Nurse Bi-atch simply tells me that unauthorized is what her computer screen reads and until it reads otherwise, she can't do anything. She then tells me to call my coordinator again. Um, hello, you'd think she could do that seeing as she was there in person when the coordinator walked into our appointment to tell us the good news that we did not need authorization. But noooo, I have to call myslef, from the middle of a business trip, with a cell phone that keeps crapping out. Thanks, babe. I see you've got my back.

After leaving 2 panicked messages to my financial coordinator, she calls me back to tell me that there is absolutely no reason I need to wait for authorization and Nurse Bi-atch misread her computer sceen or something. I asked 50 billion times if there was anything I needed to do, and Kind Coordinator said no, she would call Nurse Bi-atch and straighten her, I mean the computer screen, out. Okay, fine. You'd think Nurse Bi-atch would call me back later today to tell me eveything was now okay and when to expect my meds, but she didn't. I'm calling her tomorrow on my way to the airport. Doesn't she understand that I am a bit panicked about my cycle not starting if I don't get my meds in time??? I'm going to be out of town most of next week and therefore have few days I can accept delivery. At least Nurse Bi-atch told me that my CF screen came back okay.

You know, most of my gripes about my center have really been connected to Nurse Bi-atch. I really like everybody else. I wonder if I should see if I can switch nurses, or if that would just be more stressful. I don't like confrontation. She's okay, I guess, but I need someone who is more than just okay when everyone else involved in this process so far has been wonderful. I'm sure she is just doing the best she can and that she is tired of dealing with hyper, type A personalities like me, but I'd appreciate a little compassion and attention to detail on her part. I mean, why the hell didn't she call me when the authorizaion snafu first came to her attention?!?!? From the way it sounded, she's known about this for over a week. And seeing as it was a mistake, what if she didn't tell me about it so that I could get it corrected in time?

Good night all...I'm taking deep, healing breathes and letting this go for now.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Thoughts on Adoption

Hello from the midwest! I'm at a conference this week, which is why I've been so quiet. I have very little free time while I'm traveling, but I do have a laptop with a wireless connection, so here I am for a quick post.

When I first found out that H and I were dealing with IF, my immediate gut reaction was--I can't adopt. Not because I wouldn't love an adopted child, but because that child wouldn't love me. I have known 4 people who are adopted and each of them are very conflicted by it. For some, these feelings have led them to totally reject their adoptive parents. For another friend, the bitterness is only just now healing with the discovery of his biological mother and siblings.

Here are their stories:

1. My best friend's parents could not conceive for many years, so they adopted a boy, let's call him D, from the U.S. in a closed adoption. A few years after D's adoption, the parents suddenly naturally conceived on their own, and went on to have 3 biological kids, which included my best friend, N. Even though the parents and N loved D very much, he was very upset about his adoption. As soon as D turned 18, he left home with no note and never returned. There was much heartache in the family at losing him. Years later, N's parents ran into D accidentally and learned he had a child of his own. They tried to re-establish contact but it did not last. It pains them greatly because they consider D their son as much as their biological kids. They have had to let him go.

2. My sister's best friend, K, was adopted at birth and no one in our circle of friends/neighbors knew about her adoption, including K, until she was in her teens. She looks just like her adopted dad, but learning she was adopted created a huge crater in her life. She left home after college and keeps only loose contact with her adopted parents, the only parents she has ever known. She has cut off contact with my sister and all others who knew her growing up. She has had a lot of issues as a result of the adoption.

3. My husband's best friend, S, knew about his adoption from an early age as he is Colombian and his parents are white Americans. He struggled greatly with his identity in college and contemplated suicide many times, all connected to his feelings of abandonment. He sought therapy but it did not change the desperation he felt to find his biological parents. Luckily he does love his adopted parents and has not abandoned them, but he is just now finding peace in his life after finally finding his biological family. He now treats them all as his parents equally. I know this has caused his adopted parents heartache, but they were supportive in his quest.

4. My husband's half brother T was an "oops" that H's dad did not even know about until running into the mother 18 years later. The mother had married another man shortly after getting pregnant with T, and her husband raised T as his own. T says he always knew in his heart that the man who raised him was not his father, even though there was no reason for him to suspect otherwise. He said they never got along and there was lots of tension. When T met his biological dad, he said he was so relieved. Shortly after this reunion, T's mother and her husband divorced. T keeps no contact with him since learning he is not his biological parent. T still has a lot of family issues stemming from this discovery and has cancelled weddings to separate people 3 different times. He believes his commitment issues are a result of his family "mix up." He wants no children of his own. S and K also want no children of their own.

Having firsthand witnessed the pain that adoption has brought to the adoptive parents and children of people very close to me has made me fear adoption greatly. Yes, I know there are many adoption success stories, but I haven't seen any with my own eyes. I don't know what an adoption "happily ever after" looks like. I only have seen how adoption causes more pain to everyone involved. I don't want to get through the pain of IF only to experience the pain of my adopted child's feelings that I am not their real mother.

So please, those of you out there who can tell me how a successul adoption works, tell me how you dealt with these issues with your children. Were you open from day one about their adoption? Did you keep in touch with biological parents? Did your children need to know their biological parents?

I know I will love a child I adopt. After all, I loved many of the students I taught and treated them as I would treat my own kids. I cannot face the pain of them resenting me though. My goal is to have a family. And that means having a child that will be my child always, whether I conceived them or not. If adoption is going to cause my child pain and psychological issues, then I would rather remain childless, as much as I hate that option.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Medical History, Part 3

When my HSG showed a blocked left tube, I was devastated. I got all worked up because I went on Dr. Google and read about those blocked hydro tube problems that are uterus home wreckers, preventing embryos from implanting no matter whether you have IVF or one healthy, working tube. I imagined all the possible embies that might have developed over the last year, washed out at sea because of the evil left tube. When H came home my face was a swollen balloon. He yelled at me for going on the Internet and told me to wait for the RE’s analysis. I yelled back that I read a study about the whole thing that our very own Dr. Optimism had written on the subject, and it showed that a hydro tube (sorry for the slang, I forget the real term) would prevent even IVF from working let alone IUI and my only recourse would be to have the tube removed through a lap. I started calculating when I would have the surgery, and how long it would take to recover. I imagined that once the left tube was gone, we’d be able to get pregnant with just the right one. It would just take longer. But that was okay. I felt in control, and it was good.

But I was wrong. I called our nurse to get H’s latest SA results, and when I did, she put Dr. Optimism on the phone. He explained that my left tube was compromised, but it wasn’t collecting fluid, like a hydro thingy would. No surgery would be necessary. It wouldn’t matter, because H’s SA results confirmed he was subfertile, and IVF was really our best chance. IVF most likely with ICSI. I went home and cried harder than I had over my perceived hydro thingy, knowing that H did not want to do IVF at all. He had been clear about it.

When he got home, I was so upset I could barely tell him. I finally showed him the scrap of paper with his test results and squeaked out “Fixing my tube doesn’t matter because your diagnosis is bad and IVF is our only choice and you don’t want IVF so we’re not having kids and I want to die now.” And he said, Okay. So we’ll have to do IVF. Just so long as we don’t have to do ICSI (we had learned it at this point). I said nothing, figuring I’d let the doctor tell him about ICSI. We had a follow up appointment scheduled to discuss next steps, and that was all I could handle right then. The fact that H did a complete turnaround from no IVF to allowing IVF gave me some hope.

Medical History, Part 2

I allowed myself 4 months to heal from my hydrocele surgery before starting ttc. I was worried at this point, even though my annual visit to the OB/Gyn showed that everything was fine. My doctor told me to get in the back seat of the car with H and I would get pregnant. A year later, I made the appointment to say nothing was happening despite our best efforts. My cycle is very regular and our activity was very dedicated, so I never did charts or anything. I thought maybe the job stress was causing the hold up, since so many people were telling me how bad stress could be. And my stress was bad. I told the doctor this and he responded that no amount of stress would prevent me from getting pregnant, end of story. I was surprised because he was a little cold about it, and I was still hopeful at this point, but now I’m glad he sent me for tests right away. He ordered the blood tests for me and the SA for H. My blood work came back fine, but H’s SA showed abnormal morphology (only 7% instead of 14% or better), low concentration, low motility, and normal count. We were then referred to the RE, and got our first lucky break when they were able to fit us in the next week, when there is normally a 2 month waiting period. If they hadn’t had a cancellation, I would still be waiting for my initial consultation today.

When I went to the center and met Dr. Optimism, I found out my OB/Gyn had done my blood work on the wrong day of my cycle and the results were useless. I would have to do it again. Dr. Optimism said H’s SA results really weren’t that bad and ordered the second analysis to be sure. I was surprised by this, because the nurse had been so solemn when she told me “how bad” H’s results were. I felt like Dr. Optimism suspected I was the main problem, especially when he suggested he do an ultrasound right then and there to check out my insides. I think he was prepared to see lots of endometriosis evidence. H had his first experience watching me get wanded, and all I can say is that it wasn’t nearly as bad as when I was 17 and scared. In fact, I didn’t feel it at all. Guess I finally came of age.

Dr. Optimism was pleasantly surprised at how nice my insides looked and said there were no signs of endometriosis. I’d still have to do an HSG to be sure everything was okay, but once I did we could proceed. He suggested that we would probably just have to do a few IUIs. He said he expected us to be pregnant in no time. This was a huge relief to H, who at the time was adamantly against IVF and didn’t even know what ICSI was (nor did I, for that matter.) We left the appointment feeling 100 times better, especially when my day 3 blood work came out fine. To be continued in Part 3…

My Medical History, Part One

I haven’t really spelled out the medical history that has led up to where I am today, so here it is. Overall, I have been a healthy person, with a few womanly issues. At 13, I found a lump in my breast. I just felt it suddenly one day while taking a shower. Breast cancer runs in my family, so luckily I wasn’t too embarrassed to tell my parents what I had found. The doctor’s ultimate conclusion was that it was just a cyst and that it would go away. We monitored it, and it did go away.

Four years later at 17, I was struck with horrible, jabbing pain in my left side. I though it could be my appendix, even though I didn’t know what side my appendix was even on. My parents took me to the emergency room, and I had a bunch of tests, including my first experience with the vaginal wand on a full bladder. It was a horrifying, uncomfortable experience. They couldn’t get the wand in all the way it was so painful. Both my parents were in the room as I had my first humiliating experience in stirrups. The ultrasound showed a cyst on my ovary. I was told it was no big deal, given some pain killers, and told to go home and rest. I was also told that since I was prone to cysts, I should limit my caffeine intake. From that day forward, I had no caffeine. No soda, no coffee, minimal chocolate. Today I’m told that the whole caffeine thing was a stupid diagnosis. Endometriosis was never mentioned, nor any kind of ovarian cyst syndrome.

At 23, I had my first pap and asked to be put on bcps, since I was getting married in a few months. Everything was normal. I hadn’t had any other cysts, even though the doctor from my cyst experience had said I might have one every cycle. Today I am surprised he did not put me on bcps to control possible cysts like that, but back then there was no Internet for me to scour and I blindly trusted doctors. A year later at 24, I had another jabbing pain and repeated the same cyst experience. This time, the doc told me that his normal recommendation was to put me on bcps, but since I was already on them, he just gave me some pain killers and I went on my way. This time I knew enough to ask about endometriosis, and was told I did not have it.

Every year at my annual exam I brought up my history of cysts and asked if this would impair my ability to have kids. Each time I was told I was fine and would have no problems conceiving. So, I didn’t feel rushed into trying earlier than my planned time of 29. I would be like my mother and grandmother, who each had their first pregnancy at 29. I felt comfortable and confident that me fertility was in good shape and under control.

At 28, I suddenly had a bulge on the right side of my groin area that was the size of an egg. I thought it was another cyst, but the diagnosis was hernia. I panicked because I was so close to ttc. I had surgery to repair the hernia, which was one of the worst experiences of my life. First off, I was very distressed going into the operating room. The anesthesiologist gave me something to calm my nerves, which didn’t work at all. I let him know this, but he didn’t seem to care. Then, I woke up while the surgery was still going on, just as the surgeon was saying, “Well, there is no hernia here, but I do see signs of endometriosis.” I said “What???!!! What do you mean there is no hernia?” The surgeon said, “Oh, hello. You’re awake. Can you feel any of this?” I said I didn’t feel pain, but I felt pressure. He said he was glad I was awake so that he could ask me some questions. I said I’d like to be put back to sleep. The anesthesiologist in the room did nothing to put me back out though. I don’t remember what the surgeon asked me—something about what I felt when he pushed on certain areas. I asked him about what he said about endometriosis. I distinctly said, “Will I still be able to have kids?” He didn’t answer. I was awake the entire rest of the time, and I felt them stitch me up. It was awful. When I had my follow up appointment with the surgeon, he said he removed a hydrocele, and it was benign and harmless. I asked what a hydocele was, and he said a sac of fluid. Like a cyst, I asked? No, I was told. Again, he didn’t answer my questions about endometriosis, just saying he didn’t know if I really had it or not. When I finally got the medical report this year to give to my RE, I saw that the bastard had indeed written “endometriosis” on the report.

To be continued in Part 2….

How Can I Handle Stress?

Thank you all for your feedback and comments. It’s amazing how much I have in common with so many of you. Winnefred, I’m getting totally engrossed with your story, and I am so happy for your success. Your reactions to starting the shots seem so similar to mine—I hope that I find they are no big deal, too. I am totally a dramatic person—hello, theatre degree? So it’s not unusual for me to make a big deal about everything. But this really IS a big deal. My future babies are at stake. I’m afraid of what will happen if I crack under the stress of all this and can't go through with the treatment. Some days, like today, I feel like the stress and grief is going to crush me.

In recent years I have not been reacting very well to stress at all. Last year, when my job was getting very hellish, I was feeling the physical effects of the stress every day. Bad headaches, nausea, insomnia. H kept thinking I was pregnant, and that was extra frustrating and stressful, because I knew I wasn’t and I knew I had stress that was so bad it was effecting my physically. H didn’t want me to switch jobs initially because I was making so much money, which only made things worse. The stress didn’t go away until I finally was able to remove myself from the situation. But my last job is a long story for another time…maybe I’ll share it during my 2ww.

I used to thrive on stress. In college, I managed to take 19-21 credits a semester, and I worked two part-time jobs while doing several plays and being a part of the chorus. I should have been stressed beyond belief, but it was nothing. I pulled off two degrees with only having to take one extra semester, and that was a semester of student teaching that I opted to do. I think I’ve figured out that being busy and having a lot of work isn’t what stresses me. It’s personal stuff that stresses me. What people say and think about me stresses me out. My in-laws’ poor treatment of me and H-- perceived or real-- stresses me out. Personal conflict at work stresses me out. Last year when I took on a management role and had to deal with people who weren’t showing up for work and who were starting conflicts with other employees was when I really started losing it. Management of grownup people who act more childish that the middle-schoolers I used to teach is not for me.

So, not being able to have kids, the biggest social stigma of all time for me, is probably the biggest stress point of my life. When I was a kid, my mom used to yell at me saying I had a low threshold for pain, and that if I kept it up, I wouldn’t be able to survive having kids. What an awful thing to say. It’s haunted me. Now more than ever. I bet she doesn’t even remember saying it (I think my mom had a lot of her own issues when I was growing up, and she took them out on me.) She would tell me that I was probably only going to have one kid, because I was too selfish. Where this came from, I have no idea. I don’t know what I did to make her think I was selfish. These are some pretty ugly memories for me.

So my question to all of you: what are some things you have done to relieve stress during all of this? I am thinking about doing a weekly yoga class, at least while I’m still physically able, because yoga really calmed my nerves when I tried it a few years ago. I’ve also been meaning to get one of those positive thinking/ motivational books. Any good ones you’ve read? I think the blogging is helping some, but sometimes I get too manic about reading things online. I think I need to downscale my time with Dr. Google. I’m also thinking about seeing a therapist, which would be a hard step for me. I’m not good at sharing things face to face with people. I’m afraid I will start crying and not be able to stop. So much of my energy these days is focused on not crying. I let it out when I’m alone and with H, but it’s a constant battle when I’m out. I know a lot of people are doing acupuncture, but I’m not sure it’s for me. My RE has not recommended it or anything.

I know I need to do something to relieve the pressure I feel building in my jaw! H says I’ve been grinding my teeth nonstop at night. He’s having trouble too. He didn’t sleep twice this week, and last night he was talking to himself. I vaguely remember the things he was saying were about not having kids. This is so awful.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I Said Not to Talk About It

My mom initially had a wonderful, supportive reaction to my situation, in which she simply listened, asked little to no questions, and kept her mouth shut about all the pregnant people/friends with babies we know. I got a slight hint of “maybe I waited too long to try” from her, but when she found out about H’s problem she was quick to avoid going down that road. She was 29 herself when she had me, so it’s not like I did anything differently than her.

Well, the good behavior has slowly started to deteriorate. First she told my relative, the doctor. I decided to excuse her for this, since he could give her info that I didn’t feel like discussing. And she did resist the urge to tell my sister, so I know that took some real control on her part. (Now that my sister knows though, I’m betting they are talking about it all the time. I can just tell.) Next she started asking in a very serious voice during our phone conversations, “And how are you??” in such a way that I knew she meant the IF and wanted to know what stage I was in for my cycle. At first when I would blow it off and say something like, “Oh, I’m fine. Just tired from work,” she would ask again, “But how ARE you?” So then I’d change the subject entirely. But last night she just comes right out and asks “When do your stims start? When is retrieval?” I felt violated. I had told her not to ask. I don’t want to know where she learned the words stims and retrieval. She doesn’t use the Internet, so I’m sure she’s been talking to people.

My answer to her was that I would be going through the process within the next month. I wished I had told her that I didn’t want to talk specifics and please don’t ask again, but I didn’t. I just wanted to change the subject. So I talked about a business trip I’m going to have in June, and about how I’ll be able to combine it with a trip with H to a really great resort for our anniversary. She immediately tells me—“you won’t be able to go anywhere in June! In fact, your father and I aren’t going to travel anywhere in June either.” She actually said it with some glee. My first thought was—why the hell not? Then the sickening realization washed over me that she believes this cycle is going to work, no questions asked. If it does, I will be due in June. Sure, in the back of my mind I knew that, but I hadn’t even verbalized that fact to H.

I immediately told her that there is no guarantee that things will work, and for my own sake, I need to keep on living and making plans. Any travel plans I make now can be cancelled, and I will do so happily, but I can’t sit here and think that in June everything will be alright. I’m a planner, and it is normal for me to have trips planned a year in advance. She sort of paused, then said “Yes, well, your father and I won’t make any plans for June OR July then.” Argh. I felt like saying a second attempt would mean an August or September baby, not a July one, but I didn’t.

So now that my parents know, they want all the details, and I’m just not willing to share. (My dad sent an e-mail asking when my shots started. I ignored it.). Honestly, my mom seems excited about the treatment. I keep emphasizing that this is a horrible emotional experience and there are no guarantees, but that doesn’t seem to stop her. I just don’t want to have to deal with her disappointment along with mine and H’s if this doesn’t work.

When this doesn’t work, I should say. I’ve pretty well convinced myself that the first one won’t work. I haven’t heard of anybody’s that did on the first try. I’m looking at the first try as a test to see how my body reacts and to see if H will be able to provide his end of the deal. I am scared we won’t have any fertilization, especially since H still hasn’t agreed to ICSI. He’s already told me that he probably won’t agree to doing ICSI on our first try. He seemed to be giving in to it, but when I wanted to sign the consent forms the other night he balked, saying he wasn’t ready. I argued with him, saying it wasn’t fair to put me through the egg retrieval if he wasn’t go to give us the best chance of having the eggs fertilize. He asked me to give him some time and I haven't brought it up since.

Any advice, ladies, on getting H to come around on ICSI? I’ve been doing way more research than him, so I feel comfortable with it, but I can’t tell him to take my word for it (he won’t) and I can’t tell him to ignore his own feelings about it. He does not like the fact that ICSI takes away any chance of natural selection.

Sorry this is so long.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Little About Me, Before the IF

First off, I want to apologize for the typos you may see in my posts and comments. I am a writer and editor, so you would think I could do better. The thing is, after writing at work all day, then working on my master's thesis at night, I just need to write what's on my mind without thinking too hard about it.

I wasn't always a writer. I started my career as a Theatre teacher, who occassionally taught a few English classes. My undergrad degrees were in English and Theatre, and the teaching job sort of fell on my lap right out of college. I decided not to pursue acting when I figured out that late night rehearsals and weekend performances really aren't that conducive to raising a family. I really enjoyed teaching and had some great students, who I still refer to as my kids, but after a few years I decided to go after a career that was more of my choosing. I don't think I had what it takes to really last in the teaching profession. It was so easy to burn out, especially as I was in a very rough school. I really admire those of you who are teachers and are dealing with IF. I feel your pain in trying to arrange subs for time off and dealing with kids who think you are a lesbian if you spend too much time with a female friend. :)

Anyhow, I thought about teaching at a Catholic school, but my main motivation for doing that was so that I would have an easier time raising my own kids with summers off and free Catholic school tuition. I decided sacrificing acting was already enough for the kids I didn't have yet, so I started looking at what I wanted to do with my writing skills. I figured I could always go back to teaching once I had kids.

My brief moment of career selfishness turned out to be very good for me. I found work writing about science and technology, something evidently most writers trying to earn a steady income don't like to do or don't do well. As a result, I suddenly had a very high salary for a writer. As the years went on, my earning power even surpassed H's, who had always teased me that I would never make as much as him with my English/Theatre degrees. He may have been teasing, but I believed him. I mean, writers are usually pretty low on the salary food chain. It's been a little surreal to be so successful in something that people told me I wouldn't be able to do. One of the things I am most grateful for right now is that I have a career I am proud of and that makes me happy.

In doing well at work, I was offered an even more lucrative position a year ago and I took it, right about the time we started ttc. The new job was more than I bargained for, though, in that there were all these personal dramas always going on in the office and the work itself wasn't valued by those in charge. I was putting in more hours than ever before, but producing less. So I started looking elsewhere, thinking that at any moment now I could get pregnant and knowing that this work environment would not be good for me to be in while raising a child. Most of my colleagues were single, childless women in their 40s and 50s, and I could tell from conversations that they would not have been open to me taking time off for maternity leave or working from home part time.

I found my current job right before my IF diagnosis, and it is the best place on earth to work if you want to start a family. I get paid the same amount as before, but I work less hours. I have a completely supportive and pregnant boss. I can work from home when I need to and almost all of my coworkers have little kids. It's just a very family friendly place. I have business trips about 4 times a year, and people are encouraged to bring their spouses and kids. They even have activities for them. I would get a 4 month maternity leave, paid at 50 percent. My vacation time is double what it was before, plus I now get sick leave to cover all my doctor visits. It's a dream come true after having to beg to leave an hour early for a doctor's appointment.

I was thinking I would get pregnant immediately once the job stress was over. Wrong. But at least I have a very good job situation for going through IVF. I can take off when I need to for the procedures without a lot of questions and I can work from home on days I have afternoon appointments.

I do have things to be very grateful for--H, my career, my new employer. I'm trying to remind myself of that. But I keep thinking back to myself as the teacher...who really loved her kids and was considering staying in a profession she didn't love in order to make it easier to have her own. Would I have kids by now if I had stayed a teacher? We probably would have started trying sooner. Would that have made a difference with H's subfertility? My left tube would probably have been okay back then.

I know you can't second guess yourself. It is what it is. But I just wonder how many of my choices contributed to the situation I am in right now, and how much of it was avoidable?