Friday, December 26, 2014

My Gossipy Mom At Christmas

I had imagined telling my parents about my pregnancy right before Christmas.  They already knew about the IVF, so that was the natural next step.  I was going to make a 2014 Christmas ornament.  Santa stork! Twin toy soldiers! After that, I knew my mom would tell anyone anywhere about the pregnancy, just like before my fun ectopic, and I was prepared for that risk.

I wasn't prepared for her to tell everyone and their dog about my OMG SO SAD FAILED IVF cycle.  At Christmas, everyone feels sorry for me and gives me "the look."  I accidentally stole the thunder of a relative who actually is pregnant.  Family who shouldn't have known have a bunch of sciency questions.

This is now my mom's most favorite topic, even in my presence, even over my dad's cancer, and even when she knows I doesn't want to talk about it.  I'm sure she's told everyone from her hair stylist to any neighbor willing to listen to this sad tale of medical failure and lost grandchildren.

I told mom we have to take a three month break.  This is a lie.  Mom has now decided to tell everyone that we will get pregnant naturally in these three months.  You know, like people who adopt or hire a surrogate and then get pregnant.  Ha Ha Ha!  Great story, mom.  Got any more jokes?

Now I have to decide whether to cut my mom off from future IVF information.  In the big scheme of things, I can handle people knowing.  This is my family.  I'm not going to break down in tears, and it wasn't that bad I guess, people were respectful, but it this a betrayal of my trust.  I am pissed she decided she could do whatever she wanted with this information, like always, but it makes me really sad for her to behave like this in something this crushing.  This isn't like "trying" for a while.  This is a fucking failed IVF cycle I put months of my life, money, effort into.  For fuck sake, my mom of all people should know that.  That said, I don't know if I can make it through another IVF round without my mom.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Failed IVF: The Gift That's Still Giving

After I failed at IVF, it just kept on giving me wonderful Christmas gifts.  I got another period, a yeast infection, and the flu.  Yay!

Well, now I got another gift.  IVF hormones reversed the laser hair removal that I got done years ago.  I knew pregnancy would, and I guess IVF has early!  I had to go dig a razor out of the back of the closet since it has been so long.  Weirdly, it's in these gross clumpy spots like a dalmation.  I guess it's not terrible, but big change.

Now I have to decide whether it's worth throwing down a few hundred bucks to get laser treatments when surely I'll be pregnant any minute.   Like always.  Free Beer.  Tomorrow.  I hate the idea of being a stirrup frequent flier with dalmation spots, ugh.

Oh, and please let me know your thoughts on my plan for next cycle on my WTF post.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

WTF Appointment and a Plan

Here I am back at this clinic Christmas tree covered in ornaments of twins.  Baby's First Christmas.  Days before Christmas, when I am seriously doubting if the universe is ever going to allow me to be a mother, we had our WTF appointment about our failed IVF #1.  I never wrote out "IVF #1" before and just said IVF, because I didn't think this would happen.  So, yea, WTF for IVF #1.

The WTF was what I expected in that there was no WTF.  Everything was textbook perfect.  Embryos, lining, hormones.  We have five near perfect frozen blasties.  Everything perfect except the part where it didn't work.  Oh, and whatever those cramps were after implantation.  No biggie.

I told the doctor my plan:

I want two babies.  (HA!)  Let me rephrase, universe, I would like to maybe try to have two babies someday if that is maybe ever possible, please, someday.  If I got pregnant with one of the frozen blasties this year-ish, by the time I came back again I would be 34-35, with some amount of frozen blasties left.  If that didn't work, it might be too late to do a fresh cycle?  I'd rather do a second fresh cycle now, at 32 1/2.  Then I'd have like 10 in the freezer from when I was 32, and it wouldn't matter if a cycle or five failed.

The doctor didn't like this plan.  He said to just use up the frozen, maybe get my twins and be done.  Maybe do a fresh round at 34 or whatever if I have to, that 32 and 34 isn't a huge difference statistically.  But, as has proven true in reproductive concierge medicine, it's my call and I can always go fresh if I want to and have the cash.  Haven't made a decision yet.

I'm also seriously thinking about just transferring one at a time for all this.  I'm thinking the risks of twins are not worth it if I can avoid it.  I didn't spring this one on him this because I know, stats, less successful, blah blah blah.  But I am seriously thinking that I would rather do a fresh cycle with one and then have ten in the freezer and do them one at time too.  I definitely need to talk to my crazy OBGYN about this one.

I asked about the video showing the embryos grow like Pregnant in my Forties had.  I thought that was just the coolest thing!!!  He said, yes, it is cool, but it does not improve your likelihood of getting pregnant and they do not do anything that does not increase your likelihood of getting pregnant or add any unnecessary increased risk or complication.  Well then, fun police.  Guess you can't buy whatever you want in concierge medicine.

He said I'm required to do at least a six week break.  I'm thinking even that isn't enough.  I'm going to take that vacation I put off.  I'm going to drink a whole bottle of tequila.  I'm going to ski.  Maybe I'll get a spray tan.  Maybe I'll get a new job.  I'm open to input on my plans.  I'm open to anything life has to offer right now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gambling on Starting Over

Failing at IVF has been life altering to me.  Life had to punch me in the face for me to see it.  This could take YEARS, and this might never work.  I'm a giant ball of doubt.

My sperm donor was dropped by his major client, and my clients are boring and mostly on the phone.  And now, other than our families a few hours away, we have nothing holding us here.  I got offered a pretty sweet job in Las Vegas six months ago that I turned down -- obviously  I would be pregnant any second.  Now Vegas is starting to look more appealing.  That's why gambling has been on my mind.

I've been to Las Vegas twice, and I don't remember much of either time.  I don't like gambling, but I do like booze and food and shows.  I don't know much about Vegas.  But I have priorities, you guys, so I know Las Vegas has two IVF clinics that reported their SART data (what????) and they're nowhere close as good stats as the good clinics in this giant city.  But Vegas does seem to have like twice as many tubal cases, go figure.  Maybe it's the super gonorrhea.  And yes, I am allowed to make jokes like that because obviously my tubes are jacked too.

This Vegas job is a big-shot-career-woman job, like the one I left, with a nice office.  The kind where you would never see your fancy  Las Vegas apartment -- or your kid, if you had one.  But I don't have a kid.  And I won't have a kid for at least a year.  If I can ever manage to have a kid, I guess.  So what's stopping me from taking some big shot career woman job now?

I planned my life and dialed back my career for something that didn't happen.  I made IVF my life, and I acted as if pregnancy were the certain outcome.  I can't be on hold for years.  Next IVF round, there's no reason I couldn't take off a couple days and keep working.  If I keep sitting on my butt in my half-ass job and never manage to have a kid, then I will have nothing at all.  At least if I take the job, I'll have my career, at least until I can actually figure this kid thing out.  And if I can ever manage to get pregnant, we can work it out from there.

After so much failure and heartbreak, I am kind of drawn to starting all over in a place where I don't know anyone and would have a totally new, demanding job.  At least I wouldn't be thinking about what could have been all the time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Failed IVF: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Well, my IVF cycle failed, so I got to stop taking my estrogen and progesterone.  I had no idea what would happen after that.   Why didn't they warn me?

I guess that awful period I had exactly 14 days after my trigger was not good enough, because I had ANOTHER period, though this one seems milder so far.  And then I got a yeast infection from the progesterone, haven't had one in years.  That's what I get for joking about buying Monistat.  And then I got the flu.  Well, the flu was probably not from the IVF, but you get the point.

My poor body has been through too much.  I am so exhausted.  I feel terrible.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Beta 4 and A Run In

Beta was 4, which is awesome because it is dropping and almost zero.  Still have to come in next week.  Of course I do.  This means I can probably avoid methotrexate or a D&C or anything happening to my other tube.  I am now off of ectopic watch and I can stop taking these awful meds.  Good.  I mean, not good because it means the entire IVF cycle failed.  But good that at least I avoided that nastiness.

At check out, I saw a former co-worker (male) with I guess his wife.  In any other context, I would have said hi.  Hell, if I were buying granny panties and Monistat at the Wal Mart check out, I would have said hi and tried to catch up.  But the fertility clinic.  After a failed IVF cycle...

I hid in the bathroom like a boss.  It had three stalls, and I was just messing with my iPad at the sink, after I got sick of sitting on a toilet.  Check out can take forever sometimes.  The lady who came in and left must have thought I was crazy.  But the fertility clinic is a terrible place to run into someone you know.  Actually, I'm shocked that has never happened in the last 18 months!  But this is a big city with a lot of clinics.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ectopic Watch

A new, bossy nurse called back on Saturday.  I guess they ran my blood again???  Bossy Nurse asked me about my medicine, progesterone suppositories and estrogen patches, times, dates, witnesses.  Have you been taking your medicine???  I admitted to pulling off the damn patches and skipping a day of progesterone after I got a 2.2 beta and told to come back for the zero.  But I took them again on Wednesday, even though I hate progesterone, so it should have been fine for my Friday draw.  I'd rather be on Lupron than progesterone.  And these estrogen patches are gross and sticky.  I did myself a favor and didn't even bother to google the side effects of estrogen.

So, yes, more or less, I have been taking my stupid medicine that will not work.  I then got a whole bunch of instructions that I didn't get at my emergency ectopic scan yesterday.  I guess I am now on something called "ectopic watch" which is a lot less cool than it sounds.  I'm not allowed to travel.  I got a new phone number to call if I have "sharp, shooting pain" or "heavy bleeding" or "dizziness and lightheadedness."  Fun.

I caved and bought a pack of Wondfos.  Two Wondfos on Thursday, when my beta was somewhere between 6-15 were negative.  So I took another today, hoping it would be negative and maybe this would be over.  Nope, got a squinter.  Ugh.  I'm way beyond thinking this could work, but that would definitely require a screaming BFP by now.  So I was hoping for negative.  The one time I actually want this Wondfo to be negative, it's a squinter.
  And all those pre-Thanksgiving Wondfos white as the driven snow. 3 Wondfos down, 47 to go.

EDIT:  On Sunday, I got another squinter first thing in the morning, and it's just as squinty as yesterday's squinter, in most light you can't even see it.  4 Wondfos down, 46 to go.  Guess I'm getting methotrexate next week.

EDIT:  Got barely a squinter Sunday night, and a negative on Monday morning!  Maybe this will go to zero on its own, and I will avoid a bunch of nastiness tomorrow!  44 Wondfos to go.

EDIT:  Another negative Monday night!  Maybe this is going to be OK.  43 Wondfos left.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Ghost of Christmas Future

My beta was 15.  This combined with my estrogen was of grave concern.  I'm on estrogen patches, so I don't get it, but whatever.  I'm done trying to figure out betas or pretend like I have any kind of control in this.

I went in for an emergency scan for an ectopic.  Scan showed nothing.  Come back next week and we will come up with a plan, assuming I don't bleed out and die before then.  So maybe I get an abortion for Christmas!

Sometime between Wednesday and Friday, the clinic put up a giant Christmas tree in the waiting room covered in Baby's First Christmas ornaments.  And of course the ornaments all have pictures of smiling twins in matching Christmas outfits.  Twins dangling just out of reach.

It occurred to me that Baby's First Christmas won't happen for me this year.  And then Christmas Future punched me in the gut.  I was trying really hard not to cry in the waiting room but did not quite succeed.  With how badly this has gone, and with how much time it will take to do something else, it probably can't even happen by next Christmas either.

That means Four Christmases as a grinch who just wants what comes so easily to everyone else.  Four Christmases waiting for my baby.  God, I'll be looking at this giant Christmas tree again next year covered in even more twins, while my heart is two sizes too small.  Hell, I might be looking at this same damn tree for years.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fear of the 6

My beta was 6.  I was very confused by the nurse.  I'm supposed to keep taking my estrogen patches and progesterone, even though the nurse said we just have to keep watching for it to drop to zero.  And I guess the worst period I've ever had means nothing?  WTF???

But my thoughts immediately went to waking up in the recovery room.  Wouldn't it just be a swell Christmas present if I could both fail at IVF AND blow my other tube at the same time!  Still a couple weeks for 2014 to punch me in the face a few times.  And now I'm so scared I'm going to pass out on the kitchen floor alone and bleed out.

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's Really Dark in Here

It's really dark in here.

I knew IVF was a coinflip, putting all my money on red.  But somehow sitting for a 2.2 (WTF) beta in front of a corkboard covered in pictures of smiling twins after a "perfect" cycle with two "perfect" day 5 blasties, it all feels like a trick.  Like they are dangling some scant hope just out of reach for what I want the most.  And I know that as long as I have the money, I'll play another hand.

I hate gambling, and yet here I am at this beautiful, expensive poker table where it smells nice and drinks are free.  But make no mistake, the house always wins.  Failed IVF.  I can't even say it out loud.  The casino isn't this nice because of the guy who busted the dealer and left.  It's the guy who played blackjack all night and blew all his money hoping for that next hand that would be the big win.  The clinic makes more money the more I keep showing up.  That's why I have to throw down fifty more bucks to make sure my 2.2 drops to zero.  That's why I have to double down on another hand next month.  The house always wins.  I read someone thought they had a 75% success rate at IVF, which is higher than any clinic in the world.  I guess we believe what we want to believe.  And boy did I buy what they were selling.  I am most upset at myself for letting myself believe this would work.

While I'm mixing gambling metaphors, this casino's comps suck.  The nurse didn't care.  Hell, I'd want to get off that call too.  Haven't even heard from the doctor.  I would have asked him for a few days of Valium so I can get through my client meetings without hysterically crying.  I'm not ready to talk to anyone, especially my mom, ugh.  I texted a few people.  I got a frowny face.  I got a "that sucks."  A couple didn't respond.  I got some sympathetic words, some words of wisdom, some digital hugs.  But I can't feel it.  I get it.  What is there to say?  It won't help.  And, again, I find myself wishing I had told fewer people.   That I was less exposed.  My friend with a failed cycle was helpful, but what are you supposed to say?  There's no way to be prepared for how this feels, even if I had tried.

The thing about grief is that you just have to plow through it.  No one can do it for you.  It's even more fucked up when that grief took all this time and money and effort.  I canceled my vacation.  I quit working out.  I changed my job.  I lost my sex life.  I have put my whole marriage at risk.  I have given up on my life for this.  It's really dark in here, and I have no idea where I am going.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Showing Some Basic Compassion for Infertiles

I just read a story where someone announced their pregnancy (not even out of the first trimester) at Thanksgiving dinner, in front of a relative that she KNEW was struggling with infertility.  Not surprisingly, that infertile woman cried in the other room for 20 minutes.  And the OMG pregnant person is being a really big person because she isn't demanding an apology from the person she humiliated because she couldn't bother to give her a heads up before this little display.  Wow, how generous.

As someone who has been on the receiving end of this, I'm so humiliated for this poor woman at Thanksgiving dinner.  It's bad enough when it's just oblivious fertiles who are all ME ME ME and have no idea what you are feeling.  But if someone with a freaking infertility blog knows you are suffering with infertility, for fuck sake, why not just give her a heads up?

I'll never forget when my smug pregnant family member announced her first trimester pregnancy not long after my awful, life-threatening surgery, that killed my baby.  Not everyone knew about the surgery.  I didn't even think this relative knew about it.  But she made a veiled, humorous reference to ME and to the surgery.  I will never forget that she made me cry in front of probably 20 family members.  I will never forget that she knew I was suffering and used it against me.  Our relationship will never be the same.

Infertiles obviously know everyone else in the family is going to get pregnant, and we are supposed to smile and send money and gush about your glow, I know.  But if you're going to announce it at dinner so that this whole holiday can be about you and your wonderful, magical pregnancy, just give me a heads up so I don't humiliate myself by crying in front of everyone again after another failed cycle.  I don't think that's too much to ask.  And I'm never going to apologize if you can't have basic compassion for me after I trusted you enough to tell you about my struggles in infertility.

Giving Up

Today is 7dp5dt.  I woke up to blood.   I mean serious blood everywhere, and I started to cry.  I sat there on the toilet and just cried.  In the country at a beautiful cottage full of wonderful food and family.  Two days after Thanksgiving.  Eventually my sperm donor woke up, and he had no idea what to do.  He just started packing the bags so we could leave.  And then he got some really, really bad news from work.  So bad they sent it on Saturday after a holiday.

I was still Googling.  Blood is no big deal.  It says so on the instructions.  It says so on the internet.  Way too early for a period anyway right?  In 20 mins it had stopped and was just some dried blood.  WTF.  Even though we were around loving family, we didn't tell them anything.  We just left.

I had one Wondfo pregnancy test left, so I took it.  Negative.  I'm not even going to buy more.  There is nothing I can do about it.  Why do I even try to convince myself I'm in some kind of control?  I do still have a stack of Wondfo ovulation kits, for all the good those did me.

Life has been punching us in the face all year.  I just thought maybe we could have some good news.  And after everything was finally going perfectly, and everything finally seemed like it was working, life reminds me that it can take it all away in a second.

I understand now why people give up on fertility treatments.  Heck fertile people act like IVF is just like ordering a really expensive pizza.  Just order another right?  There were a couple IUIs that gutted me, like curled up in a ball for a day gutted.  But most of the failures I kind of expected.  10% success rate, you know.  It wasn't the end of the world.  Just a couple scans and a catheter.  Try again.

IVF wasn't like that.  I let myself believe it would work.  And it took SO MUCH: resources, physically, emotionally, time.  I feel like an idiot for going through all of this in a process that doesn't even work that well.  What did I think 60% meant?  It meant I was flipping a coin, more or less.  I don't know if I can take any more failure.  I don't know if I can take any more bad news this year.  I mean just for this Christmas I wish I could get some good news for a change.  Just waiting for this stupid beta on Monday, I guess.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

When the Bee Stings

Last night, I got stung by a freaking bee.  I haven't been stung since I was a kid.  The day before Thanksgiving at 9PM.  A freaking bee.  Inside.  At night.  God.  That's what I get for going to the country for Thanksgiving.

It started to swell up and I started wheezing.  I started Googling like a mad woman.  I didn't even have anyone to call.  I mean I have a couple nurse or doctor friends, but I wasn't about to ask them "What do I do when I get stung by a bee four days after my 5dt?"  I couldn't risk a trip to the ER.  I took two Benadryls.  Normally, I would have taken like ten with an allergic reaction, and Benadryl is safe during pregnancy, so I tried to talk myself down that it was ok.

Even if Benadryl is OK, poison obviously is not.  And then started to freak out and I was hysterically crying that what if this stupid bee messed everything up after all this.  I'm sure the fun progesterone emotions helped my stay cool and collected.  And then my breathing got shallow, and I had to go lie down to keep myself from having a full on panic attack.  After all I've been through being so cautious and making it through so many risky parts of this process, I get stung by a stupid bee.

I haven't even had any HERBAL TEA since the transfer.  I've been off painkillers, antacids, even getting my nails done or my dye job touched up.  I use fragrance free lotion, and I even changed my shampoo.   And here I am on Thanksgiving five days after transfer with a random poison affecting my breathing.  I feel fine now and the swelling is way down.  I'm not taking anymore Benadryl though.

I feel better now.  It's Thanksgiving and I have a lot to be thankful for.  Even if it fails, I have five frosties on ice.  Now I just have to cool it for a couple days.  I've decided that this is going to work, and I should test positive in the next couple days.  A negative this morning means nothing.  That Monday beta seems ages away.  Can't believe I got stung by a freaking bee.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What a Difference in One Day, 3dp5dt

Wow, this has been a whiplash day.

Last night, 2dp5dt, my cramps kicked in like I've never felt before.  It felt like my uterus being ripped out and then they started rippling through my lower back that started spasming all night and I freaked the hell out.  At 10AM when it was still excruciating, I called the nurse practically crying.

They fit me in for a scan, which showed nothing.   No fluid.  Ovaries even looked less swollen than the doctor expected.  Dildo cam didn't even feel sore.   Everything was perfect.  No signs of infection.  Take some Tylenol.  Ugh.

And then a few hours later I started to perk up.  I started to feel like a human again!  I even got the lovey, pot-smoking feeling of progesterone that all is good with the world.  I FIT INTO PANTS WITH BUTTONS!

But I still have to make it to sleep tonight.  I haven't managed to sleep a whole night on progesterone and my terrible nightmares are back.  I hate progesterone.  Here's to hoping the insomnia will fade and all will be good.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Taking it Easy

Transferred two, and now I am taking it easy.  This is surprisingly hard.  I couldn't lift the pot of all the food I made for the potluck.  I couldn't help with any of the bins of Christmas decorations or with putting up the tree or hanging the lights.  And I still can't work out, which is driving me insane.  I can't even really bend over to pick things up without squashing my tender ovaries.

Of course, I've been POAS every day after reading all these people who tested positive four, five days after their 5dt.  And then the cramping started.  Last night, 1dp5dt it felt like straight up period cramps, maybe the milder kind.  And it hasn't stopped today, 2dp5dt.  The nurse hasn't called me back, and I can't figure out if this is good and means I'm pregnant, or if something is very wrong.  The Tylenol did nothing, as usual.  I've never actually been pregnant in my uterus, so maybe that's just what it feels like?

The lab froze 1 5AA, two 4AAs, 1 4BB and 1 4BA, for five good quality blasties total.  I guess that's good, and I hope that's enough because I really don't want to go through that again.

I still can't wear pants with buttons, but I feel better than before the retrieval.  I can still kind of feel my tender ovaries, but it's getting better.  Here's to hoping for a BFP soon.

Edit:  Nurse called me back.  Cramping is normal and means nothing, even if it's really bad.  Great.  Tylenol.  Spotting is also OK, and everything is fine unless I am bleeding heavily or bloating up.  So I guess I am supposed to feel this crappy.  Great.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Friday Before, Implanting Two or One?

Tomorrow is the big transfer date...

The doctor called to tell me that the embryos are high quality and look so good that based on my age the recommendation of the ASRM is to only transfer one.  He said they would recommend two if I were older, if they were lower quality, or if I only had two.  Hmmm.

Then, without missing a beat, he said only 5% opt for one transfer in my age range.  And it's my decision.  Nice.  He said my odds would be about 40% with one transfer, 60% with two.

I'm kind of pissed he didn't tell me this earlier.  I feel like I would have done some research on why this is the recommendation.  I mean, I get that the ASRM is probably just covering its ass after Octomom and twins are risky, I get that.  Twins are also expensive and a drain on the system, blah blah.  I hear NHS only transfers one in this situation, probably because they would rather pay for a cheap FET than twins.  (Or make the patient pay for the FET!)  Makes sense to me financially in a country with reasonable healthcare.

I'm also kind of pissed he didn't tell me more doctor advice, like how serious risks with twins really are.  Now I'm wishing I had time to go see the OB.  Ugh.  I really wish I had his opinion.  I think I might text him, I guess.

I can buy insurance to cover my twins.  I am 32 and healthy, and there's no reason I shouldn't be able to carry twins as well as anyone else.  I recognize there are risks to twins, obviously.  But my mom with the zinger.  If my grandmother, who was 4'11" (1.5m), carried twins in 1949 to almost full term, then surely I can do it.  We have a lot of natural twins in my family, and other than one miscarriage, they haven't had any problems.

Besides, I have already decided I'm going to have my twins by Christmas, and to do that, I need to implant two.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Million Updates

Well, IVF just got real, and you know what, we might actually be able to pull this off.  All I've wanted for Christmas since 2012 was to be pregnant.

Retrieval Monday, and it was ROUGH.  I puked my guts out after like three times all over the recovery room and the heating pad.  It was humiliating.  I could feel my painful ovaries just knocking around things and into each other.  They said it would be painful because of the "manipulation" to get the eggs.  What???  They wouldn't give me any real drugs, so I took half a 7.5 Lortab, ironically from my ectopic a million years ago.  I also happened to have a really nice heating pad from that ectopic, which I swear I don't remember ordering, and it was unused.  Best thing ever!  I can't believe they didn't warn me I would need a heating pad.  Do people just have these lying around???  Half a Lortab did the trick, and then Tylenol took it down to just yucky crampy feeling of too big, raw ovaries.

Tuesday was still rough.  It hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, it hurt to lay down.  It really hurt to change from one to another.  I was at high risk for OHSS, as I expected, so I am supposed to have a high sodium, high protein diet.  I have been surviving on Gatorade, sunflower seeds, and protein shakes.  Really haven't been very hungry because I feel like crap.

Today, Thursday, I feel better.  I kind of have a waist now, so that's a good sign.  Swelling is way down.  If I sit still I feel OK.  I can't even imagine exercising or anything though.  I read someone ran four days post retrieval, and I can't even imagine that jostling.  Ouch.  I went to the grocery store, and even that walking was probably too much.

29 eggs harvested, 20 mature, 12 fertilized.  Right now, 2 are looking slow, and the rest are looking good enough to freeze/transfer!  On Saturday we are going to transfer two!
 I'm kind of in disbelief that everything is going well. It's been so long in my life that everything has gone to plan I don't even know what to do!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stay Calm and Avoid OHSS

Triggered last night, Stim Day 8, surgery is now less than 24 hours away.  I changed my mind on my ignorance policy and asked for vague stats.  I have over 15 follicles on my right, and over 10 on my left.  Holy crap, that explains why I'm off balance and it hurts to wear clothes, walk, sit down, lie down, or stand.  Maybe if I could float in zero gravity it wouldn't hurt, but I doubt it.

My estrogen level is almost 6,000.  A quick check on Dr. Google, MD revealed that I should immediately panic because such a high estrogen level means I will get OHSS.  Nothing has been easy in this whole process, so that would seem about right for my lack of luck.

But my estrogen was 2,500 before the trigger, so now I don't know how accurate Google MD is.  The nurse said everything looked absolutely perfect, so why am I panicking now?  I even listened to her voicemail again.  Everything looks perfect.  I could really use a drink.  Or some Oxy tomorrow, but my doctor only lets you have Tylenol BOO.  Maybe I can get some better meds after my surgery.

I really shouldn't have googled everyone's nightmare results from painful retrivals and OHSS.  I couldn't sleep and I kept reading them for hours and hours.  That isn't going to happen to me right?  I just need everything to go as planned for once.  I need to be one of those women who wake up the next day feeling relieved and refreshed, pop a Tylenol, and everything is just fine.  And then I'll have a glass of nice wine in no pain in the beautiful winter weather.  Maybe even wearing pants with buttons.  Yes, that will be me.  And twins by Christmas.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ignorance is Bliss Stim Day 7

I went full on ignorance today, stim day 7.  This morning, I asked for no info at my scan.  Just tell me if it looks ok, if there's something I need to know/do/eat/show up for and if we are still on schedule for the retrieval.  I asked for no information about my estrogen level when the nurse called with my dosage.  There's nothing I can do about it, and besides, I can always change my mind at my next scan, tomorrow.  On Saturday.

I feel like my lower regions just keep expanding.  When I stand I'm off balance.  It feels yucky and bloaty and sometime crampy.  Ugh.  I'm wearing yoga pants and working from home at least, since I put my client meetings earlier.  Whose idea was this again?  My husband said that if he had to do IVF for us to get pregnant it would just never happen.  Great.  Thanks.

Doctor said we are on schedule for Tuesday or Wednesday retrieval.  That's awesome because then I can drink at my friend's Thankgiving potluck on Friday.  Lawd knows I've earned those delicious drinks.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Massage on Stim Day 6

My reiki guy canceled yesterday, which is for the best because I was feeling so blah and bloated and in my cozy fleece, not really wanting to brave the cold for some energy waves.  I did carry around my rose quartz in my purse though.

This morning, I had my regular massage guy, who it turns out is also into reiki, so I guess I got a two-fer, ha.  Still not really sure what reiki is.  I normally get pretty athletic massages with all the working out, but this one was hot stones, and it was HEAVEN.  I was so bloatey and achey and just blah, and I walked out feeling so much better.

A relaxation hot stone massage with the table heater and all that was soooo nice, exactly what I needed.  I booked one for Monday too, Day 10 of stims.

My estrogen was up to 1200 on Stim Day 5, which I guess is high because they knocked back my Gonal to 75, and no Menopur at all.  Now I am TOTALLY FREAKING out that I am going to hyper-stimulate and it will all be cancelled or I'll end up in the hospital or something.  It sure feels like a lot is happening down there.  The swelling actually feels like before my ectopic ruptured.  At the time, I thought it was a nice full feeling, now it's sheer panic.

I guess I will know more at my scan tomorrow.  I'm still believing in my twins by Christmas!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bootcamp and IVF Do Not Mix

Don't try this one at home.  BOOT CAMP ON DAY 3 OF STIMS WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA.  I woke up with every muscle we worked out stiff, sore and achey.  It was like when I went to boot camp after being sedentary  for a few years and was so painful and sore all over.  But it was even worse because it also had a touch of flu ache that semed to almost radiate.  It was awful.  And I had to work early and deal with a bunch of clients.  UGH.  I could feel every muscle from every crunch or push up.  It was only my upper body though, so I guess my squats and lunges weren't so bad.

So I took the only non-fertility/prenatal drug that I have touched since I started Lupron.  One non-extra strength Tylenol.  I could still feel every oblique.  Every shoulder muscle.  Some weird muscles in my neck.  I think there's even a muscle at the base of my skull.  I've been going to boot camp for months, and I didn't think those exercises were doing anything.  Clearly they were.  Ouch.

My massage guy was booked, and I felt AWFUL.  I was only getting more tense and achey, and it was completely freaking me out.  So I did the only thing I could think of.  After I dealt with my clients, I went to get a pedicure and sat in the massage chair at the nail place.  It has never felt better, andI usually find it annoying.  In 30 minutes I went from feeling like I had a half flu to feeling almost human.  I almost fell asleep in the freaking chair.  So no more boot camp.  I'm just going to take it easy now.  And also, something is clearly going on with my circulation, so maybe I need more massages and stuff.  Eight days to retrival!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Whoa Nelly, Stims Too Fast!

I was cleared to exercise until tomorrow, Day 4 of stims.  So today, Day 3, I went to boot camp and then to Zumba at lunch.  It didn't feel right.  I was dizzy, I was uncoordinated, I feel bloaty and awful, and my body was telling me to STOP.  So I did.  I felt like an idiot walking out 10 minutes into a Zumba class, but whatever, just pretended like I had an important call.  Now exercise is over.

My E2, Stim Day 3, was at 405, which is good, I guess.  They lowered my Menopur dose.

I booked two massages, one this week, one the day after retrival, and I booked a special private yoga session with a new age-y reiki yoga kind of teacher two days after the retrival.  We're going to focus on fertility and healing and no inflammation or something.

I also booked a reiki energy session Wednesday based on the rec of the yoga instructor.  I have to bring a crystal.  So I ordered a rose quartz crystal.  I'm not even sure what all of this means, but I have plenty of time on my hands if I'm not going to the gym and it can't hurt.  And I would love to focus on something I feel like I can control or at least have a stupid distraction that isn't googling terrible medical things.  So reiki it is.  I would do pretty much anything if it would help, including carrying around a rose quartz crystal.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Junkie in the Bathroom

On Friday, I shot myself up with Lupron in a restaraunt bathroom about halfway through a nine-course wine pairing dinner.  I got to have exactly one glass of wine, and it was over so soon.  Oh, I hardly knew you, delicious minerally white burgundy chablis.

I thought this would be quick, but I was not smart enough to balance my purse and the alcohol and the syringe and I dropped it all at one point.  Luckily, I was alone and I just laughed.  Good thing I brought another needle.  This was ridiculous.  I moved to the wheelchair stall, which didn't help.  I still didn't have enough hands or enough surfaces or hooks or something.  Eventually I figured it out.  I hope I didn't contaminate myself in a beautiful bathroom that looked clean enough.

I did it quickly, I didn't overthink it.  And then I was back at a nine course wine pairing with no wine, which was a big deal.  I bet the other couple thinks I'm pregnant, but they didn't ask and we didn't volunteer.  Just an awkward silence.  I wish I could be truthful and live in my truth or whatever, but I can't be any more exposed right now.  So instead, I'm just a Lupron junkie in the bathroom.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Being a Friend to an Infertile

I really liked this post from The Runaway Stork about advising newbie infertiles navigating this treacherous territory.  I posted that the thing that surprised me the most was my friends' shitty responses.  I have great friends (I thought) and they love me (I thought) so they will support me!  It will be great!

Last night I was crying my eyes out to someone I thought was a dear friend, and she made a joke about me borrowing her kids.  She was holding my hand after my surgery recovery.  How could she not get it?

I know it's crappy to be a friend to an infertile, especially as a friend with kids.  It's not their fault their bodies worked correctly.  It's not their fault IVF is so painful and stressful and time consuming and expensive.  And what are they supposed to say exactly?  It's hard.  There's no good answer for anyone.

Looking back, I wish I had educated more of my (close) friends.  I wish I had texted that I was having a hard time. I wish I texted that I just screamed for fifteen minutes in my car in the parking lot of an infertility clinic.  I wish I had told them when I needed them and no one was around.  I wish I had said that I just needed someone to cry with me after another loss.  Another failure.  There were a lot of times I was not OK, and I felt like no one could hear me.  It's why I started this blog.  So I could scream into the silence of cyberspace instead of my car.  And maybe pretend like someone can hear me.

Looking back, I would have told less people.  I feel like so many have used this information to hurt me, even if it isn't what they intended to do.  Those that did know and should have cared didn't.  I wish I were less exposed.  I wish my friend I cried my eyes out just sent a text and said "hope everything goes well at the doctor" or something.  I wish someone gave a shit.  I wish the friends I confided in actually cared about this precious, precarious situation.  I wish it weren't a fucking joke or no big deal to them.

And maybe I could have been a better friend too.  Maybe I could have been there more when someone lost her mom or got fired instead of stuck in the pit of my own hurt and resentment.  Maybe I could have at least stopped by the 1 year old's birthday party.  Or maybe I could have sent an email about why I couldn't.  I didn't because I didn't understand.  And it made me a crappy friend.  I didn't educate them because I didn't understand.  I'll never know if it was them or me, but I know it will never be the same.

Tonight I'm going to dinner with Leah, who is opposed to IVF and doesn't know I'm doing it.  I get exactly one drink tonight, so that should be a dead giveaway something is off at a nine course wine pairing dinner.  Maybe she'll think I'm pregnant.  I know there's no way I'm telling her.  I can't take any more exposure, especially to someone I know will be hostile.  This will also be the first time I get to shoot myself up in the bathroom of a public place because of the timing, so that should be fun.

Funny thing is I never expected my husband to get it because men, but I did expect my female friends to get it.  Maybe that isn't fair.  Maybe it's a journey you just have to walk alone.  No one can be strong for me, and at the end of the day no one gets it.  Maybe expecting too much from people so removed from the process will only lead to disappointment.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Stims Coming Soon, Feeling Good!

On Saturday I start my Gonal F/Menopur combo.

The doctor said I could have ONE drink on Friday.   Hooray!  We are scheduled for a fancy dinner with some friends, and I am looking forward to that one drink.  I am going to look forward to that one drink for two days and I am going to savor it, because it will be my last for a while.

I am also cleared to exercise all I want until Tuesday.  I scheduled golf, Zumba, boot camp, latin dance, pilates, and spin in that time.   Last call for endorphins.

Doctor also said no need to do acupuncture.  I guess the literature is mixed, and it can help in some cases, but I'm straight tubal, so no need.  Awesome.  I hate acupuncture, and I love my massage guy, so I'll just stick with that.

I laid out all my syringes.  I am so excited.  I feel really hopeful and empowered and just EXCITED.  This is a great feeling.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Giving Up Working Out?

Tomorrow is my first scan since I started Lupron injections.  I guess it's to make a plan for stims to start on Saturday.  Wow.  This is getting real.  The one thing that has kept me sane so far is working out an unreasonable amount.  I've seriously become some kind of gym person.

When I went to my first fertility consult, a few doctors ago, two years ago, they said I needed to lose 40 lbs to do IVF, or more accurately that I needed a "normal" BMI to do IVF.  I was just a boring, sedentary fattie, but I knew something had to change or I wouldn't get my baby.  Even then I knew over a year of IUIs would fail, I guess.  Since then, I've been working out five times a week and lost almost all that weight.  I'm still a touch over "normal" but the new doctor didn't seem to care at all.  I don't look overweight anymore and I'm definitely more fit than a lot of "normal" people.

Since we actually started IVF, I doubled my exercise to boot camp in the morning for an hour plus zumba/yoga/pilates in the evening.  It was the only way I could think of to deal with the stress since I can't drink.  Boo.  It's also the only way I can think of to prepare to carry these twins to make myself as fit as I can in this moment.

I know that once stims start exercise is dangerous, and I can't do it.  Ugh.  I need to ask the doctor I guess.  Cold turkey for 2WW and then the first couple weeks?  That's a long time...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Feeling Good on Lupron

I'm still feeling pretty good about Lupron.  I am still tired.  It's the weirdest thing.  I just hit the wall at some point and I'm out like a light switch.  Bra on.  Sunglasses on.  WTF.   But that's cool.  I'll take it, especially for a medication that is supposed to have insomnia as a side effect and compared to progesterone and Clomid which did give me wicked insomnia.  No hot flashes, no headaches, no other problems really.  I do have to pee all the time, but that's no biggie, and I better get used to it.

Lupron has really lifted my mood.  Or maybe it's getting the cycle started.  I don't know.  This feels more manic than my usual good mood.  I feel pretty good about this cycle, about the universe, about my friends.  I've had so many great phone chats in the last couple days and everything just feels great at this moment.

Of course, stims start next weekend, and then shit gets real.  But for now, me and Lupron are cool.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


I was going to write a post here about about my meds so far (Lupron, Dexamethasone, and a prenatal, and nothing else) actually made me feel pretty damn good.  I don't have any hot flashes, headaches, all the other stuff people didn't like about these drugs.

I've been working out two hours every day, boot camp in the morning and something like yoga or dance in the evening, got a massage, have been eating better than I have in my entire life.  For god sake, I had poached eggs, avacado, smoked salmon and one piece of whole gran toast for breakfast.  No drinking.  No allergy medicine.  I felt great!

And then I got home from a client meeting this afternoon at 2PM and just thought I'd lie down for a minute.  I fell asleep for two hours!  I got plenty of sleep. I haven't napped in years, especially not passed out on the couch in my bra and hose with a phone ringing.  I missed like two important calls.  :/  Whoa.  So, I'm tired.  But other than that, I feel pretty great.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Big Steps!

Shit just got real.  Monday was the start of my shots.  Couple weeks of Lupron, then to stims.

My sperm donor even left a business dinner/meeting to give me my shot, even though I told him he didn't need to.  I thought it was sweet of him to come support me like that, even though it was just an insulin needle.  Still, feels like a big step.

I'm working out like a fiend because soon I won't be able to.  This morning I went to boot camp, and this afternoon I'm going to Zumba.  Yesterday I went to yoga and boot camp.  I've done everything in the last couple weeks I won't be able do anymore: drinking, kickboxing, ice skating, golfing.  I even got a spray tan for the first time, just because I could, which was ridiculous and stupid and I looked like a housewife of New Jersey.

My supplements are now forbidden.  Now, it's just a prenatal and the meds on the med calendar.  The hardest part to me has been no allergy medicine.  No Claritin, no Benadryl, and I've been suffering.  But I can deal, and, in the broader scheme of this awful process, I can deal with a constantly runny nose from whatever the trees are doing around here.  Big steps...  I can feel the success coming!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Christmas Hope

Many moons ago, Christmas 2012, I said to my husband that what I wanted for Christmas was to be pregnant next Christmas.  When Christmas 2013 rolled around, I said the same thing.   I just want to be pregnant for Christmas.

Christmas 2014 is coming soon.  Christmas music is already here.  I just ordered a Christmas scented candle.  I have waited for this Christmas gift for SO long.  If everything goes to plan, my first betas will be in the first few days of December, which would mean I could tell our immediate relatives at Christmas.  (No hiding anyway when you're in IVF yay).

In 2012, I believed I would be pregnant by Christmas.  I bought a Christmas baby onesie on sale (size 6 months), which I know will be triggering when I get the Christmas bins out, lawd knows it was last year.  In 2012, I believed I would be pregnant by Christmas, but in 2013, I didn't.  I didn't believe anything, I didn't buy anything, I didn't make any promises, I just held on for dear life.  I didn't allow myself to believe my wish.  I didn't allow myself to visualize my dream.  I squashed out all the hope.

This time, as I start IVF, I can feel the hope bubbling up in me again.  The kind of hope that makes me want to buy tiny Christmas stockings to announce my twins.  This is crazy.  This kind of hope has only hurt me, and it has only whiplashed back around into pain that brought me to my knees.  When it comes to this whole process, hope has only brought pain and suffering.  This time is going to be different.  I'm hoping, and I'm hoping and believing bigger than I ever have before.  I believe I'll have my twins this Christmas.  I can see it.  I can feel it.  I believe for this Christmas.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Giant Box of Meds

I got my giant box of meds today!  The box was so big it didn't fit in my trunk. I had to move the seat back and put it in the passenger seat.

Total $4,718.62, copay 119.49.  I'm on a lot less meds than many of the ladies, and this feels like A LOT.  I'll update my cost list once I figure out this giant spreadsheet of meds and money.  I'm scared now.  Yikes!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Shots Coming Soon

Great news on Friday.  The insurance company approved the IVF and the ICSI.  Wow.  I have no idea why they picked up the ICSI, but I know they picked up the IVF because I had disfiguring tube removal and have been jumping through awful terrible hoops for a year.  Yay for mandatory IVF coverage state!  So.  It's finally here.

I called the Aetna injectibles pharmacy.  After a few minutes on hold, the lady was really nice, and I'll have everything in my little hands on Wednesday.  Wow.  It was so convenient even.  Wow.  I am so impressed with this insurance.

I was expecting a fight.  I don't know, I just keep waiting for something to go wrong, like something has at every single step of this process since 2012.  But now it's all been done and processed.  I just follow the sheet, show up at the right times, and none of it is in my control.  There's something kind of peaceful about that.  I have no control at this point.  Other people/the universe are now in charge.  So maybe I can relax while stabbing myself with needles.  Approved by insurance!  Coming on Wednesday!

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Catholic Family + IVF

WARNING:  This post has religion (Catholic) and politics and reproductive ethics, and it's kind of bitchy, unfair, and mean.  If you think you might be offended with these topics or by how mean I am today, please feel free to skip this post.  :)  Or argue with me.  I dished it out, I can take it.

I knew this would eventually be a problem.  My husband's entire family is Catholic.  I wouldn't say any of them are particularly good Catholics.  Practically no one attends and has cohabitated/used birth control/had babies out of wedlock, like everyone else.  But if there's one thing they are good at, it's guilt.  This whole process has been shitty and unfair to me, plus I've felt like a total bitch lately, so this felt like a fight I was ready to have.  They're also gossipy, so I knew this would come out eventually.

At a family wedding this weekend, an in-law cousin decided that would be an appropriate time to lecture me about the Catholic Church's views on IVF.  At a wedding.  The bitch was probably on birth control right that moment (already has four kids), certainly wasn't forgiving my trespasses, and probably had to google what the Catholic position was on IVF.  I already know the Catholic position on IVF, thanks.  I was pretty impressed with my reaction. I let her finish, and I didn't even correct her minor technical inaccuracies in a very precise doctrine, which was hard for me.

When she was done, I backed up to my ectopic, which she didn't know about about.  You know, my dead baby that almost took me with it, an awesome discussion at a wedding.  See, the Catholic Church has an equally well-defined doctrine on ectopic pregnancies, or "abortion" as it calls this fun condition. I ended up having a complete disfiguring tube removal (salpingectomy) that took my fertility, so I'm completely in line with the Catholic Church, whew. But if I had caught my life-threatening, non-viable ectopic pregnancy in a less dire circumstance, it would be against Catholic doctrine to remove a tiny part of the tube (partial salpingectomy) or take pills to force dissolving (Methotrexate). I would be having an abortion.

That's right. The Catholic Church thinks I should have to lose an entire tube (and not part!) to skirt the clear black and white line of an "abortion." Or I could bleed out and die, I guess.  This is actually an issue in ERs in Catholic hospitals where women are choosing between their fertility and their lives.  Sickening.  With a position like that, your organization has no credibility to me on this entire issue.  It's indefensible, and it just makes no sense.  Any idiot would see that, including this cousin on her fourth drink.

The cousin shut down and realized she was out of her league. Since she was clearly over talking theology, I told her this. "Look. I didn't tell you any of this. I don't know why you think this is any of your business. But if you can't support me, then do me a favor and just don't say anything at all. The last thing I need is people judging me and gossiping about me when I've been through so much." And that was that. Overall, I've been pretty impressed at how supportive everyone has been. I've really been blown away by so much love; one meddling idiot living in the middle ages isn't going to get me down.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

It Has to be ME ME ME

This post is hard to write because it's so selfish and bitchy and raw.  But it has to be said because I feel it constantly.  If the baby I thought I was going to have were alive, it would be, well, Prince George's age.  And we all know that's old news.  That's how long this has been.

I'm really close to my in-laws and we shared our wonderful news two days before our not so wonderful news with my sister-in-law and her then-fiance.  They got married this summer.  She is three years younger than me.

It has to be me.  It's my turn.  I was supposed to be first.  I deserve to be first.  My MIL will be over the moon with her own daughter's baby, but I need mine to be the first grandbaby.  It should have been mine.  It has to be ME!

I will be absolutely heartbroken if she gets pregnant before I do.  I'm not saying that her husband isn't awesome or that she shouldn't make her own choices.   If anything, my fuckery should show her not to take it for granted.  But I can't even deal if I have been running in place all this time and she laps me.

I love her so much.  She loves me so much.  It's something we don't talk about at all.  My MIL is like my best friend, so I know she knows, but I think she feels it too.  We just don't say anything.  It's just not fair.  Life isn't fair.  But surely life isn't THAT unfair.  It just has to be me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Implant 2 or 1?

I have only one more big decision to make about this IVF cycle, assuming everything goes to plan.  Do I want to transfer 1 or 2?  Like Spirit Baby Come Home, I consider this a big decision.

It's a gamble.  If I don't implant the two, I might get none, and I'll have to live with that I didn't do everything I could.  But there were a lot of twins in those pictures of babies all over the IVF clinic...  It's easy to gamble when it's someone else's eggs, and someone else will be doing the midnight feedings of preemie twins or on bedrest for three months.

At my clinic, 95% of women my age transfer two fresh, which probably leads to its incredibly high success rate.  The other 5% have some health reason not to, which I don't have.  Well, at least that I don't know I have because I never got that far.  My uterus has never seen any action, so we have no idea what will happen when it gets that far.

The risk, obviously, is twins.  Twins actually run in my family on both sides.  My dad, aunts, 2/4 grandparents are twins, my aunt miscarried twins.  We're like 50% twins in here!  My mom found it hilarious that IVF might be how I get the twins that somebody in the family should have had by now.  Yes, hilarious that everyone else's magical fertility only gave them one baby four times in a row.  Twins would be special in my family for sure.  She might even tell everyone twins run in the family, if she didn't feel the need to tell everyone about my IVF all the time.  But I don't want to take any risk on health issues, premature babies, add on danger just to have the twins my mom would love.

I think I am going to make an appointment with my OB.  He is a weird dude, but I've been with him a while, and I know he'll tell me how it is.  And even though I have very dark memories from that waiting room.  I'm just going to ask him what he would do.

My sister, always a scientist, offered the almost relevant input that it is not medically ethical to selectively reduce from twins to singletons.  I guess she means to say that means twins are safe-ish?  Selective reduction is not my question.  My thinking is more like if I can prevent my baby being premature or having the other issues of twins, maybe I should?  I'm in a position where bedrest could be done.  I'm also in a position where another FET could be done, no big deal.  I could do anything I need to to make this work.  But maybe I should play it safe?  I am open to input.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Telling More People About IVF

I am so grateful and full of love today.  I can feel the love the universe is sending me.  Now that I'm officially on the IVF bandwagon, I've been somewhat careful about who I have told.  I have a particular friend who has a vague objection to IVF, so I just avoided the subject altogether.  But I've been blown away by the support of my in-laws, my sister, most of my friends, even my mom who has managed to keep it together and shut her giant, gossipy mouth.

I went to college in another state, grad school in another, and I worked in another for a while.  That means a lot of my friends are scattered, and this isn't exactly the kind of shit you post on Facebook.  I talk to them on the phone from time to time, but it isn't like it might be if we lived in the same place.  A lot of them have no idea about the ectopic, I was beyond shaken when that happened and never told anyone I could avoid telling really.  So a lot of them have no idea we've been on this path for years now.

Today, I talked to an old friend I talk to every few months.  We've always tried to be supportive with each other, but we certainly aren't besties or anything.  I decided to tell her about the IVF.  I'm not sure why, it was a risk because I didn't know what her response would be.  She is pretty religious in a conservative Jewish faith, and she has a lot going on in her own life.  I guess I told her because IVF is the most interesting thing happening in my life right now.  It's why I'm not traveling.  It's why my work is suffering.  It's what all of my emotional, financial, and temporal energy are going toward.  So I told her in a hopeful, upbeat way.

I was amazed at the outpouring of love.  Of an anecdote of someone who got twins.  Of just sheer joy and positive energy and love.  It was really amazing.  When a shitty response leaves you in fear, it's amazing the love the universe can give you if you give it a chance.  I am blown away.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

More Thoughts on Mammograms Before IVF

Can you tell I have a lot of feelings about this?   (See Thoughts, Part I).   I keep reading more and more about mammograms before IVF, and it looks like the gold standard CCRM IVF clinic in Colorado requires everyone to get a mammogram before IVF, which is the only reason Guiliana Rancic got one at all.  That mammogram saved her life at 36 as it caught early stage breast cancer.  I'm all for this.  What a great idea.  I know I would have put mine off if I didn't have to do it for IVF.

And then there's crap like this from the Boston Globe.  After Guiliana's press blitz, the always qualified Staff Writer plays doctor and wonders, "Do All Women Need Mammograms Before IVF?"  Staff Writer goes over the standard suspects.  You're young, you don't have family history, you probably don't have breast cancer.  Yea, just like I'll have no problem having a baby, like everyone else, right?  And it's not like I would be pumping my body full of hormones that could literally fuel an easily detected, deadly cancer, right?  And chemo when pregnant is no biggie, right?  Thanks, doc!

And then the end.  "I'm worried, though, that women may be swayed by Rancic's powerful story than the faceless emotionless science."  Worried?  WORRIED?

Worried about what?  Worried you might think about getting a mammogram after hearing that amazing story that literally saved a woman's life?  Worried you might waste half an hour of your day?  Worried that you might have one more bureaucratic form out of a thousand.  Worried that you might tack on $100 to a bill in the tens of thousands?  Worried you might be embarrassed at someone seeing your boobs on the way to your daily trips to the dildo cam?  Worried you might stub your fucking toe on the elevator?  Who in the history of the universe has ever been worried that you might NOT have cancer???

I'd be a hell of a lot more "worried" about pumping estrogen into the unknowns in my body when my mother was on estrogen blockers for decades to block her invasive, estrogen-fueled breast cancer that almost took her life at 37.  That's where worry comes from.  Just get a mammogram.  Make sure you don't have cancer before you start IVF.  There's no downside.  Unless you stub your toe.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Scalp Massage

One of the things I love about the new RE is that it is in a more multi-purpose area, as opposed to the cluster of hospitals of the other one.  This means parking is free (yay!) and it means there are a ton of shops, restaurants, all kinds of stuff if I wanted to do something before/after my many many many scans/blood draws/appointments I will have at this place.

There's a salon near the RE that does blow outs for $40.  For another $10 you can get a braid or you can get a scalp massage.  HEAVEN.  Getting my hair blown out is one of my favorite things.  Doing it on a Wednesday after a dildo cam seems absurd, but no more absurd than this whole ridiculous process.  And I'm supposed to keep my stress down right?  And I hate acupuncture.  So, massages and scalp massage.  Mmmmm.
 Probably cheaper than stupid acupuncture anyway.

And then I had an even better idea.  Both my mom and my MIL want to come to one of my many fun meetings with a dildo cam.  Wouldn't it be fun to go get our hair done after?  Wouldn't that be relaxing and fun and bonding?  We could do our hair, go to lunch, and try to pretend like this is just a fun female outing.  Try to pretend this is normal.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

All Good News

Hysteroscopy, blood work, samples, genetics, dildo cam, it's all done now.  And it came out even better than before.  We are all clear to go now.  I have dosages, a protocol, a calendar, dates, wow.  There were SO many forms.

The doctor said I had over 20 tiny follicles on each side, which makes me PCOS-like, but without the PCOS hormonal issues.  The best of both worlds, if you will.  Because of this, I have to be on birth control for three more weeks!  That's a long time!

He said I shouldn't drink a ton when on birth control, but some is no big deal.  I will take that as a license to drink.  Especially if I'm going to hanging out with the stupid pill for so much longer.  I'm going to need a new pack!  And some champagne!  I feel like this is something to celebrate!

This whole process, really everything since my ectopic, I have just been waiting for things to screw up and go wrong.  I've just been waiting for the other shoe to drop.  This time, it hasn't, and all the things that needed to be right are and it is all finally looking up.  This time, I'm going to be happy.  Everything I could control I did, and everything I couldn't control came out perfect for me today in this time and place.  I am so full of hope today!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Valium and Videos Tomorrow

Tomorrow (CD9) I am doing something called a hysteroscopy which involves some kind of camera up my uterus.  I got the valium this time ($1.15 out of pocket).  I did not get the valium for the HSG.  I don't know who I was trying to impress with that display of bravery, but NO ONE WAS IMPRESSED.  And here's a tip.  If you already know you have one tube after your ectopic, get the damn valium for your HSG.  Those other infertiles with all their working tubes have no idea what they are saying, and no one will be impressed.

This is the last procedure before the stimming starts.  Well, scans I guess.  Don't even notice those anymore.  I've been on birth control since CD2, and we have all the blood tests, sperm tests, so many tests.  So tomorrow we also have to watch a bunch of videos, sign a bunch of paperwork, get a calendar, figure out meds, figure out the medical portals, figure out money, all kinds of stuff.  Going to be a fun morning.  Shit is about to get real.  Thanks for those who are following with me, it helps not to feel so alone.  Cross your fingers for me, I'm feeling nervous all of a sudden.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Diagnosis

At my first appointment with my new RE, he printed out a piece of paper with my diagnosis that he made me sign.

Secondary infertility, tubal cause

Secondary???  OUCH!  Yes, secondary.  Because I got pregnant on the second try (oh the blissful arrogance then!) I can get pregnant and the genetics/sperm/a bunch of other stuff are considered OK.  And you don't have to have a "live birth" to qualify for secondary.  Awesome.  So I am in a secondary infertility boat with no baby.  Great.  Like peeing every 15 minutes on progesterone when I'm not even pregnant.  Just swell.

Tubal is no surprise.  The new RE said that it's very rare for just one tube to be compromised with an ectopic like mine, but he said he agreed with the treatment plan to do IUIs/natural for a bit first to make sure.  He said what I felt in my gut.  It's time to just bypass the tubes and go to IVF.

He said my numbers looked fantastic, sperm numbers looked great, responses to various medicine looked perfect, especially the Gonal F.  He said I was "ideal" but that IVF is always guesswork and chance.  Boy do I know all that by now.  He said he put my odds at 60% fresh, 40% frozen, which is what I expected.  He said he thought that based on my age and ovarian reserve he hoped to stock the freezer.  Yay!  Let's get this shit on ice!  Did I mention how much I like my new doctor?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Announcing and Not Announcing IVF

Since it's been a really long slog to get here, I figured I had to announce it at least to people who knew about the original surgery and have noticed that 2 years later there is still no kid.

I told my mom, my mother in law, my sister, a couple of friends, and my friend who did this herself six years ago.   I have a decent amount of support.  I have support to drive and call and that's in place now, so that's good.  I also am so lucky that I don't have anyone in my family or extended familiy who has some bullshit opinion about IVF that I don't care about.  My MIL was raised Catholic and I had to explain to her why the Catholic Church doesn't support IVF, so obviously they are terrible Catholics.

But I have a friend who doesn't "believe in" IVF.  Let's call her Leah.  Leah actually told me she was opposed to IVF when I told her I was on Clomid, like a million years ago.  Dude, I'm just on Clomid, I said.  It won't get that far.  And she said that if it ever did she didn't want to hear about it.  And it's her BFF who referred me to the first RE!  Leah's BFF had twins at 42 with IVF.  Of course, Leah had three kids in her early 20s easily.

I'm actually seeing Leah this weekend.  Part of me wants to talk about it anyway.  So maybe she doesn't believe in abortion or divorce or adultery or punching people in the face, but if your friend is going through that tough shit that you don't believe in, shouldn't you be there for them anyway?  I've actually never had an ethical debate about IVF with anyone, and I'm not sure how it would go.  Probably crying.  Probably can't end well.  So I'm suddenly glad she flagged me with this knowledge so I can lie for our mutual comfort, so I'll probably just tell her I'm still on Clomid.  Or I could tell her the truth, I am now on BIRTH CONTROL!!!  Nothing to see here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

IVF Here We Come

Here we are Cycle Day 2.  Blood has been drawn, 12 vials for all kinds of shit.  Another "sample" for insurance or something.  I started birth control pills (oh cruel universe! I remember when I had an alarm set for these for the opposite reason!)

Hysteroscopy scheduled for next week.  We have to watch a bunch of videos.  Tons of papers.  I am now on IVF.  Wow.  I am now doing IVF.

It happened so fast, but at the same time I have been waiting for years.  Day 2 of the Rest of My Life.

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Big Day

Choices have been made and I feel so nervous and sick, but also settled, like we are finally moving forward instead of wasting more time with IUIs.  IVF time.  Let's go.

The new doctor was as TOTALLY different experience.  It was possibly the nicest office/medical environment I've ever seen (even nicer than the freaking spa at the mammogram center.)  The billing people were ON POINT.  The receptionist knew all my shit.  The doctor was prepared.  I waited less than five minutes.  Everything went right.  It also helped make my decision that I had to call the old doctor for a code for the portal to see the records and spent 30 minutes on hold.

I'm not in love with this doctor's manner or some of his opinions (he gives a lot of interviews), but his numbers are some of the best in the whole country.  He explained everything, and he took his time.  He seemed very calm.  Maybe that's because I was trying to decide how to narrow down the million thoughts in my head.

He said I looked like an absolutely perfect candidate, and there should be no reason it doesn't work.  He estimated my success at 60% fresh, 40% frozen.  Best numbers I've heard in a while.

So I got a new doctor.  I also got approved by the insurance for IVF, and they cover EVERYTHING!  OMG.  It's even better than I thought.  The financial lady said it's possible they might only cover transfering one embryo?  I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there.  Now I have a calendar and a whole plan.  And maybe I can get pregnant by Christmas after all.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Feeling Nauseated at This Decision

I have an appointment with the other doctor on Monday, and my current doctor on Tuesday.  Monday.  Choices will be made.

I feel sick to my stomach.  Of course, it doesn't help that progesterone makes me unable to sleep and have to pee every five minutes and then there's the wicked nightmares.  Ugh.  I am so very nervous.

This is something we have planned and looked forward to and realized was a possibility over a year ago, and yet here we are and I think I'm going to puke.  My husband and sister are going with me.  I know this will completely take over my life until Christmas, take every financial, emotional, and time resource we have, and I have all but decided to do it.

The more I think about the doctor situation the more I realize I just don't feel comfortable with my current RE's office.  It's not the doctor, it's the staff.  What good does an awesome doctor do if no one calls you back?  Or if no one reads my chart?  And the lab.  The dismal success rates for women under 35 have to at least part the lab, right?

Mostly I'm scared.  All these blogs seem full of pain and failure that drags on for months and years.  It has already been so long, and I am so afraid of the next step.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Big Appointment and Second Opinions?

My big appointment with the doctor is a week from today.  A week from today we will be making decisions about IVF.

I feel like I have no idea what I am doing, there are too many choices, and I am just overwhelmed.  I did some research and my clinic is among the lowest in the state for IVF live births for women under 35, at about 35%.  The competing clinic is at about 60%.  That's a big difference.  There's another, much bigger clinic that is in the high 50%s.

The competing clinic is way closer to my house and I bet they answer the fucking phone and pay for your parking.  I am seriously thinking about booking a second opinion.  Like tomorrow.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Royal Timestamp

In case you live under a rock, William and Kate are having another baby.  Oh boy.  According to the stalwart news source that writes in first person apparently, the Daily Mail, "The couple confided only recently to friends that they had wanted to try for another baby this summer. ‘It was the plan, but they are surprised and of course delighted it has happened so quickly,’ my source added."

Yes, so magical and great.

My Perfect Breakdown had an interesting piece feeling sorry for the Duchess and her chose fishbowl with no privacy.  And yea, that sucks for her I guess, and I can't even imagine what it would be like to have that level of fame and so many people interested in her uterus, and I write a blog for strangers about my uterus.  Even at its worst moments, I can't say I would trade my life for Kate's.  I think all of us in the infertility community have a more cynical view of pregnancy and all the shit that can go wrong.  So being forced to announce so early would be pretty much my personal hell.

But mostly I'm so pissed off about having to endure another news cycle about Kate's maternity dresses/nannies/baby names/cloth diapers/food cravings/natural childbirth.  Just like last time.  Last time, she got pregnant right around when I did.  Right after I woke up in an operating recovery room with no baby and no tube, the blessed magical royal baby was announced.  Oh joy.

I said on My Perfect Breakdown that to me the Royal Baby is a timestamp on my grief.  My lost baby would have been so close to George's age, and now she has two maybe.  TWO.  In the time we've just been trying for one.  It's just a reminder of how long all this shit has taken, and how heartbreaking it is to fail at something that is apparently so easy for everyone else.  Everyone but me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Failure and Fear IVF

I have one friend I met at the clinic.  That waiting room is brutal, and you feel like either you or the person next to you will break into tears if you make eye contact.   But somehow, in my five million visits, I made a friend who's about my age, lives around the corner from me and obviously has a lot in common with me.  The first time we met up, we finished up a bottle of vinho verde and we got each other.

After I didn't hear from her after I knew she had a retrieval, she texted that her IVF had failed.  My heart just sank.

She's 31!!!  How can her IVF fail?  FAIL?  Like just fail?   Honestly, this hadn't occurred to me as an outcome.  I thought you'd at least bank some in the freezer and one of those would take eventually.  She's younger than me but has ovulation issues and touch of male factor.  I think she might have some PCOS stuff that I know nothing about.  But she's younger than me, at the same office (though different doctor) and it FAILED.  She said it was too conservative.  I have no idea what that means.

She's now got some serious crazy talk going on involving traveling to Denver to CCRM and changing clinics, and hating the lab, and so on.  My heart is just breaking for her.  But it's also filling me with fear.  It was enough to make me do some research on CCRM as well.  And I'll be in Denver anyway in a few weeks....

This is crazy, but I actually looked into this.
 For starters, they don't take my insurance, and I have like 15K to blow first, so I plan to do that locally, but I have to say that I am now thinking about it.  Oh god, am I already thinking about the next cycle when the cycle I haven't even started yet fails???  WTF?

This place I'm going to now doesn't have the best stats in town for women under 35, they're about average.  We do have better stats in town, but it's impossible to know what means anything.  Now I'm not sure how I picked this doctor at all.  I know more about my fucking dishwasher.  I'm so frustrated.  I know this clinic takes on a lot of tough cases, and I know I am not one of those cases (I hope) as I just have wonky tubes.  I'm the dream patient, right?  I don't need CCRM right?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thoughts on Mammograms Before IVF

I posted yesterday about my mammogram I got before IVF because my doctor made me.  I'm 32 with a mom who had breast cancer at 37.  So obviously I'm higher risk than most, and maybe my doctor wouldn't have made everyone go.  I'm not sure.  I do know that I would have put this off until after IVF if the doctor hadn't made me go.

Turns out Giuliana Rancic, who I find totally annoying, but one of the only celebrities really out there about her struggle with IVF, found her early stage breast cancer at 36 because the doctor
also ordered a mammogram before her IVF #3.  Wow.  That means IVF might have literally saved her life.

Now, I hope that this isn't my story and that I did waste my time getting a mammogram.  I hope I don't have a story like Giuliana's about how IVF was the only reason I caught my breast cancer.  But I REALLY hope I don't have a story where I am pregnant and THEN diagnosed with cancer, God forbid.  I hope no one has to face that.

And then there's this.  Some doctor on NBC saying that mammograms aren't necessary for 36 year olds and they aren't necessary for IVF.  Seriously?  Screw you, doctor on TV telling people not to get mammograms before pumping themselves full of hormones that are known to accelerate some kinds of breast cancer, and hopefully will result in pregnancy, a non-ideal state to treat cancer.

What exactly is the downside here???  It took 30 minutes, it was completely free on my insurance, but costs $55 + $50 radiology so $105 out of pocket if you pay upfront in cash (I asked, infertility has made me very attuned to weirdness in cash payments in the medical field).  So maybe I wasted a little cash and time because I probably don't have cancer.  IVF takes every waking moment and multiple hands in your vagina.  Having your boob placed on a shelf is nothing compared to a dildo cam three times a week.  IVF is literally tens of thousands of dollars, what difference is a piddly little $105 mammogram?    Shit, I have spent more just on parking at my RE.  You should waste 30 minutes and $105 too.  Just throw it in the air as taking as long as another scan and rip up those dollar bills costing 1/3 of a Follistim shot.  Why wouldn't you want to do this before IVF?